Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On a Day Like This One

I've decided that one of the top de-humanizing experiences is that of having a table at a crowded coffee shop.
It's pretty incredible. When you have the brilliant good fortune of beating the rush, or just the mule-like determination to wait out the next free seat, every Johnnie-come-lately suddenly starts giving you the stink eye. People who were smiling at you on the street are looking at you like you just exported their job to china. It's sick.

Then, the coup de grace, weakness is shown. You polish off you drink, close your book, and stretch. As if by magic, 6 people are standing within two feet of you. The boldest of them narrowly misses stepping on your foot. They think of you as nothing more than a free willed seat warmer. Some go as far as to begin unpacking before the soon to be former occupant has even vacated "Are you going to be getting up."

More of a statement than a question, this is usually the point where I start thinking of things to do to keep me in that seat as long as possible. "Yes, I've taken out a lease on the spot and won't be leaving 'til late spring. "

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bound and Determined

This review was originally written as an assignment for Tomboyz Quarterly Magazine (a 'zine for urban lesbians), which has, I fear, fallen apart. The review constituted, if I may be so bold, a tight piece of writing. I'm excited to share it with you as a part of my triumphant return.

Unparalleled characterization and casting give the Wachowski Brothers’ film Bound its staying power. The familiarity of the story should be forgiven in light of stunning performances by Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly as the conspiring lovers. Full of double entendre and symbolic sexuality, there is enough excitement to appeal to a naughty crowd, and even to distract viewers from the cookie-cutter plot. Added to this, the familiar tone of the central affair between the main characters makes its cult-following understandable.

Having just finished a five year prison sentence for “the redistribution of wealth” Corky (Gershon) takes a job fixing up an apartment in the building where Violet (Tilly) lives with her boyfriend of five years, a mob money launderer, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). After a wordless first contact, Violet initiates contact with a cup of coffee. Her offer, “return that cup anytime” carries a slightly more subtle request. Later, when Corky retrieves an earring from her drain, Violet confesses her intentions. “Isn’t it obvious,” she tells Corky over a drink, “I’m trying to seduce you.”

The seduction driving act I gives rise to the escape plan hatched by the new lovers involving the “redistribution” of $2.176 million Caesar is laundering. Their plot to frame Caesar for the theft goes horribly wrong leaving a mob boss and his son dead and Caesar frantically searching for the money, to make everything disappear. Caesar’s discovery of the women’s guilt turns them to race to escape with the money before he can find it and thus, not need them anymore.

The too familiar mob story serves primarily as a backdrop to the girl meets girl love story being played out by the heroines.

From the electric silence in the elevator to the credits roll, Gershon and Tilly’s chemistry sizzles in this film.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time Will Tell

Time is a funny thing
Breakfast time... what is that for real? Is it the first few hours than any one person is awake? Is it a set number of hours in the a.m.? I can wake up late because of my job and nothing is the worse for wear my first of three meals occurs at about noon. Many people would insist that makes what I'm eating "lunch" but why? As I stagger bleary-eyed across the carpet toward my kitchen to align reality with the will of my stomach, all I can think is, "breakfast."

Speaking of breakfast; people have these strange adherence patterns to the strangest rules.

"Hey Bill, Jim brought in burritos. They're sittin' on the table if you want some."

"It's like 8:30 in the morning man."

"Oh don't worry, they're breakfast burritos."

"Well, in that case..."

(Why does this make sense?)

"...Oh and Sue brought in some breakfast meatballs. And I think Jeff brought in some breakfast wine."
The beauty of nomenclature.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cut and Paste

Tailoring is a completely foreign concept to most people for most things. Women and men daily walk away from outfits they swear were made for them because of minor issues in fitting. That they are likely to recount the fish story of, "the one that got away" does nothing to warm them to the suggestion that they might take the piece in question to a professional for a little snip and stitch. When presented with such an option, the unwitting suggestor is presented with a veritable cavalcade of very good reasons (read: excuses) for why they couldn’t possibly take this otherwise perfect item to the next level by having it cut to fit them.
"I don’t have the money."
"I don’t know tailors."
And the best "good reason" not to have the clothes you love, made to fit,
"I’ve never gone to a tailor before." I can only hope that you have less anxiety deciding on your first house.

Men specifically have a unique benefit in fitted clothing. Other than, wealth, fame, professional lighting and make-up designers what do many celebs have to make them attractive? Tailors (perhaps that’s not all, but let’s not get too caught up on the negatives). Not every famous celebrity spends hour after hour with a personal trainer; so hide your dodgy bits the same way the stars do, and I don’t mean behind bags of cash.

With just about one-third of our lives spent at work, the office standard shirt and tie see more daylight than any other top our guys might choose. The proper gent’ would always wish to be both comfortable, and still maintain that "cut above" look. For many men, however, putting a dress shirt is akin to either wearing a cylinder with arm holes. With a size determined only by the measurement of your neck, men of every shape are trying to live their days in someone else’s shirts. Falling awkwardly off the shoulders or bunching at the sleeves, these ill fitting shirts leave the bodies trapped inside uncomfortable and insecure.

Barbara and Alan Pease, authors of Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes, dedicate a chapter to the physical turn-ons for women about men. Topping list at number one was an athletic body type specifically incorporating the "V" shape. Number two, very closely related was "Broad shoulders, chest, and muscular arms. While I doubt that your tailor will take you to the gym regularly, he or she can do the next best thing. In her book, Superflirt, Tracy Cox, noted expert on sexuality notes that people use clothes to cover up their imperfect parts when you should, instead, "dress to show off the ones you [like]." The tailor of your choosing can easily take what "V" shaping you already have and show it off to the world, or even add the effect to those devoid of it altogether. A tightened shoulder line and slightly vented back help tuck away an extra pound or two.

How much you are willing to pay to make "sexy" a staple of your wardrobe is between you and your wallet. But a twenty dollar tapering of your shirt can go a long way to distinguishing you among your colleagues, just a thought. Many small alterations can go from conceptual to realized in less than a week. Kwab Asamoah of Kustom Looks Clothier in Silver Spring forecasted a 48-hour turnaround on a simple tapering. And, offering a full range of apparel options, once you get the taste for truly fitted clothing, all of your needs can be met.

But for now, just walk over to the closet and pull out that shirt that you wished showed you off just a little bit better and take to the streets. Stop at the first alteration shop you see and lay it on the line, you’ll love the result.

See you next week

Thursday, April 9, 2009

But, Smoke It Like a Grown-Up

But, Smoke It Like a Grown-Up

Smoking. It happens. People seem to be extremely attached to smoking. As the places where one can enjoy a good drag indoors are growing fewer and further between, with even the Commonwealth of Virginia instituting their own ban, people are taking their cigars, cloves and cigarettes out to the patios, porches, and front lawns of public buildings everywhere. In the satirical universe maintained by the Onion’s news team, smokers are finally corralled into a single room in a small town in a Midwestern state. And despite the minor inconvenience of having to drive across several state lines, smokers are determined to hit the road instead of kicking the habit.

The resilience of the tobacco industry notwithstanding, the widespread attack on indoor smoking has taken an odd toll on the society at large. In its heyday, smoking enjoyed an odd prominence. Crystal ashtrays adorned many tables, reserving seating for smoking patrons. The burning embers of a consumed cigarette crushed in the container a la The Rat Pack. But with the virtual elimination of smoke-friendly buildings, there is no longer the easy access ashtray.

The cigarettes once used are, by their owners reckoning, gone. All that remains for them now is a casual gesture, something to signify the accomplishment of finishing (or stopping, whichever the case may be). Where once this act was a twisting of the hand, victory is celebrated by the flick of the fingers and twist of the foot, fin. But to the world’s eye, something remains. A minor piece of litter, really is it that bad? The same stirring one would get watching someone wad up his Starbuck’s receipt and throw it to the sidewalk wells up when the uninvolved observer notes this convenient disposal technique enacted on the patio of a favored cafĂ©.

This particular manner of resolution is uniquely upsetting to Kevin, a smoker who endures a complicated practice of flicking the fading ashes to remove all risk, and throwing away the remaining filter, in a garbage can. Kevin, when questioned about his diligence on the matter replied in frustration, “‘Cause I’m a God damned grown-up.” This Silver Spring, MD resident went on to explain that people fail to consider the clean-up required to maintain aesthetically appealing areas, and leaving a trail of litter conjures up images of a parent having to follow unruly children caring for their messes.

Smoking. It happens. People are extremely attached to smoking,
and that’s fine. But, smoke it like a grown-up.

Friday, April 3, 2009


We’re students. We’re dancers. We’re actors. We’re writers. We’re slackers. We’re friends. We’re enemies. We’re lovers. We’re working parents. We’re kids. We’re alcoholics. We’re potheads. We’re Christians. We’re Muslims. We’re Atheists. We’re agnostics. We’re hard workers. We’re rarely surprised. We know you. We do anything you demand of us and more with a smile plastered on our face. We get shit on everyday time after time. We smoke like chimneys to calm the stress. We drink to forget. We take the blame for your mistakes and have five seconds to shake it off and engage the next client. We aren’t satisfied unless you are. We balance and pace. We stage and clean. We reap the rewards on the good days. We just hope to make it through the really bad days. We cry. We laugh. We can fix it. We got a good customer. We really blew it. We made a friend. We need to party. We need to work. We need the money. We are bored. We are totally swamped. We’re weeded. We’re out. We ARE right, but no one cares. We aim to please. We will see what we can do. We didn’t hear that. We don’t understand. We didn’t need that. We can’t believe it. We appreciate that, really. We take your order, and remember your tiny idiosyncrasies. We abide the no tips and the bad tips on the off chance of a great table. We don’t forget how rude you were. We’re easy to get along with…if you are. We love the drinkers and hate water. We don’t do this for free. We definitely don’t do this for fun. We love the irony of Diet Coke. We like cute kids. We could do without the bad ones. We laugh at ketchup-steak people, extra well done people, extra extra dressing people, and forget their to-go food people. We hate it when you can’t make up your mind but won’t let us leave. We have stuff to do…always. We want twenty percent. We accept fifteen plus. We bristle at ten, remembering anything less with a righteous fury. We told you the center would be red, you still wanted medium. We’ll take that back for you. We can’t read minds, say virgin daiquiri. We will get that. We’re cut, finally. We’re done cleaning. We’re checked out. We’re out. We’re spent.

We are servers who just want to make a lot of coin with a little stress and not a lot of mistakes but mostly… We just don’t give a shit.

Tune in Next Week

Check out the server based start-up magazine and consider submitting some of your own work

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Deer Strike Back Over Housing Issue

Deer Strike Back Over Housing Issue

In recent weeks deer in Montgomery County, Maryland have lashed out in an attempt to combat the displacement experienced as a result of construction for the Inter County Connector (ICC). The ICC, which will serve as an efficient pathway between Montgomery County and its neighbor Prince George’s County, has uprooted a significant deer community near Briggs-Cheney road. Forced, they feel, against a wall, the deer have begun to disrupt the commutes of the county’s human residents in different ways.
Though initially resolved to fight the unguided relocation through non-violent means, the deer have suffered many setbacks in the fight for that patch of green. The initial letter writing campaign organized by some of the deer, failed to gain momentum upon the realization that they possessed neither opposable thumbs for holding writing implements, nor keyboards conducive to use by hoof. Attempts, by the deer, to attend any of the forums regarding the building of the ICC, were thwarted both by the convoluted system of travel favored by humans, and by the cunning use of the “Shoo!” system. Artists within the deer community thought there were making measurable headway and possibly on the verge of a breakthrough, when municipal officials removed their symbolic representations, A Load of Crap, and Poo Creek.
In their desperation, some of the deer have resorted to more direct methods, hoping to inspire more advocacies among human groups. Many deer families have begun camping out in traditionally human areas, sheds and fenced-in backyards being popular choices. The benefit being twofold as this tactic both increases awareness of the deer’s predicament and provides temporary shelter for the deer. Attempting to press the urgency of their plight and the pain it causes, some of the loners among the ranks have made roadway visiting a larger part of their daily ritual; darting through traffic at irregular intervals. Ostensibly, these deer are using this to inspire panicked drivers to insist on proper housing for the deer as a whole. Many skeptics, some within the deer community, believe these to be entirely unrelated cries for help, stemming more from relational failings than from the housing crisis at hand.
Montgomery County’s human population, long ago having accepted mild to moderate overlapping of their world with that of the local deer, expresses upset with the increased crossing over of the other group. Contrary to the hopes of the mobilizing deer, much of the human displeasure seems directed at their four footed neighbors, rather than at the establishment forcing them to the outskirts of the area.
For now, the deer are united and determined to continue their fight for adequate space and housing in the Montgomery County area. And while health care, education, and proper treatment of the deceased remain significant issues area deer from every walk of life agree this may be the issue that finally gets them invited to the table (and not for dinner this time). To date the ICC building project continues unabated, with the disenfranchised deer trying to make themselves heard over all the noise of the construction noise.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Some days I feel like Family Guy's Peter Griffin going on about what really grinds his gears. Other days I feel like the world is a, if not just then at least, decent place. Most days I live on a wave optmistic, pessimestic and everything in between. So why blog? In part because I love observation. Watching people and seeing the universe unfold around me inspires me to share. More than that though I blog because I love to write.

When I was younger, when my friends wanted to be doctors, lawyers, fire, fighters, etc. I...I wanted to have an advice column. I didn't even think I was that smart; I just loved the idea of helping people and writing at the same time. I was pretty good at research and had some connections to people much smarter and better connected than I. So in some ways this is a small realization of a childhood dream to offer the world the small benefit of my perception, and in return, get some good writing practice.