Subway Sketches Part XLVIII

He started talking to me because I was wearing a shirt with a red dragon embroidered on the sleeve, and he had a shirt with black dragon on the chest. Red Dragon to Black Dragon he wanted to know what I had cooked today (rice and shredded beef), and whether or not I recognized the symbols on his rings, which apparently were Shiite Muslim symbols. He wanted to know if I had heard of them, but seemed unhappy when I said that I had heard about them on the news. he asked if I was christian, and when I answered atheist he seemed incredulous that an atheist would wear the symbol of a dragon, since the dragon symbolizes hell's fire. I tried to keep my sketchbook turned but he was determined to get a look, and when he figured out what I was doing he insisted that he'd make a better subject that the lady I was actually sketching. His face was far more memorable he said, and dragons had to respect one another. Thankfully I was only one stop from home, which allowed me to beg off. It's not often that people pay attention to what I'm doing, or at least that they let me know that they have picked up on it, and even then they don't usually acknowledge it much. I prefer those people. Sorry Black Dragon.

Subway Sketches Part XLVII

The first image from the brand new sketchbook.

Who Wants to be an Auditionee?

A few days ago, on a whim, I filled out the audition questionnaire on the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" website. There wasn't much to it, just a name and address sort of thing. I didn't even have to answer any trivia. Well, today I received a confirmation e-mail. Early next month I will be auditioned to appear on the show! This has been a dream of mine for a few years now, and I think I can do well on the show if I get chosen. Wish me luck!

A Task, Completed

For the first time in my history as an artist I have filled a sketchbook. The previous post marks the final page of my subway sketchbook.

I began this sketchbook on April 20th, and had a three month hiatus while I was away for summerstock this summer. There are 80 pages in the book, and I've shared a little more than half of the sketches with you guys. Minus the three months I was away that means that I filled this little book in roughly two and a half months.

I've kept dozens of sketchbooks over the years, beginning in art school, where there was roughly one begun every semester. Since then I have attempted to sketch on a daily basis several times, but in all those sketchbooks, and all that time, I never actually filled one. Several of those partially filled books are on my bookshelves even now.

So I decided to post the very first sketch from the book, (previously unseen!, everybody say "oooooh!") to show a contrast, from then to now. I think I've progressed quite a bit don't you?

Subway Sketches Part XLVI

Subway Sketches Part XLV

A Small Poll

Which is more disturbing, the fact that someone landed at my site yesterday after searching the phrase "child f*cks mother" OR the fact that when I track the ISP of the person who performed the particular search, it originated from a US Military base in Iraq?

Subway Sketches Part XLIV

Subway Sketches Part XLIII

My New Favorite Thing

There is something inexplicably joyous about the idea that in order to research one of the shows that I'm currently working on I got on the subway and went to the neighborhood that it is set in. I spent about an hour today wandering around the Village, specifically the area around 14 Gay Street, (pat yourself on your trivia burdened back if you know the show... Not YOU Kevin).

It made realize that I have been in New York for nearly two years now and I have yet to visit #3 Beekman Place. This of course would be the illustrious address of Mame Dennis. (And yes, before you ask, I am just that gay.) I think I may have to take a little trip some afternoon next week, just to see what the neighborhood is like.

Subway Sketches Part XLII

Subway Sketches Part XLI

Still Pouring

I have officially reached a saturation point as far as work is concerned.

I already had two shows in mid October for a school that I often work for, and a show at the end of November. Today I finalized a bid for a job related to a non-theater related NYC institution, that I recently discovered does some small theatrical productions on the side. If that is accepted I'll have to begin work on that almost immediately. Today three more jobs opened up.

Last night the TD from this summer called to ask if I would consider coming to the college that he attends to work as a scenic painter for a production they are doing. This one isn't definite, but it is a possibility hanging out there in the ether.

Then early this morning I had a phone call from a friend who is also a scenic designer. He and I have traded jobs a few times, when one of us was too busy we gave the other's name to the producers. I had never known it, but it turns out that he is from New Orleans. Even though his family has asked him not to, he has decided to return home. Understandably he feels at a loss being here, so far away from his family. He asked me to assume the production of a show that he was already hired for. Even if I had been totally booked I probably would have agreed to do this job, just because a friend was in need. I have a meeting in regards to that production on Wednesday.

The stage manager from this summer also emailed me today to ask if I would be interested in costuming a small show that she is working on. This is another one that I agreed to immediately, for various reasons. First being that it is a new costume credit for me, something that I am attempting to build on resume. Another reason being that it is a world premiere from a fairly well known personality that I would love to have my name attached to in the future. Again, it isn't a lock yet, but the offer is out there.

If anything else is offered to me this month I will have to say no. This is one of those weird moments as a freelancer where I know that I have plenty of work, more than enough in fact, but the prospect of turning work down is painful. Last year I went through a very rough period around the months of April and May because work had dried up, and that period still looms large in my mind. To say no to a potential job brings up fears of that occurring again this year. On a positive note however, at this point things are looking great! My career is in fine shape, and this job that I am assuming for my friend is even a step along my career goal resolutions: I won't have to build a thing for it!

Subway Sketches Part XL

How sad is it that I had to look up instructions on how to write '40' in Roman numerals? Now, hands up, and be honest... how many of you thought it meant 'extra large?'

Subway Sketches Part XXXIX

Theatrical Awareness

Today marks another "Only in New York" moment.

I am currently designing costumes for a show, and so I spent about 4 hours today in the Salvation Army in midtown. I had my measurement sheets on a clipboard, and my measuring tape around my neck, and a shopping cart full of possible choices. The surprising part was when one of the employees of the Salvation Army approached me and asked if I would like a rack. I wasn't sure what he meant until he showed me, but he was offering me a rolling rack on which to hang my clothes, rather than the shopping cart I had been using. I gratefully said yes, and thanked the guy. His response? "No problem. I know when designers come in they usually like to see everything hanging together." Where else but New York City would a Salvation Army employee have recognized me as a costume designer?

Subway Sketches Part XXXVIII

Aging Disgracefully

There's very few things in my life that actually make me feel like I am getting older. One is that single annoying black hair that I pluck off my earlobe every few weeks. Another is the skin on the back of my hands, which is starting to take on the texture that my grandmother's hands had, sort of thin and papery. But the worst is my knee. My right knee aches quite a bit, and I often wear one of those elastic braces that you can buy at any drug store. Tonight in particular it is very twingy and I'm not sure why.

Over the summer one of the directors, who was also a choreographer, gave me White Flower Balm for my knee. I never used it, mainly because I thought it was silly. It's a Chinese herbal medication, and contains all sorts of essential oils and what-not. Sort of an herbal version of Ben-Gay. I used it tonight for the first time. My knee has been killing me today, and getting into bed just seemed to make it worse. I know that all it really does is redirect my perception of the ache towards the cool tingly feeling that it creates, but it has made me feel better faster than the ibuprofen I took an hour ago.

One unexpected side-effect though is that it made me feel old. I've never really been one for medication, I hold off on taking aspirin or ibuprofen until it is absolutely necessary and unless I am seriously ill you won't really catch me taking much else. I dread the day that I have a daily pill regimen, for whatever reason. This act of rubbing in some strange liquid in hopes of relieving the pain seemed like I was acquiescing to it. Admitting that I am an old man, and just doing the things that old men do. I don't like it at all.

Home Economics

Part of being back in the city, and back in my real life is that I have to begin sending out portfolios and resumes again, which means a ton of printing and packaging and labeling and blah blah blah.

I hate my printer. I've hated it for about a year now, but it's the one I have, and so it's the one that I use. I went out today with the intention of picking up ink cartridges so that I could print the new wave of portfolios. Whenever I go into an electronics or office supply store I get this wave of tech envy and spend an hour or two drooling over the latest full color laser printers that can churn out poster sized prints in seconds, or alarm clocks with built in iPod bases that allow you to wake up to your own music, and today was no exception.

The cartridges for my printer cost a total of $57, for both color and black. During my shopping today I realized that I could purchase a brand new printer, for $99, that also included a $20 rebate. This $79 (after rebate) printer fulfilled two of the three requirements that I had for the next printer I planned to purchase, ie: individual cartridges for the color inks, the ability to print on 11x17" paper, and the ability to print on CD's. The largest scale paper the new printer uses is 8 1/2" x 11" but for the price, I'm not going to quibble over small things. I don't print that large a scale often anyway. So, I am the proud owner of a new printer, which will soon be rolling out resumes, both digital and paper. Call me a happy consumer.

Zoo Stories

I got the opportunity today to visit the Central Park Zoo free of charge, which I, of course, jumped on. It's a decent zoo, very small, with only a few dozen animals, but I got to see some macaques, some of my favorite animals, The polar bears were out today, and very frisky. One was ferociously attacking a barrel, which a sign informed me could be purchased if I did the appropriate search on ebay. I know I'm itching to get a mangled plastic bucket, how about you? Surely they can come up with a better fund raiser. The sea lions were also having a lot of fun today, and were good for a few minutes of entertainment.

The most startling moment was in the rain forest enclosure where a large bird was chasing a tiny white mouse around the foot path. It didn't seem like a predatory bird, it was small, about the size of a crow, with a long thin beak that (if I remember my biology classes correctly) would mostly be associated with a fruit eating bird, (right, Jess?), so I was very surprised to see it chasing and pecking at this mouse. It eventually chased the mouse into the foliage and I lost sight of them, so I don't know how the pursuit ended, but it was very strange.

It was a fun diversion for my afternoon, though I'll admit it was often more fun watching the children's reactions to the animals as the animals themselves.

Subway Sketches Part XXXVII

Subway Sketches Part XXXVI

Another Reason I Love the City

For no real reason that I can figure out a small marching band just passed by the street in front of my apartment playing "St. James Infirmary." A good portion of the block was either leaning out their windows to watch, or standing on their fire escapes. I assume it was a Katrina fund raising thing, since that's a very New Orleans song, but that's the only clue I have to the purpose.


Worry Not

I received two different emails reminding me that a feeling of extreme dehydration is a symptom of low blood sugar, (and therefore possibly a symptom of type 2 diabetes). Since this coincidentally occurred while Michelle was visiting me, and she actually is diabetic, I had her check my blood sugar levels. Everyone will be happy to know that I was firmly in the middle of the tolerable range of levels. You'll also be happy to know that my thirst has subsided, which is good because... well... let's just say that I spent a lot of time awake last night between the caffeine levels and the amount of liquid in my body.


Just in case you were curious, and frankly I can't see a logical reason why you wouldn't be, today I have consumed the following:

One large glass of milk
Three large glasses of tea
Two 20oz Pepsis
One large glass of orange/carrot juice
Four large glasses of water.

This is roughly two gallons of liquid.

I'm STILL thirsty.

Wasn't there a horror movie where one of the symptoms of the possession or infestation or whatever it was was extreme dehydration? I think I may be possessed.

Subway Sketches Part XXXV

Subway Sketches Part XXXIV

Meme Tagged: 7 Things

Kyle has given my very first official meme tag! I've officially joined the world of bloggers now.

7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die:
1) Hike through the Aztec and Inca ruins on the Yuccatan
2) Become conversationally functional in Japanese
3) At least be nominated for a Tony
4) Publish a comic book
5) Learn to bake biscuits as well as my mother
6) Attempt the Appalachian Trail
7) Produce theatre in Savannah, GA

7 Things I Can Do:
1) Replicate almost any texture with scene paint, drywall plaster, and white glue
2) Turn even the most innocuos comment into something dirty
3) Predict with fairly certain accuracy when someone will come out
4) Be charming
5) Word puzzles
6) Say "thank you" and mean "fuck you'
7) Bake a MEAN macaroni and cheese

7 Things I Cannot Do:
1) Dance
2) Any form of math involving both letters and numbers
3) Flirt with someone I'm actually attracted to (though this is getting better)
4) Finish things
5) Break up gracefully
6) Swim
7) Small talk

7 Things That Attract Me To Guys:
1) Hands
2) Large noses
3) Furry butts
4) The ability to play an instrument
5) A well pressed white dress shirt and jeans
6) Modesty
7) (This is the most specific one) Thick blonde hair on a heavily muscled forearm

7 Things That I Say Most Often:
1) Fuck a goat! (Alternatively "God bless a goat!)
2) Christ on a cracker!
3) Ya'll
4) Where the hell did I put ______
5) What the fuck?!
6) Oooooo-kla-homa! (very badly sung)
7) Goddamnrrrrgh! (Degrading into a snarl and a growl)

7 Celebrity Crushes:
1) Anderson Cooper
2) Patrick Dempsey
3) Jason Mraz
4) Paul Rudd
5) Orlando Bloom
6) Heath Ledger
7) Paul Bettany

7 People I Want To Do This:
Well... this one's a problem. I don't really know enough people in the blogging community to be able to call anyone out on this. Kyle tagged me... Dorian might pick it up... I could pin it on my sister as a way to force her to pay attention to her dormant blog... Maybe Bohb could use it for his secret blog that he created but hasn't posted to yet... It doesn't seem like the sort of thing that my mom would be into... so if anyone wants to pick this up, just let us know where you posted it, and I'll happily come read it.

Pie Are Square

All season I looked longingly at the apple tree that stood at the end of the property at the theatre. It's a fairly old tree, broken in the middle, and it hasn't been pruned for generations. Judging by the age of the tree and the history and location of the property it may very well be one of the original trees propagated by John Chapman. By the time I left though the fruit was still very small and green, but beginning to show signs of plumping up. In the week I've been away they've done a lot of growing, and have started turning red. I was determined to eat this fruit, one way or another. I had three of them yesterday, just eating them out of hand, but it wasn't satisfying enough.

So this morning Alison and Tom and I spent an hour or so shaking the branches of the tree, (the deer have eaten all the convenient fruit) and gathering them. We very easily ended up with a milk crate full of apples, leaving the tree still packed with ripening fruit. A peeling party commenced at the Equity housing, at one point there were 8 of us pairing, and about 2 hours later we had 6 apple pies with brown sugar crumb topping. The apples themselves were tart, and very firm, maybe just a little dry, but they made beautiful pies. As the season is winding down here at the theatre the kitchen has shifted into full left-over mode, so the pies were a huge hit with the resident company and the rest of the staff. The group of us also felt very accomplished by the baking. There's something mysterious and arcane about baking, or at least people seem to think so, but these pies were the simplest thing in the world. (We did break down and buy frozen crusts though, there's only so much I'm willing to try in a strange kitchen.) It was also a very fitting end to the season, a very communal gathering of people from several different departments to accomplish something creative, and satisfying.

Deer Vs. Auto

Here's the remains of the poor car. The poor deer's remains are... well... probably bear food by now.

METAPOST: We Apologize For The Inconvenience

I resisted turning on Word Verification, mainly because spamments (spam comments) hadn't seemed like a problem for me so far, but after deleting 7 spamments today... Well. It's on, so to speak.

Sorry about the inconvenience guys, please don't let it discourage you from commenting.

Before You Ask... I'm Fine

I've been back in the mountains for less than an hour and managed to kill a large animal. I spent all summer here marveling at how bold the local deer are, rarely running when cars approach, even when approached on foot they just seemed to stand there and stare you down. I saw a deer or three every single day that I was here, and quickly got into the habit of calling out "Deer!" whenever we were driving, to make sure the driver was aware of the animal, on the off chance that it decided to dart out into the road. Three months of driving and riding and there wasn't a single incident.

Today an approximately two year old buck, who still had spots and velvet on his antlers decided to dart out in front of us as we were on our way to Wal-Mart. I started to call it out, as I have trained myself to do, but it was too late. A significant portion of the windshield was in our laps, and the deer was sprawled out on the opposite side of the road from where I had last seen it.

No one was hurt, Alison had a few very minor cuts from the glass, but there were no other injuries. The deer managed to get up and limped off into the trees, we assume that it is probably dead or dying in the woods somewhere. The car had some pretty major damage, the hood is dented, the windshield is gone of course, and the roof is a bit crinkled where the windshield meets it.

I haven't been in an accident of any sort in a number of years, and I don't really ever want to be in another.

Welcome back to the woods I guess.

A Momentary Return to Unreality

It's back to the mountains for the weekend.

Just as I was leaving last week the producer asked if I would be willing to return to help with the final load-out and shutting down the theatre for the winter, pulling benches inside, shuttering everything, pulling down the rented lights, that sort of thing. I decided to go up a bit early, so I could a few days with my friends without the pressure of a show, and also because the weather is significantly cooler up there (a high of 77 on Saturday, and 72 on Sunday!). I'm looking forward to it, this time it is essentially a vacation, at least for the first few days. Sunday night and Monday will be a lot of work, but nothing compared to the normal change-over weekend. The set will actually stay in place, whoever is there next year can deal with removing it, just as we removed last year's final set.

It's a fitting closure for the season, more satisfying than walking away and leaving the show to run itself as I did last week.


This test tells me that I can expect to live for 84.58 years. Not a bad life span, I reckon.

I took the test again and adjusted it a bit, answering as if I had taken it 2 years ago when I lived in Connecticut and my life expectancy went down to 80.78 years, adjusting mainly for the fact that I drove a car a lot more when I lived there than I do now. Funny to think that it made such a difference. Now I need a test that will take into account subway muggings, city pollution, bad taxi drivers and the stress created by pushing tourists out of the way when I'm trying to get through Times Square to the comic shop.