A Hairowing experience.

I’ve come to hate sitting at my computer.

Why do you ask?

Well you see.

I have a Mac.

My keyboard is white.

And every three minutes I have to blow away a hair that has fallen on the keyboard.

One of the hairs off my head.

At the rate I’m going I’ll be out of hair in another six months.

I’d always thought that I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  I take after my mom’s side of the family.  All the men on my mom’s side of the family have kept their hair.  Thus I would keep my hair.

Unfortunately that’s not the case.  My hair line is receding.  Not as quick as I’m alluding too.  But it’s receding all the same.  My hair’s also not as thick as it used to be.  When I was in high school and college and even several years after college I would often get my hair cut just to have it thinned out.  It was about as thick as could be and would get very hot.  I’d love to have to get my hair thinned out these days.

I realize there is nothing I can do about it.  Other than get used to it.  Just like I get used to my joints aching.  My face wrinkling.  Etc.  It’s inevitable.  I don’t have to like it though.

I’m just saying.

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Angels In America…

Angels in America.

Every time I type that I type Angles in America.  I suppose they mean right angles.  Or 45 degree angles.  Not Angel Angles.

Adam and I had looked forward to the show for a long time.  Neither of us had seen it live and it excited us to see it staged.  We also were excited about the opportunity to see both parts on stage in the same day.  Overwhelming yes.  But also awesome.

As I mentioned last night it was a big deal to get the tickets.

And Sunday rolled around and there we were.

For those who don’t know Angels is an uplifting little comedic romp about AIDS in the mid 1980’s.

The performances were amazing.  There was very little bad to say about any of them.  The guy playing Joe Pitt was my least favorite.  He didn’t seem to have the internal dialogue going on that is called for in his character.  But he was still very good.  Harper Pitt looked younger than she should have been which prompted a discussion between us about how old the couple really is.  I think I won.  I think they should be in their early to mid thirties.  Adam thought late 20’s, which is what they looked to be.  I explained to him that if Joe had been practicing law for 5 years, three years of law school, four years at BYU, and two years of missionary work, all after high school that he had to be at least 32, if not older.  You get the feeling he and Harper have been together for a long time so she should be just as old.  So there I won.

So the performances were great.

Unfortunately I was miserable during most of Part 2 and nearly all of Part 1.

When I got the tickets they didn’t tell me nor did I realize that it was a preview.  Not only was it a preview but they’d only performed each show three times when we saw it.  And normally this would have been fine.

If the tickets hadn’t cost so much and the set hadn’t been such a disaster.

There were times when I felt like I was watching the Peoria Community College production of Angels in America.  The shifts between scenes were awful.  They took forever and sometimes looked as if they hadn’t been rehearsed at all.  Not to mention that each shift involved somewhere between two and four guys coming out to push things around.  Things fell over.  Beds collapsed.  Chairs tipped over.

My favorite moment though involved the Angel.  At the end of Part 1 and then again in Part 2 an Angel appears and is flown into the space.  This was pretty impressive.  What was not impressive.  The two teenagers dressed in black that came out on stage and unclipped the wires from the harness.  Only to come back out at the end of the scene to reattach them so she could fly back out.

What was not impressive was the same kids who came out and rolled a ladder across the stage with Pryor on top of it as he descended from heaven.

What was not impressive was the same kids how appeared upstage to help Pryor ascend to heaven.

What was not impressive…

You get the point.

And if this was the Peoria Community College production I’d have been very forgiving.  But these were expensive tickets.  AND there are about a million scenes in Part 1 and about 500,000 scenes in Part 2.  Every time I was just about to lose myself in the show it was time for another clunky scene change.

I truly hope that they figure this all out because I really think they are going to get panned for how bad it is technically regardless of how good the acting is.

Angels Part One: The Friend Approaches.

So it’s Sunday afternoon.

Adam and I left the house early to deliver a birthday cake for a one year old.  It was shaped like a cat.  The cake not the one year old.  The delivery was in Queens.  For the umpteenth (did you know according to spell check this is a real word?  I did not know this.) time I told him that he needs to start charging for deliveries.  That way we can take a car to Queens and it won’t take 1.5 hours each way to get there.

So we deliver the cake.

And we get back to midtown and search for food.  After much discussing and looking we settle on a diner and we eat breakfast.  It was our least favorite diner breakfast ever, but that’s another story.

After breakfast we walk down the street to the Signature Theater where we are seeing Angels in America.  (Review to come later).  Our getting to see the show was no easy task.  When the production was first announced there was a ton of buzz about it.  Tickets were first sold in a subscription series and they sold out the first day.  Single tickets were sold around the first of August.  The day they went on sale Adam started calling at 10:00 a.m. when he got to work.  He gave up trying to get through about 10:30.  I made coffee and started trying.  It took almost an hour of constant hanging up and redialing to get through.  Finally the phone was answered.  By a machine.  Telling me the call would be answered in the order it was received.  Almost 30 minutes later someone actually answered my call.  I had at least ten friends on Facebook constantly updating their efforts to get through.  It was frustrating to say the least.  As I said review to follow.

So we arrive at the theater.  We pee.  Part one of Angels is 3 hours long.  Part two is 3.5 hours long.  You need to pee before you dive into that.  We go in we find our seats.  We start reading the program.  When someone says, “Oh my god.”  I turn and it’s my friend Jenny from grad school.  Her seat is right next to ours.  What a coincidence.

So she sits down and we chat.  I introduce her to Adam, and I ask her how things have been.  What’s she’s been up to.  Who she’s talked to etc.

The show starts.

We watch.

At the intermission I stay seated.  Adam goes to pee.  I continue talking to Jenny.  Adam returns.

The next part begins.

We watch.

At the next intermission (there are two) Jenny asks us to watch her stuff while she runs to the bathroom.  Adam says, “She’s a tool.”  I ask why?  He says, “She just seems like a piece of work.”

I go pee.

I run into another friend from grad school who is sitting on the other side of the theater.  (He tells me he’s able to focus on just playwriting because he “doesn’t” have to work.  Who doesn’t HAVE to work?   Where did I go wrong?”)

I go back in.

Adam goes to pee.

Jenny and Adam return.

The next part begins.

We watch.

The play is over.

Jenny is waiting in the lobby looking for yet another friend from grad school who is the stage manager on the show.  While she is waiting Adam asks if we should invite her to dinner.  I tell him that we don’t have to but it would probably be the nice thing to do.  She comes out.  I ask her to join us for dinner.

This is drama in and of itself because she has some digestive issue and can’t eat anything.

She assures us that she’ll be fine and we go get dinner.

At dinner we talk about the shows she’s worked on recently.  We talked about a lighting designer that neither of us liked.  We talked about the restaurant.  We talked about Sally.  And Angie.  And Tom.  We talk about her dating life.  We talked about her this and her that…

Jenny gets up to go pee.

Adam turns to me and says, “Hi my name is Adam.  I work for a ___________.  I decorate cakes in my spare time.  I’m from Texas.  I went to school at __________.  Jeff and I have been dating almost two years.  We met in Chelsea.  We moved in almost a year ago.  Can’t she fucking ask one question about you.  Me.  Or us?”

I don’t need to tell you the rest of the evening.  We went back to the theater.  We watched the second play.  It was 3.5 hours.  I liked it better than part one.

Because the Angels is two individual plays the tickets are sold separately.  So.  We didn’t sit next to Jenny for the second play.  We sat on the other side of the theater.

The play ended.

We go outside.  Adam asks if I want to stay and say goodbye to Jenny.  I say, “I’m kind of done with Jenny.”

Really.

I (We) talked to her on and off for almost two hours and NOT once did she ask anything about us.  I’m SERIOUSLY not exaggerating.   Not about where we met.  What Adam did for a living.  What shows I was working on.  I even mentioned that I had a design due and she didn’t even ask where or for what show.  She didn’t enquire once about me, Adam or our lives.  I don’t even know what to say about this.  I’ve been friends with people who are self centered.  I would never have said this about Jenny.  I always thought she was grounded and down to earth and well put together.  She’s always been friendly and polite.

Can someone explain to me a train of thought that would allow someone to act like this.

But I really am kind of done with her.

How can you be friends with someone who has no interest in your life?

REALLY!

Seriously!

Sunday PM.

It’s late.  I must get to bed.  Tune in this week for:

Running into old friends and how unpleasant it was.

Angels in America.  6.5 hours of theater in one day.

Which is why I’m just getting home.  And am too tired to write a real post.

Friday Night in NYC!

How does it get to be so late.  I get home and look at the clock and it’s already 5:30.

Fuck.

Here is how my night ended.

When the restaurant closed I had four tables.  I got them all their last round of drinks and went back to my side work.  At 1:30 I dropped checks off at all the tables and told them I’d take them when they were ready.  Three of the tables immediately paid their tabs, and left soon after.

The two guys drinking whiskey on the rocks, Corona, and red bull did not.

I asked them again around 1:45 a.m. I told them needed to pay out.  They could finish their drinks but that I needed them to pay.

Now granted they didn’t speak English, but the restaurant is empty by now.  The lights are on.  The chairs about being put up on the tables.

I was stapling my credit card slips together and the manager walked by and asked me to close out the rest of my checks.  I told her that I’d be happy to if she’d get the two guys to pay their tab.

So she goes over and explains to them that they need to cash out.

The result is that the guys act as if they’ve been waiting all night to pay.  Hmmm.

One of them leaves for the restroom the other stays behind to pay the bill.  He’s being funny and trying to make jokes.

He gives me his credit card.  I run it and bring it back to him.

He hands me a 100 dollar bill and asks for change.  9 ten dollar bills.  And two fives.  He had to say it three times because I didn’t understand what the fuck he was saying.

I finally get it, and make change for him.

He hands me the credit card slip and very graciously hands me a five dollar bill.

A FIVE FUCKING DOLLAR BILL!!!!!

A FIVE FUCKING DOLLAR BILL!!!!

A FIVE FUCKING DOLLAR BILL!@!$%&Y$#%#$%^  (that’s my head exploding).

So.

They kept me there for almost an hour longer than I needed to be.  They ran up a 160 dollar check.  And then tipped me 5 dollars.

What a great way to end the night.

Fuckers.

I hope they get run over by a horse drawn carriage walking home tonight.

I at least hope the hangover keeps them from screwing with anyone tomorrow night.

9/11 Debate

On September 11, 2001 our country was united as one. On September 11, 2010 it has now become us against them. I hate to say it but as a New Yorker who was four blocks away from the towers when they fell, I’m embarrassed. I hate that such a horrific day has become an excuse to practice bigotry and intolerance. I think the terrorist might have won.

That was my status update on 9/11.

I posted the following exchange on the night of September 11th.  Fortunately the next morning Adam realized that I had cut and pasted straight from Facebook and that all the links were still active.  I immediately took it down and today is the first day I’ve had to clean it up and post it.

I was pissed and annoyed at my friend Jayne from college and her narrow minded view of the mosque community center being built in lower Manhattan.  My own Facebook status update pretty much sums up my feeling about it.  By the time I got to the bottom of the comments, steam was coming out of my head.

Here is the exchange:

Jayne: Today would be a very fine day for those planning to build the mosque near Ground Zero to withdraw their plans. Yes, please show honor and respect to the 2,996 people killed that day. Oh wait, let me amend that. There were 19 radical Muslim terrorists also killed in the attacks. So make that “show honor and respect to the 2,977 people killed that day”. Come on! Show America the compassion behind the Muslim faith. Show us your true colors.


    • Dan: They have The Right to build the mosque at Park 51 location, it’s private property… that does not mean it’s the smart or sensitive thing to do.Muslims died on 9/11 too, as well as people from 70 different countries, and there are muslims dying in the US military fighting for whatever reasons the government says we are there for.While I am against the wars and feel we would be better off not being involved in them, I support the troops, and I support the legal right for the people to build the mosque on private property as long as all the permits are approved and everything else that goes along with the process is correct… there is another mosque just 2 blocks from the proposed site of Park 51, and it’s been operating since before the Twin Towers were constructed in 1970.

    • Abby:

      It’s not a mosque… not really. If you’ve not seen the clip on my wall, I would be happy to share it with you. It really opened my  eyes.

    • Dan: Correct, it’s a community center with a mosque as part of the building. People are just focusing on that part of it.

    • Abby:

      Gotta love the media spin, huh, Dan?
    • Jayne:  I support the same things you do, Dan. Been teaching and defending first amendment rights for over 20 years in my classes. I’d be the first to defend their right to build it on private property. Don’t you think, though, in light of how most people feel about it (especially victims’ families) that withdrawing their plans would be an act of great courage and respect on their part? The mosque built beforehand is not an issue because its existence is not offensive to others. The proposed mosque, however, is another story. People see it as a symbol of defiance and victory for the Al-Queda terrorists. (!)
    • Dan: ‎”Imagine that. There was a Muslim prayer room, right in the World Trade Center, even after the first bombing. I guess people didn’t have Fox News and Glenn Beck to tell them they should be outraged yet:”,
      http://www.nytimes.com/201 0/09/11/

    • Jayne: It doesn’t matter if it was “Susie’s School of Dance” if it is perceived by American citizens as being disrespectful to those killed on 9/11. No other act could communicate better the “truth” of Islam than if they backed down and built it elsewhere. If they built their mosque or community center or whatever elsewhere, as an American citizen, my respect for their faith would increase one-hundred times over.


    • Abby: It’s a community center!! Do we really oppose children having a place to learn basketball? Singles learning how to prepare meals for themselves, their families and potential mates (which is a HUGE deal in many other religions)? An upcoming performer having a venue to display their talent? A gathering place for people that have been persecuted, distanced and made to feel guilty for the acts of others? And if this building also offers people a place to pray to a god I personally do not believe in, is there any harm in letting them pray (a la Bill of Rights)? If so, I’m not so sure I’m proud to be an American.
    • Jayne: So what, Chad? And I say that respectfully… The fact that those facilities existed has nothing to do with perceptions today. Build a thousand mosques for all I care, but just don’t build it in a place that most of the victims and American citizens don’t want it. Flat out, it is insensitive
    • Jayne: Abby, this is not an attack on Islam. Remember that I defend the First Amendment rights perhaps more vehemently than most. What is the big deal about building it elsewhere?? Just build it a little further away from the site and everyone will be happy, everyone can play basketball, eat, worship, dance, sing, do cartwheels, whatever.


    • Dan:  It’s fear and resentment that are the problem, not just here, but around the world.If the mosque is built it will help the reputation of this country… Radical extremist Muslims would love it if the mosque is denied, it just gives them one more reason to hate us (I know they already have a laundry list of reasons to do so) but also it become another recruitment tool… just look at the Quran burning party (now cancelled)… they were already going nuts over it, and using it as a recruitment tool. I’m glad it has been cancelled, it could only bring more problems to everyone. The Pastor had the right to burn the Quran, but it was an extremely stupid plan to do so in this day and age
    • Abby: Perceptions are just that… Why, instead of the hate and intolerance campaign the media has waged, why don’t we start an education campaign? Let people know how much GOOD this building would do. Remind people how this building is the very essence of the American Dream and moreover the PROMISE America holds for it’s citizens and so many foreigners who give everything to become part of the finely woven fabric that is NYC and America…
    • Chad: Where is the opposition to the strip clubs and off track betting facilities located even closer to ground zero?


    • Abby: Have you ever looked at buying property in NYC?? Between decent locations, the zillions of zoning laws and sheer cost… It’s a VERY huge deal to ask them to relocate the building.
    • Jayne: Like they need any more reasons? If I was Muslim, I would be BEGGING to build that mosque somewhere else for a variety of good reasons: (1) to respect the wishes of most of the victims’ families, (2) to communicate the truth of my faith, (3) for fear of retribution by crazy people like the guy down in Gainesville.
    • Chad: If they need to relocate I’d welcome them to Richmond, Kentucky. Or next to the nutzoid church in Florida that planned the Koran burnings.


    • Dan: Chad… strippers and OTB betters did not attack the Twin Towers on 9/11.
    • Abby: And where does it end? First people object to the building being 6 blocks away… Then 20… Then in NYC…At what point is enough enough?
    • Abby: ASking this group of citizens to move is like asking Rosa Parks to give up her seat. They have just as much of a right to be on “our bus” as anyone else.


    • Jayne: Radical strippers and gamblers were not the ones behind the attacks on 9/11. 🙂 Sure! Build it in Richmond or in Gainesville! I agree! I’ll show up for the ribbon-cutting. 🙂 Build it next to my house and I’ll bake cookies for the whole congregation!


    • Dan: I’m looking forward to the memorial being finished by next year. The video looks amazing with the reflecting pools and waterfalls, it should be amazing.The country was built on the idea of Freedom of Religion as well as Freedom From Religion. Again, fear and resentment are the problem, obviously playing a major part in why people want the mosque relocated. Love and acceptance of our differences is the way forward to peace.
    • Jayne: What about the lack of respect? I neither fear nor disrespect Muslims. But I think they are demonstrating incredible insensitivity in this case.
    • Jayne: Wish they would (to use your words) love and accept how most of us feel about this issue enough to back down, is all I am saying.
    • Dan: I know Jayne, but we are also part of the problem… something like 100,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq, and we’ve lost over 4,000 soldiers in that war… I don’t know the stats for Afghanistan, but killing innocent civilians is not helping our worldwide reputation either.
    • Jayne: Memories of 9/11 dredge up a lot of emotion for me, as you can tell. I can only imagine how the families of the 2,977 are feeling today.
    • Jayne: Yes, I agree Dan. The actions of the terrorists that day ironically terrorized other innocent people and nations. You are so right.

    • Abby: In regards to “lack of respect”:I don’t think they are being disrespectful. The standard block in Manhattan is about 264 by 900 feet… Which means the COMMUNITY CENTER will be located (roughly) seven tenths of a mile away… That may as well be another country in NYC terms!!
    • Jayne: Thanks for the dialogue, friends. I’m done ranting. Going to go pour my sadness into doing my laundry. “Out, out damn spot!!”
    • Abby: That’s over 200% farther away than a sex offender must live from a school!!
    • Dan: When Tim McVeigh bombed the Murrah building in OK we didn’t lump all Christians into the mix. He was an extremist. The 19 hijackers were extremists. Should we protest the eventual construction of a church near the site of the Oklahoma city bombing? When you say “Americans” are you including Muslim Americans as well? This whole controversy is complete hooey!
    • Jayne: Oh gosh!! Don’t compare Muslims with sex offenders! Good grief!!
    • Abby: I’m simply comparing two groups that make people uncomfortable and the confines society places on them. It’s a slippery slope…
    • Dan: Any radical element can hijack a cause, be it Muslim extremists, the right wing Christian conservatives (killing abortion doctors), obviously Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the KKK, ELF and the left wing environmentalists, etc… Moderation in all things.Look what has happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they have had waring factions for something like 600 years. Isriel and Palestine continue fighting over past grievances…At some point, people need to say enough, and forgive… the way to happiness is gratitude and acceptance. I know it is not easy, that is for sure, but it is the only way to true peace.

    • Dan:

      One more comment from me, my grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, so that made my mom a PK (preacher’s kid) and so I had to go to church every Sunday growing up… I don’t have a problem with people who are religious, I just don’t happen to be religious.If you take a 2 year old baby and put him in a room with other 2 year old babies, all whose parents are of different religions, Christian, Jew, Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, etc… guess what? the babies don’t know the difference… all they see are other 2 year old babies to play with. It’s only when religion gets foisted upon them as they grow, develop and become educated about religion (or some might say brainwashed) that people become divided. Organized religion is helpful to millions of people, but harmful to many as well.Stephen Hawking has a new book out called The Grand Design, and in recent interview he states that God is unnecessary, and I think a lot of people think that, including George Carlin and Bill Maher.

    • Jayne: I wonder who he thinks constructed the grand design? Yeah, I get your point, though… Unfortunately, Muslims today have a public relations problem. Withdrawing their plans for the, uh, community center would be a good pr move, not to mention kind to the victims of 9/11.
    • Plus…I worry about what people will do once it is built. Maybe it all is a bunch of hooey like Chad says and will simmer down.
    • ‎Dan: “Stephen Hawking has declared that his latest work shows there was no creator of the universe” and that the new m-theory “accounts for the birth of the universe…and replaces the need for religious accounts in Hawking’s mind.” Hawking wrote in his new book The Grand Design that “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
    • As for my own belief in God, I think I did at one point… plus I’m 27 years sober through a 12 step program (think double A) but as I’ve gotten older I have come to the realization that MAN HAS FREEWILL… if there is a God, he/she does not interfere with Man’s Freewill. There was no “Hand of God” catching people as they jumped from the burning towers on 9/11… nor during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, etc…Innocent people die every day… even as they pray to God for help, there is no help beyond people either having the strength to get through the situation/problem at hand, or not.I do believe there is good and evil in this world, and desperate people will do desperate things when pushed to extremes (just look at the good people of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina), but that does not mean God (if there is a God) influences or interferes in our lives directly (because we have freewill), just that people are given the strength to carry on and rise above, or not.

    • Angie: Very interesting read but Jayne I agree with you 100%. The way to create peace is to be sensitive and be the example. Wars only exist because of unwillingness to compromise. Sometimes controversy does nothing more than create even more problems. Had so many lives not been lost then I am sure no one would even care about this community center but they were lost and people do care. The victims of this terrible event will continue to grieve and my heart goes out to them. May none of you posting to this ever experience such pain and then have salt poured in your wound!
    • Chad: Do I believe people have the right to do (and build) as they please within the confines of law? Yes. Do I believe people have a moral responsibility to do what is socially acceptable in their given area? Yes. I think one of the most beautiful things I have learned about our country is that no matter where you go, things, people, and acceptable behavior are different. Do they have a right to build? Sure. Should they (or ANY group) understand that the area is both special and treasured by many. Totally. I would object to many groups building anything beyond promotion of what happened and remembering the fallen. I think a community center is wonderful! I believe a religious based community center(no matter the religion) is in poor taste. Let the area remain PURE to what it is… a resting place for many, many souls.

    • Maddog: I stopped reading all the comments. There were too many.Here’s how I feel about the whole thing.

      I was in NYC on September 11th. I was in my office four blocks away from the towers. My desk moved six inches when the first tower was struck. I saw the second plane hit the tower. I was evacuated from my building. I retreated to my home, three blocks from ground zero. I watched the rest of the events on my TV. When the towers fell, pictures fell from the wall, the dishes in my cabinets fell and broke, and I sat in awe in front of my television. The apartment I was living in had 10 foot tall windows. I watched as the cloud of smoke obliterated the sunlight and bright blue sky. I watched as the crowds rushed into my building to get away from the debris. I let two people use my shower to wash away the soot.

      At 11:30 a.m Gulliani issued his order to evacuate all of lower Manhattan. Immediately. I gathered what I could in a backpack not knowing when I’d be allowed back in my home. I left my building. There was not a sound to be heard anywhere. The sounds of the city were gone. There were no cars honking. There was no construction. There were no sirens. Just complete and utter silence.

      Have you ever experienced silence? The middle of the forest is not silence. The middle of a meadow in the summer is NOT silent.

      This was silence.

      I was given a mask as I passed the health center down the street from my apartment.

      And I walked. And walked.

      As I walked I joined and was joined by tens of thousands of people. No one speaking. No one listening. Just walking.

      We were all in shock.

      As I walked I realized I had no idea where I was going. My cell phone didn’t work. My home phone didn’t work when I was left. I had no plan. And yet I walked.

      And then I realized I had to do something. So I headed to St. Vincent’s hospital in Greenwich Village. It was one of the largest ER’s in the city. (It has since closed leaving a huge whole in medical care in NYC.) I walked there. I was turned away three blocks away. There were thousands of people who had the same thoughts as me. So I headed to the Salvation Army. Surely I could volunteer there. I don’t agree with their politics but that day was different. I was told there that I couldn’t volunteer because I wasn’t trained.

      I eventually sat down and contemplated what I should do. I don’t know how or why but I ended up at my friend Stacy’s apartment. I stayed there for two days. I ended up staying with my friend Drew for almost a month.

      In the two weeks that followed I was allowed back in my apartment twice. I had to pass through ten checkpoints each time having to prove that I lived in the area. It was more than a month before I moved back home. Even then the smell of the burning buildings filled the air.

      As you can tell that day moved me. No I didn’t lose a loved one. No, I don’t know anyone that died. But it changed my life. I still get emotional when I think about it.

      The thing that I take away from that day, the one thing that fills my memory more than anything was the sense of community in the city. Was the sense of caring. The sense that we were all in this together and we’d all see each other through. I was in contact with hundreds of people in the weeks that followed and NO ONE, not one person spoke of revenge. No one spoke of a need to seek vengeance. We spoke of love and understanding.

      I hate that nine years later that the anniversary of the day has become political. It should be any thing but. It should not be a day of ceremonies. It should not be a day of speeches. It should not be a national holiday. It should be a day we spend with our families enjoying the precious little time we have together.

      I know my point is long, but we HAVE to let them build the mosque. We HAVE to. If we don’t to quote our mayor and president “the terrorists have won.” We can’t jeopardize the very foundation of our country. We can’t become a nation of hate and intolerance. We can’t become what they say that we are. We need to reach out and hold each other. We need to prop each other up. We need to treat our neighbor as we’d wish to be treated ourselves.

      Let’s love our neighbors. Let’s welcome them into our homes. And let’s let them worship when and how they want. And let’s hope that our love and understanding will find away to keep a tragedy such as this from happening again.

I probably shouldn’t have said the next part…but…
now to be a little snarky.I love Jayne that you mention the “crazy” guy in Gainesville. The one that wants to burn the Koran. Yeah, him. He’s a christian. He’s one of you. Using your logic I can assume that you are crazy because he’s crazy and you both are christians. I think it’s easy to say then that NO ONE should build a christian church next to a Mosque because christians are crazy.I know I’m being extreme but he professes to be a christian. You and I have had this debate before. Who’s version of christianity is the correct version? I know a lot of christians who are loving, caring, wonderful people. I also know a lot of christians who’d like nothing more than for me to fall off the face of the planet. ie: James Dobson, Tony Perkins.

And Abby sex offenders can live within 200 feet of a school. There are hundreds of catholic schools right next to catholic churches right next to rectories. Using my earlier logic that is extreme, some priests are known sex offenders, therefore all priests are sex offenders so all catholic schools should be closed because priest are more likely to be sex offenders than other people.

Yes I know I’m being extreme but…

You can’t blame the whole for the actions of a few. We must learn to be tolerant. We must learn to live and let live. We must value what we were taugh in Sunday school a million years ago. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Dining Out 101

Haven’t done this in a while.

1.  If all the chairs in the dining room are up on the tables.  And the cleaning crew is cleaning around you.  And you just saw you waiter hug a co-worker goodbye.  It might.  Just might.  Be time to go.

2.  If you are in a bar or restaurant at closing time and the check has been dropped on the table.  It’s a sure bet that the server would love it if you’d pay the bill so that they can cash out and leave.  Don’t be surprised if I they stand not far from your table and stare at you sinisterly.

3.  If the restaurant closes at 12:15.  Do not rush into said restaurant and announce that you want to eat at 12:15.  No one wants you there.  Not even the management.  They want to go home just like the rest of us.  And as a tip, the food you get will be prepared poorly.  The kitchen will be using what’s left.  They will not be cooking new items.  Repeat after me:  I will not go into a restaurant at closing time.  I will not go into a restaurant at closing time.  I will not go into a restaurant at closing time.

4.  Don’t be surprised if I they don’t comment that today is your 21st birthday if you run it at closing.  No one wants to chat with you.  No one cares.  Just drink your drink, eat your potato skins, and get out.  Quickly.

5.  Do not ask for coffee at the end of your meal when you didn’t arrive until 12:13.  The coffee was dumped at 12:15, when the restaurant closed.  In fact the person in charge of cleaning the coffee area walked out of the restaurant about 15 minutes after you arrived.

6.  DO NOT ARRIVE AT A RESTAURANT AT CLOSING.  SIT ON YOUR CHECK.  ORDER COFFEE.  AND NOT TIP.  No you should NOT do this.  Evil things will happen to you.

Moving on:

7.  If you are over the age of 10 do NOT order a Shirley Temple.  And don’t be surprised in a burger restaurant if it comes in a regular glass without a cherry.  I don’t have time for this non-sense.  PS.  I don’t even know what a Roy Rogers is.  If you over the age of 20 and order either of these you should be put into a home for people with special needs.

8.  If someone offers you a cocktail table immediately.  No waiting 90 minutes for a regular table.  Don’t get indignant when you decide you don’t want it and expect me them to find you a regular table immediately.  I will get it for you eventually.  Say in like 90 minutes.  And no you can’t sit at the cocktail table and wait for your “regular” table to open up.

9.  I’m sorry the drink menu doesn’t have the prices in it.  I really am.  But I really don’t know why they don’t.  I don’t run the company.  I don’t make these decisions.  And if you think that I have the power to scare you up a menu with prices or the ability to change this situation, then I’ll see if they have a room for you in that special needs home.

10.  I will not steal your credit card number.  I appreciate that you are being cautious.  But I didn’t charge you more than you were supposed to be charged.  I know it might not make sense to you, but American Express approves the charge for more than it says just in case, JUST in case you might want to leave a tip.  (Of course this argument was made even more difficult because they didn’t leave a tip.)

11.  Do not ask if we have “good” coffee and then get upset when I tell you we don’t.  The coffee is made in huge batches, not by the pot.  The bottom of the “tank” is burnt, thus the coffee tastes burnt.  So NO.  We don’t have good coffee.

13.  Don’t order your food and then expect it on the table in 10 minutes.  I don’t know how things are cooked in your country, but here we really cook things.  It takes more than 10 minutes to cook a rack of ribs.  For that matter it takes more than 10 minutes to cook a well done cheeseburger.  Calm down it will get to you eventually.

13.  Don’t get upset if I tell you that we only have hot tea and coffee as hot drink choices.  It’s too warm for hot chocolate and I don’t know what any other choice you’d want.  Perhaps if you are nice I’ll microwave some milk for you.

14.  If you want TO-GO food, go to a restaurant that does TO-GO food.  It took me 15 minutes to find a plastic ramekin to put your sour cream in tonight for your quesadillas.  We don’t do TO GO food.  And besides if you’d eaten two hours ago when you first sat down at the counter none of this would have been an issue.

15.  Just because I’m a guy, don’t assume I’ll find the humor in your calling your friend a pussy.  Or asking me to get him the biggest “girly” drink possible.  Don’t assume this at all when I’m pretty sure that out of the four of you, your the gay one.  In fact I’d bet all the money that I’m going to make tonight that you like to suck cock whenever you get the chance.

16.  I’m sorry that we don’t have espresso.  Or cappuccinos.  Or lattes.  Or _________________.  Fill in the blank.  Someone with far more wisdom that I have realized there would have to be a full time coffee person working to keep up with orders for such things.  There is a Starbucks right across the street.  They’ll make you anything you want.

17.  Do not go to NYC and then ask your waiter if they live in NYC.  Yes I know there is a remote possibility that they live in New Jersey but…. at least 90% of the staff working tonight lives in New York.  (I usually tell them I commute from Des Moines.  It takes them a moment but they all figure out how stupid the question is.)  Yes I can afford to live in Manhattan.  Yes I take the subway.  AT NIGHT.  ALONE.  Yes it takes me an hour to get home.  But I’m not driving.  I read my book.  And listen to my Ipod and thank god that I don’t live in Tennessee and have big “frosted” hair like you.

18.  Don’t ask me where you can find a night club, for dancing, that you can meet women in.  Look at me.  I’m an overweight, middle aged gay man.  Seriously.  I don’t know where to do this.  I didn’t know where to do this when I was a 20 something, in shape, gay man.  Look it up before you get here.  Ask someone else.  I do know this, NO ONE I work with goes out dancing in Manhattan.  At least not in upscale clubs like you are talking about.  We are waiters.  We are not going to spend 100 dollars to get in someplace where a beer cost 15 dollars.  PS.  If you do go to a club though.  You’ll only get one drink when they discover you don’t tip.  AT ALL.

19.  I’ve said this before but it bears reminding.  If you want to taste the alcohol order scotch on the rocks.  Or a Manhattan.  Or a martini.  You are not supposed to taste the alcohol in a pina colada.  And especially don’t complain if you over the age of 40…and a man.  It’s unseemly.

20.  If you need a drink so badly that you can’t wait the three minutes it takes for me to put the order in the computer, and pick it up from the bar…it’s not a drink you need.  It’s a meeting.  No one should be that impatient to put alcohol into their system.  I don’t care how bad your day has been.  Or how badly you need to celebrate.  Or any of the other excuses I’ve heard.  Calm down or I’m going to get my cell phone out and find a nice AA meeting for you to go to after dinner.

The first 15 things on my list all happened tonight.  The whole list occurred in the past two days.

Fighting in my sleep!

I take things too personally.

I have a hard time letting things go.

When I do both it’s a recipe for disaster.

I slept like shit last night.  I slept even worse after Adam said goodbye this morning.  I spent the entire time I was in bed and the several hours after I got up fighting about my schedule.  And it’s all in my head.  And it drives me crazy.  But I can’t turn it off.

I was such a mess today that I almost called into work sick.  It took every bit of energy to not do just that.  Even sitting in pre-shift I sat on my hands so that I couldn’t raise it when they asked if anyone wanted to go home.

I was finally able to move past it around 6:00.  Just in time for the night from hell.  The first fifty tables I waited on tonight ordered waters to drink and then shared a nacho.  At 7:00 I still hadn’t had a check over 50 dollars.  Couple that with people not tipping and it made for a very long night even after I stopped fighting in my head.

I did talk to Daniel this afternoon.  I was walking down the hall toward his office when he asked me if I how I was doing.  I said, “Just the person I wanted to see.”  To which he replied, “Uh oh.”  And I replied, “Really?  Really?  I thought this was supposed to be getting better?”

We chatted and I was told what I’ve been told the last two times.  That he would look into it.  Unfortunately, looking into isn’t going to fix my schedule for next week.  So I’m left trying to figure out how to pay my bills while “he looks into it.”

I started playing the game tonight.  I rang up at least three hamburgers, add cheese.  And a couple of nachos, add chicken.  I can be just as sneaky as everyone else.  And if it gets me a better schedule then so be it.  I’m just sort of done with it.

Now I should probably go to bed.  Before I start the fighting again.

PS.  I’ve already done one survey tonight.  I think I’ll do some more before I go to bed.

Ugh!!!!

I hate my job.

Let me repeat that.

I.

Hate.

My.

Job.

A lot!!!

So here the the most recent low down.

Since about two weeks after I started there I’ve been “cocktailing.”  Which means working much harder than anyone else and making a lot more money than anyone else.  For the past three years my schedule was basically the same.  Four night shifts, spread between sections 10 and 12.

Until now.

Next week I have two.  TWO.

Here’s the back story.

When this started happening I went to the GM.  We had a chat and I was told it would be better.

The next week it was not.

I went back to the GM and was told it would be better.

And it was.  Except one of the four shifts they scheduled me was on a day that I couldn’t work.  So I gave it away and only worked three days.

The next week.

And equally good schedule.

Except they once again scheduled me a day that I could not work.  Gave it up and only worked three days.

This week.

Back to the old schedule.

FUCK.

So tomorrow I’m going back into the GM.  And I’m going to tell him that I’m just about done with the whole situation.  You’d think after three years there’d be some seniority.  There be some loyalty.  But there is not.  It’s become clear that it’s every man for himself.

The only reason any of this is important is that if I work the shifts I’m scheduled next week I’m going to make about 400 dollars less than I would have made a year ago.  That’s in one week.  Do the math.  400 dollars a week for a month.  That’s 1600 dollars.  Fuck this shit.  I’d be hard pressed for anyone to tell me they’d give up that kind of money without a fight.

I’m really just tired of it.  I’m tired of holding my breath every time the schedule gets posted.  I’m tired on the arguments I have in my head on the train home.  I’m tired of negotiating.  I’m tired of the speeches I give about how fucked up the system is.

And the system.

The system is a ranking that is created for the servers using ridiculous criteria.

We ask our guests to do surveys.  In a perfect world you’ll score a 7.00 on a survey.  The restaurants goal is 6.0.  The problem with the survey is that there are a lot of things out of our control that can bring your survey average down.  If someone fills out a survey and the manager did not visit the table then your average just went down.  To about a 6.3.  If the food was cold.  Your average goes down.  If the host was rude.  Your average goes down.  And yet it is my job to get surveys above 6.0.  Do you know in the last month I’ve not had one single manager visit one of my tables.  NOT ONE.  And yet my schedule is based on their visits.

And the big catch to the survey?  You can do them yourself.  Yes.  It takes a computer and about five minutes of your time.  And what do you know.  A perfect 7.  And the best part.  They know this happens.  And they encourage it.  We are having a contest right now and the top 10 highest survey scores at the end of the month get to write their own schedule.  You better believe that I’ll win.  But I think it’s shit that my schedule is based on something so stupid.

We are expected to sell frequent flyer cards.  Buy it, track your money spent and get discounts when you reach a certain level.  I think it’s stupid.  I hate being asked to buy this type of shit at other places like Barnes and Noble etc.  I hate having to have a card to use at the grocery store.  Wouldn’t it make sense to just give everyone a discount.  And so I have to admit that I don’t really push it.  And my schedule is based on this.

Another catch.  I can buy one for myself.  Wait a month.  Cash in the original purchase price, because getting it back is part of the deal once it’s used.  And I’m out no money and suddenly my schedule improves.

We are expected to up sell.  Every restaurant expects this.  The way around this?  You can sell a burger add cheese rather than a cheeseburger.  The price is the same but the first way gets you up sell points.  Chicken nachos?  Why do that when you can sell nachos add chicken.  We also have people that just add on things to tables that don’t speak English.  If you don’t speak our language, you can’t really argue when the check comes.

These are the big three but every single item on the list is easily manipulated.  And why don’t I do just that?  Because I shouldn’t have to.  I work hard.  I out sell everyone in the restaurant.  I don’t have guest complaints.  I don’t need table visits.  I keep all my guests happy and I make money.  You’d think doing a good job would be enough.

But it’s not.

So tomorrow I get to go back into work.  Talk to Daniel.  In all of my other talks I’ve pointed out these things.  I’ve also told him that I don’t come to work high.  I don’t smoke pot in the back hallway.  I don’t sell pot in the employee bathroom.  I’ve never been written up.  I show up when I’m supposed to and get my shifts covered when I can’t.  I’m not rude to my guests.  I’m not rude to my co-workers.  I do a good job.  I go home.  I’d think that would be enough.

And instead I sit here typing out the argument that’s been in my head all night.

I just want to tell them all to fuck off and die.

But I can’t really do that.

Our weekend in Detroit.

We are home.

It was a lovely weekend.

Long.

But lovely.

We left Thursday night after Adam got off work.  We spent the night in Cuyahoga Falls.  We have become huge fans of Priceline.  After avoiding it for years we’ve used it three times in the past month.  We got an awesome hotel for 40 bucks in Cuyahoga Falls.  I just like saying Cuyahoga.

We drove on in to Detroit on Friday.  We got there just in time to drop off our luggage, shower and head across town to the rehearsal and dinner.

The couple getting married are old friends of Adam’s.  He did a show with one of them years ago and they bonded over A Prayer for Owen Meany and have been best friends ever since.  Adam was one of the groomsmen.  Both of the grooms, both named Joe, have a flair for the theatrical, are both very laid back, and both far from pretentious.

Their wedding supported all of these claims.

The wedding was held in the theater that the two of them run.  There was light choreography for the processional.  Adam did it very well I might add.  There was much laughing.  A reading from Showgirls.  Shakespeare in Love.  Dirty Dancing.  And several other fun movies.  All of the readings were presented humorously but they were very sweet and poignant.  A local comedian who has since moved to L.A. officiated.  She was funny.  Very funny.

The rehearsal took far too long, mostly because of the choreography.  And then we were treated to sandwiches and treats for dinner.

After the rehearsal we went back to the Joe’s and hung out till Joe 1 returned from taking his mother back to her hotel.

And then it was time for the bachelor party.  Of sorts.  It was late by the time Joe returned so we almost didn’t do anything.  But Adam realized we needed to do something so we went to Club Gold Coast.  Which is code for the local gay strip club.  We arrived, valet parked our car and then found our way inside.  We got drinks and sat down next to the “stage.”  For the next hour we watched strippers dance on their platforms, complete with a pole.  It takes talent to use those poles the way they are meant to be used.  Some of the guys were better than others.  Some were cuter than others.  Some were just sort of gross.  You should not strip in knee high socks.  No matter how you try it’s just not sexy.  In case you were wondering.

I found the whole thing funny.  First the guys can’t get naked.  They can dance in their underwear and they can show us their pubes but that’s about all.  I just sat and giggled.  The three of us watched but we were all careful not to stare because we didn’t want any of them approaching our table trying to get us to buy more than we wanted.  So we sat and watched, and watched.  And Adam and I finally decided that since it was Joe’s last night single he should get a lap dance.  We asked him which boy struck his fancy and wouldn’t you know, we all liked the same guy.  Josh.  So Adam went over and talked to Josh and told him that we’d like to buy our friend a lap dance.  And the money exchanged hands and Joe was led away to the back room.  He came back about 15 minutes later.  There wasn’t much to tell, at least that’s what he told us.

Then it was back home.

Saturday we were supposed to go to the green market with everyone else.  But Adam was tired so we slept in.  We met everyone for lunch and then went home to shower and got back to the theater to get ready for the wedding.  I’d been asked to do the lighting so I spent about 90 minutes setting up everything.  No one had explained to me that not only was I designing the lighting. I was also running the light board, the sound board, and the video.  Ugh.  I hate doing this under the best of circumstances.  What if I fuck up and ruin the wedding.  Oh, the pressure.

So we get set up.  The house is opened and the audience starts to arrive.

And at 5:00 the ceremony started.  And it was fun.  And funny.  And serious.  And people cried.  And laughed.  The whole thing went off without a hitch except that the pianist played the introduction to one of the songs and the singer realized it was being played in the wrong key.  There was this very awkward starting over thing.  And unfortunately there was a slide show that was timed to the music.  And suddenly I was trying to figure out how to stop the slides and start them over.  I told you I was going to ruin the wedding.  Luckily it was the only thing I remembered in my “how to” lecture.  Disaster avoided.

After the ceremony we all adjourned down the street for dinner.  In the laid back elegance of the wedding, dinner was pizza and beer.  And all I can say is that it was perfect.  Everyone chatted and drank beer and ate awesome pizza and there were speeches and a party crasher and all sorts of other fun festivities.

After dinner it was back to the theater for the reception.  It was an 80’s prom theme so of course there was 80’s music.  And the movie 16 Candles playing.  And there was 80’s candy.  And dancing.

The best part of the reception was the photo booth.  Adam and I both thought it was sort of silly when we first saw it.  But we are both trying to figure out now how to make it part of our own wedding.  The booth was in a corner, and there were costume elements available.  And basically people went in, posed for their 4 photos and came out.  Just like you’d expect.  There were two copies of the photo strips made.  One was given to the people in the photographs.  The other was pasted into a photo album.  Once it was in the album you could write a message to the couple.  People were in line all night taking photos.  We all spent an hour laughing on Sunday at the pictures.  It was an awesome idea.

At 10:00 everyone moved across the street to the local comedy club.  In honor of the occasion the comedy club presented an hour of improv based on stories of the Joes.  Someone would come up, tell a story and then the improv troupe would act it out.  Sort of.  Mostly they were funny.  I do have to say that I got a little uncomfortable for the parents, especially the conservative parents when the cum dumpster joke was being presented.  It actually wasn’t very funny and as Adam pointed out, it’s an easy out for improv to go to the dirty or obscene.

We then went back to the theater for more dancing and celebration.

Thank god it was finally time to go home.

Sunday consisted of a pool party for the wedding party and family.  There were about 20 of us who gathered at a friends house and hung out and drank beer and ate barbecue and chatted.  It was my favorite part of the weekend because it was the least stressful and it was the first time I’d actually been able to hang out and actually talk to people.

After the pool party we headed back to the theater to open presents.  Adam took notes while we all oohed and awed over the swag they collected.  The one funny moment was Adam spent the entire barbecue lusting after the Le Creuset pot the baked beans were in.  So we arrive to open present and what do you know the couple was given a very similar pot.  Adam was JEALOUS!!

After presents we went back to the Joes’ house to look at books.  Joe 1 is an avid reader.  Adam and I are avid readers.  So we raided Joe 1’s bookshelves.  He gave us about 15 books most of which had been on our list but we’d yet to pick up.

After books it was dinner time.

And finally around 9:00 on Sunday evening, we crawled back into our hotel room.

Exhausted.

And then we drove home.

The end.