The Courage Of My Convictions

March 23, 2012

This is the sight of me walking down 7th Avenue after a midnight show, semi-successfully executed, in the post 1am hours, going down past the bar from 57th St.

I had been flirty at the bar, an easy enough affair. I had tried it on like a coat, or like the clothes at that American Apparel warehouse sale I go to, seeing if things make me look good.

An apt analogy actually. I have commented to people that never before when I weighed much more did I ever comment on or want to shop for clothing. It was outside the realm of my expectations as I knew I didn’t look good, so my defenses shut me off to the possibility of shopping, of having to see myself, or accept the way I was.

Now, I shop endlessly on the cheap, mismatched racks of the American Apparel Warehouse Sale on 26th St, looking for things that make me feel good, asking for opinions on what works and what doesn’t, what colors, what styles, looking for shirts that fit me tight, that show me off.

That’s how I try flirting on in that bar after the Gethard show, my friend Andrew Parrish (who met his current girlfriend this way) had recommended it to me previously, actually, but I’m usually too tired after the show, too wanting to do Yoga the next morning, too scared to put myself out there and fail or, worse, fuck up a good situation for me.

So in that mix of defensiveness, self-doubt and common sense, I usually end up walking home down that 7th Avenue, either all the way down or far enough to pick up my locked-out couch-crasher Teddy, who is at a different bar, before completing my 3 miles and being home.

But I try on flirting that night. Complimenting, finding ways to be assertive without being intrusive, seeing opportunities to connect, making sure, as I try to with all people now, that I am looking them in the eyes confidently, with a smile or the receptiveness of listening.

Like clothes, it’s not a natural fit for me, a thing out of the past. Like clothes, I still don’t really know what I am doing, throwing on a slapdash approach, sometimes not seeing how silly I look.

But Michael Delaney pointed out to us in a class that the difference between writing a sketch and doing improvisational work (being in the moment), is that a sketch is like working with clay where it can be formed and reformed, changed and shifted before being presented. With improv though, he said, we are working in marble and every move we make, mistake or not, is visible.

I don’t know what I am doing in marble right now.

Flirting or performing, though I’ve gotten better about being okay about life.

Christina Gausas (an amazing performer and improviser who I am lucky enough to get to work with) noted me a few weeks ago that when I made moves in my scenes it was like I was moving through water, making half-moves, unconfident. A non-improviser or even one might be confused by the terminology, I’ll explain. Instead of grabbing someone by the hand and giving a firm handshake, you reach out in slow motion waiting for their acceptance. Instead of brushing a girl’s hair back, you touch her lightly on the arm, uncertainly. When my old friend Jonny-Jon-Jon told me I needed to “take more leaps, not just from sinking in the mud to a rescue helicopter, more uncertain ones”, he was right too.

And life, improv, writing everything, they all tie together and seem to intermesh, though my life is full of them, so that may just be it.

Another moment learning from Christina was an exercise she does where we draw a trait from a piece of paper in her hand and have to play it subtly, or to put it differently, like a real, normal person. I nailed “gay” apparently (I talked about taking some time off from work to explore the world and a collection of Portuguese spun-glass), but when I drew “sexually aggressive”, I stumbled into creepy or timid, struggling like balance in yoga, to find a middle ground.

“When I think about being flirty or aggressive, ” she told me. “I think about a male improviser who would always be at the bar, just making super sexual jokes and it was always cool because that was just who he was, but if you ever took it seriously, he’d be down in an instant.”

I think my version of that was someone telling me my voice was hoarse it was and saying it sounded super-masculine.

“Yeah, I have huge balls.” I replied.

I think that got a laugh.

But in the end I walked home by myself again. I didn’t want to stay out late (I did), didn’t want to feel like shit again (did), wanted to get up in time for yoga, which I did.

But what am I looking for?

Playing my gameboy (a term, Nintendo DSi is the more accurate one) is often a troubling sign, something of a detachment from reality for me. Playing it while walking, an even greater one, especially now that I am aware of the work I do on my posture in yoga and how I fuck that up looking at my screen.

In improv and in life, the work I do is essentially to listen better, which is what I’ve told my friends, listen to myself (which I have gotten better at), but listen to others, be vulnerable, be in the moment and be confident not knowing ever what you are going to do.

Think about it, the amount of times in life we pre-plan what we are going to say, the times we judge a conversation or muscle past it just to make our point. If our points are so great, let’s make them, but as a talker I am almost exclusively defined by my propensity to talk about myself to the exclusion of others. Thus the blog you are reading right now.

So to listen, to not pre-plan, to be in the moment and vulnerable is practice in life as well as an improv. It makes you into a better, more responsive person. Know what you want in life and have that somewhere and how you feel, but I think that’s all you get to take for things.

When I go into a bar, or a classroom, when I hang around the Gethard show, or the different comedy theaters, who knows what will happen? It’s painful to be there, frightening to be confident.

So the “safe choices” are either detachment or self-abuse, detachment by not trying to connect with other/yourself (video games) or just judging yourself for your inadequacies as a way of not absorbing them, by viewing your perceived weakness as an external force, itself a kind of detachment as well.

All of this seems rambling and it is late. No apologies.

On Tuesday I had a great show and a great class and felt on top of the world. I got asked to be in a sketch group the next day out of the blue with people I respect, again people much more talented than me.

And yet, for all my practice not judging, for all my work, I still find myself slipping into judgement after a bad class, beating myself up over not being good enough or confident enough to really connect or hook up, wondering what I am doing or who am I, looking for external approval, because somewhere within me still lives vivid my own sense of worthlessness birthed from years of insecurity.

I’ve said here many times on this blog, I’m happy to return to yoga as much as I do because it reminds me when I am exerting myself that staying calm in the moment is how I stay calm in the face of adversity of life, that when I am not good at a pose it only means that I have self-awareness and I am doing the work, that when the teacher comes over to adjust me (which is very frequently, even now), it is a help because it means I am learning and getting closer to my own self-sufficiency, put succinctly by my friend Amy Hellman: “Think of everything as practice and you’ll get a lot more of a kick out of it.”

I spent time with my friend Frank today, a new big brother to his 62 year-old father’s son with his wife, Karen, a sort of slightly removed half-brother for Frank as he’s adopted. I knew though talking to him, as I went to Park Slope and to New York Methodist Hospital to see little Charlie in the NICU and saw Frank’s pride and wonder at his little brother’s cuteness, at his little brother’s being.

Well, some shit’s real.

And sometimes it’s good to remind one’s self of that.

And have more fun, if you can, and be more “practical” with the stuff that’s not.

And maybe that’s called “being a man” which is a note I got once, and maybe that’s called being confident.

Or maybe, it’s just something I’ll just have to be okay not knowing how it looks on me, until I do.

***

I am addicted to Mediterranean food.

It’s just delicious and healthy and flavorful. It’s adjustably spicy. It has great textures and vegetables. Hummus and falafel are so good that it’s just silly that they even exist.

So I apologize for how much I cover them, it’s just that I love to eat them and so I write what I eat.

In this case, it was The Hummus and Pita Co., a new joint over on 6th Avenue that, like Meze Grill before it, attempts to be a sort of Chipotle for mediterannian food.

Unlike Meze though, which I have not been to in a long time (I’m not often in the 50s during dining hours), THPC seems to be put on a little fanciness with a wider range of stuffings (fried eggplant, shawarma or a sort of tandoori chicken/steak as well as falafel) and different kinds of hummus.

All of it of course seems a little strange when you can get a 4 buck chicken kabab sandwich on many street corners.

But everything was really fresh and delicious. The salad bar of toppings (the mark of any great Mediterranean take out place) was ample with different kinds of cabbage and pickles and the shawarma I got was greasy and great and I even found some whole wheat.

The result was a yummy journey from crunch of cabbage to soft plyant chicken thighs rounding through to savory hummus and tahini, with dabs of hot sauce flecking in a mess that fell apart only to be scooped up, finger food, the dirty work covered up with napkins.

Maybe not for every day with the amount of good halal carts, but if I need some primo-shit, I know just where to look.

***

THE HUMMUS AND PITA CO.

Chicken Shawarma Whole Wheat Pita w/Fried Eggplant, Pickles, Red+White Cabbage, Hummus, Tahini, Hot Sauce- $8.11

6th Ave. bet 16th and 17th Sts

1 to 18th St. FLM-PATH to 14th St-6th Ave.

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December 7, 2011

“I’ll use it as my profile picture.” I told Ro-Beardo Malone.

“Actually, I was hoping it would be the first picture on the next Feitelogram.” He replied with his half-cocked beard-smile, a tactic he frequently employed to try to inflame my inability to tell the difference between dry-sarcasm and his occasional earnestness. (e.g.: “Not enough films about the Kennedy assassination” accompanied by half-cocked beard-grin.)

It was 10:55, the hour of the always-breathless lead-up to The Chris Gethard Show, where my role as “The Man Behind The Plant” put me to some degree off-camera, getting ready to retweet people saying things like “Give me some jews 2fuk my boyfriend dumpt me” as well as home-brew images or cartoons having to do with the show. People frequently ask me, in bars or first dates, how I manage seeing my comedy friends with my friends from film school and the lucky thing is that the show is like a nexus of all of them.

Here, in one corner, is comedy-man Keith Haskel getting dressed up in a banana suit while his girlfriend helps him zip up. Over there is once-villain-man Andrew Parrish, warming up the audience and rushing around getting ready to punch Chris for an on-show bit, there getting in to an Evil Knieval costume is Ro-Beardo Malone, jimmying around trying to figure out whether his crotch muscles have healed enough that he can break loose and dance his fullest.

That night, a woman tried to book Rob to play a vuvuzela at her next bar mitzvah or event. That night, a woman called in with notes passed to the host with underlines to accentuate her increasing drunkenness. That night, a waltzing-seniors holiday special took over our studio so we were crammed in to a smaller one. I look forward to the show every week.

This week in improv class, I finished my last session of a 401, the class I was stressed out about enough last time around to write regularly about on this blog. Though I spent most of the class fairly confident, I lost that confidence in my last session and felt like crap going out for obligatory drinks with everyone after the show. That night, I started replaying a Mega Man RPG for the Nintendo DS.

In the haze after college that I am still in, I look for meaning all around me, for structure. When I didn’t feel good about my last 401 class, it made me feel down for two days.

I went in to my therapist asking why and she told me that in the absence of a significant other, my relationship with comedy and performance is the primary one in my life.

To that end, I went on two (unsuccessful) dates this weekend but things are looking, well, as they are.

In truth, I have to remind myself that there’s no control. To my friend’s perturbment, everything is like improv.

You can state your idea, your wants, your desires, but you have no control over where the scene or your life goes. Only where you choose to venture, preferably boldly, and the discoveries you make yourself open to with other people.

Tonight I go back to The Chris Gethard Show.

It’s a dating special.

I’ll be there again,

The man behind the plant.

***

My friend Jon Bander outed me yesterday.

The truth: I had been writing self-strokingly about the weight I had lost and telling people as much when they gave me a nice compliment or conspicuously in conversation (“Good show tonight.” “Yeah it was. I lost 50 lbs.”) but to outpour on social media was something else.

I had someone post on my wall that I was an “inspiration” my friends rag on me and people hold me up as some sort of symbol.

Meanwhile, on the other side, my parents were concerned I had lost too much weight (hovering somewhere around 175) and were wondering if there son was going to waste away. Their plans to have me see a doctor before I left were only foiled by a. A New York practitioners inherent lack of availability and b. them realizing I had been given a clean bill of health by that doctor about a month ago.

In the middle somewhere there was me, still self-conscious, still grabbing my belly at any passing moment, still wondering if I’d gain it back, if I’d added a pound. If now that I’d been “exposed” whether I’d just be another casualty, gaining back all the weight I had lost.

Friends told me it took them 5 years to get it back, others nodded knowingly as if it wouldn’t even do me any good to know.

The phase I’m in of “my new lifestyle” seems the scariest, the one without a plan where I try to find my own boundaries, set my own rules, figure out what works for me, what I’m allowed to do.

In Yoga (which I still think jokes and references to are stupid), my teacher talks about posture, as we stretch a belt across our backs to sit tall. When we arrive at our computers, we hunch over. When we sit on the mats we align our spine.

As I look in the mirror before the TCGS dating game tonight and put on a nicer shirt, now I wonder about my posture and how to fix that, how to get my body right.

Where is the happy medium between these things? My parents concern, my neuroses and the possible benefits of eliminating the things hampering me in my life.

What is the goal I’m trying to achieve (as Bander asked me as a necessary pre-requisite before instructing me on the diet I took to get to this weight)?

If it’s romance, as my friend Jason Chan has said, being skinny or even attractive (don’t think I’m there) doesn’t seem a large part of the equation.

If it’s happiness or self-contentment, isn’t that a state of mind rather than a physical pose? Haven’t I said before I was “happier” at my previous weight?

These are questions without too many answers as the holidays or my nearness to my Paris vacation grow closer.

Well, maybe I’ll figure it out in old gay Paris.

***

Or maybe my parents are concerned about me because they saw me split a cupcake into thirds.

My parents (seen above in soft-focus, head-cut-off form) were enlisted on a Sunday morning after a post-Faicco’s expedition to help me try out my latest point of exploration: Molly’s Cupcakes over in the West Village.

The place seems to have some reality-cred which I didn’t know too much about (not being an avid watcher of “Top Chef”-type shows) but I am fan of your down-home-style cupcake joint and the capacious milieu and swing-like chair seemed to draw me in.

Even though Mom pointed out their award-winning cupcake, a Peach Cobbler-blend with a real-peach slice on top, I was not interested. Such things struck me as being unnecessary, cupcake-wise, when for me the bread-and-butter of a cupcake should be simplicity.

I do like Pichet Ong’s cupcake inventions at Spot, to clarify, which often included Yuzu and berries and stuff, but even there, simplicity is maintained with the relatively small size and modest-icing of a cupcake being paramount. For me the monster-truck style-cakes of Crumbs are anathema and the Baked-by-Melissa tinies, while great, definitely suffer due to portion size on their value quotient.

So, I got the alpha-cake, vanilla base, chocolate-buttercream icing.

And I gotta say, it was pretty good.

The icing was refreshingly (unexpectedly) dark as opposed to milk chocolate and the base was also deceivingly lemony, a fact we interrogated the owner about to no avail.

What seemed simple ended up nuanced but markedly enjoyable, by no means a “perfect” cupcake (I think Blue Ribbon gets the closest to that), but certainly an excellent one.

My parents still looked perturbed though when I only ate my third of the cupcake.

“Too sweet for me.” My dad, the wuss, said eating about a third of his third before retiring. Mom and I tried to say something but well, you can bring a horse to water…

At least I ate half my huge Faicco’s sandwich in front of them.

At least they know I eat.

***

MOLLY’S CUPCAKES

Vanilla Cupcake w/Dark Chocolate Buttercream- $2.50

Bleecker St. bet. 6th Ave and Carmine St.

1 to Christopher St. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.


You Are Where You Need To Be

November 22, 2011

I tried Yoga for the first time yesterday.

It was the sort of thing like Vegan-ism that I admit to disliking, the sort of thing that people use as a crutch to seem somehow spiritually superior to others. Back in sketch classes, when people would make jokes about “ashrams” or whatever I would always just think they were assholes, because really, what an elitist, shitty white-person thing to be making in-jokes about, Yoga.

But it was pretty good, though I’m really sore today.

I still don’t think I’ll be making any ashram jokes (just as I don’t think I’ll be talking about how much better my life is now that I don’t eat animal products) but it did make my back feel better and seemed to slightly improve my posture. It just seemed like a less body-destroying version of the Judo I used to do, which when I left it made me feel like my whole body was vibrating and that I craved meat.

But as I was leaving, the person who’d brought me there pointed out that this was a good way to meet women, since there was a low-percentage of males in Yoga classes and an even lower percentage of straight males. But I told her I thought it would be creepy to hit on a girl in a yoga class, a place where people are supposed to get away from stress and feel at peace and also somewhere in me it felt somewhat desperate.

This same person recommended that I highlight my TV appearances on my online dating profile, when they heard that my appearing on national television had somehow not lead to me being some sort of mighty-mack. But this too seemed desperate me, seemed targeted to attract the wrong sort of attention. I left the class feeling down and not knowing why, though maybe like I wanted to do more Yoga.

Thinking about it today and yesterday has brought me to a rather obvious realization and one that I’ve arrived at multiple times on these pages: for all my serenity and comfort for where I am in parts of my life, I still wonder what’s wrong with me.

In my personal and professional life I feel undervalued. Why couldn’t I explain why I hadn’t found anything meaningful romantically in the time since I’d been on television? Professionally there are problems too with feeling underused and undervalued that I can’t talk about here.

The other day after a good night at The Chris Gethard Show, I got in a fight with my sister that made me feel like I was 11 again and went out to a bar I know I shouldn’t have gone to, to talk to a girl I shouldn’t have talked to, about that something that just made me feel immediately like shit. I was undervaluing myself. I was feeling that way.

As always I can point to my friends and see similar problems, no great serenity or happiness there, necessarily. But maybe it feels frustrating to see their apparent grace in dealing with it.

Just like the Yoga people and the Vegans, my friends frequent seem to achieve some happy balance, or at least find a way not to show their loneliness. It’s healthy for them but it also makes me feel like who am I, but at least they don’t make jokes or gloat about it.

As I’ve written about before here, the best note I ever got in improv was from Ashley Ward, who told me at a bar after a class I took with her, after feeling bad about how I was as a performer that “You are where you need to be”.

It’s a good way to look at life and the situations you find yourself in, a way of seeing things that you make can’t make sense of as part of a larger situation, a moment in your life that is now, but will not happen again, part of a path you may or may not continue on.

One foot in front of the other, going out, doing things. I have friends who don’t go out, friends who wallow in their loneliness and depression and I don’t do that. I put myself out there and perform silly shows and write stupid blog posts (which probably don’t ultimately help win me any romance points).

I am where I need to be.

And I’ll try to figure out a Yoga class to go to.

Probably to the amusement of all.

***

Andrew Parrish is concerned about how he is portrayed on this blog and for good reason.

For about two-thirds of his portrayal, he has been a villain of epic proportions, so much so that Blake LaRue made a really fun Batman-villain origin-story for him, which I think was just Mad Libs pertaining to Scarecrow’s back-story (but still it was funny).

However, sadly, he continues to be a good friend to me.

When Robeardo Malone will have either a “large bowel movement” or a migraine or an attack of lethargy or Beamer will decide he’d rather hide from humanity that evening or Sebastian decides he has “too much homework, bro”, Andrew consistently comes out and does stuff with me and has fun.

This week, we headed to ASSSSCAT, saw a late-night set and then went on an epic quest around the city, wandering into a hotel to attempt to retrieve a pillow that was taken from him by his roommate for a French short-film shoot in a fancy hotel on the Gramercy Park, which we unsuccessfully crashed (something about the pillow being dirty) and then headed off for a night of ping-pong with comedy luminaries, into the wee-hours Sunday night.

Of course during ASSSSCAT at the UCB, a girl who attends the CGS recognized Andrew and started energetically talking to him, which he shrugged off, even when he later saw her on the street during our quest, he didn’t even stop to talk to her.

“What are you doing? Late night, pretty girl, chance encounter…” I demanded

“Eh.” He said.

Bastard.

It was a fun night though as I am epically terrible at Ping Pong and managed to hit the ball into the light fixtures several times before finally being relieved by the much better and funnier players.

Parrish is like me, single, but he’s goddam better at ping pong, non-chalance and now he’s even stolen quests from me.

I don’t know.

I’m watching you, Parrish.

Thin ice.

***

During that UCB show evening, Andrew and I ended up at a Japanese burger place named Kobeyaki over on 7th Avenue which I wanted to try.

They didn’t have any whole grain buns for their “Teriyaki Chicken Burger” (a good version of which certainly exists at Tebaya in lower Chelsea, nb) so I ended up trying their “Teriyaki Chicken Bowl” which came over salad even though I ordered it with brown rice.

It was good, a little overly sweet/sauce-drenched for my taste, but rife with good vegetables and a surprisingly varied-greens salad.

The next day at UCB I saw someone with the same thing as everyone crowded around to see someone’s opinion of the new place in the ‘hood.

“Yeah, it’s pretty good.” The eating dude said. “It’s Bourbon Chicken.”

I literally gasped (or maybe said “Whoa”).

That is quite a put-down as Bourbon Chicken is the sort of crap one gets from Food Court Panda Expresses AND/OR Food Court Rajun Cajuns!

“No diss, man.” The guy said. “I love Bourbon Chicken. But this is definitely it.”

And I guess thinking back on my experience of it.

He’s kinda right.

***

KOBEYAKI

“Teriyaki Chicken Bowl”/Bourbon Chicken- $9.00

7th Avenue bet. 26th and 27th Sts.

1 to 28th St. CE to 23th St.


Dating

September 3, 2011

A lot of annoying things happened to me this week, but the worst was done by someone who didn’t even mean it. Who meant well. I’m sure of that.

Then again, when people make me feel bad, I’m sure they don’t usually mean it. I wrote a tweet coming home drunkenly on Thursday saying “In real life, people can be cruel but they’re rarely mean”.

I then proceeded to vomit up a bunch of red wine, try to shower the puke out of my nose, played another half an hour of video games and went to sleep.

But the point wasn’t lost on me; Not since middle or high school to people just come over and push you or call you a faggot or something like that. People aren’t mean often, in ways that are transparently so, save for a crazy person or an angered pedestrian/driver.

No, more often the people are cruel in doing actions that might seem normal, but that hit the emotional crux of what someone is feeling in a way the person enacting the cruelty doesn’t necessarily know or empathize with.

Being mean is just saying or doing something obvious to effect your feelings on to someone else. Being cruel is making that person hurt while they believe they might deserve it.

This “worst thing” was real bad in that way, in that it seemed so obviously to come from a place of concern.

A fellow improviser had sent me an email telling me that “from reading your blog and your tweets it seems like you’re fixated on the idea of having a girlfriend”. They made it very clear that they didn’t presume to have the knowledge to help me as such, but here was their friend’s blog complete with “dating tips for nerds”, a self-help style odyssey in eight parts. This person now writes for “OverthinkingIt.com”, they told me.

The subject article was “Thought you might want to read this”.

I should specify that on this day, Thursday, I had already gone on a first date with a nice-enough girl, made plans for second date and then had her email me telling me:

a. “I am not available on Saturday, I told a friend I was around that day so she takes priority.”

and

b. “I didn’t feel that spark when I was with you so I’m not interested in continuing things romantically. I am sorry I didn’t express that when I was with you.”

As I walked along that Thursday, everything seemed to pile up on top of each other.

The date seeming good, having to reevaluate as bad. The curt email. The unconnected/connected email suggestion that I needed “dating tips”.

The fact that was the third girl in two months to tell me she wasn’t “interested romantically” in me.

By the end of the day, I was calling my father angry about my job somehow, for some minor shit, enough that he had talk me down and I had to admit that I had had a bad date.

I went to drown my sorrows on Thursday in improv. I went to the Magnet and sat there and watched show after show. Sebastian Conelli, an improv friend from Staten Island, showed up there, with two even more Staten Island-y looking people in tow. Andrew Parrish showed up and caught a show.

I was wrestling with whether or not to drink, but decided on the red wine, not to break my diet and drank about four glasses over 4 hours, enough to make me sleepy and a little more ready to laugh.

The vomiting was unexpected when I got home (probably a result of my relative abstinence and diet), as well as the tweeting, though I guess it shouldn’t be.

When you set your conscious mind at avoiding something, your unconscious, just like a good improv partner, goes straight for, attacking it.

Because as I walked home that night, as I got off the phone with my dad earlier, as I thought about in the spaces between shows, between drinks, or just zoning out into my mind as thoughts took over, I just kept wondering: what’s wrong with me?

That’s that picture, that thought going through my head as I used the Photo Booth feature of my computer to take a picture of me looking at other Photo Booth pictures from my computer.

There it was: I’d lost weight, I could see my face narrower. I had a decent job, in a creative field. I was performing in New York City. I was on television in a bunch of big and small ways. I was a sweet guy and odd and self-conscious. I was present and not looking to fuck a bunch of people behind other people’s backs. I was me. I had these good things. What didn’t I see?

The sadness in my eyes, pretty apparent. I took a few pictures before I was able to weed out ones that at least seemed appropriately sad without being weirdly angled. But it was always the same way, smile or no.

When I was walking around on Thursday, I thought I would write this post and it would be angry, a diatribe against women, singling out all the people who made me feel bad that day, all the women who’ve ever made me feel bad or less than who I am. A giant fuck you to these bitches, these dumb cunts who wouldn’t fucking look at me now, preferring someone more forceful, but once they hit 28 or 9, flocking to me looking for that guy who wouldn’t treat them terribly, victims of their own love-hangover. I was their B plan, I thought, that must be it, a thought only confirmed by the married women who come up to me on the street or in front of bars and flatter me and tell me “Women must throw themselves at you, you’re so handsome” because they want that attention from me that they no longer get from whoever the fuck they’re stuck with. They see the sadness in my eyes. They know I’m easy prey.

But having written that and being unexpectedly taken back to that swell of emotion, I know the fallacy of it. That any such “theories” or “dynamics” about women or anyone really, are just ways of rationalize and making sense of the irrational, the many and countless ways that selves can interact and touch. If someone isn’t attracted to me, that’s great and they should own it. And I too.

These things I talk about, that I’m angry about, not only should I not be angry about them, but they don’t exist.

There is no grand overarching theory, there are no rules or “what women want”.

In short, there is no centralized problem with any of this, which means there’s nothing I can fix, no “thing I shouldn’t say”, “shirt I shouldn’t wear”, no “girls are crazy” or any of that.

Which is both freeing and awful, because it means I’m not doing anything wrong.

It’s just life.

No tips necessary.

Which means, conversely, that all those women have their own reasons, their own world, their own individual natures and specific whatever that ends up as it does to me.

That’s cool.

No apology necessary either.

When I said that the “dating tips” email that I got on Thursday was the worst thing that happened to me that day, it was because it made me think that it must so obvious to people that there’s something wrong with me. That I’m damaged, or crazy, or out of control.

But the truth is like my friend Andrew Parrish told me over GChat the other day, when I asked him how he was coping in the wake of his recent breakup.

“I’m feeling okay.” He said.

“I feel like shit.” I told him. “What’s your secret?”

“Nothing.” He said. “Just don’t feel like that isn’t normal. Because whatever you’re feeling is normal for you.”

***

So how do you get over a day like Thursday, going everywhere bad from bad dates, to unintentional belittling, to throwing up a bunch of red wine and some leaf-like things I didn’t know were in me?

I don’t fucking know, but I feel a bit better.

Sure-fire non-lame-o Matt Chao sent me a text and we got breakfast at the Sullivan Bistro, a Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette with Wheat toast and Home Fries I ate maybe 5 of, if I’m being honest with myself.

I had a nice iced coffee with milk and splenda.

I did some improv and fooled around with some friends.

And a bunch of us hung out after and ate some food.

And I got good lunch too with Matt, from Pepolino, the place my boss had wanted me to try last week, but I had ditched in favor of a hotel Mexican restaurant (Sorry, Jason).

It was a little pricey for me, and a little cheat-y in terms of my diet (Pollo Milanese is breaded, after all), but it was a nice big meal, on a nice fall day.

Fall, my favorite season, had come to New York City, as we sat outside, in the sidewalk cafe.

And there I was, caffeinated and sleepy.

Sitting across from a great friend, hearing his dating problems and references to web comics and Nathan Fillion from “Serenity”.

And for that meal and for the day that came after it.

Things returned, as they do, to being right with the world.

Thanks guys.

-Nick

And P.S.- Don’t take that lady stuff so seriously. I don’t actually think you’re all cunts.

Alright, just saying.

Thanks.

***

SULLIVAN BISTRO

Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette w/Home Fries and Toast- $10

Sullivan St. bet Houston and Prince Sts.

1 to Houston St. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.

PEPOLINO

Milanese di Pollo w/Marinated Leeks and Wild Rucola- $17

West Broadway bet. 6th Ave and Canal St.

ACE to Canal St. 1 to Canal St.

 


No Sleep Till…

August 23, 2011

So.

This is the corner where I get pseudo-mugged.

It’s a stupid story, full of stupid decisions, that somehow turned out ok.

But as it’s vaguely more dramatic than the usual me just complaining about my life, I’ll tell it here.

It was a sad night, to begin with.

I hadn’t just gotten out from my class show, having done two crappy sets with a talented group of people, the sort of show where nobody even really attempts to drink with each other afterwards. Everyone just scatters their separate ways to try to pretend that this didn’t just happen.

Except I had nobody to scatter with.

I didn’t have any close friends in that particular improv class. I hadn’t invited my friends because I knew that this was not going to be a good class show.

And, perhaps more saliently, I had been disconnected with my main group of people, due to my intense dive into the world of comedy, I had not seen the Robert Malone or John Beamers–

Or even the Andrew Parrishes of the world for a while.

The people who I had known for the longest and was closest too were now all distant from me, not in their friendship, but just in our worlds. My diet had taken me mostly off drinking and partying, leaving me not wanting to go out to Brooklyn late at night for adventures and not seeing movies as often, because I was seeing so many improv shows.

So when I walked out of my class show on a Saturday night, with no one to talk to or drink with or commiserate over how crappy that just was, I felt bad.

And Andrew Parrish, to his credit, told me he wasn’t doing anything when I asked “How Parrishes” and he walked over to meet me down on 7th Avenue as we marched slowly downtown.

***

I’m sorry to tease y’all or break up the (still non-existant) action, but this was the point in the evening where we to Dirty Bird to Go, where I found out, happily, that the chopped-fried chicken wrap there was whole wheat and thus I could eat it for my diet.

It was huge and full of pieces torn off the bone, with hearts of palm and tomatoes and romaine lettuce and a mix of buttermilk ranch and hot sauce that was recommended to me the first time I ever went there, taken by my ‘rents.

I could only finish half with my sadly and strangely newly-diminished appetite, but it filled me up, was more delicious than Andrew’s roasted version and, quite importantly, reheated well the next day, with all the hot sauce and buttermilk evaporating into pure flavor.

It was comfort food, on a night I wanted it.

***

Anyway.

Over chicken wraps, Andrew and I began to discuss the crappiness of the shows I’d just been in and how I felt so weird about my love life. I’d been seeing my ex in mostly fun situations, but I had invited to a show she really wanted to see and I wondered that she had chosen to reconnect with me, if that meant anything more than wanting to hang out and watch movies.

It’s dumb, I know. and I’ve been there before.

But sometimes, you just wanna know.

As I walked, Andrew, who recently had experienced a break-up of his own, did not act villain-ly, or goob-ish, or any of the other ways I’ve described in my blog, jokingly.

He just walked with me and listened to my spout of uncertainty and self-loathing and rationalization and talked with me for a long while as we walked down 7th Avenue, just offering his best advice and giving me an ear of someone who knew me.

I appreciated it.

And then we got psuedo-mugged.

We had reached the corner of Spring and West Broadway near my house but Andrew wasn’t going there and if I went home the conversation was over.

So we stood on the corner, leaning on a building as Europeans passed us by sometime before 11, just shooting shit about getting over exes and being ok with one’s self and the Chester Brown book that we had all read at this point.

When some guy asked us if we were dealing drugs and we said no, obviously.

“Well there has been that sort of activity here and there’s an ongoing investigation. I’m an undercover cop and I’m going to need you two to open your bags.”

So we did, dumbly. Neither of us were drunk, it just sounded like a cop-like request.

“What are all those wires?” He asked.

“It’s a solar-powered backpack.” I explained expertly. “That’s a battery and my PSP.”

“Let me see your phones.” He said and I, of course, gave him my phone.

My first realization that something wasn’t right was when the dude didn’t take Andrew’s shitty flip phone.

“Wait a second,” I asked. “Can we see your badge?”

Of course, this would have been smart to ask when he did not have my phone already, but I asked.

“This is getting really uncomfortable.” Andrew said.

Which prompted me to repeat: “Wait a second, where’s your badge?”

“I have a badge.” He said backing off a bit.

“No.” I said. “This is not happening.”

And I got on the other side of the guy slowly and deliberately, using my improv skills (laugh) and just took my phone from his hand.

“Snatching something from the hand of an officer. You guys are in trouble. Stay here while I get backup.”

And the dude just walked away.

“Want to get out of here?” I asked Parrish.

“Yeah.” He replied and we zipped up our bags and left.

Leaving my first thought was, was that guy really a cop?

10 minutes later, my thoughts ranged from “Why didn’t I  get stabbed or punch trying to take my phone from somebody?” to “Why didn’t I ask to see a badge earlier?” to “Was he just doing some sort of weird drunk game?”

It was all very confusing but it shook Andrew and I up and I went home and Andrew to a party.

Full of strange and unresolved emotions.

***

The next day was mostly anti-climax.

The nice thing was that I saw Parrish and Malone and Beamer and Alex Hilhorst. And we all had fun seeing stupid Conan and bitching. And Beamer even said he missed living with me which I told him was sweet.

The show with my ex was fine, I drank too much, but did nothing stupid to my ex, except feel weird (though not awful) seeing some dude hit on her.

I found myself drinking more to keep the buzz going through another show and then some time spent mutually rapping with an improv friend about our lack of romantic prospects, back to regular life.

The only thing was that through the combination of 3-or-so too-many drinks, a stomach bug I was fighting, and spending too much time in depressive-commiseration, I didn’t get to bed till 5 and woke up at 9, held together by leftovers and the 65-cent coffee refills I could get with the cup I smartly saved from nearby Porto Rico.

I ended up talking it out with my ex after seeing Out Of Sight, her choice which I dug actually and appreciated that we both thought J-Lo reminded us of a young Barbara Streisand in that movie.

After the mostly-fine, surprisingly, after-math of that (the worst torture is in lack of clarity, or wondering, or second-guessing) I ended up drawn in to:

a. A beautiful dinner with my Grandma.

and

b. An event called Punderdome.

I had a good reason to be there. A cute girl had invited me. End good reason.

But my friend J-Sam had shown up too and we ended up dragged in from me, a falling-apart on four hours of sleep spectator, to a full-on balls-to-the-wall competitor.

The competition, which turned out to be extremely fun, involved making up puns on the spor based on prompt with 90 seconds to think on it, multiple rounds of competition and a human applause-o-meter.

“A pun competition?” My dad said when I told him about it this morning. “That reminds me of a story. A British dude said that he could make a pun about any subject. A crass American asked him, OK, make a joke about the Queen. To which he curtly replied, the Queen is not a subject.”

To which my Dad laughed over the phone for several minutes.

But J-Sam and I competed yelled and mugged for the crowd for our puns. I was even called up to the stage to sing, improbably, “Copacabana” during another group’s 90-second interlude. I knew about a sixth of the words.

Our first two puns were pretty impressive. The first prompt was “That’s What She Said” and I came up with the non-sensical but slick:

“What did Ulysses S. Grant say to the South after banging their Mom? That’s What Lee Said.” J-Sam was real impressed and we made it to the next round.

But it was Sam in all of his Jew-fro-y-ness that got the next round for us when the prompt was “The 31 Flavors of Baskin Robbins.”

He came up with:

“I watched the Shawshank Redemption last night, because I wanted to Bask In Robbins.”

I thought that was pretty cool.

In the interlude we got some cheers and jeers. Some old dude in front of us called us “Slimon and Garfunkel.”

“Are you Garfunkel?” I asked J. Sam.

“I’m always Garfunkel.” He said.

“Well I think it’s better to be Garfunkel than Slimon.” I told him. “I mean, you can knock Garfunkel, but he’s calling me Slimon.”

“Yeah, glad I’m not Slimon.” He replied.

We got knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals when the prompt was “Great Works of Literature” and all we had was me saying “James Joyce” and collapsing to the floor, while J-Sam told the crowd I was having a “Ulys-seizure”. Weak, I know. The pun we came up with later was not much better in it’s cheapness which was:

“Fans of electro-pop despair! Terrible news! Moby’s Sick!”

Might have gotten a laugh but wasn’t as good.

The finals was “uses of ketchup” and both guys did real well with super-slick punny stories and won lame prizes like a bucket of cheese-balls and waffle-iron.

But when I got home I thought to myself, that if we had made the finals, we would have elected to go second and after one of those punny long stories, I would have just said:

“There’s no topping that.”

And walked off stage, killing.

A man can dream, can’t he?

***

DIRTY BIRD TO GO

Fried Chicken Whole Wheat Wrap w/Hot-Buttermilk Dressing- $7.75

14th St bet 7th and 8th Avenues.

123FML to 14th St-7th Ave, ACEL to 14th St-8th Ave.

***

PORTO RICO COFFEE

Refill of your saved cup (You’re smart!), with Splenda and Milk, if you’re me- $.65

Thompson bet. Prince and Spring Sts.

CE to Spring St. 1 to Houston St.

 


Openings, et cetera

July 21, 2011

I karaoked for the first time in a while on Tuesday.

And it was good.

It almost didn’t happen, in its own roundabout way.

Rob-beardo who had initiated the want to go back to our hallowed Planet Rose of summers past, was not even the one to let me know.

It was that dastardly Andrew Parrish who inconsiderately foiled what was doubtless Rob’s plan to surprise me with a night of karaoke and beards.

“Who told you?” Rob asked demandingly. “Goddamit, now it has to happen.”

But like I said, it almost didn’t. Rob and Katie Rotondi saw “Passione” at the Film Forum and were so depressed by the musical quality in that film, they thought to abandon the whole endeavor entirely.

Plus, well, um, they weren’t sure who was going to come.

“I just don’t know if it’s worth it.” Rob said through the sweat-soaked rubber of my phone. “I just feel like it won’t be any breaks if we’re just sitting there doing song after song.”

“Three people is enough.” I replied. “You’ll get some breaks. Drink some beers.”

“I guess so, babe.” Rob said. “Where are you?”

“About, um, 20 blocks away.”

“Why?”

Why was because I had employed several of my strategies for getting through pockets of empty time on a free-day:

1. I had gone on a quest, this time to a library to read Mick Napier’s book “Improvise” which I heard was a good one for those studying the craft. It was interesting though I felt the usual amount of daunted by how many years I’d have to do this if I wanted to be “good” at it.

2. I went t the Apple Store to dick around and continue a previous quest, which was to jailbreak one of the iPad 2s that was on display there using jailbreakme.com. Unfortunately, I was thwarted by AT&T’s delightfully crappy 3G service.

3. I dropped by the Time Warner center to pick up a cookie, be annoyed they were out of a different cookie and bother friends who work there (My friend Sam Song is a baker there but he’s unfindable in some hidden kitchen).

and finally

4. I decided to walk to the place I had an hour-and-a-half to be at. It’s something passed down from my dad, an avid walker, who recently had to be dissuaded utilizing the combined jew-guilting forces of me and my mother from walking to Red Hook from my parent’s place in the Far West Village to pick up a rental car (a distance of 5.2 miles).

It was poor idea on my part, this time, that last one, because it was hot out and sweaty. I soaked through my shirt, my back especially. I got dehydrated. I spent too much time playing Words With Friends on my phone.

The only can say for myself is that at least I felt I was doing something, because all of that sunlight was charging my phone through my cool backpack that whole time.

The allure of cool things.

Eventually we all made it there, Rob convinced over time, Katie getting over her anti-Karaoke bias.

My attempts at rehearsing Rob Thomas’s “Lonely No More” which I thought appropriate given my love of Rick Astley, were not so successful though my rendition of “What I Like About You” was pretty spot on if I do say so myself, though Rob critiqued it for “just generally being one of [his] least favorite songs”.

As I’m wont to do when my friends dither, I chose songs for them, letting Rob do a sadly half-hearted version of “Uptown Girl” and watching Katie pretty much nail 4 Non-Blondes, though she complained because she was an alto, though she pretty much nailed all the tonal shifts and I told her so.

We went on the three of us, transitioning through the hard-core early crowd who had been there to watch Law+Order SVU (the pre-karaoke entertainment) to an empty bar with just us three doing songs, to a bar full of our friends as my relentless texting and twittering paid off and our friends came in with their own friends, like branching into some sort of beautiful karaoke tree.

As I drank Bud Light, after Bud Light, after Bud Light and went from songs I knew, to songs I was just drunk enough to sing.

Blake LaRue even showed up, cast on-foot to belt a few 2000s-era raps from his couched perch, to everyone’s delight.

It was a time.

If I had a complaint about the evening, it was that the bartender (who had a good voice/song selection himself) was new and didn’t buy me back any drinks or beers, like they usually do there after a while.

I guess I felt pretty high on my horse as the person whom everyone knew in that karaoke bar of friends.

Also, in my drunkenness, I took some pride in my pseudo-celebrity. Very dangerous (though I have never even come close to “do you know who I am” territory).

But I got through my songs, including Gaga’s “Bad Romance” because it’s a gravelly song with parts for the whole bar to sing and doing man/woman swaps in Karaoke can be one of the more effective and impressive techniques. I even did a finisher that I stumbled through of “Dancing in the Dark” by the Boss and mumbled along to “You’re So Vain” which I had picked for Katie and came up several hours later and which she was embarrassed into doing when someone complimented her on her song choice.

I stumbled home, Smart Water in hand, catharsis achieved, not even sad for my drunkenness.

I was proud that I didn’t get Taco Bell on that long walk back.

I only got KFC.

***

I was also part of this hip new (old) thing recently called “The Mp3 Experiment”.

My friend Keith Haskel, of the coolness and the professionalism and (even) the hot lady action (come on man, you don’t have to have that too, that just sucks) helps run the event and films it, as part of “Improv Everywhere” the organization he’s a part of that helps do things like no-pants subway rides as social/art experiments. It’s pretty much as cool as you can get in the street-art-performance world nowadays and Haskel’s at the epicenter.

The concept of this event was relatively simple. Show up at a specific location (Pier 25 near TriBeCa) at a specific time (8:30). Bring some items (in this case, a mask, a flashlight, a glowing object, a glowstick) wait until precisely 8:30 and then press play on mp3 on your device. And then, just see what happens.

What happened this time was a massive mingling of people, a sort of combination, dance, meet-greet, walk, sillyness, high-five parade and massive aerial light show.

Within the confines of the structure of “two tribes having first contact” we took pictured of each other looking silly, slow danced, tried making weird clapping noises and generally smiled a lot.

It’s difficult to describe except to say before it I was worried about writing a sketch and afterwards I just did.

I went to bed happy having accomplished what I needed having not imbibed any mind-altering substances.

I saw Haskel a few times, from the crowd, filming with his Canon T2i only for a moment as he ran to catch up with the migrating crowds.

At the finale we all were instructed to take a picture ourselves and mine you see before you.

I ran into Keith on the way out talking to a pretty lady.

“This is my friend Nick,” He introduced me, gesturing. “Star of stage and screen.”

“And this is my friend Keith.” I replied looking at her. “He runs this thing and makes funny stuff and cuts funny stuff and has chiseled abs.”

“Alright, thanks Nick.” Keith said desperately waving me off.

“Chiseled abs.” I repeated.

And left the park, over toward the West Side Highway.

***

After my previous post, in which I tried to incite some sort of response to the food-truck craziness in NYC, it felt good to have a conversation about it with a real live person.

That talk came when I finally got my druthers up to visit the Mexicue Store over on 7th Avenue, in a district I found out bizarrely from my OKCupid app that is called “The Tenderloin” (bizarrely both from the name and the fact that I was using OKCupid’s disturbing new Grindr-like function).

The owner I had a long talk precipitated by my blatant declarations within the store about the nature of food trucks that caused him to approach me, where we discussed many things that were mostly espoused in the last post.

The point was, he recommended the Mac and Cheese.

Which I can tell you is both delicious and not offered in the traditional Mexicue truck.

It’s called “Green Chili” mac and cheese and I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but it’s yummy.

Full of subtle, subdued spiciness and my favorite man-add-on, green onions, it balances a nice tight-rope walk between creaminess and subdued flavor, enough to compliment the BB(or Mexi-)Q it’s supposed to be serving.

It comes in a little cup, sealed tight and hot and nice.

Some of the other items are still being tweaked, they’ve only been open for a week.

But this one.

This one should stay.

***

MEXICUE: THE STORE

Green Chili Mac and Cheese- $5

7th Ave bet. 29 and 30th Sts.

1 to 28th St NR to 28th St ACE to 34th St- Penn Station. BDFMQ to 34th- St- Herald Square

***

BONUS: This is an episode of a recent public access show directed by successful friend J.D. Amato, featuring the dancing stylings of Robert Martin Malone. Apparently it’s quite the viral hit. Enjoy.

 


Summer is Near/Summer is Here

June 1, 2011

Summer is upon New York City, even though it’s only somewhere in May still, if only for a few fleeting hours.

With this realization, this acceptance comes the fact that when the heat comes up, it doesn’t go much down, that the paradigm has shifted, that when it’s 87 and humid in New York (pronounced “YOO-mid”), that this is the new reality, not a heat wave, but a fact of city life.

I, for one, never want to accept the onset of summer in New York City. It’s the city’s worst season in many ways, the one where the garbage and piss smells rise up from the sidewalk, burning and sizzling into all of our noses, leaving us standing in stifling subway stations, waiting for our cars to arrive, less for expedience than air conditioning.

Every time I meet a new group of people, I end up acting like a tour guide to them.

“This is what will happen,” I explain to them, summing up the last few lines. “It’s going be pretty awful, especially during the day. But the nights…”

Nights in New York City during the summer can be hot and awful, sticky too.

But mostly it cools off and the light lasts and lasts so 9pm could feel like 6pm and the warm weather, feeling tropical, could lead you out all night.

It was a night like on Sunday, after seeing improv, after seeing the Hangover II, after sitting in my house, seeing different kinds of friends.

I was strung out, come down on two nights previous of drinking and the two iced coffees and king-sized “small” soda I’d drank at the theater.

But damn, if that night wasn’t pretty.

As the crew of people I was with disbanded and went home after the UCB, I stuck around with Tara, an engaged Canadian high-school drama teacher, and Jeff, a Texan-by-way-of-Delaware engineer, who both had come to New York for this improv intensive and both were just trying to see the city one more night.

We walked around looking to see is Shake Shack was open (it wasn’t), talking about our lives “back home”, our present adventures and leaving out purposefully the somewhat-sad contrast of what we were doing now, versus what our lives would return to.

In a way, this improv class we were taking was summer camp again, a block of your life divided, where your adult responsibilities could hold for a while, suspended in the face of the people you were with.

That is, of course, unless you were someone with a night job like our “big brother” Sean, the singing waiter, who got on shift after taking notes for all of us to be sent out at the end of every day. Or Ray, who worked an afternoon-to-late reception gig. Or Natalie, who acted for scale and took tips at night, from a corner of the West Village.

Or if you were me and didn’t have much of “adult responsibilities” to begin with, with a job so occasional that you hoped you were still employed, so you could tell everyone how cool it is.

All of us still were “holding” for that time, for those shows, for those classes with different teachers. Like campers we bonded quickly, free to hug, free to touch.

We clapped for each other, called each other pet-names, laughed when we picked on each other.

“Juvenile”, my inner critic calls out and some friends would agree, but college is some form of that too, as is grad school.

A place where nerds hover and function, in suspension of real life.

But that time was now coming to an end. I’d told my boss my class was over on Friday. I’d told my new-found “intense people” about shows that were happening after they’d already left.

Camp was always interesting growing up because in some ways it represented an alternative reality. When you appeared magically in Vermont, you were context-less, separated from your environment. Even if you portrayed high status or low status through your bearing or gait, you were judged relatively, you were a person anew.

And then, after 3 or 6 or even 8 weeks, it was over. You might not see these people again. Life resumed.

Now I live a life without summer breaks from school or work or what have you. There is no “return to reality”, only the different phases, jobs, locations you live in, in your life, moving from crowd to crowd.

As I walked with Jeff and Tara, from out of town, it was Memorial Day, in New York City, the official start of summer.

And as I told them about how New York would be in the days to come, I only realized later they wouldn’t see them.

And I wouldn’t see them either.

But I kept on giving them the tour.

Because that’s what you do at camp; you pretend, for the moment, it won’t end.

***

 

“Excuse me, uh sir. I was, uh, just wondering, uh, if I could, um, get a… signature. Autograph, you know? Big fan.”

This is what I mimed to Rob Malone when we went to go see “The Hangover II” and he showed up in Galifinakis-style shaved-head-and-beard, claiming it had nothing to do with it.

“It has nothing to do with seeing the movie.” Rob claimed from his seat. “It’s just hot out. Also, sit the fuck down.”

I was standing in front of Rob in the awkward aisles of the 19th St East theater, where a group of us had been drafted to see the film on a slow Memorial day weekend.

I was just getting over an improv-prom I had attended, stag (actually with a non-date of the nice, but clearly engaged school teacher) which left me crying in bed over my loneliness at approximately 11:07pm, passing out in my clothes and waking up due to heartburn unable to go back to sleep at 4.

In these ways, the improv prom greatly resembled my real prom.

Plus I had someone tell me I was “adequately creepy” in a dead-pan and my enchiladas arrived cold on the table.

Just saying.

Rob and Chadd, who had met me for coffees earlier, helped me nurse through my stomach upset, my lack of togetherness and my generally weird improv-absorption by providing me some paths back to real life.

“I’m thinking of growing out my beard for the summer.” Rob claimed, during a conversation gap, causing all to jump on refute.

These were the moments friendships were made of.

Chadd for his own part was getting ready to shoot new projects in his exciting life as an “actual filmmaker” out of NYU-Film school and his enthusiasm and pluck in his progress, caused me to mention when we discussed some of our former classmates:

“Not ends up making movies and not everyone wants to.”

Chadd took a moment to take that in, with an Ohioan “I guess…” as if anyone who didn’t want to were crazy, in the face of his own refreshing certainty and commitment.

Andrew Parrish brought along his hot girlfriend, Kelly Hires, like a kidnapped Lois Lane, we imagined bound, gagged and saying something like “You’ll never get away with this, Luthor.”

But really they seemed pretty happy, away from their office jobs, on a warm afternoon.

Buddies Blake LaRue and Sean Dunn showed up just to look like each other, or like Blake was a 17 year-old impersonating Sean, and they mostly kept quiet except berating for peeing so often, a product of all of the caffeinated beverages.

The movie was terrible, we barely laughed. As another friend pointed out to me, “at some point it just became a weird drama and I just felt really bad for them.”

But on the street corner with Rob and his camera and his beard. With Chadd’s toothy smile, the Parrishes kidnap-y aesthetic and the LaRue/Dunn change-up, I felt surrounded in something worth while.

“Cheese.” Rob said as he took my picture.

And “Cheese” I replied when I took his.

***

If I’ve said it once on this blog, I’ve said it often: I hate breakfast.

But there are those times when you wake up too early on a weekend, bound by earlier awakenings and it’s 10:30 and you know you don’t want to wait until 11:25 or whenever the fuck these places start serving real food and you cave and you just go for something.

And sometimes, really, really rarely: It turns out good.

This is one of those times.

I ended up on a hypoglycemic Saturday morning at Bareburger, a spot near me in the South Central Village.

They just happened to have a 3-dollar egg sandwich, an early opening and an advertisement of a brioche and jack-cheese.

What I got was all the advertised above, along with the best tasting turkey bacon (something I usually avoid) I’ve ever had, “french fry hash” cooked with peppers and onions, and some pretty raw-dog organic ketchup.

When I was done it was sunny out. My stomach was full. I didn’t feel bloated or like I wouldn’t eat lunch.

I just felt like there was food in me that I didn’t mind eating.

At a table on a weekend afternoon.

Breakfast; that’s the highest praise I’ll give you.

***

BAREBURGER

Egg Sandwich w/Colby Jack, Turkey Bacon, French Fry Hash and Organic Ketchup- $8.95

LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and West 3rd Sts.

BDFM to Broadway-Lafayette Sts. ACE to West 4th St.