Christmas Spirit

You want to now the quickest way to KILL what little burgeoning Christmas spirit I already had built up? Have me decorate two Christmas trees.

Really, it wasn't the decorating, it was the atmosphere. From where I stood all day I could hear the following things: A sound loop of ice skating sounds punctuated every 6 minutes by a child's laugh. Sleigh bells (constant). A sound effects loop of a train. A children's choir that sang just 7 songs in a continual loop. The score of the Nutcracker. A loop of vaguely Christams-y "classical" music, (I never got an accurate account of how many because they were fairly generic.)

All those sounds and songs? Playing at once, at a volume I couldn't control. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over... for the 9 hours I spent there yesterday and the 5 hours I spent there today. It was like a hellish Christmas torture chamber.

I get to do this all again in two days in another city... hopefully that won't stomp my last remaining spark of Christmas spirit.


Yes, that's me under there... the first time I've ever posted a 365 shot that someone else took, but it really did sum up my day perfectly. I spent over an hour underneath there trying to hide wires, attach bolts to the floor and connect various electric bits...




Vegetarian Options

Since living with Kid Flash I have become probably 75% vegetarian again. I am always on the look out for good meat substitute vegetarian options. Most of the commercially available ones are pretty bland, and the texture is very weird. I've made some great discoveries, like the May-Wah Vegetarian market on Hester street, which has the best vegetarian Orange Flavor Beef that I have ever found. It is in fact the best vegetarian product I have ever found, it's amazingly meaty and delicious. Of course they also have Vegetarian Squid... which I have never tried, and never will. I've tried variations on sausage, bacon, chicken, hamburger... but this weekend I found the single most unexpected vegetarian product that I have ever seen: Vegetarian Scrapple. For those unfamiliar Scrapple is called by several other names, Livermush in the South, Pork Mush in the northeast... it is basically a pudding made from cornmeal and buckwheat cooked with spices and pork organ meats. That is then formed into a brick, which is chilled, sliced and fried. It's a populat breakfast food where it is served, and delicious with eggs. But about as far from a vegetarian food as I could imagine... yet, here it was, and you know what... it was actually pretty tasty. We bought two bricks to bring back to NYC and cook up for Christmas morning breakfast. I guess you truly can have everything, and not have to hurt an animal to get it...


229: Photo Priday: Philosophy

Nov 12 of 12

It's the 12th (sort of) so, time again for Chad Darnell's 12 of 12. !2 photos to photo document the 12th day of the month. View all the participants here.

This morning I was greeted by this. The management company of my building loves to refer to the building as a "living gallery." The halls are full of... we'll let's be charitable and call it art. A lot of it is portrait photography of the people who live there, most of which is fine. But there is the random Elvis poster, or scary "inspirational image" that seemingly came from a thrift store, and gets thrown onto the walls. Our hall, the last curve of the top floor seems to get the oddest of the lot. Here's a bonus close up of what these actually are:

Charming, huh? 5 shots of a striper in on an acid trip... I have no idea what these are supposed to be, how they are considered appropriate for the building.

At work, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We're doing a dozen display trees for a major retailer, and the whole studio is swamped with boxes of ornaments. My favorite part is that this is a high end retailer that we are working for, someone who is the very heart and soul of Christmas in New York City, and all th eornaments came from Sam's Club and K-Mart.

It amuses me.
On my lunch break I ran down to the floral district to gran some stuff for the second half of my day. These stores are literally packed to the rafters and are tiny to begin with. They are fun to shop in though, you never know what you will find.

On the way to rehearsal.

At the theatre, my second job for the day. This was the state of the set at about 5:30, when I arrived.

While rehearsal is going on I am haunting the local dollar stores and discount places looking for some snowflakes to use on the set.

Rehearsal in full swing.

After rehearsal the crew attacks the painting that needs to get done. The set is in pretty decent shape, but we open on Saturday and there is still quite a bit to get accomplished.

More painting. I'm glad I'm not doing all this alone.

While the paint is drying I am doing the set dressing on the various units.

At the end of the night (or the beginning of the morning, depending on how you look at it) this is one side of the revolving flats.

And this is the other. Whew! I did a lot of work. I won't tell you what time of the morning this actually is... just suffice to say that it isn't the 12th anymore by this time, technically.

See you next month!!




Catching Up: 218-225








Gay Indoctrination

Who exactly is Mattel making Barbies for these days? Meet the Barbara Streisand Barbie, and Palm Beach Ken.


At least he isn't wearing a cockring on a thong around his neck like the last "Gay Ken" that they made...
In case you are wondering, yes there is a Palm Beach Barbie as well... not that she is any less gay than the Ken version.

100 Things

The small business blog at the NYTimes has published the first part of 100 item list of things that Restaurant Servers should never do. Having been on both sides of the apron I have to say that I agree with just about everything on this list so far. In fact some of them are pet peeves of mine when it comes to eating out. Especially:

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.

What is interesting is that in reading this list a good half of them are things that wait staff at places like Applebee's do ON PURPOSE.

The aforementioned #7 and #32 which they do because they think it increases their tips. #18 which they do because the waiter is almost never the one who delivers your food, and they haven't been trained how to write down an order so that the food runner can consult a check and know who ordered what without asking.

"3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived." Which they do to control their turnover time on tables.

"17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course." Which they do to cut down on bus time later.

"10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials. " and "43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is." Which they do because they are trained to upsell us.

But because all of this sort of thing is routinely done at these mid-range places we are now taught to expect this sort of stuff.


I'll be curious to see what the next 50 items are.

PS. Of course we then come to comment #1 after the article, which yet again proves that Yankees don't understand manners, which I've discussed before.