NFL Draft, Pt. 1

When I moved to New York eight months ago, one of my first thoughts was that I would be going to a place where things actually happened.  You know, where all the stuff that happens on TV is really taking place.  Sure, I’d had a similar experience in Columbia, Missouri, specifically on the night Mizzou beat Oklahoma.  I watched the goalposts being torn down just before I left to pick my girlfriend up from work at the hospital.  Ten minutes later, I was at a stop light when the goalpost came trotting down the street in front of me, heading for Harpo’s and its immanent slicing and distribution.

But New York is something different.  The things that happen here tend to have a broader scope, a more national reach, and I wanted to be there for at least some of them.  That’s why I spent most of yesterday evening in line to get tickets to the NFL draft.  Or, more accurately, to get a wristband that would allow me to get tickets the next day.

I’ve watched the all-day draft coverage on television or the internet since I was in college.  I’ve done my best to catch all of the picks, although I admit to missing more of it since the NFL decided to change from a Saturday-Sunday format to the current Thursday-Friday-Saturday model.  But I still enjoy the coverage, as much for the background noise as for the actual picks.  This is partially because I am a Cleveland Browns fan, and watching the draft for me tends to be a mix of watching players I like go to other teams while my team makes confusing choices in both picks and trades.  It’s best not to get too invested.

The procedure for getting into the draft is relatively straightforward.  Tickets are free, but they will cost you a bit of time (and dignity).  The wristbands were to be distributed at 9pm.  I got to Radio City Music Hall at 5:00, and I was probably about 200 people back, which it turns out wasn’t so bad.  The mix of people waiting near me was quite interesting.  There were the requisite megafans, young and old, short and tall, fat and extremely fat, all wearing their newly-purchased team jerseys.  There were professionals who probably came right from work.  The crowd was primarily men, as one might expect, although there were a few women (all of whom seemed to be accompanying their husbands/boyfriends/captors).

I brought books to pass the time, and made it most of the way through Harlan Coben’s Drop Shot before I made it inside.  Most of the others were talking football, talking basketball, or just talking about nothing.  One man sat directly in front of me and was working on his laptop, trying to figure out how his company was missing $180,000.  I was tempted to ask if he worked for Flying J, but I didn’t.

It was a little embarrassing to be in line at times, however.  At one point, two women holding hands walked past the line, which prompted a boisterous cheer of “We Love Lesbians,” and while I’d love to attribute their enthusiasm to support of the LGBTQ community, I’m pretty sure they just wanted to see them kiss.  This spawned a whole range of cheers, from calling on women to expose their breasts to generally creeping women out by asking them to slow down, come over, talk for a minute, etc.  I just pushed my nose into my book and waited for the line to move.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an event without swag, and let me tell you, I made out like a bandit.  I got a bag of honey mustard-flavored Ruffles, a can of Pepsi Next, a rally towel, a slice of pizza, and a precarious camp stool, all for the price of nuthin’.  Except, you know, waiting outside for four hours.  In reality, the chips were good, the soda went to someone who doesn’t mind the taste of sucralose, the towel was kind of neat, the pizza was nice, and the stool was all right, if a little unstable.  And the line ended up moving faster than I’d expected: I had my ticket, got a quick walk through the floor of Radio City, and was back on the street with pizza in my hand before it even turned 9pm.  The standing didn’t seem that long thanks to a decent book, and it was a quick jump back onto the train to get back to my apartment.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s event.  The line shouldn’t be quite as long, and I’ll actually get to see something after queuing.  The rumors I’ve heard coming from Cleveland seem to point to ridiculous mistakes being made by a management team I don’t particularly like, which should be entertaining as well.  I plan on attending each day of the draft, and blogging about the experience each night.  I’ll also be live-tweeting to all 34 of my followers.  If you’d like to hear about the draft as it happens, you should follow me on Twitter on @LasikF.  Hopefully both my tweets and my blog posts will be enjoyable, since I can pretty much guarantee the direct ratio between stupid Browns decisions and the hilarity of my writing.  Enjoy!


Fine Fare is Neither Fine nor Fare. Discuss.

I never really minded grocery shopping before.  Whether it’s because I love food or I just like getting stuff, grocery shopping was always kind of fun.  I’m the kind of dork that likes to make a list before I leave the house and cross items off as I go, like making a little pencil line over “Hot Dog Buns” means I got more accomplished.  It’s a concrete, self-limiting process, and it really appeals to the part of me that likes finishing a task more than actually doing it.

Here in New York, I find grocery shopping increasingly…unpleasant.  In each of my previous locations, shopping has been pretty straightforward.  Go to the supermarket, grab your food off the shelf, check out, load up the car, and head on home.  Sure, there were regional variations, but none that really made much of a difference.  Do I like Kroger or Giant Eagle?  Gerbe’s or Hy-Vee?  In Columbia, I typically went to Gerbe’s because it was closer, although I much preferred Hy-Vee, if only for its better lighting, nicer employees, and surprisingly tasty Chinese food.

But shopping in New York is, like so many other things, more complicated.  Here are the top reasons why:

1) Inventory

There are three true grocery stores within about three blocks of me: Fine Fare, Bravo, and Gristedes.  Of the three, I tend to go to Fine Fare, since it’s the closest, even though it’s clearly the worst of the three.  Bravo is a nice market, and Gristedes is good but expensive.  So I go to Fine Fare (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one) for most of my needs.  The trick is finding the actual products I’m looking for.

The inventory at Fine Fare is, in a word, inconsistent.  There might be a day when they have twenty different kinds of bread, followed by a week where they struggle to keep the shelves stocked.  Trying to find chocolate ice cream can feel like panning for gold in a kiddy pool.  Lunchmeat may or may not be stocked, but they definitely won’t have honey roasted turkey breast.  Typically, there are at least two items on my list that aren’t at the Fine Fare, whether it’s because the store is sold out or they have chosen not to restock that particular item.

Sometimes one of the other stores will have what I’m looking for, although I find it extremely frustrating to walk three blocks to find decent cream cheese in a tub instead of a block.  Other times, I have to leave the neighborhood to find what I’m looking for.

2) Location

There are other places to shop for food beyond the neighborhood, and sometimes there really isn’t any better choice.  Typically, we choose to head to the Trader Joe’s on 72nd or Fairway Market on 74th.  Both locations are easily accessible from the 1 line, which hits our neighborhood, and they each offer items not available in our neck of the woods.  Please note that this typically includes most produce.

We tend to choose Fairway over Trader Joe’s, if only because their produce is really nice and the line to check out is not nearly as long.  I also like their whole bean coffee (which we also don’t get in the Heights).  But Trader Joe’s does have a cost advantage, since their prices are the same nationwide.  In any case, it does put something of a damper on our fruit and vegetable consumption to have to travel almost 100 blocks downtown to get decent produce.  And the crowds can be annoying.  Trader Joe’s checkout line is typically about ½ the length of the store, so long that they have an employee holding a sign to indicate the end of the line.  Fairway’s checkout is easier, but the aisles themselves are usually packed, making navigating almost impossible at times.  The most frustrating part, though, is getting home.

3) Transportation

When we decided to move to New York, I was excited to get rid of my car.  While I don’t mind driving, it’s nice to not worry about all the ancillary costs that come with car ownership: gas, insurance, repairs, and so on.  But for me, the major tradeoff has been losing the easy transportation of goods.  This is especially important for groceries.

I used to make massive shopping trips, the kind that required three trips from the car to the kitchen to unload everything.  When you have to carry everything by hand, however, it changes the way you shop.  While we may drink two gallons of milk in a week, is it worth trying to carry them both home from the grocery store?  The other option is a collapsible cart, which is a popular solution employed by many in the city, but I haven’t quite reconciled myself to the role of cart owner just yet.

This is bad enough when trying to get a load home from Fine Fare, but it becomes something else altogether when coming home from the 72nd St. station.  As I’ve noted before, the amount you have to carry is directly proportional to the number of people on the subway.  Add to this the general filth on the floor of your typical New York subway car, and you can imagine that you are going to be carrying that entire load all the way home, lest you get some sort of virus/bacteria/parasite/end-of-days plague nugget on your freshly selected yellow onions.

4) Inferior store brands

I consider myself a knowledgeable consumer when it comes to food.  I usually have no qualms when it comes to store brands—heck, sometimes I like the store brands better than the national version.  For the longest time I ate Kroger brand peanut butter, mac and cheese, and refried beans, not to mention cheese, soda, canned vegetables, and other items.  I think I’m well-enough informed to balance cost with quality, and pick the right item for me.

I tried this strategy during my first couple shopping trips to the Fine Fare, whose house brand is Parade.  I tried one or two goods that, while not great, weren’t horrible.  But when I tried their cheese, I knew immediately that I would never be able to eat anything branded Parade again.  It was labeled either jack or part-skim mozzarella, but whatever was in the package was not.  The texture was waxy and pliant, squishy and malleable not unlike a Gumby doll.  The taste, though, was redolent of a wet dog crossed with ammonia, with just a touch of white vinegar thrown in to “enhance” the aftertaste.  I ate only one piece from the 8 ounce block before I simply threw the whole thing away.

I realize not all of their products are that disgusting.  But boy, did I get burned.  Bravo’s Krasdale products are better, but even here I’m more cautious than I would otherwise be.  The end result is that I end up spending more than I’d like for products I used to get from house brands, and while it does bother me to drop an extra fifty cents to a dollar for a brand name, at least I can be relatively sure it isn’t going to make me want to never eat again.

In the end, shopping here isn’t really that tough, and making smaller shopping trips help keep us from overloading our meager pantry space.  We throw out less food here than we did in Columbia, and the street vendors usually have pretty good deals on vegetables, when they have what we’re looking for.  But there are some days when I leave the Fine Fare and I swear I’ll never shop there again, which usually lasts for less than an hour, when I realize I didn’t buy Pop Tarts.  Some things are that important.

Update from NYC

Some quick-hit thoughts on things I’ve learned about living in New York:

1) You can learn a lot about a neighborhood based on the prices at the Starbucks.  Or more specifically, you can learn a lot about Washington Heights, where coffee prices are about 20 cents cheaper than any other Starbucks I’ve been to around the city.  The conclusion?  Washington Heights apparently has some kickin’ deals, as long as you get them before everything closes at 8pm.

2) Why are all of the bananas at grocery stores all so green?  Everywhere else I’ve ever lived, it wasn’t difficult to find a bunch of bananas that was just on the cusp of ripeness, but for some reason every bunch here is greener than Hal Jordan.  And each bunch is individually bagged, too—what’s up with that?  My best guess on the greenness is that, as New York is a port city, the bananas need to start off really green so by the time they get to the Midwest, they’re that typical bold yellow I’ve come to expect from a banana.

3) An accordion is never as loud as when it’s on the A train.  Trust me.

4) Snow in New York is a double-edged sword.  It’s hard to deny that it’s incredibly beautiful to watch the city be transformed from a dingy gray and brown to a glittering snowscape.  And the city does a pretty darn good job at keeping its streets clear with both plows and rock salt (unlike Columbia, MO, which spreads sand—or one year, cinders).  The problem is what happens to the melted snow.  It tries to run down to the grates, but snow and ice have invariably blocked its path, meaning it pools by the curbs, particularly at street corners.  These pools are typically hidden by more snow and ice, which means that after dark, it looks a lot like pavement.  And by pools, I don’t mean puddles.  I’m talking actual bodies of water that come up over the top of whatever shoe you’re wearing, no matter how high they may be.  I swear to god, I saw a toddler swallowed whole yesterday.

5) A couple simple mathematical properties about living in NYC:

a. The later the hour, the longer it will take for a train to show up.  This ratio is increased by a magnitude based on the amount of alcohol one has consumed prior to entering the station.  Corollary: The length of the train ride is similarly increased.

b. The amount you are carrying is directly proportional to the amount of people on the train.  This is especially true if it is raining.

c. If a homeless person on a train smells terrible, and you sit within five seats of said homeless person, you now smell terrible.

d. The number of people on the sidewalk who either run into you or stop directly in front of you is always one more than the amount for which you have patience.

e. There is an inverse relationship between a subway musician’s skill and his aggressiveness in asking for money.

Is That Rain?

Last week, I rode the elevator in our building with two other tenants, who live on the floor above my girlfriend and me. Their apartment had recently suffered some severe damage because the person in the apartment above theirs left his tub running, meaning the water overflowed and rushed into their unit. Walls were ruined, switches and outlets had shorted out, and at least one mouse was flushed out of their walls (resulting in a high-pitched scream to the super, “Manny, help! A mouse!”). I felt bad for these guys, but I was equally glad it wasn’t me. Well, not equally, but I really did feel bad for them.

Of course, karma being what it is, we experienced our own gravity- and water-related issue last night. Around seven, the cat bolted from the living room to the bathroom at precisely the same moment we heard a strange trickling sound. When we got to the bathroom, we noticed a steady stream of water dripping from the middle of our bathroom ceiling. I immediately called the super while girlfriend went to grab our mop bucket. Our super, who is actually really helpful, was up almost immediately. He took one look at the stream, shook his head, and excused himself to check something out.

I should mention at this point that there is some extensive renovation going on in the apartment above ours. I haven’t seen it, but based on noise at 8am, I’m guessing they’re installing a heavy manufacturing plant. During this installation, they apparently did some damage to the old water pipes as they were laying new plumbing for the remodeled industrial bathroom, and the result was a small crack at a junction with some possible damage to a main line. The super turned off the water to the apartment and told us it should be fine.

We thanked him and returned to watching Bones on Netflix. At about 9, we heard what sounded like the same trickle. There was water coming from the same spot on the ceiling, but the stream had amped itself up like A-Rod after a trip to Miami. Not only was there more volume, but there were more spots leaking water, coming from the corners of the ceiling, down the wall with the light switch, and pouring down the outside of the radiator pipe. Manny appeared again after another call, and decided to shut off the cold water main to our entire section of the building. Eventually the water did stop, although not before we emptied around 10 gallons into the bathtub. The upshot? The water would have to remain off until the pipe got fixed when the reno crew got back to work in the morning.

photo photo (1)

Manny did tell us that their first order of business after fixing the plumbing was repairing our bathroom. As of this writing, our water is back on, but the crew has not been down to fix the bathroom. It’s not necessarily a huge deal, especially since we can once again flush our toilet, but it does smell kind of funky, and we have several spots where the drywall looks like it melted, plus one big, uncomfortably anatomically-shaped hole from the main leak. All in all, it could have been worse—much worse. We moved all our belongings that could have been damaged, including an emergency disassembly of our hutch over the toilet. We had enough towels to stop the flow from seeping into the rest of the apartment. Best of all, we didn’t flush out mice or any other vermin. I’m not sure girlfriend would have been able to look at me the same after hearing me scream “Manny, help! A mouse!”

Super Bowl XLVII

I hope you all don’t mind if I take a few moments to talk about football. If you know me at all, you know that I am a Cleveland sports fan, especially the Browns. In case you don’t know, this particular brand of fandom comes with a mandatory degree of disillusionment and frustration, kind of a baseline sadness whenever someone mentions your team. A typical exchange:

Some guy: “Did you hear about the Browns?”

Me: “What did they do now?”

Some guy: “They signed/cut/drafted player X”

Me: (Staring at the floor) “I need another beer.”

I could recite the typical litany of woes (The Drive, The Fumble, The Move, Bottlegate, etc.), but it’s so much more than the sum of all the pieces. It’s an ingrained pessimism born of historical sports achievements seen through almost fifty years of failure interspersed with occasional, heartbreaking close calls.

One of the more frustrating moments in recent history, however, is perhaps set for this coming weekend. The Baltimore Ravens (formerly Cleveland Browns) are headed to the Super Bowl, their second since leaving Cleveland. Ray Lewis, a player against whom I will say nothing specific so I don’t get stabbed, is going to retire at the height of football fame. And two individual associated with the Ravens will possibly be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jonathan Ogden and Art Modell. Of Jonathan Ogden, I have no real complaints. Yes, he played for Baltimore, but he was an excellent player, and I have no strong objections.

Modell is another story. He’s the guy who orchestrated the move to Baltimore. That alone is enough for me. But there are other opinions. The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck argues that Cleveland fans should stop their whining, and just let go of the fact that he took the Browns. However, he suggests that Modell left the Browns name and colors as a gesture of goodwill, rather than as part of a legal settlement. He also urges Browns fans to look beyond their own selfish interests and look at the good of the league, an argument I’m sure worked for Baltimore fans when the Colts were spirited out of town.

While Terry Pluto’s article lays out good reasons why Modell should not be let into the Hall of Fame, for me it’s all about the smell test. If it smells wrong, it’s probably wrong. But being a Browns fan, I have to believe that he will get in, along with Ogden, and Sunday’s game will be an Art Modell love fest, with Ray Lewis wearing Art Modell’s face on a t-shirt under his jersey, which he will reveal while holding the Lombardi trophy. Heck, he might even let t-shirt Modell kiss the darn thing. I don’t want this to happen, you understand. I just know it will, because Browns fans have that innate fatalism, that keen sense that events will unfold in the way most painfully embarrassing to Cleveland. I mean, did you see the LeBron thing?

In some ways, I hate being a Browns fan. It’s hard to be so frustrated at your team all the time, and to have other people make fun of your devotion. And yet we can’t seem to let go. My buddy Mike and I, for all our complaining, still watch every move the team makes, still complain about every decision handed down, and still drink heavily on game days. There’s commiseration in that devoted hopelessness, mixed with the terror that as soon as we stop caring, they’re going to win the whole damn thing.

New York Lesson XVIII

When girlfriend found our apartment in July, we were understandably excited.  It was close to school and the subway, it wasn’t on the ground floor, it had the right number of rooms, and it wasn’t exorbitantly overpriced.  Best of all, we thought, were the utilities.  Compared to living in Columbia, MO, utilities were estimated to be much cheaper.  Best of all, water and heat were included in the rent!  Last weekend, I discovered why.

At about 1 AM on Sunday night, I was reading A Storm of Swords, up late again because, gosh darn it, I just can’t get enough pseudo-medieval intrigue and king-killing.  I’d heard what I thought was the wind blowing in through the fan in the window, but after a while, I realized the sound was getting louder, and was much more consistent than any wind I’ve ever heard, becoming more and more like a steady hiss than a wind.  I saw the cat approach the cover around one of the radiators, trying to figure out what demon from hell was making that infernal hissing.  It was then I realized that the heat was finally blowing.

At that point, I was happy to have the heat.  There had been a couple nights in the previous two weeks when I could have used a blast of hot air to chase the chill from the apartment.  But the building’s boiler hadn’t been turned on, and I had no idea what conditions would make it do so.  Whatever they were, it apparently happened late Sunday night, and I basked in the gradual (and I mean gradual) warmth spreading through the room.

Until it got warmer.  Then even warmer.  Frankly, I was hot.  I decided to try and adjust the heat, using the knob underneath the unit nearest my bed.  The radiator quickly let me know it was displeased, knocking and groaning with unholy anger.  I quickly turned the knob back to where I’d found it, and the sound subsided.  As a meager half-solution, I turned on all the fans, partially opened a window, and sweated myself to sleep.

The next day, the radiators alternated periods of hissing with a diabolical silence, with each renewed session being signaled by a modulating pitch not unlike the sound of a flash from a 1990s camera.  I opened a window by the couch to more comfortably watch my Cleveland Browns get humiliated by the Giants, but I had to shut it around the third quarter, when the cold made me shiver and sent lap-sweat flying around the living room.

And yet, today, which felt just as cold as the past two days, the radiators did not come on once.  At all.  Not the ones in the bedroom, not the rads in the living room, not even the vertical pipes running in the bathroom and kitchen that I learned will scald the bejesus out of your hand when you test to see if it’s warm (the fact that I learned this on both the bathroom and kitchen pipes probably speaks to a larger issue that I should deal with sooner rather than later).

Ultimately, I appreciate that there does seem to be heat, and that at times it can be gosh-darn effective.  And I also appreciate that I don’t need to pay a separate bill for heat–it’s built into the price of the apartment.  But what I do miss is a trusty HVAC system, with a thermostat that I control. 

Oh, and Donatos Pizza.

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!