alan maltz, lover of palm trees

In any given sad situation, you can choose to deal in one of two ways.  You can get all twarked up in a big ball of snit over it.  Or you can accept the things you cannot change and focus on the positive side.  Because no matter how atrocious the situation seems, there is always a positive side.  You just have to look harder to find it sometimes, is all.

Daylight hours are a huge deal for me.  They increase by about two minutes per day from the winter solstice until the summer solstice.  Lots of people don’t realize that the day after summer begins, daylight hours actually start to decrease.  Sad, but true.  Less daylight hours make me feel all wilted and foggy.  In the winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder causes some people to feel depressed.  This is because the amount of light you’re exposed to affects your mood and sleep patterns.  That’s why SAD patients sit in front of light boxes (which emit full-spectrum white light to simulate sunlight) for a certain amount of time each day to improve their depression.  This happens in places that experience lots of rainy days, like Seattle (which would explain most of the Grey’s Anatomy Season Three craziness, but that’s another entry) or locations in polar regions (which experience three months of living in almost total darkness every year).  That’s OD.

But that’s not the point.  The point is this:  Instead of being bummed about decreasing daylight hours, I’m going to focus on sweet summer memories and palm trees.  Palm trees always make me feel peaceful.  Palm trees say, “Hi.  Why not kick back with a tall glass of watermelon juice (with those paper umbrellas sticking out of it) and enjoy this perfect 73-degree day?  More fruit salad?”  So I think of palm trees.  Like these, brought to you by the most extraordinary photographer ever, Alan Maltz.  Check out his website for many more.

Alan Maltz sunset


Alan Maltz sunset


Alan Maltz sunset

not the cure, but john mayer

So I was supposed to be blogging about how awesome The Cure was at Madison Square Garden last Sunday.  That was the concert where SP and I had 4th row center floor seats.  Which is so freaking awesome I can’t even explain how close that is.  And today I was going to post photos and the playlist and details about how I was so close I could see Robert Smith’s lipliner.

But that’s not what this is about.  Because The Cure canceled their concert.

Canceled.  It.

At first I was like, Who does that?  But then I found out that they have to finish their next album or some such.  Hmph.  At least we have the same seats on June 20, which is the rescheduled date.  That’s a good thing.  So instead of being all depressed about this, I’ll share some positive John Mayer energy.

I went to two John Mayer concerts during his Continuum tour.  I had 2nd row seats for Madison Square Garden and 2nd row seats for Tweeter Center.  They both rocked harder than ever.  Enjoy, neighbors:

John Mayer, 2007


John Mayer, 2007     John Mayer, 2007

you know where

The cover of my new book is an awesome thing.  When I first saw it, I was like, Dude!  I wrote that!  It just looks like what I wrote.  This genius designer at Viking, Sam Kim, created a gorgeous work of art.  Plus, he captured the tone of the story and the characters look like the real characters.  That’s hot.

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

For those of you who are wondering about My Way Home, this is that.  The title was changed to Take Me There because we thought it would be, you know, sassier.  It brings up questions such as, Where are we going?  Just like When It Happens made people wonder, Hmmm.  Is that the same “it” I think it is?  These are good questions to have.

Just don’t ask me if we’re there yet.  I can’t even remember which side the gas pedal is on.

trying new things…or not

You know how it’s important to try new things in life?  Be adventurous and all?  I usually agree with that idea.  But sometimes, not so much.

Take fine dining, for example.  Not everything goes together.  Would you put mustard on grapes?  No, you would not.  Typically at this point, someone raises their hand to inform me that they, in fact, would put mustard on grapes, they do it all the time, they just had that last night, and yadda yadda hoo ha.  But we’re not going there.  That person is just being annoying.

I’ve had three recent restaurant experiences that have left me reluctant to try exotic combinations of ingredients.  Here in downtown Manhattan, exotic combinations come up a lot.  Like paprika in lemonade.  It was described to me by the waiter as “a refreshing twist,” but tasted more like “here’s what not to do if you want to stay in business.”

My second mistake was ordering cheesecake in a cup.  I’m a cheesecake connoisseur, so that sounded cool.  Even after it was explained that the cheesecake was French-style and unbaked, something like a custard in consistency.  Imagine my horror when it turned out to basically be cream cheese topped with sour cream, all smooshed together in a cup.  Gross me out the door.

Then there was the green tea cupcake last weekend at a hot new place.  See, I love green tea and my love for cupcakes knows no boundaries, but here’s an example of two things that just don’t go.  Which I kind of knew while the waiter was explaining how the green tea gets fused into the cupcake, but I wanted to try it anyway.  What a mistake that was.  We eyed the green icing suspiciously.  I took a small bite.  SP took a small bite.  We put our forks down.  And the taste of dirty grass wouldn’t go away.  We whispered over the table about how bad it was.  Luckily, we got to trade for green tea ice cream which, in case you don’t know, is fabulous.

So remember, kids.  Pecorino romano on pasta = so freaking good.   Vinegar on chocolate?  Run.  Run far, far away.

emmy madness

You would think that a person who has never owned a TV would be less interested in watching the Emmy Awards.  But actually, loving The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, 24 and The Daily Show the way I do means that this was a big year.  And my good friend and neighbor, Michelle, has a big TV to match.  Hmmm.  You can see detailed info here, but I also have a few things to say.

For example.  What’s up with that shot to T. R. Knight when the animation thing (before the host, who was some guy named Ryan something, came on) mentioned the shunned Isaiah Washington?  Hasn’t George been through enough?  Especially after not winning tonight (a travesty!).

T.R. Knight as George O'Malley

Anyway.  I was majorly bummed when both The Daily Show and Late Show with David Letterman (which will always be Late Night in my heart) got shot down in a double-whammy effect of what the eff was that?  And not just because when I was a teen I would tape Late Night and watch it the next day after school, recording the Top Ten lists and best lines in my special Late Night notebook.  Dude, I even wore Adidas when everyone else was wearing Keds just because Dave wore them, that’s how obsessed I was.

Johnny Carson and David Letterman in Rolling Stone

Jeremy Piven absolutely deserved his win (even if it was over Drama).  Ari Gold is totally brill.  And Jeremy is sweet.  When I got my picture taken with him after the Neil LaBute play Fat Pig (before the days of Entourage – my love for Jeremy goes way back), he pressed his cheek right up against my cheek like we were old friends.  He said, “There’s love for me in New York.”  You got that right.

Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, and Jeremy's Emmy

I’m a big Grey’s fan.  So it was hard to accept the fact that they did not win for best drama (of course The Sopranos had to get it, everyone knows this, duh, but it’s still hard).  But what was even harder to accept was the personality of Katherine Heigl (thanks for clearing up that pronunciation, by the way)…not exactly shining through.  More like blinding everyone with insensitivity.  Here’s a hot tip:  You might want to think before you speak.  Like, when you say, “Even my own mother didn’t think I had a chance in hell of winning” when your own mother is sitting right there as your guest, it might come off as…oh, I don’t know…insensitive, perhaps?  Especially when your own mother then looks as if she’s about to burst into tears as the camera cuts to her while you’re rambling on with the rest of your speech.  Oh, and about that speech?  We didn’t need to hear that you’ve been “working [your] ass off for seventeen years.”  Sweetie, some people in that room have been working their asses off for seventy years.  Simmer down now.

Kiefer Sutherland:  always a gentleman, looking sharp, 24 theme playing all majestically  in the background, still not winning for best lead actor in a drama.  My conclusion:  that sucks.  Here’s what should have happened:

Kiefer Sutherland with his Emmy

In a fabulous moment of synergy, Steve Carell presented for best variety show and The Daily Show finally won!   Yay!  Jon Stewart is so hot that it didn’t even matter when he gave his speech with some lipstick on his lip.  You go, Jon.  Work it!  Own it!

Jon Stewart

In an even more thrilling moment (if you can believe that), Steve Carell ran onto the stage when Jon Stewart called him up to accept the best lead actor in a comedy award, which he completely deserved.  Way to stick it to the man (the man, in this case, being some lame dude who won and wasn’t even there).  In other news of The Office, shout-out to Greg Daniels who won for writing an amazing ep.  And in a most excellent Dwight Schrute style competition, Rainn Wilson battled Kanye West and beat his butt to a pulp.  That’s how long I been on ya, nephew!  But when both The Office and Entourage lost in the best comedy smackdown, I had to call it a night.  There’s just no excuse for that kind of inappropriate behavior.

Michael Scott rules the conference room

time for change

It’s weird how people change.

Example:  I always used to wear a watch.  From middle school until after college, I couldn’t imagine not wearing a watch.  I was always like, Who does that?

But then I got into yoga and meditation and living in the moment, and things changed.  Suddenly, my watch was repulsive.  Not because it didn’t look good.  I’ve always had Swatches because they are a beautiful thing.  I had the clear one where you can see all the gears.  I had one with little orange fishies.  I had one with a big, black X.  Only, now it felt like there was always this huge clock over my head, all impatient like tick-tock!  Counting out the limited time I have left, demanding attention.  Totally stressing me out.

Now that I’m tutoring, I have to wear a watch.  When I was a teacher, it was way easier to look at the clock.  Because when I started teaching and didn’t know how to time lessons yet and I’d be checking my watch every five minutes, the kids would get restless.  To them, glance at timepiece = time to go.  I have to know what time it is now, though.

So of course I went to the Swatch store in SoHo.  Duh!  They have so many awesome designs right now I can’t even tell you.  I have no idea how I narrowed my choices down to two.  But I did.  And now I have them.   I went retro with the transparent one and then I got this other one called Color the Sky, with gorgeous  stripes:

Color the Sky Swatch

I have to get used to that ticking again.  But it’s all good.  Jack Bauer would be proud.


Here in New York, everyone has their story.  Where they were when they heard that it happened.  What they saw when they looked downtown.  How they got home from work that day.

And then there are those of us who were supposed to be there.  I’m sure you’ve heard some of these.  Running fifteen minutes late saved someone’s life.  Standing in a long line for coffee at 8:46 saved another.  Or just feeling, for no particular reason, that going to work on such a gorgeous day would be unbearable.

Here’s another one.

I was there with my friend, Stephen, the night of September 8, 2001.  No one else was around.  I stood next to the Twin Towers and tilted my head way back and took pictures of them.  Because that’s what they were to me.  We wanted to go to Windows on the World, but it was closed.  We decided to go back Tuesday.

That Tuesday, of course, was September 11.

He comes back to visit every year.  And every year, we walk down to Ground Zero to be there again.  To be in the place that once had such intense energy it took my breath away.  Every time I saw them, it took my breath away.  Every single time.  This of course has to do with my obsession with them, how they were in so many dreams I had when I was younger, calling me here.  Now I’m here and they’re gone.  But their energy will never die.

Tribute in Light looks like two towers of light from a distance.  But up close, you can see that they actually consist of 88 individual searchlights.  I took these pictures at Ground Zero in 2004:

September 11, 2004


September 11, 2004     September 11, 2004

September 11, 2004


September 11, 2004


September 11, 2004


I still see the shadows of them, where they’re supposed to be.  I always look closer, hoping.

mummenschanz forever

Hey.  Whatever happened to Mummenschanz?

You know.  The ultimate performance art troupe that’s far more superior entertainment than anything else on this whole entire planet?  Yeah, them.  They used to be all out there in the 70’s and 80’s, unfurling their toilet-paper eyes and rolling across the stage in huge spheres of cellophane and felt.  When I went to the official Mummenschanz website, I was alarmed to discover that they won’t be back in the States for a possible tour until 2009.  Shut up!

Here’s Mummenschanz on The Muppet Show in 1976:

Excellent performance art like Blue Man Group comes close, but it’s not the same.

I know the fabulous Mummenschanz will come back to me one day.  And when they do, I’ll be ready for some seriously obscure action.

paper products are so hot right now

I’ve been waiting for this day for so long I can’t even tell you.

And now it’s finally here.

Season Three of The Office has been released.  And I have been to Circuit City to buy what was probably the first copy to be sold today.  It was fresh off the rack and looking gorgeous.  And at the bargain price of $29.99, by the way, because when I saw their $39.99 price tag with no hint of a new-release sale, I was not having that.  The cashier picked up on my adrenaline rush and gave me the online price.  Sweet.

New Office eps are a huge deal in my life for the following reasons:

1.  Jim Halpert rocks my world.
2.  I am addicted to this show and refuse to undergo treatment.
3.  Since I’ve never owned a TV, I don’t even know what happened with Jim and Pam.

You may be wondering if there’s a particular reason I don’t have a TV.  Yeah, there is.  Lots of them, actually.  I can also explain why I don’t have a cell phone (or even a cordless phone) or a microwave or call waiting or a freezer.  But that’s a whole other blog entry.  Since I don’t have a TV, that means I have no idea what’s happening with my shows.  I watch The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24 when they come out on DVD (on my awesome iBook).  Oh, and SP has gotten me into Entourage.  So I have to wait until everyone’s already seen the whole season and attempt to avoid spoilers and there’s all of this excitement and anticipation built up and then a day like today arrives.  And life is good.

Now.  Here’s the question.  Do I devour all 22 episodes in a frantic marathon viewing frenzy?  Or do I space them out, restraining myself over a few weeks, only watching one or two eps a day?  You may think I’d want to watch them all right away to know what happens.  And of course I can’t wait to find out (I’ve heard that Pam walks out of her wedding, but chose not to absorb this information as factual).  But what happens when you inhale all of the eps in one extended sitting is that then you don’t have any eps left.  They’re all gone.  And that’s a very lonely feeling.  Whereas if you contain yourself and don’t OD, you can maintain your level of excitement for a much longer time period.

I prefer the stretching-it-out method.  Anticipation is a rush.