Feb. 19, 2006

To Mardi Gras or not to Mardi Gras?

That's the question getting national debate, as krewes throw beads to withered-down local crowds, full of kids and joy but a very obvious backdrop of guilt and sadness.

On the one hand, I see Mardi Gras as totally essential to New Orleans: I have experienced it and lived in the beautiful city, and know how vital it is to the culture there. On the other hand, I can't ignore what my friend and fellow musician/teacher Debbie has to say about it, in her writings. The Lower Ninth (poorest) ward is being bulldozed and its citizens' emotions trampled. The governor got her office remodeled but thousands just got evicted from their hotels. Is it really a time to celebrate? In the first part of my three-part series, "To Mardi Gras or Not to Mardi Gras," take a look at what Debbie has to say:

Bulldozers were in the Lower ninth ward yesterday trying to clean "debris" which could have been someone's house, and violating the restraining order that was supposed to be effective until today. That restraining order has just been extended until Jan. 19th.

"After a conference hearing Friday morning, Judge Feldman ordered The City of New Orleans to stop demolition of homes or face jail. A full hearing has been schedualed for January 19th at which time a clear process for informing residents and obtaining concent to demolish homes will be established. Homeowners may request that debris be removed from their property by contacting the city." http://www.communitylaborunited.net/

Backtracking a bit, for anyone unclear as to why it would be wrong to demolish homes that are marked unfit or dangerous to live in... in other words, for anyone saying, "Well, if the houses are posing a threat, if they are structurally unsound, if they are falling down already, why would the residents want to save an unsavable piece of property?? Doesn't that halt the cleaning up process?" That's a good question, and I've asked it too, but it's not exactly the issue. The issue here is about individual rights of the residents. Here is a CNN story posted on Christmas day which might help you to understand that razing "red-tagged" houses is what the city is trying to do, even though they have been saying all along that "red-tagged" does not necessarily mean slated for demolition. http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/24/katrina.razing.ap.ap/

Why am I so worried about this, and why am I writing again? Because I'm sad, and I don't know what else to do. These issues are directly linked to the issues surrounding the evacuation and rescue efforts after the storm. These neighborhoods aren't one entity, and can't be "razed" as one entity. These are individuals with individual issues and stories.

What's the answer? Not illegal demolition of private property. Person by person, family by family, street by street, and block by block until it's all legal. That's what I think. Call the mayor of New Orleans and tell him not to approve any bulldozing of any neighborhoods without providing notification to the residents. 504.658.4960 or 504.658.4900

Here's another link to another site which offers tons of ways to help, for those of us who don't have much money, and can't go down there and volunteer. You can use your voice. http://www.katrinaaction.org/ (And by the way, in case you didn't know, Governor Blanco of Louisiana ordered her office building to be remodeled over the holiday break. $564,838.)http://2theadvocate.com/stories/123105/new_remodeling001.shtml

Feb. 17, 2006

Today I'm temping. And I'm a bit bored. I mean, I've gotten so much work done, and actually read through my friends' e-mail messages. I'm finding myself fishing for drama and more drama ...

I feel like a the subject in an article I read in yesterday's Wall Street Journal on the latest diet fad: satiety. Americans don't want to feel deprived in their diets; they want to feel full and sated, the article said. I too, want satiety. But not just when it comes to food.

I want complete, full-on life satisfaction. I want the perfect apartment situation, the perfect comforter, the perfect friends, the perfect life and the perfect band.

I guess boredom is inevitable. Thrills are more and more temporary, lately...

Okay -- so ... I guess, out of lack of anything else, I will describe a typical day in the life of being a freelancer:

7 a.m.: Get up, make coffee, wash face, do yoga stretches and thank the goddess for giving me an amazing life.
8:05 a.m. Eat Zone Bar, log onto Internet, check e-mail. Read NY Times headlines, horoscope from Belief Net.
8:10 a.m.Check to-do list, add more items.
9 a.m. Get second cup of coffee, start writing story that is due the next day.
9:12 a.m.ADD creeps in. Pause from story to check Internet. Get distressed because major media publication editor has not yet responded to pitch.
10 a.m.Finish writing rough sketch of story. Use potty. Microwave cold coffee.
11 a.m.: ADD kicks in again; update excel "Freelance Contracts" file; learn that I need $200 in contracts in two days to meet monthly goal of $3,000.
12 p.m. : Eat Lunch -- two-egg omelet with one-quarter cup mixed cheese, veggies and low-carb, whole grain bread. Walk dogs.
1:15 p.m.: Finally finish story. E-mail sources to fact check it.
3 p.m.: Get call from major newspaper editrix. STORY IS ON!!! Hooray!!
3:15 p.m.: Get text from persistent boys. ignore. Check e-mail.
3:45 p.m.: Mom calls. Wants to know how I'm doing. How's the writing going?
4 p.m.: ADD kicks in AGAIN, and I'm sick of working. Start cleaning room. Still in pajama/sweats 4:30 p.m.: Get bored of cleaning room. Go to target to return curtains. See new, amazing curtains. Break "no credit card" rule and purchase them.
4:45 p.m.: Best girlfriend calls, asks to meet for a drink after work. Say yes, and rush home for quick workout video session.
5:30: Pop in "Fit TV" Caribbean Workout DVD with Sharon Mann. Use new 3-lb. dumbells.
6:13 p.m.: Meet best girlfriend at wine bar. She gets red, disses men. I get white, try to de-stress. 6:42 p.m.: Best gay friend sends text: "Deportation party at Chelsea Hotel!"
7:34 p.m.: After hedging, decide to go into Manhattan. Borrow best girlfriend's clothes. Take the F train into Chelsea. Eat lots of bread, fries and wine. Titilate cute gay waiter with raunchy stories. Discuss birthday party with best gay friend.

THE END.

Thoughts? Send them here.

Feb. 13, 2005

New horoscopes -- here!!

Feb. 11, 2006

Good golly -- is it really February 11th?

My oh my, how time flies!

So much has happened in the last nine days, I don't know where to begin.

First, though, I think I found one of the BEST new bands in New York City: The New York Howl, a mod-ish, beatnicky quartet that evokes the vibe of the East Village, opened for the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players last night. Very original setup ... a faux radio "phone in" where the audience could ask questions, and some pretty funny new slides.

Of course, the TFSP was great live -- although Jason Trachtenburg's witty stuttering went from clever to overdone by the time they reached "Mountain Trip To Old Japan, 1959." We got a big tip from preteen Rachel, though: she's starting a new band called the "Omigod Girls." Or maybe it's the Oh My God Girls!??

If you haven't read my profile of Mr. T at Dadslifemag.com, read it now.

Perhaps the biggest change -- aside from the fact that I got some personal writing published by the Village Voice under a new pseudonym -- is my latest move to the other side of Park Slope.

This time, I'm downtown, just off the busy-as-hell Flatbush Avenue. What's good: Trellis and Bogey, the poodle and Maltese owned lovely new roommie Allison, a southern belle. Also: there's a Bikram Yoga studio just outside my window, and a Salvation army thrift store right up the street. Did I mention I have my own bathroom?

What's also good: I only have $132 to go in contracts to make my monthly quota ($3,000 per month). I can't believe it's been almost two years since I held a real job. I'm lovin' it!

Thoughts? Send them here.

Feb. 2, 2006

CosmoGIRL! is a great magazine. Sure, they have to cater to advertisers, but their advertisers are Forever 21 and Payless Shoe Source. I'm deep into my late 20s, and even I appreciate that! It sure wouldn't fly at the real Cosmo, Elle or Vogue.

Last night I learned two things:
1 - CG throws a great party
2 - Rod Stewart's daughter is beautiful and friendly in person.

The scene: A club called STEREO in Chelsea, about a half mile from the nearest Subway. MIN editor Steve, me and Lauren walked the walk, but at first, only Steve managed to get past the adorable PR chix checking the names from a list.

Sure enough, he found a way to get us in. I got the hookup, and entered jam-packed club, where photos of women and splatter paint meant to give off an 80s vibe instead reminded me of an upscale hair salon.

I spent the next two hours sipping low-carb Fuze martinis, picking at hors d'vors, listening to a fantastic DJ spin Tone Loc and old school Salt-N-Pepa. I got the mother of all goody bags. (I know i said Esquire's was the best, but CG's was loaded! Stash included two t-shirts and a ton of real MAC makeup!).

I felt like such a rockstar.

I wasn't even concerned with meeting Kimberly Stewart, until one of the organizers (who knew Steve) pulled us over to where she was sitting. She was about to light a cigarette, when I made my move:

Me: "Wow, Kim, it's so cool being a celebrity, you get to smoke in clubs."
KS: "Yeah, well, I only smoke when I party, I used to smoke everyday but I quit for six months."
Me: "No, I mean, it's ILLEGAL to smoke in New York clubs."
KS: "Really? No it's not." BR> Me: "Yes it is."
KS: "Oh, shit, well you better not draw attention to me." (smile) "If you wanna smoke, smoke. That's what I say."
Me: "No worries! Did you know your ex-fiance had the same last name as me? Torrieri".
at this point KS looked bored, so I changed subjects.
Me: "Well, it was nice meeting you. You're very beautiful in person."
KS: "It was nice meeting you, too."

Over and out. We booked at 10 (had to wait for the goody bags), and headed over to one of the most overpriced sushi joints I've ever hit up: Bond Sushi, at 6 Bond street. I had the delicious, $11 bass skewers; Lauren had the Shrimp Tempura roll with curry sauce. I'd go there again, but two pieces of sashimi started at $8!!