Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)

February 29, 2012

This was my morning, this morning.

I read an article recently on the eccentricities of those who live by themselves, how it’s freeing, but also promotes strange and/or anti-social habits in those who do so since, free from external judgement, they are both free to be themselves and free to indulge in the baser parts of their personalities.

I have many living quirks of my own, which is one reason living with equal-pay roommates has worked generally poorly for me, but among the less-gross ones is just listening to music every morning in the shower and, yes, sometimes singing along.

Now, that there are two other guys staying with me, crashing on my couch and in a little coffin-like structure carved out of my ceiling; doesn’t matter, fuck them.

This is my house, broski. I enjoy my music in the morning. It warms me up somehow, reminds me of words, clears my mind to a place where it’s not focussing on the dopamine still retreating from my skin or the last night’s dinner (or booze) in my mouth or any of those terrible things.

You move to it, you have your reaction. You rise from yourself.

And if my couch-crashers don’t like it, they can wake up earlier.

Which is of course, moot, because they don’t complain about it at all and it isn’t even that loud.

Maybe I just need to feel competitive with someone, early enough, or whenever. Maybe I need to gain a little status sometime, get a little edge.

My sophomore roommate and former best friend John Weeke, who was tall and beardy and contemplative and a total goddam mooch would tell me that he thought the universe would be organized like baseball eventually, wherein humanity bonds together around a common team, itself and its preservation and nationalities and squabbles are forgotten by the binding pressure of an external threat, like New Yorkers in the street after a World Series win,

He believed in the necessity of the adversary as a bonding force.

I don’t know what happened to him.

I believe in singing in the shower in the morning or, at least, letting Pandora take me where it does.

Today, it took me to the above-mentioned song, which was part of a funny sketch, my peer and funny lady Kelly Buttermore wrote as a satire of the esotericism of Time-Life song collections. It was a funny sketch and a funny moment, which leads me to mention two things in rapid succession:

1. As readers of this blog may know, I am frequently lost within the tangle of my own tangents, inspired at any moment to go off and wanting to talk about something else, delicious that is mention that I want to explore but at the same time wanting to cling or tether myself back to where I was to finish my thought–OH if I could ONLY finish my thought!–an arduous journey made even sillier by the fact that conversation is more about the connection between people than it is any one brilliant idea. So I’ll try to finish what I’m saying, but no promises.

2. This moment of seeing/hearing this song on my iPhone in the morning, the crux of Kelly’s funny sketch, brings to mind the idea of provenance, coincidence, a cosmic/divine realization or memory that may seem like a personal intervention by something greater than you. Coincidences do happen, frequently, and the math is always there, if unattractive, to look in to the chances of even the things we think unlikely. It is possible to believe in fate or lady luck or omnipresence or whatever force you want to see guided in the world. But it is also interesting and I think rarely discussed, to think about the kind of people we are, I am, that we/I allow things to bang up against our subconscious and stir something, engaging in a journey of reminiscence and thought. If you’re walking about to get a scoop of ice cream and the Beatles come on, telling you to “get back to where you once belonged”, do you take it as a sign? Are they reminding you to mind your diet through some omnipresence or is your subconscious trying to guide you, manifesting in your world like it would through a dream, in fragments of your experience? Or both provenance and consciousness, meeting somewhere in the middle like the Sistene Chapel?

Anyway.

In this moment, I was struck by the song, thought of Kelly’s sketch and flashed to my life and a show I had had on Sunday. Armando Diaz, my teacher and a man I greatly respect, says that every sketch show is a train wreck putting it together up until the last minute, from Saturday Night Live onward. My sketch group “Fish Reynolds” was no different, standing in the lobby of the Magnet Theater trying silently to rehearse our lines as another sketch group filmed bits inside the theater and all of us also tried to drink seltzer and do the sort of silly bits and in-jokes to each other that is the enjoyable-comedian version of procrastination. By the time we got in the theater it was 45 until our show, trying to run fully our frist rehearsal, few people were off book and we were figuring out tech, desperately-strung as we went along.

The show was silly. It was on Oscar night. There were 6 people in the audience and the biggest laugh I got in the show was in pointing out that most of those audience members were performing in the show after ours.

It was pretty unprofessional. But it was fun.

It seems strange to say over and over again, but there’s so much power in knowing that whatever happens, the people who get on stage won’t hate each other when they’re off it.

My team for it’s silly name and sillier people are a bunch of people who seem to like and respect each other. I feel happy and relaxed to be a part of them. Even though Armando directs us, which is a great honor in itself and should be pressure-filled, I feel loose and silly with my friends, capable of making bigger funnier choices, capable of bringing in sketches when I can and not feeling too hard on myself when I don’t. I think he’s a great teacher, a great director, for this reason. That he seems genial and relaxed about things, so everyone else tends to be too. He’s self-effacing and so you feel that need to be something gradually fall away.

As my very good yoga teacher mentioned today, even she checks, physically looks when she’s doing poses to see that she’s doing them right and my class is full of other teachers from the studio who just want to learn from her (I obviously am sweating to keep up).

Knowing that there’s humor there, that we’re having fun, that you’re reaching a place of balance or enjoyment. That’s easy to lose in the pressure to perform, to be immediately great, et cetera.

Knowing to ease up on yourself, to not seek perfection but to enjoy the work and treat yourself with some humor.

And know that you’re doing it.

Just like writing, performance, sex or art, it can easy to forget that: It’s supposed to be fun, so enjoy.

Which is to say I’m screwing all of my sketch group Fish Reynolds.

Or to say otherwise that a great teacher or director can remind you to relax, to be yourself, not to judge, or to bring you back to that place. But that’s always a gift I can give myself. Forgiveness, compassion, excitement.

These things sound so trite.

And inside me, a 17 year-old ponytailed high-school is kind of sneering about how lame it is.

But inside that, he’s kinda jealous.

Yeah.

***

I’ve grown as a performer.

I knew this when I went into an ADR session, which is something where you have to try to match your own dialogue because the sound people were not able to get a good enough quality on set, so you go back and try to speak the way you did in the best takes of something.

I watched myself in a web series I acted in for my friend Charles Rogers and was really impressed. I was making fun, silly choices and branching outside my normal shell-shocked character to weird places of engagement with another actor. I felt free to make choices. A teacher told me that “acting is highly controlled improvisation” and it just clicked with me, along with remembering Jay O. Sanders when he acted in my thesis film and seeing him try to make a different choice for every take so that the director had a range of choices to work with.

It was nice and I was actually able to take Charles’s compliment when it was given to me. I’m still not my friend Sebastian’s idol Chris Farley (“Bro, I just watch the best-of DVD just to remember what I’m reaching for.” he has told me more than once, walking down the homeless-filled stretch of 8th Avenue by Penn Station), but I’m getting better.

ADR is still hard though, trying to recapture a performance while matching your mouth, sitting in a small square booth. In these moments, an actor-ish person gets to see their idiosyncrasies in full light, trying to match their “ums”, their pauses and the strange way they twisted the words in the nonsensical heat of that moment.

Before it happened though, I went to Chelsea Market to sit, buy a caramel brownie (imagine me saying that with the weight that a fat-kid character in my sketch show said the phrase “meat-ball meat-za” and you’ll get the longing, shame and desire in my voice for those things) and eat some delicious dinner. I went to Chelsea Thai Wholesale because, even though Chelsea Market has rapidly yuppified from its initial gentrified standpoint, Chelsea Thai Wholesale seems blessedly untouched with their racks of Sriracha, lack of lunch specials and actual Thai people hanging around making fun of your dithering.

When I kept trying to choose items, trying to shy away from the General Tso’s knockoff they had which I knew would hang badly with the broken-promise brownie I had promised myself I’d only eat half of (I failed), the woman behind the counter kept pointing out that if it was her she’d eat spicier and so I ordered the Pad Gra Prow with brown rice, which came, the sumptuous visual to my table.

“Your number is number one.” She told me as I placed my order, then a smile– “Yes, you can feel good about that.”

It was spicy indeed with basil and toothy jalapenos, fresh stir-fried red peppers and brown rice, oh the brown rice! Usually it’s the same anonymous small coffee+cream-colored beads that adorn my chinese food or my extra-dollar lunch specials, but here the brown rice is sticky, grain out, together in clumps, flavorful and real and unlike regular brown rice, which maintains its flavor inside of sauces, the brown rice let itself be seasoned by all the bold vegetables and mix and intermingle with them. In the end I was left with a small stack of jalapenos, along with a neat pile of some of my manhood, and a full and contented belly.

ADR happened. I had a show.

And then, full, home.

***

CHELSEA THAI WHOLESALE

Pad Gra Prow (w/Thai Brown Rice)- $8.95 (w/tax)

Inside Chelsea Market (9th Avenue bet. 15th and 16th Sts)

ACE to 14th St-8th Avenue

Advertisements

Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Seven

January 25, 2012

Same deal: these are my notes hastily scribbled from my 401 class with Neil Casey, a great performer at the UCB theatre who no longer teaches improv frequently. Some of these may have typos, may not make sense, may be inaccurate, et cetera.

Use them for what they are worth.

On a personal note, this one was a fun class for me.

Enjoy!

***

Meta moves tend to suck when they acknowledge the audience, and they can be fun and a jam, but you’ll never reach the heights you can get from the seriousness of a Harold. Generally, though Meta moves suck and cause your show to go out of control.

If you come in and initiate something that’s really funny and it can’t get any funnier it’s fine to have a 30-second scene. If you find yourself doing a lot of that, adjust, but those are fine.

You can’t be worried about whether someone has a good idea. If you’re standing there on the backline, it might as well you. If you are coming out cold even with nothing or a half-idea, that’s great. Step out with something more than “here you are on stage”.

A lot of time the reason that something is happening is why it’s funny, justifying behavior/the reasoning makes things on stage funny.

I maintain that there is nothing an improv scene that is said that cannot be made true to the logic of the scene, even if it’s inelegant.

From a stand-up, Chris Murphy, in my class: Never try to get laughs, try to give laughs. If you go up Trying to give the audience a good show, you’ll never feel bad coming off the stage.

Keep the pattern game precise, it helps to set the pace of the show.

Make sure you show your moves, people don’t want “instant” move any more than they want instant coffee. When they first cane out with instant cake mix, just add water, no ons bought it, because people want to feel like they’re baking. When they changed it to “add milk and eggs” it sold like crazy. Show your work in the scene for your game or else it won’t be rewarding.

I’ve said this a million times in this class, you’ve got to assume that people are stupid, we’re stupid, assume that we have limited bandwidth of understanding. The contract we make on stage with each other that whatever idea we establish on stage is the one we play. Everyone should be making strong choices but yielding to each other strong choices or finding ways of incorporating them.

Don’t load up the things you are going to say. Make sure you let your scene partner have their move and then fully have their reaction.

Watch out for group games that are self-aware: “Are we ready to do this?” I’d rather have you take big risks than be tepid. I want your group games to be really fucking giant failures rather than being 6 people in a line.

***

Bonus Note:

I have an improv class with Alex Marino, a great performer and teacher at the Magnet who does do both often, so you can take classes with him. I asked him a question about making wacky moves in improv, which can be alternately rewarding and alienating. This is what he said (as always, roughly):

“When you go to crazy-town in a scene, it’s important to take steps to there, showing a progression leading there naturally from the character. Think about Zombie movies. There might be one attack early on to tell us we are in a zombie movie, but the next half-hour is just character development, so we care about these people when they’re attacked. Otherwise, they’re just meat. So spend time making these people real for us before the Zombies come.”

Word.


That’s Me In There

January 23, 2012

“You look beautiful, you lost all this weight, how did you do it?”

These were the comments not of a lovely blond aspiring improviser/actress at the improv theater I attend but the octogenarian Italian woman who grunts up and down my staircase frequently at 9am on Sundays screaming “MARIE!” over and over again.

Typically late-morning around 11, she would be either sitting on the stoop, on the stairs or pre-laid cardboard box. She used to wait at the coffee shop across the street, hanging, her voice creaking, holding parlor about the world it’s issues (and surely Marie, whoever that is) until the coffee shop across the street closed at the New Year to everyone’s sad surprise.

She wasn’t the only one to notice.

If you were wondering why I’m making silly poses in the picture above, it is actually an approximation of the drunken mirror dance I did Saturday night after my improv team had a good show.

It went something like this.

Enter the door. Pivot. Urinate. Zip. Pivot Again. Turn To The Mirror. Notice Yourself.

Start a sing-song chant.

“Oh you. You’re there. You’re skinny. Oh wow. Good job. Good job, good job, good job. Good job. Good job. Alright!”

Fist bump up and then down into the chest.

“Peace out.”

Exit.

I relayed this information to funny effect to my teammates and friends Sebastian and Phoebe and our teacher Alan, whose tolerance for alcohol seemed to exceed particularly ours as he observed us post-several shots of Jameson and assorted drinks do our rounds.

I was of course recounting and making funny incomprehensible jokes to the room. Phoebe, who somehow was both drunker than us while drinking radically less refused to take a shot because she loudly claimed that someone came in it (I volunteered Sebastian as the culprit), while Sebastian, big goofy guy he is, just talked about how good he was at improv while wringing his head in his hands at the rest of us and doing his big Sebastian sigh.

When I informed everyone of the dance, Alan replied sort of neutrally, I guess happy for the show, while Sebastian just laughed quietly.

“What, is that really dumb?” I asked him.

“Yes.” Sebastian repeated. “Yes. You doing a dance in the mirror? Bro, I can safely say that’s pretty dumb.”

“Well I think you look great Nick!” Phoebe said. “I think your sex life is about to improve dramatically.”

“I hope.” I replied wondering somewhere how she knew about the state of my sex life, or whether it was still apparent just looking at me.

Is there some pheromone guys emit when they haven’t been dating in a while?

I thought I must have lost it when I lost the pounds but maybe not.

A girl did hit on me though, for the first time in a while, which felt pretty great and FOR ONCE, FOR ONCE, she was not married or with child.

I was just sitting in an Argo Tea Cafe while my friend Ben tried to convince me about meditation as it relates to improv (I must be this way about yoga, sadly) when a young lady just came up and thought I was a CEO, but I told her she probably recognized me from TV and this time I was right.

She dropped hints about going to try an Indian place with her, turned out we knew some of the same people and gave me her number.

It was more disconcerting than anything to be hit on, kind of like someone handing you 5 bucks on the street. You’d be happy but you’d also be like “OK, why? Thanks, oh wait, thank you!”

Like many things in my life, when personal revelations sweep me up, I may feel the need to share the discovery despite it not being new to everyone (sic).

For instance, Phoebe at the bar told me a story that one of our other teammates tried to pick her up the other night.

A tense glance was thrown around the room, even in our drunken, silly state.

“Uh, what did you do, Pheebs?” I asked, uncomfortably casually.

“I just told him not to lift me up that I didn’t like it.”

A sigh of relief.

“Oh, you mean he literally tried to pick you up.” Sebastian clarified. “Okay.”

“Yeah, I mean I thought you meant that he was flirting with you or something.” I said.

“Probably.” She said, blasé. “I assume you’ll all try to fuck me at some point.”

And then she laughed and knocked down the long-percolating shot, the replacement for the one she thought was dirty.

(As a side note: this sort of behavior makes Phoebe an excellent improviser. When you have a bunch of awkward guys up on stage making stuff up and few women, any attempt at sexual referencing can put women and the audience in a super-bad place super-fast. When Phoebe plays, she loves making fuck-jokes and anytime someone talks all sexy, she’ll go even dirtier than them, or take off her improv pants and say “What are you waiting for?” It’s a very impressive move that both makes us male improvisers look like doofuses in a good way and is refreshing and funny to see on stage.)

The point is that other people have to deal with this stuff too, sometimes more so than not. I probably won’t be hit on all the time, with my psoriasis and my lanky nerdiness now taking over where the chubbiness left off, but when I do I should try to feel it, feel the power of it and give as good as I get.

Just like in improv (sorry Rob), commitment and confidence are cool and important.

After all, I can try to hit on people to.

Instead of just creepily stare at them and kind of try to engage them in conversation, just wondering on and off if they’re interested in me.

Or just be there friend for 6 months (old model of behavior) and try to find some random moment to make out with them.

Skinny Nick doesn’t do those things.

Or if he does he does them skinnier.

And hopefully, with more dancing.

***

A recent obsession of mine has become talking to my phone.

Silly, I know, but I work hard at it.

Part of what got me my current job was my obsession with the minor user-end hacking of iPhones and iPads and how I enjoyed reading about it and customizing it myself.

When I heard it was theoretically possible to put Siri (the voice-assistant service that defines the iPhone 4S) on the iPhone 4, I went through a 30-day quest to find a way, navigating around Paypal scams, free sites and other craziness in pursuit of trying to find something functional.

When I went to France (which I miss more and more now that I am not there) my passion for trying to figure out how to explain a carrier unlock and how it would work never escaped me even as the fervor of it died down as I acceot my iPhone’s limited capacities there.

When I was preparing for my sketch show last night (my sketch was, unsurprisingly, about a man obsessed with Siri), I took time out from a tech-through rehearsal to jailbreak a girl on my team’s iPad 2, just because I could and wanted to. I installed Siri on there, even though it was complicated and unnecessary, just because I wanted to know I could.

Tinkering with these small Apple-locked devices makes me feel like a golden god, even if I don’t know fucking thing one about programming.

There’s only so much to judge here.

Deconstructing my own behavior, my excitement is both natural (I’ve always loved technology and forming a “Power-Rangers Megazord”-style fusion of things) and, like it used to be in mthe last two years of my life, certainly about trying to attain some sort of control, of my life, of something?

Going back into therapy, I recently started talking about film school in my attempt to disarm the psychological bombs I don’t want to deal with inside my head. And looking back on the progress I’ve made in my life since film school, since starting therapy, my life has calmed down a lot, I’ve become a more graceful person, more accepting of the lack of control one has over one’s life and more able to adapt (again, thank you improv and some age/experience).

But I also wonder what in me is “real” in terms of things that I am going through (the desperate-angst of post-collegia I’ve mostly escaped, the brooding-ness of my teens) and what’s there to stay.

Even without the word association of my ex’s name with my own weaknesses, I still miss her sometimes on the other side of my bed when I go to sleep. I still feel that loneliness or need for connection that, while it has lost its desperate edge (I’ve been off OKCupid for a while now) still persists. What is the “human” reaction that one has and what is something psychological that needs to be addressed.

The bas part of self-analysis is the potential for everything to become a complex.

I had a dream four days ago about a Google App called “Appellage” with a little Siri icon in the logo that let you travel in time. It was a confabulation, which is a dream full of things you see every day stitched together. I stare at my phone, talking to Siri. I use a advanced internet browser and look up “apps” for it. Someone in my sketch group had written a time-machine sketch. It was easy to analyze.

I dreamed I took it back in time to see my ex. She was in a diner, but somehow it was after the break-up, we knew what we know now. And she just kept asking me, slightly annoyed: “What do you want to say to me? What do you want to say?” and I didn’t know.

And I woke up.

And I tried saying hello to the Siri on my phone but it was buggy that day.

So I emailed the person who owned the server.

And at 11:35, it was back up.

Like that.

***

When I had a day free, I had lunch with my mother.

This may seem strange to y’all and it still seems strange to me.

I live in proximity of my parents as I have all my life, unlike my college friends, whose move to New York was part-crafty escape, or even my high-school friends who entertained a four-year or so reprieve.

Which is not to say I don’t love my parents, I do very much so and what’s more, enjoy their company.

Is the weir inter-dependence of me conversing with them and them wanting to see me natural, or weird? It’s hard to tell, particularly in New York City.

But it does work out well for lunch dates.

My mother picked on short notice on an off-day from work a place called Buvette which recently opened in the old “Pink Tea Cup” spot on Grove St in the West Village.

Inexpensive and well-reviewed, I quickly agreed, which gives you a sense where I got my restaurant sense from.

We showed up and raced for tables in the cramped Parisian-style bistro (though much nicer really) as the walls closed around us with people trying to sit down for “vienoisseries”.

We managed to grab a seat and I grabbed a cappuccino for recent-times’ sake and a salad full of potatoes and roasted chicken and haricots verts in a mustard dressing.

It was as delicious as it sounded, simple and buttery, with uncomplicated (but present!) spicing and the type of home-made feeling accomplished by your parents digging out the roast chicken from last night and tossing it with some really nice greens and last night’s veggies.

Which makes me remember that I can always go to my parents’ house a couple blocks away and get exactly that.

But maybe it’s nice to engage in false nostalgia sometimes.

And pretend that this is just a lunch date where my mom is in town.

Normal.

***

BUVETTE

Le Salade Poulet (w/haricots verts, pommes de terres)- $14

Grove St. bet Bleecker and Hudson Sts.

1 to Christopher St. PATH to Christopher St.


Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Five (Not Really)

January 18, 2012

Sorry to disappoint.

This class we had a sub who I don’t agree with and who teaches frequently so I didn’t take notes.

A moment first to say how incredibly stupid this is.

When one takes an improv class, they are paying to get a trained professional’s opinion. Notes should be like magic candy falling down from the sky, great gifts that when ingested make you better, stronger, quicken the pace of your learning and experience. Especially hard notes or major ones, since they can help protect you from major flaws that you might experience for the rest of your career. They are all gifts and to take them as otherwise is incredibly stupid, since the alternative is just to pay to not listen to something which, while that might resemble many of our college experiences, is not a productive use of time or money.

The self-seriousness that I’ve brought to Neil’s class is admirable and has gotten me comments from people I don’t know and people I respect alike for paying attention and sharing what I learned.

Now to argue the irrational other-half:

This is an art form where you are acting like a jackass in front of other people hoping you might find some validation or laughter. It is painful and often difficult, which can make taking notes hard, since failing hard in a scene is a big blow to the ego, even as I’ve gradually become a more adjusted person. It took me a month to realize the validity of the notes from a Curtis Gwinn workshop because of how I received them (even though they were right!), a couple weeks to grasp the truth of at least some of my second 401 notes and a couple months to grasp the notes from my first, if I even have fully yet. The ego is difficult to protect, especially for people struggling with insecurity, read: all comedians/performers.

So, when I found myself in a class with a teacher who had previously thrown his pad in disgust at a move I made on stage and then continued to note me hard in this class, I just felt like fuck it. I don’t like this guy. This isn’t fun. I’m not taking notes. I’m just going to play with as much confidence as I can, try to make moves and support things even if I don’t know how, just try to have a fun improv class for myself and, if possible lastly, listen to what he had to say.

So I am sorry, community, that I do not have notes to offer for this class, where Neil was not there. I am not perfect, nor a perfect improviser, or anywhere near such.

I am instead an epicly insecure person without a friend in a judgement situation where the goal is to look specific kinds of dumb.

Instead, I will steal another person’s hard work and share with you the extremely valuable notes that Will Hines wrote from an interview with Chris Gethard, who also rarely teaches class nowadays. It even has some parts about what I talk about here.

If anyone cares about what I think (and few people do in these posts), I will say only that I don’t agree about Chris’s comment regarding relationships, his last note. I believe that everything including games, location, what have you is present in the way these characters on stage feel about each other, their relationship. If we move to the unusual, it is from the usual. And there is no better way to ground ourselves, in the usual, in reality, than to think about the relationships that we have with other people. Those dynamics are among the truest things we have to build on. It’s one of the reasons why I love and prefer the Magnet so much, because it is much easier and richer for me to play game when dealing with real people and relationships, much easier to work with a person as opposed to a cardboard cut-out with a game-title on it.

But Chris is much better and more experienced than me. The divide is incredibly stark and wide.

And everything else he says I get 100% behind.

Again, all thanks goes to Will Hines, who is himself, certainly one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Here are the links:

Teaching Interviews: Chris Gethard, Part 1 of 2

Teaching Interviews: Chris Gethard, Part 2 of 2

As always, enjoy and thoughts are welcome.

I’ll leave the depressing girl stuff, for our regular programming.


Routines And Otherwise

October 25, 2011

This is a snapshot of what my life looks like right now.

This week I got complimented by the (pictured) man in the body suit who told me, ostensibly in literal Greek, that I was a “beautiful man” who he “wish he saw more”.

I only know this because his (also pictured) friend in the sunglasses translated this for me with a smirk.

This is the place that my choices in life have brought me to.

Getting come-on compliments in Greek from a man in a bodysuit after midnight on a Wednesday at a public access television station.

But hey, I guess: beats a nine-to-five.

This past week was actually a pretty great one for me. I went to this crazy-ass show (where all such pictures derivate), which I am apparently part of the crew of now.

I got the opportunity to stand in for one of my heroes, Armando Diaz, at his show “The Armando Diaz Experience”, telling true stories from my life while amazing performers did improvised scenes off of them (pictures, here courtesy of great man/friend M. Woody Fu).

I even had some fun shows and rehearsals with my indie teams.

Which may not sound like much, but consider that six months ago, I think I was pretty much despairing for my life.

Getting to perform regularly, having the freedom to find things and discover opportunities, to learn and to be a party of wacky, fun stuff, like I’ve described: it’s awesome.

This weekend, I sat a while and talked to Louis Kornfeld, in the lobby of the Magnet’s Training Center, the place where I do most of my shows.

I remember almost a year ago now being in the same class as Louis, the performer who I’d most like to be, a sketch-writing class, coming in off a week of auditioning for commercials (which would be among my last) and looking at Louis, who is the same general “type” as me and asking him:

“Hey man, you’re funny. You have a beard. Why don’t you go out for commercials?”

And he told me: “I don’t know. I have no ambition. I’m happy doing what I do.”

I kinda shrugged and continued the class, where I had Louis perform in one of my sketches and had my friends, family and classmates blown away by his abilities as a performer.

Back then, it seemed so important to “start my life”, that everything was building to something or it wasn’t.

Looking back as well, it was (and maybe still is) the same case with my romantic life: either I am getting more attractive and more successful, more prospects, more possibilities or I’m not and that’s reason to sulk or complain.

But sitting on that extended portion of a Sunday morning that branches into the afternoon, Louis and I talked about film school and that culture of want and narrative, the idea that there was a narrative of success, a path or a story you were a part of that justified people treating you poorly and, more importantly, you accepting the inherent shittiness of your life as some sort of part of a grand scheme.

We talked about nostalgically, in contrast to the way I used to speak about “paths” and “the direction of my life”, as if I was in it.

“You know, any time I’m asked about film things, I still feel like I’m made to feel apologetic about my life,” He told me, one lapsed film student to another. “That people expect me to say I’m taking some detour. That I know I’m going to return. There are still people I just can’t deal with from those film days. That I duck and hope they’ll respect the mutuality of our non-acquaintance.”

As readers of this blog know, I am a fan of applying improv principles to life, which I’d guess Louis is as well.

I was reading the other day a post on a comedy website about moving to L.A., composed of comments from UCB performers. Jason Mantzoukas, a very-talented performer had this to say:

” LA, New York, whatever, it’s all an improv show itself, really. The hardest thing is the internal battle between the knowledge that your audience expects you to be hilarious and brilliant and the awareness you have that you have no idea what’s about to happen, and very little real control over it, an inability to control the inherent panic. So what do you do? You be very good at narrowing the scope of what you’re going to do. The first rule is: don’t ask questions, because everyone else is in the same situation and they don’t know anything either.”

And isn’t that something: to realize that no one has the answers, not you or anyone. That life’s story isn’t written, that there are things that can be done or not done, but there is no narrative, no set path or paths. Just trying to be in the moment, to know who you are and what you want to give. To try to get better and hone your craft or what you love.

As we sat in that building lobby talking, in the intervening months between when we had done our sketch class show together, Louis had been hired to work for the same Second City Touring Company that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Jason Sudeikis and others had done. He’d been promoted to co-Artistic Director of the Magnet. His improv teams had been invited all over the country and to Hawaii (recently) to perform.

Ambition-less.

And here he was, sitting in a building lobby, crouching on his haunches, nervous, hoping he’d be able to give the best he could to his students who were about to mill in.

And sitting in that lobby, an intern at that same theater, who hadn’t been on many commercial auditions lately, or looking to “advance himself” in the industry he went to school for, just sitting and waiting to open some doors on a Sunday morning.

That intern felt good.

But he should have finished his rewrites for his damn sketches.

Fuckin kid.

***

Speaking of kids, I’m pretty sure the guy who sold me my netbook was in 10th grade or younger.

In preparation for going to France, my pops suggested that I get a cheap, crappy netbook instead of taking my (still very nice) 2009 MacBook Pro to the scummy four-person room hostels I’d be staying in and breaking my back like I have been carrying it around, it would be nice to have something both more portable and which I would be less upset about if it got stolen.

But, being me, I didn’t want to have any “crappy” netbook, I didn’t want to crawl back into the vagaries and inconsistencies of Microsoft.

I wanted something that was dependable and real and functional. I wanted a Mac.

Except that Mac laptops start at a thousand bucks and only get more expensive.

So, I turned to what used to be my specialty: turning a certain very specific brand and model of netbook (the Dell Mini 10v) into a 250-dollar Macbook Lite.

It was much harder than the last time I did it (a birthday gift for my ex, while she wasn’t it, to be clear) since the model was older now and more difficult to find.

The place I had the netbook shipped from last time, a factory outlet, no longer had their delightfully “Gak”-soaked Nickolodeon model for kids, the kind I had gotten before.

Places on Amazon even mis-advertised their models in some attempt to put one past people and the “Hackintosh”-able model was the most in-demand.

After a couple of days of looking I turned to Craigslist and started text messaging someone who told me their netbook was quote, “Minty” and “Full-functioned”.

After telling me he lived “way uptown”, we agreed to meet in front of the Central Park Apple Store, appropriately or ironically and tested it out in the lobby of the nearby Plaza Food Hall.

The guy was quite nice and obviously a geek too about computers, but I realized, he wasn’t too careful. His name was still on the computer, first and last, as was, apparently, his homework.

He was a nice kid, looking back on it, and he sent me some tips on how to proceed. He obvious was literate about basic hacking because he had hackintoshed the netbook himself.

He threw in some basic, crappy accessories, which I appreciated even though he tried to jack up the price on me forcing me to haggle.

I haven’t read his assignments or watch his pirated copy of the movie “The Change-Up” he left on my computer.

The netbook runs well, especially with the tweaks I installed on it.

I guess I just wonder about this kid’s life.

And what he spent his 250 dollars on.

He told me that 2006 MacBooks were going for 300 on eBay.

“I’d do that if I were you, man” He told me. “Apples are the best.”

And I guess through all those text messages I wonder what it felt for that kid meeting someone else hack-literate, when you’re in 10th grade.

Who is this kid, Rimu?

My computer won’t remove his name.

***

Ah the pleasures of being on a diet.

Let me tell you, I amaze myself with how I’m still goddam losing weight eating things like this.

I’m 185 today, down from 188 one or two weeks ago.

And I can still have a goddam Faicco’s sandwich.

My “cheat” is that I go next door to Amy’s Bread and buy their double-seeded whole wheat loaf instead of the delicious Italian bread that Faicco’s usually uses. This allows it to not technically constitute a “break” in my diet.

But the catch is, the sandwich is probably about 1.5x the size of an already huge Faicco’s sandwich.

Smothered in the same Sunday-morning hot-fresh chicken-cutlets, fresh mozzarella, garlic-marinated sun-dried tomatoes and oil+vinegar. With that sesame-seeded bread.

I usually have them cut it in hal but after Emmy-nominee and sometimes teacher Russ Armstrong told me “this is three meals!” when I handed a previous, bifurcated version for him to hold, I got it cut in three at Faicco’s.

I could barely resist after the first third nibbling through the second throughout the day. Today it was my lunch.

Multiple meals of greatness.

And still just bragging to the goddam scale.

***

FAICCO’S ITALIAN SPECIALTIES (AND AMY’s BREAD)

Half of a Wheat Double-Seeded Baguette- $2.50

Chicken Cutlet Hero w/Fresh Mozz, Marinated Sundried Tomatoes, Oil and Vinegar- $10.00

Total $12.50

Bleecker St bet Leroy and Cornelia Sts.

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


So, I’m Skinny. Now What?

October 10, 2011

An overstatement to be sure, but one that’s nice to make in the other direction than I usually do.

“Looking good, Feitel.” My friend Bobby Olsen told me. “Looking like girls are going to start just eating you up.”

“Well, ya know.” I replied. “I’m feeling pretty good actually. I’m worried, but feeling ok.”

And I was. It feels good to lose weight, to feel like you are lighter than a month or a week before. The opposite worry comes from feeling heavy or guilty that you ate something, assured that your one transgression will cause those 20, 30, 40 pounds to reappear instantly, waiting for the sin to push you over the edge.

In some ways, this diet is as close as I will ever get to being a Catholic.

“Alright,” I told Bobby, revved on myself. “It’s time to start playing that game. Am I skinnier than my friends? What you got bro?”

“Well what do you guess?” Bobby asked jokingly.

I guess around… 170?” I said.

“Yeah, sure.” Bobby said blowing this off and I contemplated my 188 weight as if I had a ways to go.

Then again, Bobby could just have been sick of standing in front of the ATM I wasn’t using in order to ask him such a question.

But nevertheless, I had been getting comments. Frequent invocations of “you look great”, or “you look buffer”, or “slimmer” or whatever. I tend to blow off compliments and internalize criticism as many people I think do (especially those with depressive tendencies), but just as criticism can chip away even at a guarded defense, if repeated over-and-over, compliments can too, eventually even enlivening the glummest of us grouches.

When I went to tape another episode of the TV show I am on, I got even more compliments, questions about “how did I do it?”, asking again if girls were “throwing themselves at [me]”.

Which I keep on looking at in some sort of strange view.

I didn’t get in to this diet to get girls, necessarily (though the spark was a bad dating experience) but while I’ve managed some amount of discipline and serenity about maintaining my eating habits, I’m not really sure how or if it’s supposed to change my life, particularly my dating life.

I still had two girls I dug express in (appreciably awkward) ways that they weren’t in to me, either by not responding to messages or erratic behavior, but that feels just like normal anyway.

I’ve stayed away from OKCupid for about a month now and when I went back to look it today, I first wondered if I should update my pictures, then if I should take a look at my profile, then how this could in any way be representative of me at all.

I almost called this post “My Inevitable Return To The World Of Online Dating” only to realize in going there that it didn’t appeal to me anymore.

Something has changed in me it seems like, a lack of immediate neediness, I guess. Or maybe just an unwillingness to search.

This weekend I found myself acting in my friend’s grad-film project for NYU in an improvised scene where I had to kiss a young lady for 6 or 7 takes, after terribly demeaning her on a badly-gone OKCupid date (The phrase we found through improvisation that I repeated over-and-over to make her break down was “You are an emotionally void person”). As I did it, in character of course, it made me realize how easy it was to just kiss someone. How, with some confidence or just the expectation that you will, it was possible to just sweep someone up and kiss them.

Now, of course, this does not disrupt the Solondzian fantasies of me and my fellow nerdy or once-nerdy brethren, who imagine a comical resistance and a slap from any lady we might try to kiss, as well as some sort of expression of disgust (such as “Ewww!” or “Gross!”) for good measure.

But it just makes a self-conscious guy think, huh, well, what if I just did it? Of course, self-conscious or awkward guys are often told “be confident” or “confidence is sexy”, but since there is a lack of experience to found that in (unlike compliments or insults which reinforce or dissolve self-created ideas and boundaries), it’s a difficult note to take.

But as I said, as I gave what I kissed a girl a bunch of times, as I gave a funny performance, as I got on stage 3 times this weekend (and later tonight!) for shows, with some confidence and poise, I felt my general confidence rising. Experience seemed foundational and just like doing improv, the more you do it, generally, the more you feel you can.

All of this, of course, is super creepy.

I kissed a girl in the context of a weird improvised comedic grad-film acting project, not in any sort of real sense. And it’s super creepy to take from that, agreed upon experience, that I could kiss more girls.

But maybe this is how people get to be creeps: they get skinny, they get some false confidence and they start kissing people for some reason.

I guess we’ll have to see if this happens and the (inevitably disastrous) results.

For now though, I don’t want to go back to online dating, to something strange and unrepresentative.

Not for at least 20 minutes.

At least.

***

This was the note I tried to tape to the exterior of my building in the mad rush surrounding my experiment with CLEAR mobile internet.

I had decided (or was conned or convinced) on a cool fall evening to try CLEAR 4G internet, a mobile version of WiMax (which is really interesting and runs on the wavelength that old antenna-era TV used to) which took little convincing since I am a hater of Time Warner Cable and how it seems to represent “the man” in general.

Growing up over in the West Village, I lived in a building littered with Time Warner outages, from expensive “on-demand” services that rarely worked to internet that I, as the designated “techie” (I’m not just a “foodie”, guys) of my family was forced to constantly attempt to fix and reset. I actually memorized the number for Time Warner from the old daytime commercial jingles to begin with (TV growing up), but then just out of use (it’s still 212-674-9100).

My usage of them in my apartment gradually degraded as I read an NYTimes article about cutting your cable and purchased my outstandingly cool Mac Mini-home TV system (which I feel like I could do a whole self-congratulatory blog post about) which has been saving me money ever since and has made me virtually nauseated when I am forced to watch cable at the houses of others with its commercials and its non-optimized programs. We can see whichever movies we want when we want and Netflix is on more devices than ever (not to mention Hulu), so why do we have to endure commercials and reruns and millions of channels of crap? Why can’t cable look more like Hulu Desktop with interspersed commercials and a slick shopping-mall style interface of what we might want to watch, along with commercials targeted towards our demographics?

End diatribe, but don’t think this is over TV. Don’t think this is over at all.

Anyway, when I cancelled my cable, I kept my internet, but ever since I read about WiMax I imagined getting rid of that too, shedding their cable-bound internet and ethernet cables and reducing my invasive attachments to a simple black box that I could just take around with me wherever I went. CLEAR offered me a month to try their service, contract-less, and I took them up on it, with their “Apollo” 4G Hotspot shipping to me the next day.

Thus the note and the panic.

I had to go to work finally and I wasn’t going to be at my apartment. The peril of ordering things online in a door-man-less building! You have to take a little sticky note they may or may not leave at the exterior of your apartment (and wait for it to arrive), call them, ask them to hold it at their facility, go to their facility in the evening (but not TOO LATE in the evening), bring some government ID and then hope that the driver didn’t just lose it or the guy behind the counter waiting to get off cares enough to look those two extra minutes to find your bo in a pile.

This would not happen to me. I would not allow my wireless liberation to happen one-three days and a lot more hassle later.

I tried knocking on my neighbors across the hall who had been leeching my internet (another NY social-tech phenomenon I found out about through an NYTimes article) but the woman there was leaving in 30 minutes! Too much of a risk! I tried calling up friends before realizing the folly of it; they wouldn’t wait for my router! I even considered knocking on the door of the cancer patient on the first floor and asking her but I just didn’t have it in me to bother her, hear about the chemo and then ask her to hold my package.

Desperately I darted around before realizing what people do–yes! The Coffee Shop across the street where I got my morning imbibe-able! I ran in and begged Lucas (who I used to call Tats for his tattoos, punk demeanor, i.e: “What up, tats?”) if he could do me a huge-huge favor and hold my package for me if the FedEx guys came after explaining to him the depths of my conundrum and my quest to free myself from cable as I did here and he said:

“Sure man.”

And I raced outside to place the note on my door, grabbed tape from my apartment came outside and–

There. There was the FedEx Man.

I signed in gratitude as he looked at me with the raw look of a man witnessing a tech-crazed man-child on the verge of salvation and allowed me to sign after some cursory questions.

I was free.

In the time since, I have taken around my square-shaped router on adventures in New York City, testing out the internet. It’s uneven, less consistent than my earth-bound modem. But it’s more wide-ranging and portable and, most importantly, at home it offers me roughly the same speed as my current Apple router does (Ethernet would be faster but that would mean more wires!!).

I am still embroiled in my month, still carrying around my router-puck sharing wi-fi and offering it like chocolate in the ASSSSCAT line and coffee shops trying to make friends and conduct social experiments, as well as testing the puck’s limits.

There’s still that last cord of resistance to get through that worry that I’ll wake up one morning and my internet will be out and it’ll be a huge mistake and I will search in vain for my cable, just as I felt like I’d lost a friend for a while after I cut my TV channels and HBO.

But just like my worry that my pounds’ll come back, it’s a fear to be overcome, not acceded to.

I should point out that friends Rob-Bearded-Still Malone and sometimes-villain Andrew Parrish fear this transformation. They want me to stay tethered fearing this will accelerate my transition from man into hyphenated man-machine.

“Or just make you into a lamer person, bro.” Rob offered.

But in that direction, I hurtle, un-Maloned.

Here’s to a wireless liberation, frantic SoHo packing problems, and geeking out, for sometimes, man.

Here, here.

***

Thursday was a good night.

I did a genuinely good show on two Whiskey-Diet Coke’s out of a house that looked dim, packed with no one but a few performers, assorted girlfriends and a particularly beardy Rob Malone, who generously came out to support and fulfill the two-drink minimum (of which he still owes me for one drink, I’m reminding him now).

(Also Sean Taylor and Shawn Amaro who were our great hosts, http://www.varietyunderground.com)

But somehow my group–full of a brit, a fiancee, a depressive writer type, and an Actor–all really gelled and we did a crazy set about late-30s romance involving S+M gunplay, gay-hate-speech against robots and even a meta bit that went over well. My good friends Shaun Farrugia and Woody Fu were also there, playing with their team Honey and gave me punches and pictures after.

We all took a cab to Greenpoint on Rob’s decision to meet a girl, Shaun’s desire to get home and my lack of sobriety/high off having a good show. It ended up being fun as we ragged on each other in the cab, talked lady issues and improv and Rob did his best to add beardy comments.

We ended up at a Korean joint called Mrs. Kim’s on the beautiful fall evening as we all had the sort of “giving each other shit” conversations that I love having with my friends. When Rob’s lady friend arrived Shaun took me aside, between our attempts to use my 4G modem (to Rob’s chagrin) to stream “The Princess and the Frog” on Netflix.

“Beard guy over there’s a baller.”

“Yurp.” I replied.

We ended up ordering the restaurants Brunch-meets-Korean fair and while my friends got  a chorizo-based “Kim-Dog”, I got myself the Chicken Caesar, which arrived pleasantly at the table, an unexpected treat.

The chicken was cooked in a soy-glaze, happily, which it made it more tender and less dry than “salad-variety” chicken and the caesar dressing had the fishy tang of a highlight of sardines, again adding nice touches to the “still-asian” part of the item.

And for a “fourth-meal” I felt happy that it conformed to my diet and didn’t feel too-guilty sopping up my stomach-whiskey with it.

Eventually Rob left and Shaun went home and I hopped own cab back to the Magnet for a Thursday night Inspirado.

When I got home, I was full of funny and food.

***

MRS. KIM’S

Chicken Caesar Salad- 11 bucks

Corner of Franklin and Kent Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.

G to Greenpoint Av, or really, just when you’re in the neighborhood.


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.