Catching Up

I’m guessing the way to build a readership is probably not to post a few times, then disappear for a few weeks.  So, sorry about that.  I could give you some line about not having the time or being sick or something, but really, I’m just lazy.  Sorry about that too.

With that said, it’s time to play a little catchup from the past couple weeks.  I obviously don’t remember everything, so it’ll just be a quick rundown of the things that stand out the most.

1) Arnie’s Double Digest

My friend Arnie came into NY a couple weekends ago for a job interview.  He got the call Tuesday for a Friday interview, so you can imagine how hectic the scheduling was.  Regardless, he came in on a Thursday, interviewed, and left Monday.  That left a little time during his visit for hanging out, although we didn’t “do” much of New York.  We went out to bars to watch the Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts game, and had dinner at a couple restaurants in the neighborhood (if you’re ever in Washington Heights and you don’t go to Malecon, then I don’t understand why you were in Washington Heights).

We also played some games, as cool as we are.  We played Fluxx, Dork Tower (the card game), and a crap-ton of Scattergories, all of which was great.  Sunday night, Arnie introduced me to a concept called 52 Empty Cards, where you basically make a game using blank index cards cut in half.  You write instructions on each card, and each time someone wins, they get to make a new card to add to the game.  We found a template for a Supervillains game, which was hilarious (if a little long), and we eventually added a bunch of new cards to make it shorter and more entertaining.  Fair warning–if any of you come visit, you’ll probably get roped into testing out the new deck.

2) A Murder of Anatomy

Girlfriend took her first two tests in med school, which caused no little amount of sturm and drang.  Of course, I don’t know that there was any amount of studying that would have made her feel comfortable (a feeling I understand, believe me), and after the test was handed in, she still wasn’t feeling too confident.  To make matters worse, grade posting seems to take forever here, adding to the pressure.  In fact, only one exam grade has been posted…but I’ll tell ya what, it was pretty damn good.  Here’s hoping the Anatomy exam comes out just as well!

3) Heart of Park-ness

During girlfriend’s study-induced period of stress, we decided to enjoy the lovely weather for a little bit to help diminish the anxiety.  We played catch in a small field near the med school until I managed to nail her in the knee with a baseball.  We decided to take a short walk to the tennis courts in nearby Riverside Park and then head back to the apartment.

It took about 20 minutes to get to the tennis courts, which were certainly nice enough, but the path we took (via the med school) was rather out of the way from our apartment.  We decided to look for an alternate entrance to the park that would cut out the travel time.  Instead of taking a moment to look at a map, we decided to start walking down a path.  This…was a poor choice.  We came to a number of forks, some leading deeper into the park, and others following the Henry Hudson Pkwy.  We realized we were under the GW bridge, which was not where we wanted to be.  We looked to turn around, and found another fork.  One led to a sketchy tunnel under the Parkway, while the other led back into the woods.  By this point, we were exhausted (and making poor choices), so we took the tunnel, which led to some steps up under the bridge.

At this point, it became clear just how poor our choice was.  I thought nothing of the used condom in the tunnel we’d just passed, but the shaky, skinny, shabby folks on both ends of the walkway halfway up the stairs didn’t exactly make me feel comfortable.  I could tell they saw a couple of young, lost white kids, because they got up and started shambling toward us.  We decided to turn around just after we stepper around the broken trash bag interlaced with tourniquets and used hypodermic needles.  We made it back to the tunnel, took the path, and made it back to our apartment about two and a half hours after we left, meaning what started as a nice study break ended up being a study time-sink, whatever real-life learning we’d done.  Still, at least now we know that the best entrance to the park is the one that’s about 20 minutes away.  Ah well.

4) Hackers

As I noted in my last post (I think), I’d been fighting a cough.  Well, I fought it a little bit longer, but it’s pretty much gone now.  While it was here, though, it was pretty awful.  I’m still in the process of insuring myself, and I didn’t want to go to the doctor and a) have to pay for an expensive treatment, and b) find out that i had some longer-ranging illness that would possibly not be covered by subsequent insurance, since as I understand it, most insurance policies won’t be required to strike language against preexisting conditions until 2014.  So I suffered through it, and drank my tea and water and took my allergy medicine, and even added Claritin to my usual Allegra.  That seemed to help, and while I still have trouble remembering to take them in the morning, it’s still nice to be able to sleep without keeping girlfriend awake with my hacking.  I’m hoping my body is just readjusting from the pollinated haze that is Missouri’s air to the more, um, carbon-infused air of the city.

5) The Graduate (Student)

I finally engaged in some New York research.  I spent about three days in the Shubert Archive, which is in an attic above the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Ave.  It was really kind of cool to get into the space.  Sylvia buzzed me into the theatre, then came down in the two-person, self-operated elevator to take me to the archive.  She had pulled materials related to Trixie Friganza, which amounted to a number of scripts, some correspondence, and production materials for Town Topics and The Passing Show of 1912, both of which will likely end up in my final project.

The process of visiting the archives showed the positive and negative side of living in a city with so many excellent resources.  While I have the luxury of visiting these sites relatively on my own schedule, I think I might benefit from the time pressure of having only a few days in the city.  While I went into the archive for three days, the entire process took over a week, thanks to sickness and unscheduled visitors.  In any case, it was a great experience, and I can’t wait to get to the Billy Rose collection!

6) The Joy of Sets

So girlfriend is involved with the theatre group here, called the Bard Hall Players.  The fact that the med school had a theatre group was one reason she chose to come here, so it was only natural that she’d dive right in, building the set and performing in the chorus.  Since I have a little experience on the tech side, I decided to throw my hat into the ring to help out, which means that girlfriend and I are now co-head carpenters.  The build is somewhat primitive, since we don’t have a table saw (or a miter saw at the moment–they said the one they own will probably set up at some point) and the build location is on the 20th floor of Columbia Presbyterian.

You might be asking yourself, what kind of hospital has a space that could serve as a scene shop, especially on the 20th floor?  The answer to that question is Dr. Oz.  You might know him as that annoying daytime TV guy who told you not to drink apple juice, or possibly as the host of ABC’s NY Med, which follows doctors at, you guessed it, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, attached to the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Before he became super-famous with housewives and the unemployed, he began filming his show on the 20th floor of the hospital.  Of course, as his ratings grew, so did his need for space, and he eventually moved out of the studio, leaving it a raw, unfinished space, perfect for building scenery.  I’ve never worked in a shop with a view of any kind, so it’s still a little surprising to look out the window and see, you know, New York.

And that’s the end of this “quick” update.  If you made it this far, congratulations.  I didn’t think you had it in you.  Hope you come back for the next entralling installment!

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