Subway Sketches Part CCIX

Yes, I know I got the date wrong. Concentrate on the sketch, okay?


It is warm. I am happy. I get so tired and depressed in the winter, but it is finally on the wain, and the days are getting warmer, so all those worries are over for a while.

Spring means camping. Spring means hiking somewhere other than Central Park. Spring means getting to draw people who aren't bundled up in scarves and coats. Spring means I can start wearing cute shoes again without worrying about salt or slush or slipping in ice. Spring means sleeping with the windows open and feeling a breeze again.

That's all. I just wanted to wax poetic momentarily.


Today I am 36. I remember when that sounded SO old. In high school I could barely comprehend what it would be like to reach the year 2000. I'd be 28! What would I be doing, who would I be? My life is basically nothing like I expected. I would never have predicted correctly where I ended up.

I didn't see his first theatrical performance until I was 17. I didn't work in theatre for the first time until I was 23 or so. My original life's ambition was to be an illustrator.

I didn't visit New York City for the first time until I was 29. (I won't count driving through on 95.) I have no desire or conception of living here. In fact even when UConn sent me here for the internship that eventually led to moving here, I didn't think it would be permanent. I always figured I'd end up in Atlanta.

I wonder what mistaken preconceptions I am currently holding about the rest of my life?

Come and Heap Accolades Upon Me

...for tomorrow is my birthday!

I had a very nice birthday dinner at a little Cajun place on 6th called Mara's Homemade. Awesome food, and the best blackberry cobbler I've had in a LONG time. I highly recommend.

Subway Sketches Part CCIII

They've Lost It

I try to keep my "fanboy rage" off this website, even though I occasionally feel it.

That said... I predicted this months ago. And now...
"...Will Ferrell as a park ranger who explores a hidden land and meets dinosaurs, Sleestaks and other weird creatures, in the new Land of the Lost movie. He's kind of a slob, since apparently this scene ends with him tossing his cigarette butt and Cheetos bag in the lake. The reason Ferrell's scientist character is working as a park ranger (at the LaBrea Tar Pits) is because he assaulted disabled physics great Steven Hawking during an interview on Anderson Cooper 360. A young scientist, played by Anna Friel, approaches Ferrell at the Tar Pits and asks him to guide her (and his kids, for some reason) to the Land of the Lost."
Oh, for fuck's sake. It was a SERIOUS show people! Yes, it looks cheesy and odd now, but I defy you to find me a kid who wasn't scared by the Sleestak in their day. It had serious science fiction themes and dramatic storylines.

And Will Marshall would NEVER throw a Cheetos bag in a lake. (Or smoke for that matter.)


In April I was supposed to design a Shakespeare series in SoHo. It was canceled. There was a dispute between the director and producer that I wasn't privy to, but the end result is the show is dead.

In May I was supposed to design "Little Women" in Florida. It was postponed for a year while the theatre deals with a financial situation. I'm still on the books to design it, just in 2009.

In June I was supposed to design "Honk!" in Queens. It was canceled. I have no information other than a situation arose at the theatre and they had to cancel the show.

I'm glad I'm not freelancing anymore because if I was I'd be freaking the hell out right about now. The timing and fees for these shows would have been around two month's income for me back when I was freelancing and would have probably been what I was counting on the get me through May and June. Now I can just ride the wave and not sorry about it, chalking it up to bad luck and circumstance, a year ago I would have been in a tailspin for a day or two. What a difference a job makes.

Subway Sketches Part CCII

I Think It's Time

So... while I was out hiking today (I did finish off that cache in NJ) I made a decision. I need to learn to swim. Or more precisely I need to learn to get over my fear of water. I used to swim, long long ago, when my years could be measured in single digits, but somewhere along the way I developed this debilitating fear of water. Actually of going under water. I can get in a pool, and even go out on a raft in water over my head, as long as there is no danger of me getting water in my ears, or getting my face wet. It is the submersion that is a problem. There are a handful of swimming classes here in the city that specialize in people in my position, but I know nothing about them, what tactics they might employ, that sort of thing. Has anyone ever done anything like this? Kid Flash just really loves the water, and the beach, and I'm tired of being silly about the whole ordeal and being all left out when everyone else wants to swim. I have no idea what else to do.

Golden Piglets

Someone I know MUST need this for Christmas, who wants it? In case you can't tell that is a large gold pig, on a neck chain, with 8 little piglet charms hanging from her "teats." I saw it in the window of a jewelry store in Chinatown today while caching. That dummy that it is hanging on is basically life-size so that you have a sense of the scale of this thing. It is about the size of two fists side by side.

Seriously, who wants it, cause I'm itchin' to buy it!!

caching went great by the way. At this point I have 5 caches left on the island. One is the puzzle cache I mentioned, two are disabled, so unfindable, and I'm pretty sure one of the others is also missing. I contacted the owner about it. The last is a multicache and even though the initial waypoint is in NYC the final is in New Jersey. I may finish it off in the morning, it depends on how I feel. Not bad work though, huh?

Tomorrow's Agenda

I have eight caches left to complete. I am pretty sure that by the end of the weekend I'll still have one or maybe two. One for sure. One of the caches left on the list is the hardest puzzle cache in the city. I've been researching and running at it for three weeks now and don't think I've made a dent yet. So there's no way I'll be able to cross it off. That still leaves me with 7 more to deal with including the highest cache in the city (a virtual on top of the Empire State) and the southernmost, which I've been saving 'til last because I started this process with the northernmost. We'll see how it goes, as i was reminded earlier this week I have no margin for error.

Lazy Blogging

I'm sorry, but I'm cuddled in bed with my boyfriend on a rare weeknight visit to his apartment. His cat is at our feet and we're both reading comics, so you guys are just going to have to entertain yourselves for an evening, okay? Try this, it's best sitcom you've never heard of. You'll especially love it if you're even mildly geeky. I'm only linking part 1 of episode 1. There are 2 season (12 shows) all available on YouTube, so have fun.


Thanks to my sister I now have this image to attach to my research about my oldest known ancestor. All I know about her is that she appeared in SC for the first time around 1880, with a daughter in tow. The daughter managed to have two children, but never lose her name. An interesting pair to say the least.

My sister has agreed to be my "legs" in this research effort. She lives in SC still, and has access to all of these libraries and records, and she has agreed that if I can stock up two or three at a time she'll be willing to go to the library and look them up for me. She's going to be a great help I think, as what I can discover from the available online records is quickly becoming thin. I'm not sure what I want out of this quest really. I've lamented before my lack of ethnic identity. Maybe that's what I'm looking for? Maybe it's just a connection to the larger world. I'm not sure. But the quest continues.

Subway Sketches Part CCI

I actually drew this one standing up this morning. Not bad, huh?

Polar Bear Games

First you push the ball down under water and you chew on it a bit, and float around with it under your chest.

Then you let it go, and watch it erupt into the air. Afterwards you pounce on it again and repeat the whole process.

Kid Flash and I watched this happy guy at the Bronx Zoo play this game for about 20 minutes today. He was very entertaining, not to mention entertained.

Happy to Report

It didn't rain today. In fact it was nicely warm and sunshiny all day. I managed to get 8 caches completed today, only one that I tried but couldn't find. That leaves me with 14 to finish by next weekend.

Subway Sketches Part CC

I think I know where Carmen San Diego is. Or at least was at 7:20 on Friday...

This Weekend

You see that? I have... let's see... 7 days left in my caching quest. And 19 caches to finish. And it's supposed to rain and snow this weekend. I'm never going to get this finished. Aaaaargh!! Especially considering how horribly I've been doing at it lately. I've tried 5 caches this week. How many have I found? 1. 1!!!


Derbytaunt is the kick-off to the season, the party where the new players are introduced, and their team assignments are revealed, and they asked me to do the flier! So here it is, a take off on pulp detective novel covers from the 40s and 50s to fit with the theme of the party which is Film Noir. Enjoy!

12 of 12: Spring Special

It's the 12th and we all know that that means it is time for Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 project. 12 photos on the day of the 12th to document your day.

Outside my apartment this morning I was greeted by a beautiful warm day, and in a nearby patch of greenery... the first sign I've seen of spring! The bulbs have started sprouting and poking their heads out of the dead winter leaves. Yay! Warmth is coming!

On the way to work I stop by a cute little place called "Nana's Treats" to grab something for breakfast. It's tiny. I've seriously had closets larger, but she makes a mean muffin!

On the way to lunch I spot these freaky guys in a shop window. Faceless, eyeless, rolling guys with mechanical hands watching me through binoculars. Grant Morrison couldn't write that shit.

Another sign of spring! The Mr. Softie trucks have started appearing on the streets. Not quite warm enough for me to be tempted to buy anything yet, but I like seeing them there.

My yummy Pad Thai lunch from Lemongrass.

On the way out in the afternoon I swung through the farmers' market in Union Square. Two weeks ago it seemed that all the stalls were selling nothing but apples and winter squash. Now it seems like they are all selling flowers.

I normally take the A home from work but I have a detour planned for the afternoon so I head over to the 6 instead. Lots of great photo possibilities in this station, but here is one that I don't think you could get at any other station in Manhattan.

Wednesday is of course comic book day as well. Normally I'd go to the location of this shop on the other side of town but this one is closer to my path today. Mark is out of town so I bought twice as many books as I usually do because I knew I wouldn't be reading some things until he gets back next week if I didn't. This shop is always virtually empty compared to the other location. It's so much better to buy my books without having to hip-check anybody.

Outside Grand Central I pick up the last clue I need for a Geocache I'm working on (GC161WZ) before heading home. I set myself the goal of clearing every cache on Manhattan before Spring. I have 9 days and 19 caches left, so I have to get this in when I can. Thankfully after the time change it is still daylight when I leave work, so I'm not stumbling around in the dark.

I walk across town and hope on the A to head home.

Stopping by the grocery to pick up supplies for dinner.

And finally ending my night with the premiere of the new season of one of my favorite shows. Whew! Another day down.

What Line Is That?

I am quite enjoying the new Fox show New Amsterdam. The premise is that John Amsterdam is an immortal. As a Dutch settler he defended the honor of an Indian girl and was killed for it. The Indians magically revived him and gave him the gift of eternal life. At least until he finds his "one true love" who inexplicably could exist anywhere in time. Amsterdam follows the time honored comic book trope of having the immortal fake his own death and return as his own son over the years, no new ground there. In his current life Amsterdam is an NYPD detective and uses his intimate knowledge of New York City (where he has lived for the 400 years he's been alive) to solve crimes. This includes things like secret doors to rooms in hotel suites that have been sealed, the location of 30's speakeasies and the like. I've enjoyed the thre episodes that have aired so far.
In the first episode Amsterdam has a heart attack on a subway platform after brushing past someone who may be his "one." Unlike most shows set in NYC this one actually films here and has done a great job of using locations. The subway platform in question (which he has returned to every episode so far) is supposed to be the 137th St./City College stop on the 1. I was convinced that it actually was. Mark pointed out to me that the columns were the wrong shape and that they had to have dressed another platform to look like that stop. In the next episode when he returned I snapped the above picture. Can you look at it and tell me what stop they are actually using to film? (Don't cheat and look at the next pic yet...)

If you look at A above you'll see the false signs that were put up. One of the reasons I was convinced in the first episode that they were using a real stop is that the sign still includes the 9, (which for those of you outside the city no longer runs). I was convinced that no art director would put up a sign with inaccurate info, but the MTA sure would.

When this scene starts in the episode there is a train in place and everything on the right of the screen is blocked. The left of the screen, behind the main character is all properly dressed, but when the train pulled out I could clearly see where they were filming. In B you'll see that you can transfer to the 4, 5, 6, and 7. That should make it clear enough. In C you can still see the 42nd St. signage, and in D you can see that the train that is waiting is an S train (you can see that best in the reflection in the tile). That could only mean that they are filming at the Grand Central end of the 42nd St. Shuttle line.

God bless HD, huh?

Anyway, just a little fun with scenic design and the subways. If you aren't watching the show, check it out. It's not at all deep or meaningful, and the NYC "facts" that they've used so far have been sort of unimpressive, but it is still an enjoyable show.

If Life Were A Musical

If real life was like a musical it would look just like this. Improv Everywhere, man, you gotta love'em.

Scenic Design Alert

I had a totally different post planned for today, but Blogger doesn't seem to be wanting to upload images this evening. Instead I will let you know that the Barnes and Noble location on Broadway near Lincoln Center has a display in the window of two models and several sketches by Franco Zefirelli. The two models are from two of his most famous sets for the Metropolitan Opera "La Boheme" (you can see a shot of that set in action at the end of this review of RENT) and "La Traviata." The sketches are from Carmen, and a couple of other productions. I'll tell you that when i worked at the met that model for Boheme was one of the treasured possessions of the previous Technical Director. It had it's own glass case in one of the hallways of the technical department and was positioned so that it could be used as a stopping place on backstage tours. It is a beautiful model and I have spent many any afternoon staring at it and wondering about the materials and techniques used in it. Almost all of Zefirelli's productions at the Met have been retired at this point, though I think they will continue to use this one until it crumbles to dust on stage. If you have any interest in scenic design or model making I strongly suggest you take the time to wing by and see these two models. They are art.

No, He's Not Supposed To Be UP There

I haven't "cat blogged" in a while...

My Personality Explained

Today at work, as I waded through 150 pages of the Newberry County, SC Cencus for 1850 my office mate said "You like to search for things don't you?" I asked what he meant and he pointed out that I had been spending all of my free time at work lately looking through old paperwork for my ancestors, and I spend the weekends tromping around looking for hidden geocaches. When something comes up at work that no one knows the answer to (Like the last names of the Scooby Gang) I am the first one online to find out the answers. Maybe he's right, maybe I do like to search. I prefer to think that I like to know. Maybe it's really a combination of both.

ExFiles: Casefile 011

File: 011
Category: Dating, March 1999, June 1999
Met: Internet
"L" Word: No
Age Differential: He-27, Me-27
Reason for Break-up: Disagreeance on status of relationship

History: Ex011 was the first boy I dated in the internet age. We met online, in an AOL chatroom and discovered that we lived just a few blocks from each other. We dated for a significant amount of time but I never developed feelings for him beyond what you would expect from a casual dating situation. Even though I wouldn't have dated anyone else anyway I always demurred a bit when he discussed being "exclusive" and tried to avoid the topic as much as I could. When I finally started seeing signs that he was on the verge of really wanting a true commitment out of the relationship I backed away and we stopped seeing each other. This was perhaps the break-up that was handled the worst from my side of the table, and at times I have regretted the way things ended. I probably should have been more up front from the beginning.

Current Status: Unknown. Sad truth is that I only remember his final initial, not his full last name so I can't search for him efficiently on the web.

Is That You?

Is this my Great-great-great grandfather? According to one online genealogy source it is. I know that the name they assign to this picture matches. I know that several others have accepted this as him... but no one lists a source for that info so the researcher in me is doubtful. Regardless, it is exciting.

Subway Sketches Part CXCIX

How's this as a consolation? A second sketch from my ride home tonight. I have no idea what was up with this woman's hair. It looks like it had fallen, but I can't imagine what it looked like when it was up! I didn't nearly do enough to capture the mess of it frankly.

Subway Sketches Part CXCVIII

Yes, I know I missed posting yesterday. I don't know what happened. I finished this sketch, which I am REALLY happy with, my plan was to scan it, post, etc. etc. But I got home, and somehow that didn't happen. So here it is today. I apologize. I'll figure out a way to make it up to you.

Both Geeky AND Gay

Can I just geek out for a minute here? First let me say that I acknowledge that this is really rather geeky. I also acknowledge that it is super-gay. But Saturday I was on the East Side doing some geocaching and I remembered that I was near one of the more famous fictitious addresses in Manhattan. Well... let me quantify this... famous if you are either A) a Broadway musical fan B) a fan of 50's comedy movies or 3) gay.

Just north of where the UN now stands is Beekman Place, one of the smallest streets in Manhattan being only two blocks long and home to some of the richest people in the city since it was first developed in the 30's after the Beekman Family moved away from their private estate at this address.

But none of that matters to me. What matters is who lived there. Or at least who lived there in the fictional world of movies and books: Auntie Mame. #3 Beekman place was the address of Mame Dennis and her collection of oddball friends, servants, and werido-hangers-on. In actuality there is no #3, the street numbering goes from 1 to 5, but this door is in the area where #3 should be. It is probably a maintenance door, but a little gay boy can dream can't he?

To make it even geekier I placed a geocache there while I was in the neighborhood. It hasn't been published yet, but I'm hoping that it will be slightly more popular than the puzzle caches that I've placed in the past, being as it is near a tourist area AND a famous address.

Wizard's Duel

Remember the wizard's duel from Sword In The Stone? Neil Gaiman wrote one for Sandman's first story arc as well, much more literary of course, and with grander imagery. Someone has taken the dialog from his wizard's duel, originally between the Sandman and a demon, and made a political statement with it. Check it out!

(You'll probably have to click it to get the animation to work, for some reason Blogger doesn't like animated GIFs.)