And I Did Nothing…

I did something I today that I rarely do.  I didn’t leave my apartment.  There was no reason to,  I really didn’t want to, and it was so nice and warm here that I said “what the fuck,” made myself comfortable and didn’t go anywhere.  As I said this rarely happens.  Usually after a couple of hours I start to go stir crazy and have to get out.  But not today.

I didn’t wake up until almost 2:30.  Now before you start scolding, I didn’t go to bed until almost 5 a.m.  I was up late reloading software onto my computer.  I still have a couple of programs to go, but I have to find the discs and serial numbers first so that might take a while.  Unfortunately both programs are used for my design work, so I need to find them soon.   So anyway, I slept late, got up and turned my coffee back on.  It had a brewed long before I got up and had already cut itself off.  While drinking the coffee I talked to my mom and my friend Michelle.

After the phone calls I switched to Diet Coke, wrapped myself up in a blanket on the couch and started catching up on DVR shows that I had recorded while I was in Maine.  I got caught up on episodes of Chuck (which is my favorite), Dirty Sexy Money, and Journeyman.  Luckily with DVR you can fast forward through the commercials so it’s a little more fun to watch.

After TV, I spent some time reading blogs and answering emails.  At that point I had decided that I was going to go downtown, so I took a shower.  I also gathered my laundry to take downstairs to get it done, moved it as far as the front door and changed my mind about going out.  So I lit some candles, planted myself back in front of the TV and called it a night.  That’s where I was when my roommate came home, and that’s where I was until about 10 minutes ago when I started writing this post.

It’s actually been a nice day.  Who knows maybe I’ll do the same again tomorrow.  I don’t have to work again until Saturday, so maybe the ticket really is to do absolutely nothing.  We’ll have to see.

I’ll have a Diet Coke, please!

The refrigerator in my kitchen is covered in magnets.  They are a collection of things I’ve been picking up for the past several years.  For the most part they are from places that I’ve traveled.  Whenever I drive cross country, or fly through an airport I’ll stop and pick one up.  However, not all of them are cities or states.  My favorite magnet says, “I’d make dinner but I can’t find the phone book.”  Believe it or not I found this magnet in Kentucky of all places, but it’s so true when you are a New Yorker.  Especially when you are me.  I never cook.  When I’m home, I order in almost every night.  There are two places I use.  One is a diner which is over-priced and the food is so-so.  The other is a Chinese restaurant whose food isn’t too bad, and they are fast.

Tonight I ordered Chinese.  Since I’ve been dieting I order the same thing every time.  Steamed chicken with broccoli, no rice no sauce.  Pretty easy don’t you think?  I have to order the large to make the price above their minimum delivery charge.  Which is fine because when it’s all you are eating it’s really not too much food.  The cost of the order comes to 7.75.

images.jpegTonight when I ordered I asked if the free drink that comes with the order could be Diet Coke.  I was assured that I wouldn’t get a free drink because free drinks only come with orders over 8.00.  I thanked the guy for explaining it to me, hung up the phone, turned to my roommate and said, “A free drink doesn’t come with the order which means we’ll get a Pepsi.”  I know this because it always comes with a drink and it’s always a Pepsi.  Sure enough 15 minutes later when the food arrived, it was accompanied by a very cold Pepsi.  As my roommate said, it’s almost become a Seinfeld moment.

The question now is what do I do with a fridge full of Pepsi that my roommate nor I will ever drink?

A New Hard Drive…

hard-drive.jpgAfter more than two weeks without my computer, it’s finally out of the shop.  I picked it up today from the repair store.  It now has a brand new hard drive, and is running faster than ever.  What it doesn’t have is any of the pictures that I took over the past two years.  Any of the design work I did over the past two years.  The programming for my design website.  The programming for my DVD.  Two years worth of emails.  And none of the illegal software that my friends had given me.  In essence I’m starting with a brand new computer.

I keep trying to remind myself that I should be thankful that the computer didn’t need to be replaced.  It was a relatively easy fix and for the most part painless.  As with all things, I think about what’s missing and I realize that I can live without most of those things.  The pictures are not replaceable, but it’s also not like they were of my grandmother who just died or something.  The files were important, but once again they are not things I can’t live without.  I’ll have to recreate some things but for the most part it will be fine.

What I have promised myself to do, is to back up my computer as I create files.  I have an external hard drive that I hardly ever use.  It sits on my desk beside my computer and is hardly ever plugged in.  That will change now.  I’m going to back up things as I go, so that next time I won’t lose so much information.

I’ll spend the next few days catching you up on what’s been going on but for now, I’m still working at the restaurant.  It’s going fine.  In fact I was supposed to work tonight but gave away my shift so that I could go and pick up my computer.  I’ll have to pick up a shift on Thursday or Friday to make up for it, but that’s no big deal.

I hope everyone’s been doing well, and I can’t wait to catch up on what everyone’s been doing since I’ve been gone.

Maddog without a computer…

If I have any readers left, I’d like to apologize for being missing in action for so long. I was in Kentucky from November 1 to November 11 doing a show. I was unfortunately at my mom’s house and she does not have an internet connection. It was weird being without my computer and not being able to post blog entries, nor read up on what any of you out there in blog land were up to. I got home on November 11 and that night the hard drive on my computer died. And like 90% of all people I didn’t have any of my stuff backed up. I’ve lost two years worth of pictures, all of the materials I use for job applications, the programming for my design website, and two years worth of design materials. I could have paid to get the materials recovered but it was going to cost 600 bucks and when you don’t have a real job that’s a lot of money. I suppose even if you do have a real job that’s a lot of money. My computer is now at the repair shop awaiting parts to repair it. Luckily, it was still under warranty so I’m not having to pay to get it repaired, I just am playing the waiting game. It’s been there almost 10 days now and I still don’t know when I’m getting it back. Trust me when I say being without my computer for almost a month has been very unsettling. I can’t wait to get it back and get caught up on blogs that I read as well as be able to start posting again. I have acquired lots of material in th last month.

To get you current, I worked Thanksgiving Day. In fact I worked almost 16 hours that day and experienced one of the worst shifts waiting tables that I have ever known. The customers in the restaurant that day SUCKED. They were all in pissy moods and acted as though they had never been out to eat before. There was no appreciation for the fact that I was working on a holiday so that they could eat their “holiday” meal out. To make matters worse it was 10% day. In over six hours I didn’t make one tip that was over 10%. And as the hours passed the more moody I became and it was no wonder people weren’t tipping me by the end of the day. There is nothing like working a holiday making pennies, serving grouchy people. By midnight when the restaurant closed I was just DONE. I had had it. I just wanted to slap someone and go home. I was just angry by the end of my day.

The only thing that salvaged the day for me was the knowledge that I was going to Maine on Friday. I got home at 2:30 a.m. packed, watched some TV, got about 2.3 hours of sleep, got up took a shower and headed to the airport to head to Portland to visit Michelle. I was dead tired by the time I got there, but I was so glad not to be working, and to be out of the city that I could hardly contain myself. The weekend was serving a dual purpose. Michelle and her girlfriend Lisa were hosting a non traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Friday night. And Michelle and her friends were presenting another drag king show on Saturday night. So I got to eat great food and then design the lights and run the show for their performance. It has been a great weekend. The show went off without a hitch and I think hands down it’s their best one yet. The lighting was exceptionally good this time. And dinner Friday night was insane. There was such a mix of food. My favorites were the vegetarian lasagna and the homemade chocolate cream pie…and honorable mention went to the homemade cheesecake. YUMMMMMMMY.

It’s now Sunday night and I head back to the city tomorrow. I go back to work on Tuesday and I’m hoping that it’s a better shift than Thursday. I”m trying to tell myself that it was one night and that every night won’t be like that. In the mean time I’ll try to make posts as often as I can and I’m really hoping that I get my computer back this week. Thanks to everyone who sent emails and comments wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is doing well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

A Maddog In The Country

It’s 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, and I have spent the last three hours sitting on my sofa enjoying being back in New York, in my own apartment.  And it the most amazing thing, not one person has screamed “Motherfucker”, not one person has made disparaging remarks about “Mexicans” or “Niggers”, the temperature in the apartment is well above freezing, and there isn’t a well meaning mother shoving cookies in my direction telling me to go ahead…”have one more.”  Perhaps you can already discover the differences between my life in Kentucky and my life in New York.  If not, well I’ll spend a couple of paragraphs explaining.

I was hired about six weeks ago to do the lighting for a musical at a small college in Central Kentucky.  I worked at this school when I lived in Kentucky years ago and was very aware of the limitations.  They were however, willing to pay me a decent sum of money to come to Kentucky for 10 days and design the lights for their musical.  They also provided me with transportation from NYC to KY and a rental car to use while I was there.  The school was close enough that I could stay with my mom while I was there and save everyone some money.  And thus I went to Kentucky for 11 days.

This is the longest I’ve been in the area since my father died.  I’m usually only there three or four days at most and in the past year each visit has been less than 48 hours.  This is perfect for me.  I love my family to death but I can only take them in small doses.  And when I say small doses.  I mean small doses.

We’ll start with my mom’s house.  My mom lives in a modest ranch style home that was built in the 1960’s.  She and my father bought the house about 8 years ago.  It was too much house for them then, and it’s way too much house for my mom now.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to convince her to even try and sell it.  She’s convinced that she’ll have no where to go if she does.  As long as she makes the payments, she’s got a roof over her head.  The only problem is it REALLY IS WAY TOO MUCH HOUSE for her.

My mother has never been a good housekeeper.  I didn’t grow up in a house where everything was in it’s place and there was no dust on things.  Once every six months or so, my mom would take the day off work and scrub from top to bottom and the house would be perfect.  For a day or two.  To this day, it’s the mode of cleaning that I use.  I keep things somewhat put in place.  And then every six months or so I scrub from top to bottom.  For my mom though, this no longer works.  She’s almost 70 and not in the best physical shape so cleaning at all causes her great pain.  She does the best she can but it’s not very good.  I’ve offered to try and help hire someone to help her out, but she says no.  She also won’t allow me to help when I’m home.  As you can tell she’s very stubborn.

All of this translates into a very dusty, not very clean house.  Which for me, means that my allergies are in full force by the time I drop my bags in my bedroom.  This trip, I started popping Claritin-D before I got there which helped some.  But still there were several nights that I sneezed well over 50 or 60 times, before I was finally able to get comfortable and fall asleep.  The other reason I have allergy problems at my mom’s house is that her roof leaked for well over a year before it was discovered and repaired.  I would bet money that there is an insane build up of mold in her house.  I’m surprised she’s not sick all the time.  But except for her physical ability to get around she’s great.

My mother is also a obsessive worrier.  There have been many times in her life that she’s become overwhelmed with things in her life to the point of making her sick.  The day I got my driver’s license and drove for the first time by myself, she fainted in the grocery store.  A little dramatic yes, but that’s my mom.  Since my dad died the thing she worries about most is the cost of fuel.  The cost of gas for the car, and the cost of gas to heat the house.  For this reason, she won’t drive anywhere she doesn’t HAVE to go to.  And she keeps the thermostat set on 52.  At least that’s what it was on two nights ago when the temperature outside was 21.  Needless to say, I froze my ass off, and that was with four blankets.  I finally convinced her that I was freezing and she boosted the temp to 62.  Not a lot better, but it was some improvement.

And then, when I get up, there is more candy, cookies, sweets, etc. to feast on than any person needs to have.  My mother’s dining room table is covered with bags of different kinds of candy (none of it was for trick or treat) at least three or four kinds of cookies, then there are pies, chips, ice cream, pop tarts, crackers, popcorn, etc.  It’s a disaster area for someone who likes food as much as I do.  I think I gained 10 pounds this week.  I tried for about the first three or four days until I gave in.  And then I said fuck it.  It was just too much to pass by and not help myself to it.

All of this and I haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving Dinner.  My mother decided that since it had been exactly 10 years since I was in Kentucky for Thanksgiving, that we should have our family gathering on November 10.  This way I could be there, everyone was available to come and it would be just like Thanksgiving…only earlier.  As of yesterday, I realize that I never want to attend another family function ever.  I just don’t like them.  I don’t like the people.  I don’t like the people.  I don’t like the people.

Any of my friends who have met any of my family will tell you that there is a serious disconnect between me and my family.  It’s clear that I don’t fit in and it’s often suggested that I was stolen as a baby and that’s why.  My friend Michelle has made these assumptions, and my friend Todd is just baffled by it.  So what happens when I get together with my family… I sit around and pretend not to be offended by the bigoted racists remarks that are made.  There is constant talk about the Mexicans who live next door and across the street.  I won’t get into it here, but they are not kind remarks.  It gets even worse when we talk about the “little colored boy” who lives down the street.  Or the “bunch of niggers” that were at the Wal-Mart the other day.   I’m only able to do this for a short time, until I blow my fuse and piss everyone off.

It wouldn’t be so bad (well it probably would be) if this didn’t all take place at dinner.  We are supposed to be having a dinner of Thanksgiving and people are talking about this stuff.  Then in the middle of all this the word “motherfucker” is tossed out 6 or 7 times.   Then Ronnie calls Tony a “pussy” and then Scott gets pissed off and calls Jessie a “prick”.  And then everyone gets mad because Scott is being mean to his children.  Oh, yeah, each and every one of the bigots has bred insuring a long line of bigots to come.

And at some point, I decided I just want to be home.  Not at my mom’s house, but home in New York.  In the privacy of my home.  Where I can have civilized conversation, without insulting half the people in the room.  Where I can sit and be me without being judged and without people thinking that I am better than they are.

And that my friends was the family portion of my trip to Kentucky.  By the way, my mom is NOT one of the racists at the table.  She’s actually very progressive and very liberal.  Which sets her apart from the rest of them as well.  I’ve yet to figure out how that happened.  I do know that it drives me crazy to be there, and to be there for 10 days is mind numbing.  But I managed and I didn’t yell at anyone, and for the most part everyone was happy.  Well sort of.

In the land of Tobacco and Bourbon

Hello all.

This will have to be quick.  I apologize for the lack of posts over the last week or so.  I have been in the land of tobacco and bourbon.  Also known as Kentucky.  Unfortunately, I’ve been without an internet connection and haven’t had time to go some place to find one.  I’m here doing a show at a small school in Kentucky.  It has been an adventure to say the least.  I’ll explain more later.  The show opens tomorrow night and I fly home on Sunday.  I’ll post a very lengthy post then and fill you all in on what’s going on.  In the mean time.  Have a great weekend.