Sunday, March 16, 2003

NOTE: I tried to post this much earlier today, but Blogger was malfunctioning.

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

I've got to dash off for my friend Nangstarr's art opening in Williamsburg--it's her first solo show--but wanted to try and post first. Unfortunately, I don't have that much to say as I totally wasted the day sleeping. I don't know what my problem is that I slept for nearly 14 hours last night! I woke up at 12:30 p.m., ready to face the day, but instead, I went to the bathroom, turned all the lights in my apartment on, and then got back into bed, planning to just lie there a little longer before getting up for real and doing my thing. Of course, I fell right back asleep and didn't wake until almost 4. Some day, huh? I'd been hoping to take advantage of the warm weather by going over to the Marc by Marc Jacobs shop on Bleecker St. and buying a new pair of jeans, followed by a cupcake at Magnolia on the other side of the corner. Now I'll have to do it tomorrow. At least the weather's supposed to be even higher then: 59, possibly even 60 degrees!

Wednesday night I went to see the play Fifth of July, starring Parker Posey and Robert Sean Leonard, with L.Ho, M-dash, and Court. It totally blew us away. The Lanford Wilson play, first staged in the late '70s, tells the story of several friends, former '60s radicals at Berkeley, who reunite on the Fourth of July holiday only to have a more personal kind of fireworks display go off between them. Leonard was brilliant, and Posey had more star power than the rest of the cast combined. But every performance was good, and the overall effect was quite powerful. There's nothing like great theater to really inspire and invigorate you--especially when you're in the front row, as we were. (If we wanted to, we could've grabbed a smoldering cigarette from an ashtray on the stage.) Afterwards, we headed down to the bar Revival near Union Square, where a bunch of exhibitionist, ugly middle-agers were slapping each other on the asses and smoking cigs clasped between people's toes. It was disgusting, and distracting. Somehow we managed to have a conversation anyway.

Thursday night I worked on an article for the gay weekly, doing the interviews and writing up the text. I turned it in Friday morning and my editor loved it. (I thought it was pretty good too.) Then he assigned me another piece due this Friday. As I've mentioned, with the huge pay cut I'm taking at my new job, I'm short some 200-300 bucks a month. If I have to write a story a week for the gay weekly, which pays terribly, to make up the difference, that's what I have to do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

Gawker is my latest online reading fix, which I turn to after the Times, Romenesko, mediabistro.com, various local, national, and international newspapers, the Observer (depending on the day), Drudge, Page Six, and some others. And I can't forget my precious blogs, only a few of which I'm still reading, in part because a few of my faves have gone on "hiatus" and in part because I've lost interest in a few of the others. Eh. All good things must come to an end sometime. Or not.

I feel much better about the state of my finances today after receiving an e-mail from my mom counseling me to keep my apartment and after my therapist said I was "directing my energy" very well and being extremely proactive in considering a plan of action. He also dismissed El Mar's advice that I give up my apartment as just that, advice, and not Truth or anything, which especially improved my mood as El Mar's the one who got me in such a tizzy telling me to move--a suggestion, I should note, that no one else has made.

I forgot to post that I saw the hot-thing actor Michael Pitt on the downtown 6 train Friday night going home from the Whitney. He got in at Grand Central, but I forgot where he got off. He was wearing boring khaki pants, sneakers, and a nondescript shirt and jacket, and he was reading what I'd like to assume was a script. He looked directly into my eyes when he stepped on.

Monday, March 10, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 2

Easy does it. That's one of the three slogans of many a 12-step group, such as Al-Anon or Debtors Anonymous, both of which my best friend happens to attend. (The other two slogans are "keep it simple" and "let go, let God.") She told me that saying over the weekend, when I was describing the extent of the financial crisis I've inadvertently fallen into with this atrociously low new salary I'm making at the magazine. Easy does it, she said. Don't make any rash decisions. Suss the situation out and see what happens. All of which makes sense to me; in fact, they're principles I tend to abide by in my life in general. But it meant a lot to me when she counseled me to take it easy, because at the time, I was on the verge of apoplexy from intensely meditating on the state of my financial affairs, desperately trying to figure out how to make this shit work. My best friend has always been brilliant and she's in the process of becoming a brilliant filmmaker, but she was especially brilliant in talking to me about everything, giving me some great ideas but, more importantly, some great support. I've felt much better about everything since our conversation.

Well, I've run the numbers a million times now and the verdict is that if I cut way back on my expenses (including, sadly, my therapy--after all, what's more important, not being insane or not being homeless?), I should be able to survive for the indefinite future, even paying the exorbitant rent I pay. It won't be pretty, but it's doable. And that's not including any extra money I can plausibly make writing for the mag or freelance writing for others. However, if it turns out that I can't ultimately swing it, then I'll just have to give up my apartment, despite my great love for it. There's no shortage of rooms for rent in two- or three-bedroom apartments in Manhattan neighborhoods I want to live in for $800 or $900 a month--for example, at El Mar's place, where there's a decent chance I can get in. To my mind, that's the best possible scenario at this point. Interestingly enough, though, after almost having a coronary when I told him how low the salary was, my pop intimated that he might try to help me out a little. We'll see. In the meantime, if anyone wants to make any donations, let me know. I'm serious. It's not like I'm getting paid to pour my sometimes scintillating, sometimes prosaic thoughts out like this, you know.

In other, less depressing news, El Mar returned to the West Coast in the early morning today after a whirlwind five-night stay in the city. We had a great time, even though I thought we might come to blows at a few points. I love him to death, but sometimes he drives me crazy. Our nightly itinerary for the duration of his visit went something like this:

Wednesday night: Bar d'O

Thursday night: Ryan McGinley and Spencer Product's Hot Monkey/Hot Ass party at Ivy South, followed by Metropolitan (both in Williamsburg)

Friday night: Ryan McGinley show (which sucked) and Diller + Scofidio show (which blew me away) at the Whitney, followed by Formika's Area 10009 party at Opaline, then Wonder Bar, Phoenix, and the Cock

Saturday night: party for El Mar at Barramundi, followed by the Slide, then Wonder Bar and Starlight

Sunday night: The Rambles party (at the Park), followed by B Bar, where Avenue D, El Mar's fave band, were performing (though I didn't stay to catch them due to the overwhelmingly annoying scenesters assembled, the worst such crowd I may have ever seen; also, I don't really like Avenue D)

The only major scandal was that Thursday night, after getting super-trashed, I ended up bringing this guy whom I met at Ivy South (and who actually used to live in the building immediately adjacent to mine, and who knew at least two people that I knew) home with me, despite the fact that El Mar was sleeping on the couch about three inches from my bed. The guy and I had sex, of course, while poor El Mar closed his eyes and tried not to move for fear of us hearing. Apparently we got it on for almost an hour and a half before I came and passed out, during which time El Mar was wide awake, hearing every little detail--details he took major pleasure in telling EVERYONE about in the days after. The whole thing was a really bad job on my part--I shouldn't have done it--and I was royally embarrassed, even though I'm a sexually open person. It was just plain rude, and I totally violated the golden rule, considering that I would never have wanted to be in El Mar's position. The sensible thing to do would've been to not hook up in the first place, but, failing that, I should've at least gone back to his place. Thank God the drama eventually blew over--El Mar, to his credit, was barely fazed, and our friends, to their credit, thought the whole thing was fucking hysterical and nothing more.

Anyway, needless to say, I'm wiped out, and now I'm going to sleep.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 1

But the smoke was entirely justified--I was officially hired at the magazine yesterday! Woo hoo! And in addition to all of the nice perks that come with being permanent, such as benefits, relative job security, and a masthead mention, I get business cards, which I've never had before (at least not from an employer--I have my own that I did myself). I'm totally psyched. El Mar and I cracked open the bottle of Veuve Clicquot I've had for nearly a year (I got it as a going-away present from the last magazine I worked at), poured it into the Cartier champagne flutes (also a going-away present) I'd been dying to christen, and downed it all while watching American Idol. It was just like old times. Later we grabbed a drink at Bar d'O with his old college friend (and sometime object of my affection) D. and his roomie F. That's when the smoking occurred. It felt well-deserved.

The bad news, as I discovered today, is that my salary is only 26K, a 10K decrease from what I'm currently making as a freelancer. (Only in the magazine biz!) Needless to say, this is quite a bit less than what I need to survive on, especially with the mad expensive rent I have to pay on my cushy l'il pad. I spent the whole day conceptualizing contingency plans and reworking my monthly budget in my head, trying to figure out how to make this financial disaster work. Basically, if I drastically sacrifice and cut corners (and if my parents are willing to resume "sponsoring" me, at least to a small degree), I think I can do it. The only saving grace is that I get paid $1 to a $1.75 a word for any articles I write for the mag, and I already have my second one assigned already. Plus I have my fairly steady, if paltry, income from the gay weekly I've been writing for. If I can just start writing regularly somewhere else too--or start hustling again (just kidding)--that would make a world of difference.

Either that, or I'm going to have to give up my place. El Mar's decided to move back to the city at the end of the summer and return to his old apartment on Waverly Place, which he's been subleasing out, so maybe I can move into one of the three bedrooms there, provided that someone moves out. Or maybe I can move in with my bro uptown; his roomie's graduating from law school in the spring, so he's gonna need another mate. If I had to choose between living with people or living outside of Manhattan, I'd much rather live with people, even though I hate that. I couldn't bear to move to an outer borough.

Anyway, any magnanimous financial professionals or lawyers interested in donating to my charity?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 2

So El Mar makes his return to New York in less than eight hours, after living in L.A. for the past seven months. He's only here until Monday, though, and then he goes back to Cali. Staying with me the whole time, which will be nice, even though we're sure to get on each other's nerves. The best thing is that I expect to have plenty of nightlife hijinks to report on over the next few days, considering that this is my former partner in crime--and let me be the first to say that this blog could use them. I spent most of the night cleaning up my rathole of a place; sadly to say, it really needed it. I'm not much of a cleaner. It's not much of an Aquarius trait.

Speaking of things Aquarian, my beautiful tattoo is beginning to peel. I know this is a normal part of the tattooing process, but I'm somewhat scared that my tattoo is going to be ruined. It can't be, can it? I love it too much for it to vanish...

Sunday, March 02, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 0

Eh, so I've fallen off the wagon in a major way again, having smoked the past three nights, even though I've been feeling slightly ill and have been trying to not get really ill. Luckily, despite the smoke, I've managed to thwart any impending sickness. At least for now.

Tonight we resumed book club after a two-and-a-half month hiatus, minus two members, but with our reading spirit intact, possibly even intensified. We'd read The Alienist by Caleb Carr, a bestseller in the early 1990s and a much more mass-market novel than we typically read. We met at Puck Fair in keeping with the 19th-century, old New York vibe of the book--notwithstanding the highly contemporary pop music the pub was blasting. It was the perfect occasion to show off my brand-new tattoo to Ashes, Court, J-bird, and A.J.

That's right, I finally got my much-anticipated tattoo!!! It happened last night, totally on the spur of the moment, when L.Ho, M-dash, and I stopped by New York Adorned (owned by a member of punk band Bouncing Souls and the place L'il Kim and my friend G-spot got their tattoos) on Second Avenue after checking out photographer Aaron Cobbett's opening up in Chelsea--and after snagging some stellar, priced-to-move merchandise at the DDC Lab sample sale. (I've always wanted to own something by that ultra-expensive label, and now I do!) Originally we'd planned to just scope out the tattoo artist books and to schedule an appointment for me later in the week. But then M-dash started jonesing to get an ear piercing of hers redone, and then she did it, so I was like, what the fuck, let me just get my tat now too. I wanted to seize the moment. Fortuitously, one of the artists I liked was just finishing up a job on someone else, so 15 minutes later, I was in the back, getting inked. L.Ho had already designed the image--a cartoony, stylized Aquarius sign--so the guy just traced it right below my left shoulder, then fired up the needle. It barely hurt, and less than a half hour later, I was the proud owner of a new body decoration. When I looked at it in the mirror, I was so thrilled. "It looks like a superhero symbol," I fairly shouted. "That's because you are a superhero, aren't you," the tattoo artist replied.

I could've kissed him. And he did have a point.