Archive for November, 2008

The Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

One of the reasons I took the job at Publicis is because it is in Herald Square directly across from Macy’s, which makes it ideal for watching the Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have always wanted to see the parade, so I have been planning my seating situation for months now. I scoped out the best seats, I bribed people, I had to sell a kidney, but it all worked out. Aside from the “waking up at 6:00 a.m. when it’s still dark out” part, it was pretty awesome.

Mom came with me, which was lovely. We got there before the parade began, so we got to watch the cheerleaders who open the show practice their routine.


Before we really get into this, let me tell you how annoying that tree was. See it? The last tree in New York with leaves on it? The one blocking half my view? I hate that tree. I hate it with a white-hot hate. Stupid crappy tree.

So the cheerleaders did their thing and shook their red sparkly pompoms and Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer went into their booth, and then… I spent the rest of the parade guessing what was happening. I can’t tell you how important the newscasters are to the parade-watching process. You really spend a great deal of time not knowing what is going on and why. Luckily, I am a massive Broadway nerd, so I could immediately figure out all of the Broadway shows (The Heights, White Christmas, The Little Mermaid, South Pacific) but since most of the floats were partially cut off by the STUPID TREE, I was flummoxed by many of the activities below. I totally missed the best float:

I love Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, and the parade being rickrolled? Missed that too. So sad. *mimics tear running down cheek*

The Rockettes welcomed the parade to Herald Square. Their precision reminded me of Lipizanner horses, those Viennese precision horses that do perfect maneuvers in arenas. I’ve seen them three or four times. Here’s a link:

There are two things you can count on when you see the Lipizanners: one, they will be in perfect formation and two, some of the horses will take massive dumps while performing. The Rockettes did well on #1, but no #2. Literally and figuratively.

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Then the cops came in with their motorcycles a-flashin’ and it was all very exciting, except that the Rockettes (who you can see lined up there) split in half and did a Heil Hitler thing to welcome the cops in, which was flat-out creepy.


Frankly, there was a great deal there that reminded me of World War II. If you watched a great deal of PBS or, later on when cable came to your house, The Hitlery Channel, you saw a great deal of people in large groups marching in precision. So every time a band turned down the street, I felt like the next thing I would hear would be, “The Allied Forces realized that they would need the full power of their combined armies to blah blah blabity blah…”

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The view we had was ideal for watching balloons come by. We could see them for a good ten minutes. I was thrilled to see some of my childhood standards make their way by. I will say I definitely got a little misty-eyed when Kermit came by. I gots a big ole soft spot for Jim Henson.

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I also got some pictures of the odd float here and there. I tried to figure out who was performing on what float. I deduced Idina Menzel was performing on one float because I could tell by her voice wafting up to the window (she’s a Broadway performer and was in one of my favorite shows Wicked, so I can recognize her voice very quickly), but other than that, I was pretty lost. There was a male country singer, some teeny-boppers and a Native American performer.

I knew Miley Cyrus would be singing on a float, and when I saw this big stone rhino coming down the street with people rock-climbing and scaling it and then heard a woman singing on it (I couldn’t see her, of course, because of the STUPID TREE AAAARGH). I assumed it was Miley, and then I tried to guess what the stone rhino represented.


The best thing I could come up with is the stone rhino represents her strong Christian values and will to keep her virginity, and the people scaling the rhino are the bad influences trying to break her down, but no, her stone rhino will stay intact until marriage. As represented by a float in the parade. Probably not. I couldn’t think of anything better. Then I saw this float and thought that maybe Miley was on this float, because it was super-girlie-looking:


And maybe she was. I still don’t know what float she was on, and frankly I don’t care. I REALLY want it to be the stone rhino, and I REALLY want the stone rhino to represent her maidenhead, but I’m guessing I’m wrong on both counts and that’s fine.

It was nice to see some staples that I’ve been seeing since I was a wee tot, like the turkey that blinks and looks totally demented, and the Macy’s balloon that looks like… a balloon (revolutionary!) and the sparkly gold Macy’s stars.

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My favorite moment was when Alvin Ailey Dance Group performed the piece I like best choreographed by him, Wade In The Water:


And were followed by a Keith Haring balloon. Awesome moment. Awesome.


I’m sure there was a ton I missed, because both Mom and I were falling asleep by 10:45. We collected ourselves and headed home by 11:30, so we missed Santa coming into Herald Square, but maybe I’ll do this again next year and then I’ll see Santa.

I went to the Cat Show, and I realized that if I was a pet owner, I would not be weird at all. Not even a little.

Monday, November 24th, 2008

There was a cat show this past weekend in my town on White Plains, so I couldn’t not go. Like, five minutes from my house. Too close, too easy. I’ve been to cat shows before and the cats are fine, but the swirl of sheer cat-hysteria that surrounds them is what I really wanted to document. I only stayed for an hour, but I think I truly captured the goodness to be had.

This year, much to my happiness, I saw a great many sphinxes. I think since Austin Powers, sphinxes have grown in popularity. I was greeted by one shortly after entering. I call him Gollum.


What was unusual about this particular sphinx cat is while they normally don’t have any fur, they usually have, oh, I don’t know, FLESH on their, whaddyacallems, BONES. You see that paw there with the webbing? Wait ’til Gollum stretches out his little feline phalanges.


His paw is like an anatomy lesson. Tendons, bones, all clearly exposed for your nauseous pleasure. A close-up? Why, certainly:


Moving on. The best thing about a cat show, without a doubt, is how the owners choose to deck out their cages. (The cat’s cages, not the owner’s cages. The owners were not in cages. To my knowledge, at least.) They PIMP those cages, hard. It was often difficult to see the cat within. Don’t believe me? Behold:

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Not only do they decorate the cages, they put little photos and messages and whatnot all over them. There’s a big concern about kitty flu and leukemia, so you see a great many signs that say things like, “Please don’t pet me even if I beg”, but this one was special.


Rhyming verse AND that drippy blood horror font. Lovely. When I look at that, I think of Outbreak, the movie with Dustin Hoffman. I’ll be petting your kitties, and the next thing I know I have a cough and I’m bleeding from the eyes. Thanks for that.

People also put little charming touches around the cages. This one says Sgt. Pawper’s Lonely Sharp Claws Band. I’d make fun of it if the Photoshopping was bad, but it isn’t, so I am kind of impressed. They even replaced the hands with little paws. Good show, Team Beatles, good show. May your large fluffy Maine Coons win lots of ribbons.


Speaking of maine coons, there was this one worn out kitty. When we came over, the owner tried to rouse this tuckered-out fella with a stick that had a fluffy thing on it, and he gamely batted at it with one paw for a few seconds before he was clearly over it. Look at his lovely paw fluffs. Quite a pleasant change from Gollum and his medical textbook toes.


There were several tie-tie kitties. It was Day 2 of the cat show, nearing the end of the day, and everyone was running out of steam.


Meanwhile, people were carrying their cats from show area to show area, and I intercepted several of them to give smootchies and love. Like this exquisite Chartruese cat doing, as Snorth said, her best impression of Princess Diana.


Then, ohmigod, she had to look at fingers! So entrancing, the fingers!


There was this guy hanging around. I christened him Old Man. As in, “Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!” The cat’s not old, he was just bred to look disgruntled all the time. I think this breed is called Perpetually In Line At The Post Office.


Now, at dog shows, the dogs, well, show. Here, with cats, you kinda just gotta manhandle them into however you want them. You stretch them out like sausages and squeeze them and do whatever it is you need to to judge them accurately. I have some pictures of this.


I took this picture because I loved how photogenic the cats in the back looked.


Dignity. I do not has it.


The true piece de resistance I left for last. As you can imagine, there are many things for sale – climbing trees, various foods and toys, etc. – as well as cat outfits. SERIOUS cat outfits, not just some socks or a sweater. Now, let’s all look at this sphinx modelling this lovely number with matching hat. Take it all in, people.

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Interestingly, this cat wasn’t trying to run away or kill itself, as I would if I was freakish genetically altered cat wearing a vibrant “Extra in the Wizard of Oz” costume with festive feather. The cat apparently likes it. It’s A-OK with it.

Recently, a famous blogger Rich from FourFour documented the cat show in Madison Square Garden on video, so if this wasn’t quite enough cat show, you can watch his take on it:

Mental Detritus.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

I have nothing terribly interesting to report about anything going on at my end, only that I’ve been working like a dog and I hope to go see August: Osage County with my father tonight. I’ve seen it once already, but it’s a new American Classic kind of play, and there’s lots of psychological tension, and my father loves that kind of thing. He’s been a good boy and finished all his vegetables, so I thought I would reward him.

1. Ruby came with Nelly to work the other day. On the same day, Harley came to work with Mili. It was a day that included much petting and snuggling.

This is Ruby being bored and doing her best impression of a worm. You can almost hear the full-body sigh.


Later on, Ruby sat on Nelly’s lap and while Nelly talked to various account people, Ruby did her best impression of a sentry, or perhaps the nekkid lady on the prow of a ship.


And Harley was not be ignored either. She’s a very sweet Yorkie. Here she is sitting on Mili’s lap while Mili coos over her, but in this pic Mili looks like she’s going to suck Harley’s brain out of her ear. Which is totally feasible, considering I’ve eaten entire burritos bigger than Harley.


I am so lucky not to have Mili’s hair. Her hair is naturally that blond (I call it “Playboy Concubine Blond”, since Hef’s “girlfriends” often sport that color), and if my hair was naturally that blond, I would consider it God’s way of saying, “It’s a blank canvas! Dye your hair green! And blue! And pink! All at the same time! You will resemble a pinata! Avoid blindfolded children carrying sticks! Go vivid or go home!” and then I would have gross Manic Panic hair all the time and my tub would look horrifying. I don’t know if you’ve ever dyed your hair with Manic Panic or any of its competitors, but your hair runs and leaks every time you wash it, and often your grout turns whatever color you have adorned yourself with and you leave rings o’ color everywhere, it’s unavoidable and extremely unnappetizing. What I’m saying is I would not be able to resist the call of the nuclear hair colors.

2. A tidbit from MetroNorth this week:
Hey, 40-something, sweating, paunchy, balding businessman reading Twilight – you look like a pedophile and you’re creeping me out. Maybe you know the movie’s coming out and you want to be current on pop culture. Maybe your daughter recommended it and you want a topic to bond with her on. No matter what your reason, I just see you hiding in bushes somewhere drooling while watching some prepube brushing her hair before bed. It’s awful and it’s not the way I want to start my day, so knock it off.

3. I was at Cricket’s house the other day. I went outside and was blinded by all the red and orange and yellow. It was overpowering on the eyes, like I imagine being in a lavender field in full bloom would be to your sense of smell. I took a picture of one small corner of it before I fell down on the driveway and had a seizure.


Tortoise, part 3.

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I have painted highlights and lowlights and now I’m going to cut it out and mount it on a board. It will be lovely.


Music videos. Let’s watch ’em!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Everyone’s talking about this new MTV site that supposedly has all the videos they’ve aired, ever. Which, I am sad to say, is untrue. So I’ve made a short list of some of my favorite videos that I want to share here. There will probably be several posts like this, because I always feel like I’m forgetting something, and I probably am. But we’ll start with these.

Gnarls Barkley “Crazy”
Does this really need an explanation? It’s a Rorschach test using light and dark to carve the artist’s faces out of the ink. And bugs and spiders. And a skull. That too. Gorgeous video. I actually sat down in awe when I saw it the first time.

Kanye West “The Good Life”
I wish I had worked on this video. I would have loved – LOVED – to do the animation. Also, so considerate for the deaf. Pretty much everything that is said is spelled out. Kanye is thinking of the aurally challenged, how sweet. He’s not the self-centered meanie-head everyone says he is.

Coldplay “The Scientist”
I don’t much care one way or the other about Coldplay’s music, but to have to learn your own lyrics backwards, wow, that must be hard. I like the video because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Memento. Very clean and emotional and stark.

Halloween beasties in costume.

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Cute Overload and Martha Stewart paired up and had a contest for Best Pet Costume this past Halloween. There were tons of entries, but I culled the herd down to a few I really liked as well as a few costumes from years past, and here they are for you.










Tortoise painting update. Part Deux.

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Tortoise has been penned in and speckled with paint:


Now highlights will be painted in and tortoise will be cut out from his background and mounted on some wood. Very exciting.

New president.

Friday, November 7th, 2008

After Obama was elected, I came to work the next morning and talked to my co-worker Z. He said, “Where I live in Brooklyn, there was partying in the streets. You know at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’, when the empire is defeated and the Ewoks are singing the yup-yup song? That’s what it was like.” I think that is the best description of post-election rejoicing I’ve heard so far. If someone can find a description better than “Ewoks singing the yup-yup song”, I would like to hear it.

Addendum: B. informs me that it’s the “yub nub” song. And he sent me a link of a barbershop quartet singing it:

Belated Halloween post. Also, sick.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I have a raunchy, nasty cold. It started in my lungs, and over three days it migrated up until it was in my face, exploding out of my sinuses like fireworks on Chinese New Year. Throw the Rockettes doing a line-kick in there too and you have an idea. I can’t breathe. My office-mate Nelly is going to kill me because when I drink water I can’t inhale, so I sound like a French bulldog. I don’t feel bad about it, though, because she is the one who gave this disease to me, so she has to listen to me snuffling and horking all day as penance. Ha ha *cough* ha.

We celebrated Halloween here at work, so I got all dressed up as my interpretation of a scarecrow, only to get out of the costume an hour later and not go to the party I had intended to go to because I felt so poorly. Maybe I’ll wear the same scarecrow costume again next year, no one will remember or care. Here are some pics.


And later I had someone take a picture of the nest with eggs I had in my hair.


I was trying to use my hands to frame the nest, but someone looked at this picture and inquired if I was doing the robot. I see that now.

Also, to get my hair curly, I slept in rollers and wore them to work all day and was mocked by one and all.


Go ahead. Laugh at me. Everyone else has.

I wish I hadn’t been sick, I would have enjoyed frolicking in a downtown party. Also, if anyone is wondering why I make my own costumes, this video should clarify that.

There’s some coarse language in it, so don’t watch it at work unless you have your headphones on.

I thought my homemade costume was lovely, but then I saw my co-worker S.’s costume and I was like, “Oh yeah, there’s a winner.” S. was The Cyclone, the Coney Island rollercoaster. Seriously. Check it out.

S. from the side:


S. from the front:


Wait, it gets better. The whole track is lined with little white Christmas lights, and the red sign is lined with little red Christmas lights, all attached to a battery pack hidden in the boxy midsection. Mind-blowing, I know. S. went down to The Today Show that morning to see if he could win best costume, but he was beaten by Spiderbaby. He was a good sport about it, c’mon, Spiderbaby is freakin’ adorable. And the costume is clever.

I drew a tortoise.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I’m trying to beef up my drawing and painting portfolio, and after seeing Religulous I was reminded of a story my father once told me. He read that a scientist was giving a talk somewhere about where we all come from, Genesis versus Big Bang, etc. Afterwards, an old woman came up to him and said, “My people believe that the world is on the back of a turtle. And that turtle is on the back of another turtle. And this pillar of turtles go all the way down.”

The scientist said, “All the way down to… where?”

And the woman said, “Don’t be impertinent, young man.”

Anyway, that inspired me to draw a tortoise with a village on its back. Here’s the original sketch.


I’m going to do some pen work on it and then I’m going to do some watercolor work on it and then I’m going to do some acrylic work on it. All very similar to the deep sea fish series. It should be a lovely tortoise when it’s done.