Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts

22.1.23

Celebrating the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit: On an Outing to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this post, I write about how I celebrated Lunar New Year and saw a rabbit, listened to a Mandarin-speaking docent talk about silver sculptures of the Buddha and watched an interactive dragon dance performance in the Great Hall.
A blue dragon dances in line at the Great Hall in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
A dragon dancer joins the line in the Great Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
A troupe of dragon dancers from the Chinese Center on Long Island get ready to perform.
Dragon Dancers
from Long Island
As we said goodbye to one year and welcomed another, I celebrated Lunar New Year with @juky_chen. From stunning works of art depicting classic examples of the rabbit to drums and a dragon 🐲 dance, it was a truly unique experience that I’ll never forget.

My journey began with exploring some incredible pieces on display of porcelain and jade works depicting the rabbit. In galleries 208 and 211, a Mandarin-speaking docent spoke about different sculptures of the Buddha carved out of silver. Only sixteen examples of this Buddha exist, and the museum owns two. The highlight for me was seeing firsthand how much detail went into each item — something that can get lost in photographs or videos. It made me appreciate more just how much work went into creating them!
A Metropolitan Museum of Art docent talks about a sculpture of Buddha in gallery 208 and 211.
A museum docent talks about a
16th-century Buddha sculpture from China.

Next up were several interactive exhibits focusing on different aspects of Lunar New Year celebrations, including the dragon dance in the Great Hall, kids dressed traditionally, music performances, and much more. It felt like being part of something special as the museum filled with festive joy while everyone got involved in what they saw before them — all while learning more about this important holiday’s cultural background.

Finally, I ended my day by visiting the gift shop, where I found many items related to Lunar New Year festivities, such as fans, banners for decoration, and all sorts of memorabilia perfect for taking home as souvenirs or decorations for future years' celebrations!
A Met Teen volunteers for the 2023 Lunar New Year event.
Overall it had been an unforgettable day full of discoveries that will stay with me forever — it reminded me why museums are so important: without their presence, these precious memories would disappear over time, leaving us none wiser than when we arrived!

20.8.22

Sprinkles! We Did That!: Amira and Greig's First High School English Teacher Duo Podcast (Now on Soundcloud)

In this post, Greig, and Amira, both high school English teachers, share, talk, and laugh in their first-ever inaugural podcast, "Sprinkles! We Did That!"

I repost the first (and probably last) podcast of Amira and Greig's show Sprinkles! We Did That! We talk about teaching, funny moments in the classroom, starting a Gay-Straight Alliance at our school, our favorite words to describe each other, how we became friends, Dolly Parton, improbable events, and gayness!


Please listen and give a shout-out! Share, too.

31.3.21

Spring Break with Jambalaya and Friends and Why I Love Faces (and Portraits!)

What’s the best feature of the photograph? Portraits! Photos capture faces. And I’ve appreciated faces lately — especially during this recent Spring Break-cum-Easter time and so on.
Cesar Caraval eats a bowl of Louisiana style Jambalaya with Andouille sausage
I made jambalaya and fed it to a few friends to
celebrate that we're all vaccinated and can now
officially hang out together (and of course, that does
not mean we are lax with social distancing and mask-wearing). 

As vaccinations against Covid-19 are more widely distributed, people are congregating with each other to celebrate. While mask-wearing and general social
Greig Roselli and his friend Michelle Ruderham Davis and her son hang out in Diversity Plaza in Queens on a Spring day.
In Diversity Plaza in Queens
on a Spring Day


Lauren after eating a spicy bowl of Louisiana-style Jambalaya

distancing guidelines are still in place, being vaccinated means I can hang out with folks I haven’t been with since March of last year. I saw my friend Michelle and her family, and I made jambalaya for a group of teacher-friends. By the way — the jambalaya was lit 🔥.


Miguel after eating a bowl of spicy Louisiana-style JambalayaKarina after eating a bowl of spicy Louisiana-style Jambalaya

31.12.19

Thinking About the Roman God Janus On New Year’s Eve

The Roman god Janus as depicted on an ancient coin.
New and old faces to anticipate the new year.
     The Romans had a god named Janus. He had two faces - one looking backward into the past and the other looking forward into the future. For me, the New Year represents this paradoxical view - looking forward and 👀 looking back.
To be Janus-faced is to face this contradiction.
     And this time of year it’s customary to reflect on a year gone by and to make resolve for the upcoming annual. Now whether you assert that the 2010s are for sure done with or not (yes, there is a controversy about this) - I feel like a new decade has begun (and I’m anticipating a ton of jokes about 20/20 vision and Barbara Walters).
Faces - familiar and novel - to ring in a new year.
Stray Comments On New Year’s Resolutions for 2020
  • I want to walk more. That means 10,000 steps a day.
  • Read more books this year.
  • Write every day.
  • To remember my resolutions throughout the year (but wait - I don’t recall last year’s resolutions!)

29.12.19

Christmas Season Travel Report: A Balmy Winter Day in New Orleans (And It’s My Birthday)

Drag Queen
<Why, hello!> she said. Just another balmy Winter day in NOLA.
     Today is a balmy Winter day in New Orleans. Mornings in this city feel hazy and not quite woken up. It’s a city of the nighttime and in the morning everyone’s either leaving a bar to go home or someone’s yawning and stretching, trying to come alive. Here are pictures I took of friends and me coming alive in this crescent 🌙 city. It’s also my birthday today. I’m forty years old. Or, forty years young — as we like to say it.
***

I’m traveling with two teacher friends of mine - Michelle and Lauren. They both convinced me it would be a good idea to celebrate Winter break and my birthday in New Orleans. So here we are at the Palace Café on Canal Street. 
Trio of Friends
I have two old friends from New Orleans, Tony, and André to share the day. That’s me in the middle of the photo. It’s refreshing to see familiar faces in a familiar city. I’m happy. Let me know in the comments if you can read my shirt. 

9.8.17

Eating a Beignet in New Orleans: Classic Portrait Photography

A photo of a cousin’s friend eating a beignet at the Café du Monde in the old casino building in New Orleans’s City Park.

I was home for the Summer. We went to the Café du Monde in City Park 🌃. A kid eats a beignet with glee. One rule when eating a New Orleans-style powdered fried cake - always eat it with glee.

26.7.14

A Lagniappe Of Dumplings At Xi'an's Famous Foods

Have you ever been to Xi'an's Famous Foods in the East Village (or their other locations)? It's stupid good.
A trio of my friends decided to eat dumplings on Saint Mark's. Xi'an's Famous Foods serves up a delicious spinach dumpling in a sour soup; it's fast, savory, and filling food. I was craving a heap of deliciousness,  and I had a tenner in my pocket. I was freelancing at the time  money was tight.
Spinach dumplings at Xi'an's Famous Foods
The eatery is small, and hungry weekenders (it was a Saturday afternoon) fill the space. Two thin, attractive men seated already had gotten up to leave. I offered to dispose of their plates since I was already adjacent to the trash bins.

"Hey," I said, noticing the blonde hadn't eaten the remaining four dumplings that sat green and plump on his plate. "Are you going to eat that? I'll eat it." 

The guy, nonplussed, said "sure," and he and his companion, both wearing crisp white shirts and chinos departed the restaurant.


I ordered a second round of dumplings, and one of my friends suggested we walk down Saint Mark's and ask people dining on the sidewalk to give us their food.


Yeah, we didn't do that, but the lagniappe of dumplings and a carbonated apple fizz soda was my delight for a day in the East Village.

19.9.11

Journal & Rant: Eating Dinner at the Lan Café

One night in the East Village for dinner I ate at the Lan Café with some friends.
YouTube Video
Eating Dinner at Lan Café
The sanguine salute Sham gives is accompanied tonight with a warm cup of tea and a smile. To fancy a cup of tea is a prelude to friendship. An exchange executed with grace and humble style; cooped together in his tiny East Village apartment, Steve and I, along with Srngara, his wife, and Nitai, their son, quibble about theater, Krishna, and whether the Lan Café is the best vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan. Or anywhere. Steve says drinking their freshly squeezed carrot juice is like drinking a garden.

Stones of Erasmus does not purport to be a food column. So I do not claim an argument for culinary taste on these pages. But I feel compelled to write about the Lan Café.

The waiter greeted us with pleasant monosyllables. "Good," "Everything," "Yes?" "No." Then a few choice two worders. "Of course," "You like?" "Heh heh."

The "heh heh" was for Steve who said the food tasted like kissing Woodrow Wilson's wet lips. That was meant as a compliment.

Vegetarian Dishes are Palatable (Yum-Yum)
I should say, along the lines of a food critic, the Vegetarian Shrimp Papaya Salad is doubly sweet and spicy without a hint of overindulgence. It's made from pieces of vegetarian shrimp with a healthy dose of bean sprouts. The sauce makes the dish.

The kitchen staff prays a mantra over every cooked meal.

The dining room is intimate which encourages conversation with other guests. Two couples dined next to our boisterous table. Across from us a group of New York intelligentsia dined while chugging Brooklyn Lager.

When people popped in to check the place out, Steve would opine, "Come in. This place is the best restaurant in Manhattan." The lady next to me wondered if Steve was being paid for every promotional sentence he uttered.

And for Dessert? Something Carrot-y.
When Nitai tasted my carrot juice (like drinking a whole ripe carrot) his eyes widened and he danced a jig. A kid dancing a jig is enough for everyone in the place to stop what they're doing and stare. He told the captive audience (the other restaurant-goers) that the carrot juice was "soooooooo goooooood" but, he said, "it just needs some chocolate on top." I told him chocolate would spoil it. Nitai didn't seem to agree.

Who can argue with a six-year-old? A woman crooned, "Oh, he's so cute." I waited for her to say, "Can I take him home with me?" People do not talk like that.

We walked home with freshness in our bellies and guava candy in our mouths.

8.12.10

A Little Bit of Poetry: "Poem for a Trieb"

In this post, I present a poem I wrote inspired by a night of Scrabble where I felt the tug and pull of friendships and a desire to break through the mundane.
The author as a teenager —in Mandeville, Louisiana
at Georgette Pintado's house on Live Oak Street (with Amy and Jeff).


I never venture to believe in avatars anymore
for they seem too
much like
superheroes,
like Jesus,
in his benign human nature, divine,
so I dismiss the idea of divine blood,
vouching for more a raw libido, exhausted
breaths, numbing existence,
mere existence
The funny thing is
that
I

… when the coffee table
is cleared and Brian
sets up the Scrabble board,
David and Juniper
are determined to win,
so they joined in the fight to
beat us

16.8.10

"Voice II" Mailed to Keizersberg With a Nod to the Times Picayune

Credits:
Keizersberg is a small Benedictine monastery in Leuven, Belgium; also home to students who go to the Catholic University. And Stella Artois. The mural of the Omega Christ on the bottom right was painted by Dom Gregory DeWit, a Dutch monk and muralist. The mural can be found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Voice II is by the American Artist George Tooker. The newspaper clipping is from the Travel section of The Times-Picayune. A librarian meets her philosophy pal at the steps of the stad huis in Leuven.

10.6.10

Poem + Image: "Lane"


girls in a gay bar
hold his hand
on the dance floor













image credit: detail of Rembrandt's painting, The Jewish Bride snapped by koe2moe


PDF Copy for Printing

23.1.10

Me, describing him


"when I look at him now 
face scrunched into the shape of an oval 
he thinks with his jaw set"

 me, describing him

PDF Copy for Printing  

31.12.09

Short Story: Car Keys

… the nonsense of men is called business; the nonsense of boys, though exactly alike, is punished by those same men: and no one pities either boys or men.
– Augustine of Hippo
Measuring my life by how many times I locked keys in the car would be appropriate because I have done it since I was a kid. One vivid memory was at my brother’s soccer game, eleven years old. I had gone back to get something out of the family car, a book or somesuch, and no sooner had I slammed the door shut that it hit me like a panic — I had locked the damn keys in the car. Now, remember I was a kid. I stood still for a few seconds, my mind racing inside, the thud of the slammed door still thudding in my chest.
It had happened -- locked keys in the car -- but I wanted to make sure it really had happened. I jostled the door. Realization. Reluctance … a quiver … it had happened. I could see the keys positioned comfortably on my dad’s vinyl seat. Shit. I started to pace, indecisively; I surmised if I paced long enough I would either
1.) disappear or
2.) the car door would miraculously unlock itself and all would be put right. Nothing like that happened. I wiped my hands on my shorts. Checked my pockets. I tried all the doors a second time to see if one of them would open. A large lump in the gut of me; the feeling of swinging on a tire, a tingling that tintinnabulates in your groin.
If only I could move mountains, I thought to myself. Like Jesus. Only weeks ago I had convinced my buddy Jeremy Accuri that I could uproot our family White Oak. The familial quercus alba that my mom had planted to measure out the life of the Roselli family, I wanted to aggressively uproot. When Mom had planted the tree, it was a youngster; by now it is either mowed down or handsome. But I can remember Jeremy Accuri and me invoking God’s aid for about an hour to no avail. If only I had faith the size of a mustard seed, I thought to myself. I was really disappointed, not that I thought that I could really do it, but I expected something would happen. A manifestation. An epiphany. But no epiphanies, so Jeremy and I went to his house to eat ham sandwiches his mom had made. I can remember how amazed his mother was that I ate everything on my plate. twice. If only she knew how defeated I felt.
And empty.

The emptiness I felt in not being able to uproot our tree was less than the despair I felt in locking my parents’ keys in the Ford. It would not have been so bad if they hadn’t told me, “Don’t lock the keys in the car, Greig.” I had done just what they had told me not to do. Maybe if I had been an adult it would have been different because no one would have had to know, only the lock smith whom I would have called up to come over, maybe exchange a few words; heard his consolation, mitigated any humiliation because I could pay him, say, fifty dollars and it would be done with; or I could have been a responsible adult and signed up for AAA road side service as a part of my insurance plan. But as a kid, I was helpless, at the mercy of my parents’ seeming authoritarian judgment. I was powerless, not only by a locked door, but by own ineptitude to do anything to change my state of affairs, as useless as a jailbird.
I scraped the gravel with my shoes, again. After much consultation with myself, God, and the ground, I finally approached them. I could see my mother’s festive back, "Go Chargers," stenciled in red. Mom and Dad were lined up on the Chargers’ side of the field, belting out affirmations, curses. It didn’t make a difference, just as long as they yelled. I saw my little brother Nicholas strutting around the field like Pélé. He looked so comfortable and at ease in his world, compared to my own self-inflicted dismal plight. Even if I hadn't locked the keys in the car, I didn't see myself as graceful as Nick; I hated sports. The only time I was on the soccer team was age 8; the coach told us to be aggressive and I never forgot the word. Aggressive. Aggressive. I had an inchoate idea of what the word meant: mean, rough, not reading a book. He had us in a huddle, "You boys gotta be more aggressive!" I felt like he was looking straight at me: the boy who preferred to pick through the crimson clover patch by the goal post. Our soccer shorts were like two lollipop colored paper bags filled with air, strung around our puny legs. We bared our chests through a V-neck cotton shirt, about as much bravado as you can get from a pack of pre-pubescent boys. A fury of boys. And me. Furious in my own way; I even brought a book to read, once. How did I manage that? Dad yelling, "Keep your eye on the ball!" and Grandma not minding if I read entries to her out loud from my dictionary, as long as the team was on the other side of the field. I couldn't understand the point of the useless fumbling, so I kept on reading.
After a game we were standing around the merry-go-around. The dust in the air swirling around in nonsensical motes. A bigger kid appeared from nowhere. “Lemme see that book.” “No,” I said. “Come on,” he said and took my book. “No,” I said, “Give it back”. “I’m just gonna look at it. Geez. Get a grip. pussy.” Johnny, with thicker legs than mine, interjected, “Yeah, Greig, just let him look at it; he ain’t gonna hurt it.” I eased up and said sure; I wanted the book back, though. He read from my book. But not the real words. “And Greig eats pussy. Says so here. And weenies and boogers and ass wipes. Man. This is good shit.” Hahhhahhhh. Thay all laughed. Spat on the floor; looked like blood clots on the concrete. And just like that the bigger kid tore the book in shreds and deposited the pieces, like confetti, over the playground, the husk of the book sprawled on the ground like an emasculated man; its flesh swirling in the dust. “Don’t like your book, sorry,” and he laughed. Then they were gone, the bullies, as quickly as they had come. Alone again, I gathered up the pieces I could find, sat down, and tried to put the pages back together. My hands shaking, I tried to calm down. The other children in the playground comforted me after the bigger kids had left, laughing. Sitting cross-legged, a boy my age told me not to worry about it; I could get another book. By this time, ten or twelve other kids had gathered around me to see what was wrong – why was Greig so sad? – I had gained some composure, got up, as if nothing had happened, stuffed pieces of the book into my soccer shorts (maybe I could save a few words) and to no one in particular, I said thank you. We played in the crimson clover patch until it was time to go home.

But this time, with no keys, I couldn't escape to the crimson clover patch. There wasn't a book available to swallow up my problem, to outline how to get out of locking one's keys in the car. I began to feel really horrible. I remembered with acrid humiliation that one time at Jeremy Accuri's we were playing in the empty lot next to his house – filled with cans, nails, rotted pieces of wood. On the edge of the Mississippi. The interstate humming. His little sister tagging along. The neighbor too. Josh. I forget his last name. He was skinny and punctuated by a raggedy set of tears in his clothes, torn holes in his torso and thigh. Suffering from a cold, he coughed at us as we played, snot pasted to his cleft. I don’t know what triggered inside of me my coach’s mantra to be aggressive, but in the middle of hide-and-go-seek, I hurled a rusty, empty can of USDA peaches right at him; hit him square in the forehead. Blood was everywhere. Jeremy couldn’t believe it; ran to tell his mom. His sister screamed. Josh stood still for a minute. I thought he was going to topple over, dead. But he lunged towards me, angry. When he caught me in a grapple he couldn’t do anything except bear hug me to the ground; I pushed him off and we both walked to the house, both of us sniffling. In shock, not believing my own aggression, I was horrified that I had hurt him so badly. Blood was smeared on his head. Jeremy’s mom saw I was upset and told me everything was going to be all right. “Do you need a hug?” she asked me and I said, “Yeah, I think so.” And I tipped toed to clutch her broadly for a second then let go naturally. I was relieved that the adults seemed nonplussed. Josh went to the hospital. Got stitches. They didn’t call my mother. I never saw Josh again, on purpose. If I saw him on the playground, I avoided him. I didn’t even go back to Jeremy’s house after that. I was afraid of seeing them again; fearful they would remember the day I broke open a kid’s head.

***

When I finally told them I had locked the keys in the car, it was as if I had thrown a rusty can at my dad’s head or -- I couldn't quite tell from Dad's contorted gesture - they didn’t understand me. Mom mumbled something; She wanted to hit me. She had told Dad before, “I feel like I want to hit him sometimes,” and Dad leapt from his lawn chair and yelled at me louder than the other parents’ cheers. Everyone turned to look at us briefly, but the excitement of the game eventually won over, so it was just Dad and myself. Dad was a big man, so I remember his puffed up red face and bulging nub; he didn’t hit me, but he dragged me by my head to the car – to see for himself the nasty reality. When he finally released his hand my head cooled a bit and I felt relieved and dizzy.

The parking lot spun around like a top; I couldn’t quite tell if I had exited reality or not. My dad became a caricature of himself, a cartoon swimming in circles with rage. I remember he was bloated with fury and mean, red all over with blotches of yellow and green. He was talking out loud, saying, “I told you not to lock the keys in the car, didn’t I? Do you have any idea how much it costs to pop this lock? Huh?” He banged on the red door. A loud thud. He banged again. The prospect of getting a coat hanger to fish for the lock was unbearable to him, so he eventually had to call a locksmith. When Mom arrived on the scene she merely glared and folded her arms like a sentry, lips pursed, eyes meaner than a basilisk. “I can’t believe this, Anthony,” she whispered, but staring at me, intently. She didn’t mean it, I don’t think, but she said, “I’m never taking those bastards anywhere ever again.” Dead forever was any future bestowal of responsibility. And my brothers by default. They would never trust me again. I wanted to challenge them raw until nothing was left. I had forgotten that one summer Mom had forgotten Amanda in the car for about an hour while she talked to Aunt Evelyn, until finally someone asked “Where’s Daphne?” They finally found her. There she was, stuck in the back seat of the car where Mom had left her; still asleep, but trapped. And then there was the urban legend I had heard about of a dad who uncharacteristically was supposed to drop his baby off at daycare before he went to work, but forgot to do it, parked his car in the company garage on a hot day and left her there to bake; found her dead at the end of the work day; didn’t even realize she had been there the whole time, silenced. What goes through a man’s head after such a horrible thing? Does he ever recover? Is he ever forgiven? A memory never goes away, completely. It’s embodied, like a renegade bullet lodged in a man’s stomach. You need a surgeon with antiseptic instruments to cut it out from the flesh. Then with stitches you can begin to recover.
I don’t think you can escape from the ravages of childhood.
For some reason or other, I never recovered; never could keep things in the right place. I can count five other times I locked keys in the car after that soccer incident. Once in a supermarket parking lot in 1996. Another at a drugstore a few months later. And to my chagrin, because someone had to fish for the lock with a coat hanger, in front of church in 1997. Another time in front of Veronica’s house last year. And again at home a few weeks ago. To retell them would be prosaic, if not repetitive. Suffice it to say, that first mishap left a scar on my psyche, which probably left me numb and disillusioned to my own self-worth, much less my confidence in the suburban patriotism surrounding soccer games. But there is something deeper. I went further inside of myself. After that day, instead of joining everyone else at the sidelines to cheer for my brother, I sought solace by walking in the woods behind the fields. I pretended it was Narnia, past the lamppost. This did not do well for my reputation though, because I would get lost in my own thoughts and dreams and by the time I had left Narnia the game had long been finished. Mom never called the cops on me, but she was furious. It happened so many times I think they just calculated I would eventually show up. The last car in the parking lot to leave. “How would you like it if I left without you? What if I had called the police?” Mom would say with her arms folded, tightly. I didn’t know how to answer her, “Where were you?” invectives so I usually just stood there feeling guilty, honestly not knowing where all the time had gone and feeling sorry that mom and dad had to worry about me so much. “I dunno. I wuz reading, I guess,” I would mumble. I wasn’t lying because there was the proof: a big fat ochre sci-fi yarn in my arms; my own name scrawled on the frontispiece. The car ride home was silent and bitter and I went to bed early.

One summer afternoon we had just watched that Bette Midler tearjerker that had just come out on VHS which we could play on a VCR checked out from the library, a momentous black box affixed with a manila pocket stamped: 5 JUL ‘82. Something moved inside me after the movie. The gods heard my muses. I was outside in the yard; I was ten. I remember it was hot and humid and everyone was inside but I stayed outside feeling emotional after having just watched Beaches. I lifted my arms up in the air and I was yelling, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty I’m free at last!” There is a scene in the film when Bette and her roommate shout out loud, “free at last free at last thank god almighty I’m free at last”. Something about not doing what her father said. She feels liberated. I really didn’t understand all the adult complexities of the scene being only ten, but something about her energy struck a chord in my little heart. So, I shouted just like her. All my frustrations. All my inarticulate sufferings. Learning to love. Myself. Being me. Which never felt so difficult before. But now. Free at last. Free at last. I must of been out there for God knows how long, but I was alone, everyone else in the midst of their own routines. But for me the yard was my world, around that tree; my dad’s neatly trimmed yard, fertilized. Mom’s sun tea heating on the air conditioner. It will be ready by dinner, I thought. Then the epiphany. A manifestation. I felt it on my head. The flap of bird’s wings. The holy spirit. On my head. I heard the chirp and the frantic rush of wings. The holy spirit had landed on my head. The gods had heard me. I ran into the house and the goddamn bird held on. “Mom Mom Mom. The holy spirit landed on my head.” I yelled and yelled and the bird still hung on. A parakeet. It finally yanked itself out of my hair, flew around the room and landed back on my tousled head. We decided to keep it and named it Pretty Boy. A few months later we found sterile eggs in her cage but didn’t change her name. She died after six years; a faithful bird, very quiet and low maintenance. And believe it or not, the story still circulates around the family about me and that bird. And the white oak. And the Chargers. And picking crimson clovers. And Maggie at the zoo, Lavern in the store, the dimpled red dots on Faith’s face … stories circulate.

Recently, I took Zach to the bookstore and Lorie freaked because we didn’t make it back in time. She did call the cops. After all those years of disappearing no one ever called the police on me; no search parties scouted me out. And I have been lost many times. I chortle at the absurdity of keys and time, of lateness and wrong turns. After all those years of disappearing no one ever called the police on me; no search parties scouted me out. And I have been lost many times. Three times in the woods (Maggie saved me); once at the mall; once at school; once at the spillway and five times in my own room (don’t ask). If only I could be so lucky to have a search party.

24.12.09

Poem: "I never knew how to date"

At the ballpark, the stadium swells with people,

but
I never knew how to date.
I only knew the camaraderie of a slap on the back,
a troubled smear on the cheek,
an intimate pantomime of swelled emotion.

I never knew the arcane rituals,
the runic scripts, the book of love –
never knew the caress of the cheek,
the hand on your face
before.

Never put to rote the rubrics
of subtle peck and pay the bill
before.
Only spontaneous embraces
like best friends at supper.

Sloppy kisses over sloppy joes.

Daubed anxiety
Doggerel verse
Silly adolescence clamoring for whatchamacallit and nachos,
pulling your pigtails,
mommy.

I am like a kid getting married in the street.

I am bereft of courtship vocabulary,
the “how do I take your hand” svelte.

The “When do I call for a date?” anxiety.

How do I undo your pants,
Meet your folks –
Do I call you at work?

Should I hold your hand during the national anthem?
Or do I clap your back?

I am like the boy playing grown-up in the playpen,
dressed up like Donna Reed,
My plastic skin peeling

and during the ninth inning your child stares
Eating a nodog
I had bought ten minutes before.

Awkward smiles and nonchalance,
No runs batted in and take me out to the ballgame.

19.12.09

Obligatory Bathroom Selfie: "Refresh My Face"

Greig posts an obligatory bathroom selfie.
Selfie with a 2009 iPhone
Hey boys and girls! I was in the bathroom at the Bulldog on Magazine Street in New Orleans and decided to not only post this picture but to let you know what we're talking about at my table: Always remember to floss after you eat. Remember, it's imperative to eat garlic with every meal. Also, when withdrawing money from the ATM, turn off your car to reduce carbon emissions.  

- Posted from my f*&%!ing smart JobsPhone

18.12.09

Photographs of Friends: Ruby On Fridays (Not Ruby Tuesday, and Some of the Pictures Are Not Ruby)

I took pictures of friends recently when we all hung out.

Ruby, a former colleague but still a friend — not as in Ruby Tuesday — frequents the city of crescents.
A woman in her twenties with red hair dons a painting apron in New Orleans.


A woman in her thirties eats dinner at a restaurant in New Orleans.

The flare of red: "Aphrodite on a half-shell."

4.12.09

Celebrating My Friend Tony's Birthday Party at "Corks and Canvases"

Tony was surprised and feted for his birthday: everyone created a painting in his honor: a coffee cup fleur-de-lis.

Mae chooses to be inspired.

Andre works diligently.

My painting: ying-yang instead of fleur-de-lis:

26.9.09

H is for Home

A tile from my ceiling fell to the floor
Parts of the drop ceiling in my apartment fell in the kitchen.
Is it trite to speak of home? Cliché, maybe. But, home resonates. At the moment my home is in disarray.

Case in point: last night, plaster from the ceiling crumbled and fell in hard portions on the kitchen linoleum. I did not wake up from the din, but I was startled in the morning (in between brushing my teeth and finding a perfect maroon tie) to find the kitchen bespectacled with jagged chunks of plaster. "Is there a rodent in my attic?" I asked myself, half startled and half bemused.

Going from the ramshackle that is my apartment, to the structure of school, I enter another home: a weird conglomeration of bells and roving students, lecturing professors, and due dates, exams, lunches and recess. School is a strange form of home that merely serves as another version -- but for me, a strange anodyne -- and I cringe to confess this fact, because one's vocation is not supposed to be one's home.

Do I find myself grading papers, only to look at the clock notice it is already six o'clock?

This is the tragedy of home as school. Alas, my life is fail. Or, as one of my students would say, "Epic Fail! I hate my life!"

So, today, to rectify this unhappy occasion, I set out to spruce up my "home" and make sure next week I will not end up sleeping at my professor's desk.

My task before me is to make my home the same as it was in August. I notice the pile of dishes hidden beneath the shorn plaster. I notice books unread. And OMG! I have to complete those homework assignments and finish reading those essays.

I stop for a second, in the middle of writing this first installment of an alphabiography, which I have decided to impose on myself as an assignment -- I figure if I am making my students complete this project, I might as well do the same  I have until October 15th  eeekkk and I probably have loads of grammar and spelling mistakes. Is there anything here that is home? True home? Not artificial or cliché home? The sound of the streetcar whizzing by frequently and hurriedly? Is it the fresh pot of coffee I worship every morning  to quote Anne Sexton -- "All this is God, right here in my pea green house."

Home is an unhurried thing. Is it metaphysical? Probably not. Is it the edifice of a house? Or is it the collection of a family? The association of friends?

I know one thing is true: home is unequivocally the evocative longing to diminish the alone. It is the wish of the solitude to unite with the One. It is the prayer of the worshipful to unite with their God. It is the hope of the teacher to successfully complete one more successful assignment; it is the proper buttering of the toast; the perfect rendering of prose into poetry, the sublime nature of one's hope (albeit striving) for ? ... and that is where I stumble ... lost again in the mystery of home.

I do have one final concrete image for those out there who detest abstract thought. The apple pie Americans who need a palpable definition. Home is where the heart is? Home is on the range. Home is for breakfast. Home fries. Homie. Dog. G. Out.

Life Lesson:
Home is what you make it. Ahh, isn't that trite enough? But, I think I will go and wash those dishes (yeah, right he says).

4.8.09

Pita Pit on Mag has great customer service, et. al.

Boys, and girls, get your gyros and eggs wrap edibles at Magazine's finest establishment: the Pita Pit. Now, I know I am biased because Ryan works there but you can just suck my left kneecap if you don't like my product placement. Airplane Ryan G-Dog is the only one allowed to call me fagasaurus.

Now for my girl Taryn at PJs: here she is writing the next big novel. She tells me it is about a naive flight attendant who gets flak from her boss and takes refuge on a crazy, romantic mis-adventure in Paris. I cannot wait to read the finished copy Taryn!
Taryn is actually a novelist. Don't let her make you believe that she is a UPS employee.

Now the funny part is Ryan (Airplane) is not really a Pita Pit employee but rather an iconoclastic social critic who reads Lacan with the same voraciousness as a pissing horse.




This photograph is very good: it shows my two cousins, Zack and Elliot playfully fighting.

Hey Zack: you will make a great daddy one day!



Hey Elliot: one day you will have guns too!



And last but not least: here is Jonathan getting ready for his big interview. He recently got a job at a Credit Union and I thought he would think it sweet that I posted it here because he has been such a diligent reader of this blog. Thanks, John!

21.3.09

Online Video Chat Review: Adventures in Stickam

Adventures in Stickam (pronounced STICK CAM)
    People with addictions know (if only at the level of the subconscious) that the addict is searching for the next big hit. The addict thinks, "yeah, the next shot will be better than the last." Well, addictive websites act according to the same logic. On Stickam, the same addictive cycle plays itself out. I must confess (*wipes back tears*) I am an addict. I go to CA meetings monthly (camwhores anonymous). Hah hah. lolz. ROFL. (oh wait, this is a blog, not an I<) With that said, I do not intend for this blog to be a moral diatribe. 
    If you are offended by this kind of thing, don't read my blog. Lots of ink has been spilled about the risks of Stickam. I will reserve moral judgment for other plebes. If you don't know about Stickam, it is a site where you can chat and cam with dozens of people simultaneously. The site allows you to register for free with a username, a profile page (where you can add personal information, stats, quotes) similar to Facebook and myspace. In the chat rooms, Stickam is a free-for-all.
    The phenomenon called Stickam was started in 2004 and is owned (according to the site) by Advanced Video Communications. The site states that Stickam is "the pioneer of live streaming video and the largest live community on the Internet." Yippie! Oh, Stickam, I love you!

Stickam Chat Rooms    See, Stickam chat rooms are created by Stickam users, so chat groups can be anything from {str8.gay.bi} to {Vampire Nation™}. I am serious! Inside a chat room are usually dozens of users, having various conversations at once. The funny thing about Stickam is that people are usually chatting. I have never been online and seen empty chat rooms.
Another feature of Stickam is the option "to go live." This simply means that anyone anywhere can view your webcam, not only the three million registered viewers but anyone with a computer and a web browser. Or you can limit your live to friends and people you select. The live feature gives Stickam an advantage over other cam sites because a user can embed their "live" into their websites and create, on the fly, instant personal webcam pages. In reality, live is so dumb: who cares if you are brushing your teeth, no one wants to see it.
     Stickam is pure hilarity. It is mindless. Sometimes, utterly profound. A typical tour through Stickam will desensitize even the most unsensitized of persons. To me, Stickam is like a fast-food drive-thru. Cheap, temporarily fulfilling and quick. Like most chat rooms, people are rude, crass, stupid, demoralizing, impish, inane, and usually vapid. All rules of grammar and spelling are void. Shallowness is the new deep, folks.
     But, I am not knocking the experience. Stickam is fucking funny. Especially when someone is like super high, talking as if no one is listening (which is the charm of the live entertainer, btw) and having conversations with other cammers, reading their comments, and rocking out. It is hilarious. But, hey, maybe I am just shallow, man.
     The quintessential feature that makes Stickam unique is its egalitarian front. You got all kinds, dawlin'. Also, it is the one place on the web where you can see with your eyes, hear with your ears, read with your brain, all at the same time people just doing otherwise banal, stuff. It is so funny: some people actually are on Stickam 24/7. You can tell: they are sleeping, eating, talking on their cell phones, or doing homework.
Some users I have met:
    Mature guys like Cheech 
 I met him and his parrot  will demonstrate to anyone who will listen how to be masculine type, be a Puerto Rican top, wear leather properly, and at the same show professionalism and decorum (he is a social worker by trade). Immature folks (like lil gangsta) say whatever is on their mind ("I just farted" or "I am bored"). Calicob is from Atlanta and enjoys discussing quantum physics. Ender is an intriguing lad who loves to speak about Frederic Jameson, but he is usually shirtless, drinking, and a potty mouth. Mr.Brian lives in Oregon, mid-life, and says nothing except, "how is everyone tonight?" Canadabeef is scary. Patrick is Canadian and loves to hate on Americans; he splatters the chat with French phrases and he is super mean.
    Although I have to admit with lil gangsta, most Stickam sessions are kinda boring. To be a true hard-on, junkie, basically quit your job, stock up on food and booze, never leave your house and set yourself in front of the webcam and wait.
    One user, Cocoboy, is a boy, but he likes to dress up like a girl and he is from Scotland. He is fucking hilarious. If he is on, I mute everyone else and listen to his rambling monologue (it goes on for hours). Or lindababe: she is a girl, I think, and she has her iTunes on randomizer and she loves to jam out and make obscene comments.
Some Stickam vocabulary:
     If you never say anything and don't go on cam you are called a "lurker". For example, "hey lurkerz, come in!" If you go on cam and say things but you are kinda scary you are called a "creeper". For example, "That dude is such a creeper." Mods are moderators. Dock and undock: on Stickam the user chooses (docks) people they want to see or removes (undocks) people they don't want to see. Pedos = anyone who is creepy. Pedobears = hairy ones. The penis is called a peen (cuz you can't curse). If you want to send a private message you PM that person.
    If you show pubes, you're out. Although, this rule is occasionally broken. Frontal nudity on Stickam is actually hilarious. It happens sporadically. Lasts for about fifteen seconds, before a mod notices and kicks them out. The most disturbing incident I have ever seen on Stickam was a drunk adolescent was with his friends, said he was gay, flashed his peen, then wrote "death to all faggots" and then wrote his phone number and location for all to see. Or another time: a girl was live and she was obviously severely overdosed, crying bitterly, and talking about killing herself. Her friend was also live, on the phone with 911, waiting for the cops to arrive. And we could call see the events transpiring.
Now Voyeurs!
Voyeurism is the attra
ction of Stickam. No one ever says it but it is the reason why the cammers gather. Let's face it: we are a nation of secret voyeurs (well, not so secret). Stickam is Rear Window for the rest of us. If a user is not on cam he is instantly suspect. Doubly suspect if he or she is not on cam nor does she have a profile pic. Either you want to be seen or you want to see. Even though exhibitionism is banned, everyone loves the thrill of the occasional girl or guy who shows all. Because it is prohibited means it is more exciting when it happens. If Stickam were unadulterated it would not be as fun. That's what porn is for! If you want skin on Stickam you got to ask for it or just wait patiently. On Stickam, most folks follow the rules. But, rules are made to be broken. When they are broken it gives everyone a thrill. Even the prudes. I would not be surprised if Stickam's developers are forced to can the site. I have noticed the web watchers are getting nervous. It is only a matter of time before something hits the news: "teen commits suicide because someone on Stickam told them"
    Which brings me to my second to last point: sex. I guess sex underscores the entire Stickam phenomenon. Sexuality is such a colorful cornucopia. I have never met so many bi people in my life. Everyone is bi. OMG. If you want sex it is not prudent to just start doing it on cam. Even the camwhores get all puritan on you. Sex on Stickam is like sex in real life: flirt, reveal some potent information, proposition yourself, exchange instant message names (or use Stickam's C2C feature).
    Stickam lies in that interstitial space: not so highly prohibited like pornography, but at the same time, most people would not want their colleagues (or their kids) to know that they cam every night in the {rock_with_your_cock_out} room.
Caveats:

  • It eats up your time
  • Mostly uninteresting
  • Don't forget to turn your cam off
  • Gender ambiguity is a given
  • People lie
  • Haters abound
But, hey, compared to other empty garbage like Reality TV and QVC, I'll take Stickcam anyday.
Read more about Stickam: