Friday, September 28, 2007


Evening takes a strange turn after Matthew Brookshire show. Am sitting in front of Caffe Vivaldi drinking beer with the Contessa and Dave, when very thin, blond girl--hair back in tight ponytail and held back in headband, wearing white dress and clutching Blackberry--seats herself at our table. Or rather she falls into seat, tossing large portion of wine in her glass into Dave's lap. She takes napkin from purse and pats his thigh, apologizing in a slurring way. She give up the job and looks up at Dave. You're beautiful, she says. (Feel that this tactic--if judiciously used--could come in handy when find self in tough inter-personal fix.) You're not just beautiful, you're Hot, she continues. Girl--we find out her name is Alix--next turns her attention to the Contessa who she also declares is Beautiful. Alix says, If you were a Lesbian I'd sleep with you. Even if I wasn't a lesbian. Feel that it is my turn next, so am very surprised when she turns toward me and says, why are you looking at me that way. I can see the look you gave your beautiful friend. You hate me, don't you? Tell her that I don't even know her. In fact, do hate her, but she has a lunatic glint in her eye and feel like don't want to be hit with Blackberry. She tells us that she is a TV actress, so she knows what hot is. What show? Dave asks. She replies, I was nominated for an Emmy--then she corrects herself--No, not an Emmy, the other one. The Golden Globe? the Contessa offers. No, Alex replies firmly, the Teen Choice Award. After much slurring, and another moment when she a) angrily accuses the Contessa of drinking her wine--glass is empty and she says, I don't remember drinking it. b) Hitches her dress up high enough so that her underpants show--am terrified of being attacked again, so don't say anything. (Am also, am ashamed to admit, extremely fascinated by her behavior.) c) she tells us that her TV show is actually an internet show. Do you know Michael Eisner? she asks mysteriously. She is finally retrieved by friends, one of whom apologizes for her. Have distinct sense that this is not the first time he's had to do the same. We get up and leave before she decides to come back outside again. Note to the others that She's what is known as a mean drunk. She's what is known as a crazy person, the Contessa amends, shuddering--Imagine if we lived in LA and everybody was like that. Think this is an extreme exaggeration.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

For Heather Moore

3 hour meeting today provides plenty of time to draw:

Lady's leg and shoe--rest obscured by tablecloth. Also, plastic coffee mug.

Sandwich with one bite taken out--drawing of actual sandwich. No chips provided at meeting but excited by salami--unfortunately salami tasted exactly like sliced Spam.

Did not feel up to drawing a unicorn at this meeting, also, sitting right next to Cindy Stevens and felt her glancing over at notebook several times. Did not care to have to explain unicorn drawing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Oliver comes into my office today to tell me that he is a) the mailing for the board reception is in the mailroom now (do not like to point out to him that it should have gone out on Friday--but do congratulate self on new method with Oliver--i.e. to change due date back so that things actually get done on time b) he is hungry and is thinking about going to Gray's Papaya (am repulsed and can't think why he'd want to share this with me) and c) Your friend who visited yesterday is fi-ine. With sick feeling (made worse by concurrent image of brain of ends of Gray's Papaya's hot dogs, bright red, slick, and looking like they've been tied off by hand) realize that he is talking about the Contessa. Decide to take opposite tack from yesterday and feign deafness so as not to accidentally encourage behavior. Oliver asks, Is she dating? Look sidelong at phone , willing it to ring. It maddeningly does not. Oliver and I stare at each other. I heard she got dumped by her fiance, he says. Tell him that this is true. He asks, Does she like smart guys? He is talking about himself. Conversation continues in this vein for much too long, as Oliver--as has been proven before--can't pick up on cues which a normal person would know meant that the conversation was not being enjoyed by all parties: curtness, the checking and typing of email, going to the bathroom (he follows me in and talks to me while I pee).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Contessa's Bad Taste

The Contessa calls to say that she has news about the Vice-Boss and that she (the Contessa) is coming over Right Away. Am very impressed and excited by this news, and can do absolutely no work waiting for her arrival. On her way in, she is waylaid by Oliver. Can't hear what they are talking about and am sufficiently annoyed by having to wait that finally get up out of chair to see what the chit chat is about. What are you talking about? I ask. Oh Nothing, the Contessa says, turning me around and leading me into my office, where she shuts the door. She says, I never realized that Oliver was Cute before. Am shocked and horrified and appalled say so. The Contessa asks if I look down on him because he is a secretary. Certainly not. Try to change subject back to the Vice-Boss. The Contessa says she really doesn't have any news, only this: The Vice-Boss wearing black today and she has Dandruff (check shoulders--shirt light, so results fortunately inconclusive). That's all? The Contessa puts her chin in her hands. Does Oliver have a girlfriend? Reply in chilly tone, I don't think so, but I don't really keep up on his social life. She asks, How much younger than me is he? I tell her. Six years? she asks, sounding more interested rather than less. Tell her that Oliver is a very difficult person. She says that she likes difficult. Now feel she is just being perverse and tell her sourly that I have a Meeting to go to. She replies, Well la-di-da and your meeting! Draw me a unicorn! she adds, which I consider very low indeed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Batman Curtains

The batman curtains across the street have been replaced with a heavy forest green blanket draped over top of window (window is sort that can slide either up or down.) Feel that this is a sinister development. Morning is spent alternately a) taking care of tedious filing, emailing, and phone calls that have to force self to make after dreading for weeks, and b)remembering about the blanket and excitedly whipping head around to stare at it. Excitement is unfortunately not justified, but feeling that blanket bodes ill for the apartment's inhabitants grows by the minute.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trash Chute

Last night gather up garbage bag to take to chute. Am wearing pajama bottoms and t-shirt, but don't like to be barefoot in public hallway, so stop by coat closet (not accurate name, also houses cake pans, vacuum cleaner, Champagne glasses which have used exactly once, half-filled paint cans, liquor, including bottle of grappa with half an inch of liquid in it, Christmas ornaments, and on the floor and on top of air purifier, shoes. This storage method for shoes makes for a hot and tense time of finding a proper pair of shoes, so to save wear and tear on self, take the first pair that see--one clog and one flip flop. Unfortunately, on way to trash chute, run into neighbor who is wearing baggy boxer briefs, a t-shirt, and slippers. Somehow, stifle impulse to make joke about what we are wearing--joke not so much a joke, as something like, I always put on funny outfits to take out the trash! Which would have only made it sound like I had some sort of bizarre fetish. Instead we are hideously polite to each other and even, I'm afraid, a bit cool. Would not swear that the word Man wasn't used by me, as in Hey man, you doin' ok. Yeah man, you? he replies. However mortifying this becomes in retrospect (very) do at least glad that we both were properly socialized enough to ignore reality.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kid Nation

Watch very interesting show on television last night called Kid Nation. Had previously read about reality show, which puts 30 kids in the desert for a month, where they are expected to organize their own society. Articles about show mostly dealt with the aftermath of the show--parents have complained that the the show violated child labor laws and the children were put in dangerous situations (think, but am not certain that there was a bleach drinking incident.) These all valid reasons to be upset, but do feel that the parents might have considered what they were doing before they sent their kids off to the desert--not that children should be blamed for their parents' greed/lust for fame. So watch show with some measure of guilt, but since guilt is nearly constant companion, we sit very companionably on sofa with Dave and Jenny and watch the kids compete to see who will be in the Upper Class, and who will be a member of the Merchant Class, the Cooks, and the Laborers. Show not entirely unlike something called Endurance--a Survivor rip off that showed (shows?) on Saturday mornings. Redhead host JD Roth--as the title suggests--had kids compete in various tasks, i.e. hanging on to greased pole for as long as possible, or perhaps solving riddle. In episodes that I saw, this took place in gorgeous tropical places, which would have loved to go to when that age, living with the other kids, and making friends with the girls--could very easily imagine self making alliances (a la Survivor) with fellow contestants. Kid Nation also appeals because the kids are to remake a Frontier Town. Can only say that had very involved fantasies based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, so this is naturally very appealing as well. Own parents never would have allowed me to go, but can only too well imagine myself begging. Kids are actually like kids--there are two rowdy older boys, 15, who terrorize the younger kids, one girl when she sees the bunk house says, Everything is in disarray! And one kid, named Jimmy, spends most of episode sobbing and telling everybody who will listen that he is Too Young. I'm only in third grade, he says, wiping the tears from his eyes as more tears fall. At the end of the episode, Jimmy is thankfully allowed to go home, which means that I get to watch again next week. (It really would have been too cruel to keep him on.) Somehow the competitive spirit invades dreams, and when see Dave nonchalantly catching football and joining touch football game in park, despite extreme trepidation, don't want to be left out, so I too join in game despite proven lack of aptitude for catching, probably because am and always will be Afraid of ball. Fear does not evaporate even though am dreaming, just as it didn't go away when any number of coaches urged me to put myself in harm's way. In dream, successfully manage to not have anybody Pass me the ball, but do identify opportunity to help team when see opponent holding ball and charging toward goal line. Put out hands and lunge toward him, and make contact! Wake up to see that have hit wall with hands and on the way, clipped the non-football playing, until seconds ago sleeping, Dave on the side of the head. He is naturally confused and upset. I was playing touch football in my dream, I say, as he frowns in a worried way and then rolls over and away from me. Have talked aloud while sleeping, but think this is the first instance in which have ever moved while dreaming. Sincerely hope that it doesn't foretell new penchant for sleep walking, sleep eating, etc. Have any readers ever sleep walked or eaten?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day to day

After licking wounds about bad news about book this summer, put aside and (in July) start brand new book about a carrot growing family that gets into the processing of carrots and about the grinding of the carrots down into those repulsive little nubs (the carrots only a background to a murder investigation--a rival carrot grower is found dead in the fields.) This is just to say that have been typing away busily and now have over 400 pages--speed totally unprecedented and probably never to be experienced again, but am trying to appreciate it while it is here. This morning as am typing, up pops window that reads You have too many spelling mistakes and grammar problems for Microsoft Word to mark any longer. Do not at all care for the unnecessary scolding tone. Close computer in disgust (it is time to leave for work anyway) and as am going into Manhattan on train, compose sharply worded note to Microsoft (Question: perhaps better to send directly to Bill Gates?). When get into work, decide note is very silly, despite (or perhaps because of?) brief but pointed dissertation about the delicate relationship between the Computer and the Artist...then forget note entirely as find Oliver on hands and knees under desk. Susan explains that He is looking for a staple remover. Feel it best not to ask any follow up questions, but neither can I help self from lingering, waiting to see if Oliver is successful in his hunt. Oliver emerges from under desk looking a bit dusty and rumpled, and holding ruler. No mention is made of staple remover. We start conversation about the Biggest Loser, which Oliver and Susan profess to Love. I've never seen show, but am fascinated and horrified by their description of how show goes--seems to mostly consist of larger humans taking off their shirts and then standing on scales. Oliver says excitedly, Some of the men have three sets of breasts! Make mental note to see what he is talking about.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Am busily doodling away during meeting--doodles are abstract rather than figurative, filling most of bottom of page with firm diagonal lines, feel that lines clearly indicate dangerously obsessive behavior, but grimly draw to goal of covering all white space on page--when pen leaks in major way, spilling ink on page, quickly traveling down table to lap. Try to sop up ink as best as can with notebook, but this only succeeds in smearing it on table, and it is only then that notice that have spilled ink on taupe pants of the Director of Publicity. She, unfortunately, notices at exactly the same time and shrieks, which brings the meeting to a halt. Have often wished for disasters to end meetings, but do not at all care for all eyes disapprovingly on me--fantasies usually end in similar way, but disapproval replaced with admiration as have just successfully executed the Heimlich maneuver and a nut has flown across the room. The pen exploded, say by way of explanation, showing my hands, which are covered in ink. Say brightly and insanely, I swear this isn't from one of those exploding thingamajiggerss that bank tellers put in bags of stolen money! (Use of word Thingamajiggers haunts me later) Am met with blank stares except by Director of publicity who says angrily that Clearly the ink came from your pen. Excuse self to go to bathroom to wash hands and am told that everyone else will take a quick break so that I don't miss any of meeting. Am thoroughly discouraged.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Delightful Message

Receive message from Heather Moore ( sorry I can't do the proper kind of link, am doing this at home and the little icon doesn't show up) takes matters into her own hands and draws the avocado cake.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Avocado Cake

Go back to office yesterday in state of semi-shock at awkward spectacle just witnessed. Thankfully, promptly receive call from the Contessa who says Oh My God. Agree heartily and we rehash experience for much much longer than actual experience took. Finally get off phone and begin train of thought about Time and how time is experienced. i.e. how a meeting can seem to last several weeks, how have very clear memory of going to see the Contessa read at series in Harlem and thinking that if asked, would say that went about a year ago when in actual fact it is three years in the past. Thoughts continue in similar vein. Unfortunately Cindy Stevens comes into office as I am still thinking and disconcerts me by asking if I am feeling all right. Am very glad--must appreciate things to be glad for whenever they present themselves--that am not on reality TV show and thus subject to having all facial expressions recorded for future reference.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Office Birthday Party

On way to train this morning, pass Presbyterian church on the corner. There are 5 Cadillac stretch limos and several large black Mercedes Benzes, but what really catches my attention is that the last limo in the row is blasting Biggie, loud enough to make windows hum. Can only hope that funeral is for a rapper, otherwise, think extremely inappropriate. On platform, sit on bench to wait for train. Read until see gray shape out of corner of eye. Stand up quickly and move away from bench, telling self (not for the first time) that I will Never sit on that bench again. Once up, notice man holding bag containing darling, young, trim, well-behaved Beagle. Jenny darling, but still not anorexic, and would not want to test her ability to stay in bag without barking. (Imagine very dramatic scene involving a chase down the train platform, Jenny running ahead of me just out of reach, baying, wagging tail, and then jumping down to tracks which necessitates heroic rescue and picture in the Post.) When at work call the Contessa to tell her about the rapper funeral and the Cute Dog. She rudely interrupts and says We have a Situation here to deal with. It turns out that the vice-boss has just come in and told the Contessa that it is her (the vice-boss's) birthday, but that the Contessa is NOT to do anything. Does she mean I should do something? The Contessa asks me. Reply that I'm afraid it does. Ask what the vice-boss is eating these days. What she's not eating, the Contessa says, is refined sugar, Wheat, dairy, meat, or nuts. I tell her I will find something and bring it over so we can sing the vice-boss happy birthday. Shockingly awkward moment follows as the Contessa, her secretary, and I sing happy birthday around one lit candle jammed into avocado half. (Remember at last minute in store that avocados a favorite of the vice-boss and never on the forbidden list.) Singing is not as vigorous or as in tune as one might like and the Contessa is deputized to blow the candle out for the vice-boss who says that she has Asthma. This is so nice, she says as we pass around avocado pieces.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Watch very unusual and fascinating show on the Science Fiction channel (doubt could find again if tried) last night. Show called Who Wants to Be a Superhero? reality show in which Grown-ups wear superhero suits and compete to see--in the words of Stan Lee who is the host--who has the heart and soul to be a superhero. The contestants live in a Lair. At mention of word Lair, and the behavior of the contestants, which is strangely serious given that the men are wearing full-body spandex suits and the lone woman looks like she is wearing a cheap Halloween costume, Dave says Oh Mah Laawrd, and we both sit up on edge of couch. During the episode (the second to last--there are only three contestants left) a flat panel TV screen periodically fires up and Stan Lee gives instructions to the Superheros. Am both wistful and yet somewhat glad that come to the show as late as have come. For example, have missed episode in which the three remaining contestants have had to battle attack dogs (superheroes naturally do not have any real superpowers so are intelligently wearing big suits and helmets) to disable fake looking giant electroshock machine or some such device that throws off sparks. One contestant, Hygena--who when not wearing her dog proof suit wields a magic feather duster and wears a modified French maid outfit--offers to be Bait so that the other two contestants--Hyper-Strike and The Defuser--can complete Mission. Am very sad to only see this exciting sequence in flashback as Stan Lee critiques the superheroes' actions. Do get to see--in Media challenge--the superheroes being interviewed by Kennedy (of last century's MTV fame). Favorite part is when she asks Hyper-Strike if he can do a handstand on the interview couch. Yes he can, and he does. In final episode, which conveniently follows the first we see, the superheros Learn to Fight from a person who says his name is Balls Mahoney. Feel certain that this is a pseudonym. The superheroes are fitted into harnesses and then they fly around in front of green screen, executing flips and shouting out their tag lines. The Defuser's line is Excelsior! which do not very much care for because of woeful moment in mid-childhood when threw up in lobby of the Excelsior hotel in Venice--but this, naturally, did not enter into his calculations. After the fighting, the superheros have private conversations with Stan Lee, who makes them talk about their personal traumas which have lead them to superherodom. Hyper-Strike--whose real last name is Stork--says that he was a weird kid who didn't have very many friends--and (he continues) if you have a name that rhymes with something, forget about it, he was Stork the Dork forever. Hygena had a late term miscarriage which made her very afraid of many things, but the show has given her the courage to Try Again. The Defuser watched his older sister get caught up in a bad crowd and turn to drugs, and when he was young he wished that a hero could walk off the pages of a comic book and come help out his family. Are you crying? Dave asks. Tell him no, but neither do I turn my face to his. Dave notes that this is the only reality show he's ever seen in which everybody is Good. Agree, emotionally, but later worry about how much of own time on earth is spent wondering about the lives of others.


Whitney Smith kindly writes to ask about the swimsuit requirement for the audition a few days ago. Can only say that left that that piece out of post not intentionally, but rather out of mild amnesia borne out of shame and horror associated with having to disrobe in front of director and sundry others while they whisper to each other and--in one--case snicker. Before coming in, noticed that other men in line were not the lithest bunch, and was very angry at Betsey for putting me in same category--but by end of audition feel that have aged and grown fatter and fit in quite nicely.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Joy Williams

Per suggestion by the Contessa have been reading book of short stories by Joy Williams, writer of extremely dark wit. Stories very good, and funny, but subject matter--suicide, debilitating illness, heroin addition, death--not exactly sunshine and rainbows. Not that particularly care for sunshine and rainbow writing, but have noticed, not for the first time, that am deeply affected by what read. i.e. when read Strangers on the Train spent a solid three days convinced--not in a delusional, paranoid way, but in an anxiously resigned way--that I'd committed a murder and was soon to be scooped up by the police. Explain the same to the Contessa who says that she knows what I mean. When she was reading the book she kept thinking that she a) had cancer and b) that something Very Good was going to happen.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Audition Contd.

Receive call early this morning that audition is back on for today. In horror, hear self speaking in clipped tones and asking if she is absolutely sure because I don't want to waste my time (note: should adopt this attitude more often--would snip out much needless tedium and own tendency toward sloth). Betsey is is brisk in return, says of course. You need to be there by 11. This presents small problem as have meeting with publicity department at 11. Problem quickly solved by typing email to Cindy Stevens telling her that I have a Bug and don't feel well today, then in inspired finish, say that have an appointment with Doctor. Only after press send do I feel guilty, but see no way of rescinding email. Guilt builds as take Jenny for walk and feel certain that am going to run into Cindy Stevens or other person from school, so hurry home, forgetting that Jenny has not yet done her business. Am reminded of this fact when Jenny stops at front door, digs in her heels, and lays enormous dump for all to see. Neighbor from the 10th floor gives me a hateful look as I clean up what Jenny has wrought. Upstairs, Dave says not to feel guilty--think of it as a mental health day! In mental health day of own choosing would not find self in grimy hallway of casting office in the flower district drinking badly scalded coffee which serves to only make me more nervous. Audition turns out to be for a fast food commercial, which feel should have moral objections to, but don't, perhaps because am by now mentally exhuasted from morning of guilt. Sides indicate that am to pretend french fry is an airplane and to fly it into mouth of small child, son of french fry pilot. Role of small child is played by surly looking production assistant wearing extremely tight pants, thin rocker t-shirt, and who has apparently given up his acquaintance with soap and water. Draw on feeble acting skills to overcome flourescent lighting and other earlier mentioned obstacles to success. As leave, am not even rewarded by usual fantasies of riches and fame.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Subway car smells exactly like a public toilet this morning. Can't decide whether it is better to breath through nose or mouth, so compromise by taking very shallow breaths through both. This perhaps responsible for feelings of lightheadedness as subway comes to screaming stop at W 4th St. and have barely recovered and am thus when arrive at office, am unprepared for Oliver's energetic gesturings and exhortations about something that seems to be an emergency feel sure to core is not. Eventually figure out that he is talking about the copy machine--it is broken (and why not?) and feel that am being revisited by old ghosts. Oliver says he need my help in talking to accounting to get us a new one. He asks me rhetorically if I haven't seen the copy repair man come every day for the past month??? Realize with a pleased shock that have not been aware of repairman and if called to identify him in a lineup, would have to recuse self. (Unfruitful train of thought follows about what crime the copy repair man has committed .) Tell Oliver that I will Do What I Can with the accounting office, but have pessimistic faith in my powers. Can see that Oliver senses the same, and forsee trouble.