Friday, June 17, 2005

Get 'er Done

My apartment is a fucking mess. And when I say that, I mean it is a FUCKING MESS. Coming home is like being hit in the face with a dead cat (unpleasant). I attribute this to the fact that I have been super busy, even by my standards, and to the fact that my life has been a morass of overwhelming and emotional moments strung together by a thread of alcohol abuse and sleep deprivation. There has been a plethora of highs and lows over the last six weeks including: deaths, pregnancies, engagements, pet illnesses, and general emotional freefall resulting from agita with friends near and dear. (To squelch the rumour mill that I am sure swirls among the four people that actually read this journal: I am not dead, pregnant, engaged, my cats are fine, and I am not mad at you.)

The state of my apartment really hit home the other day when I got a call from my landlady while I was in a rehearsal insisting she heard water running, and wanted to know if she could go into my apartment to make sure everything was alright (prompted I am sure by the paranoia incurred by the flood that occurred a few months ago in our building). My main thought was that her entering my apartment would result in my prompt eviction from the premises should she enter the unsightly black hole that is currently my living quarters. I managed to convince her that there was absolutely no way the running water was coming from my place, all the while questioning if, in my hungover state, I actually had left the water running and would once again flood my downstairs neighbor who already despises me. I got home that night to find everything okay--no flood, no eviction notice--however the incident did serve as a wake up call.

Over the past few weeks I have had my Deer Hunter moments of depression and have been angry enough to strangle a puppy. But that is no excuse for living in squalor. So I am issuing a (sort of) public challenge to myself to have my place somewhat presentable by the end of the month.

For those four aformentioned readers of this journal, please feel free to check in with me on this. I need all the encouragement I can get.

Monday, June 06, 2005


There is nothing like the sweet sensation of getting caught in one of those split second thunderstorms that roll in this time of year. Especially after you have been trapped in a blazingly hot apartment engaged only in the thrilling task of editing html for a reference book for the better part of the day. And even more especially if you have the good fortune of being caught in the maelstrom when you are just running out for a sandwich and a newspaper and can thus go home and towel off feeling refreshed. Which is what I just did. I now sit here thoroughly soaked, but infinitely happier than I was ten minutes ago.

The devil is in the details, my friends....

In Memoriam Redux

I have attended very few funerals in my lifetime. My family has a history of long lives and quick deaths. Even when my uncle died from a very protracted bout with lung cancer (two packs a day) we had him cremated and then about a year later went to a cemetery, buried the box of ashes in about five minutes, and then all went to the bar for a drink. A pragmatic, if not touching, ceremony. But with my Irish-Ukrainian mix, that's the way it goes.

The only other family funeral I attended was that of my great aunt Helen who died at 103. She was a strict Catholic so had the full ceremony in a church, which in my family is pretty much unheard of. Keeping my dad in check during the service was a lesson in my powers of persuasion and manipulation (my dad has some strong feelings about the church better left to another entry, or better yet, never to be mentioned again). I guess the funeral was sort of sad, but, hey, she was 103, and lived a long full life which included traveling the world, drinking an exorbitant number of Brandy Alexanders, raising foster kids, and living on her own until she was 100 years old. Not exactly a tragic death.

So when I attended the memorial for my best friend's dad last week I was really not prepared for the emotional wallop that this little service would carry. David Vesey was a real rock n roll hip fellow, and the service reflected as such. There were more leather pants and tattoos then somber black suits, the Ramones and Talking Heads played, campy science fiction films were projected, we ate sundaes, drank cosmos, and, of course, there was bowling.

I guess I have never reflected too much on death, what with the "Oh well, too bad he's gone...... let's go to the movies" attitude epitomized by my family. I grew up with David Vesey--the guy who gave me my first Iggy Pop album and introduced me to the Rocky Horror Show and Clockwork Orange and countless other pop culture milestones of my youth. And to reflect on the impact that someone you knew has made on your life is horrrifyingly sad and bizarrely gratifying simultaneously. I found the whole thing to be strangely inspiring: inspecting a life well-lived has its rewards, I guess.

When I told my dad about it, he sighed and said "Yeah, well, I guess some people like to do that kind of stuff. " Classic.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Beautiful Minds

I have been making an arduous attempt at reading "The Elegant Universe," and feel I am only slightly closer to understanding string theory or, for that matter, physics in general. The theories are fascinating, and have certainly given me great insight into why so many scientists love the often stigmatized genre of sci-fi, but my brain just doesn't understand science. It is a curse I have been burdened with ever since attending the Bronx High School of Science where I was forced to attend no less than six science classes, in which I did poor to middling, while surrounded by the future Einsteins and Cricks who saw everything my bewildered brain could not. The humbling experience of taking chemistry THREE times and finally being given a D (clearly out of pity), is something from which I have never quite recovered.

So I have moved on. I am currently reading "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins. He is the creator of the palm pilot and, along with his groundbreaking work in the technological field, he has simultaneously studied neurology in the hopes of creating Aritificial Intelligence. Specifically, he is trying to figure out how intelligence works within the brain. Up until now, AI research has concentrated almost completely on behavior, the end result, as opposed to how the brain actually thinks and processes information. It turns out that the entire brain works by recognizing and repeating patterns (like the Game of Life, see below). Does this explain why we find humor in patterns? Hmmm.

The only problem with this book is that, as I read about how my brain is working and processing information, I realize that my brain is working and processing information. It is a proverbial hall of mirrors and more than once it has made me dizzy enough to put the book down and take a nap. That said this is, hands down, the most fascinating book I have ever read in my life.

This was a heady entry. My next entry will be about shoes or Bedazzlers or soft drinks or something equally non-taxing.