concrete trenches
sometimes more feet than shoes.

Saturday, May 31, 2003  

I like New York in June

Except that I won't be here for June. Say goodbye to Sunnyside, I'm heading back to the Evil West next week. Mr. Sublet is taking my pad!

Here's a sad commentary on the expense of NYC: I will actually spend less money from my bank account while living jobless in my girlfriends apartment than I would being fully employed and paying rent, buying food, taking the train, etc., in New York. This place 'spensive!

| posted by christopher | 1:06 PM  

This place for rent

I'm sitting home, waiting for the phone to ring. When it does, it will be my potential sublet telling me wether he will take my place. He looks like a Romanian Bill Gates, but I hold that not against him. He likes the neighborhood, which has a strong Romanian community.

At first meeting, I thought he was a good guy. Square, nerdy, perfect for the apartment. After he left, I realized I didn't get any references from him, and I was beginning to feel paranoid. What if he's a con man? What if this is turning into some David Mamet movie? He came back to my apartment after getting a Romanian meal in the nabe, and insisted that my landlord be asked permission for the subletting. I was just going to tell the landlord someone was "looking after my place while I was gone." I asked him for references, and of course they came back excellent. This could still be a Mamet movie - minus Rebecca Pidgeon, thank god - but I trust that he'll be a good tenant.

It's odd to be trusting all my stuff to a complete stranger. Not that I'm loaded and have a palace full of treasure. I live in Queens, fer christ sake.

| posted by christopher | 10:46 AM

Thursday, May 29, 2003  


I like fixing things. Most boys do. Ever see a boy with a toy. Usually they take it apart. I did all mine. My nephews do, too. If something is wobbly, I'll shim it. If my bike is creaky, I'll tweak it. If my Mac is sluggish, I'll tinker with it.

If only I could fix other people. Mostly, I want to fix them to my liking. You talk too much, let me fix that. You are annoying, let me shim you.

| posted by christopher | 11:41 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003  

Leave the driving to us, part 2

West Virginia became the Carolinas, became Georgia. Day turned into night turned into day. I started to get into a rhythm of four hours awake, two hours dozing. I began to feel like I was never going to get off the bus. My hair started to stick to my forehead. I was beginning to smell bad. I spent hours with my head against the window, staring as the country flew past. I was listening to Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes on my Walkman over and over and over. I was going slowly insane.

Eventually we were in (cue banjos) Alabama. I had never been this far in the South, and was surprised that it looked just as scrubby and squalid as the places in New England where I grew up. Same red, different necks. Our stop was in a very small station in, I dunno, Jimbo, AL. After getting out for the much needed nicotine dosage, we were all herded back into the bus. We sat for a very long time, passengers in seats, driver at the ready, bus idling, but not moving.

A sheriff's car pulled into the bus station, followed by an boxy black van. From the back of the van came two men and a women, all wearing dark blue windbreakers with the initials "D.E.A.," huge and frighteningly yellow, decorating to the back. One of the male agents, along with a very stern looking Deputy boarded the bus, while the other two agents waited just outside with the other Deputy.

On board the bus, Johnny Law and DEA Danny marched straight to the back, while M. and I sat in the very front seat, looking out the window at the congregation of law enforcement and pondering the implications. Both of us knew our asses would most certainly be in a sling if the less than liberal public servants of Alabama happened to notice the small amount of grass in the duffel sitting between us. From the back of the bus we heard a stern voice say "Is that your bag? Would you open it please? Thank you. Is that your bag? Thank you. Is that your bag? Would you open it please? Thank you."

Apparently some people were being searched, and some were not. What were they looking for? Why were they skipping bags? We could not turn around. We could discuss a plan. We could not communicate in any way except for an extremely furtive game of eye hockey: Bag - bag, pot - pot, I know!

Soon, and by soon I mean one hundred years later, there were two large, scary bodies next to us. "Is that your bag?"

The D.E.A. agent was pointing at the small battered duffel between the seats, sporty green and dirty. The paraphernalia hopefully buried deep enough under cigarettes and tapes that the keen eyes of the law would not see. But of course they would. Soon we would be hauled off this bus with the same definite brutality as the people in Port Authority -- their story now having gained legendary status, passed down from passenger to new passenger. Bubba was gonna stick it to me with his billy club. I was going to rot in jail for posession. What did forced sodomy in a southern jail really feel like? Why, no, I've never seen this man before in my life, officer! I had no idea he was carrying illegal drugs. You should lock him up, him and all his kind.

"Is that your bag? Thank you."

Off the bus, into the van, into the patrol car, two clouds of dust, and they were gone...

| posted by christopher | 11:41 PM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003  

Free form

* The fashion world continues to amuse. I've started to take notice of all the photographs of our Benevolent Leader that grace the walls of the office. So many. As if his name on the walls as you step off the elevator weren't enough, please to notice the 36 x 48 black and white glossies of his smiling mug lurking around every corner.

* Had a severe fit of melancholy for my old life today. It lasted about a minute. And then it was gone, and didn't cross my mind again until I sat down to write.

* Biked five miles today. So out of shape it's silly.

* FP1 is out of town on business. Milan. We should all be fashion people. Anyway, there is literally nothing for me to do at the office. I feel like I'm stealing from them.

* I'm still trying to nab that person to sublet my apartment. I have had way too many near misses, people saying I'll come by, and then don't, or the nice couple who at least told me they'd found another pad. My summer trip is going to get really expensive if I have to cover my rent on top of all those traveling expenses. It's keeping me up at night. Oh, craigslist, why have you forsaken me!?

* I called my union today to report the bad behavior of the producer of my showcase. The vastness of her evil will be illuminated in a future post. My union can't do anything for me right away. She's the spawn of satan, and the very reason there's an actor's union in the first place.

* I'm in my pj's, waiting for magic hour, when the bg's cell phone starts handing out the free minutes, and I can talk with her for reals. We are becoming vikings at phone sex.

| posted by christopher | 10:31 PM

Monday, May 26, 2003  

Top Hat, Tails, and Two-Tone Shoes

I spent the day in "New York's Most Sophisticated Entertainment Facility." Oh yeah, that's the Leisure Time Bowling Alley in Port Authority.

The lane we were on screwed up for a good ten minutes. We were moved to another lane, which also proceded to screw up. The attendent said he'd make it good. They bought us two pitchers of beer. Bud.


| posted by christopher | 7:53 PM

Friday, May 23, 2003  

Ronald must be high

Walking past the neighborhood fast food joint, I saw a giant poster for some kind of new breakfast sandwich with ". . . the taste of syrup baked right in!"

Oh, dear god.

| posted by christopher | 1:48 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

Being an adult can suck

The best girl got some less than good news recently. Not about her, but about someone close. Medical bad. Phrases such as "CAT Scan" and "little spot" and "possibly malignant" and "procedure" and "it will be alright" are being used. The bg is scared and sad and very alone back in the Evil West, and there is not a damn thing I can do about it while here.

Not. A. Damn. Thing.

| posted by christopher | 9:12 PM

Tuesday, May 20, 2003  

When is he gonna post something short?

I had two epiphanies recently, concerning my prison of measured time over at Day Job, Inc. Three including the one I had just this very second.

* Epiphany One: Being Someone's Personal Assistant Reminds Me of Being Married.

Much of my time as a married person involved doing things for X. I got plenty of time to myself, sure, and the pay was high, and I got nearly monthly sex, but much of my time was spent on the whims of the other. "Come with me to . . ." or "Would you pick up . . . from the . . ." and such. Then as now, ultimately the onus is on me. I could have said no to the gig, I can leave any time I like, being a temp. Yet I stay because I need a job.

* Epiphany Two: There Are Faaaaaar Worse Places to Be.

I totally forgot that, regardless of the corporate nature of the place, these are creative people. They are nice people. Yesterday FP1 asked me to accompany him on an errand so I could guard his Saab convertible, and possibly drive it around the block in case the cops came by (which they did, and I did, and it's the first time I've driven a Saab or like car since my last Personal Assistant job, see Epiphany One, above). On the way to the shop, FP1 was asking me all sorts of questions about who I was, where I came from, do I like acting, how is it being divorced, etc. Suddenly, during the conversation about acting, he looked me straight in the eye and earnestly asked me, "Do you love it? I mean, do you really love it?"

"Yeah, it's the best."

He nodded and smiled. It was the coolest exchange I've ever had with a boss.

* Epiphany Three, Just realized: I Should Quit Bitching.

New York City has 9% unemployment, and I have a job. It's crappy, and it's not what I want to spend my time doing, but it's paying my rent and keeping my internet connection active. It's not food service, it's not minimum wage, and it's not gonna kill me. Shut up and go buy the man's salad, fer christ sake.

| posted by christopher | 10:21 PM

Sunday, May 18, 2003  

Leave the driving to us, part 1

The temperature had been below zero for a week. M called me at my out of town acting gig to tell me I will need to find a new roommate upon my return. He was moving to Key West. While the apartment was nice enough, I didn't think I could earn the money to keep it myself, and the idea of finding a room mate seemed daunting. Plus, the cold was killing preying on my psyche.

"When are you going?"

"Probably the week after you get back."

"Want company?"

We "cleaned" the apartment, with it's carpet filthy from spilled ashes and beer, by putting everything in plastic bags and throwing the lot into a dumpster. Everything I owned, save a couple of boxes in my parent's basement, fit into two canvas laundry bags and a knapsack. I had about $100 in my pocket.

We boarded a Greyhound bus while it snowed. Good bye, New England, and good riddance. There were not many people on the bus, so we could each stretch out on our own seat and contemplate the future.

At the first stop, some 15 miles away, a man dressed in a treanchcoat and carrying a briefcase got on. The briefcase looked as though it had been dragged behind a car for several hours, and the coat seemed to have been curled up in a ball and weathered in the sun for a good year. The man had a large purple birthmark that covered much of his face. He sat down in the seat across the isle from me. He began to crumple his bus ticket, and then flatten it back out on the briefcase in his lap. He repeated this three or four times and then threw his head back and cackled, loud and long and completely loony tunes. And he kept doing this. Crumple-flatten, crumple-flatten, crumple-flatten, HAAAAA-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! And then he suddenly jumped out of the seat and ran to the back of the bus, where he entered the bathroom. Some time later he returned, somewhat calmer, and the whole cycle would start over.

I began to wonder what he could possibly be doing in the bathroom, and why did he need to take his briefcase? I began having visions of this lunatic stuffing plastic explosives down the bus john. Crumple-flatten, HAAAA-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! He left the bus while in Boston, and the toilet never exploded.

In Boston we picked up quite a few passengers, and M and I shared a seat for the cramped ride to New York. We had a bit of a layover in Port Authority, so we took the opportunity to go stand on Eighth Avenue for a little while and then have a beer or two in one of the bars. The Grammys were on the television, featuring Peter Gabriel singing a song dressed in a huge muscle suit and pimp hat. When we returned to the bus, everyone was a-buzz. Apparently the cops came in, bodily dragged someone off of the bus, and took them away. And we missed it.

With the beer working it's magic, it was time to sleep. Sleeping on a crowded Greyhound bus is at best an oxymoron. I would close my eyes and drift off for a few minutes, and invariably someone would laugh, or cough, or the baby would start up again, or the bus would shift gears or hit a bump, and I'd be awake again. Every hour or two we would make another stop at some out of the way bus station and pick up or drop off a passenger. Sometimes the stop would be long enough for a cigarette, but usually not.

Come morning we were in West Virginia, and we stopped at a larger station for breakfast. I had my first and last serving of grits there. Before boarding the bus, M and I went behind the station to smoke a little pot. We had decided that a seventy-two hour bus trip would be somewhat mollified by a little of the smoke. Thus refreshed, we got back on the bus and continued our adventure...

| posted by christopher | 10:50 AM

Thursday, May 15, 2003  

Pretty people redux

The good folks at my temp firm have placed me with the Fashion People again. Seems I made a good impression on the FP, so they asked for me by name.

For my first day back, I took an enormous pile of books and put them in FP1's office. Literally hundreds of them. Now, as impressive as it might sound that a high profile fashion design outfit has their own library - these books were mostly borrowed from said library and were even tagged with Dewey Decimal Code tags on the bindings - rest assured that this post will easily exceed the word count of the entire collection. While some of them were fascinating and beautiful coffee table style picture books, many were not. Did you know, for example, that there is a book called "The Kate Moss Book?" Most of the books were pictures from Hollywood - movies, stars, eras, swimming pools - solidifying my theory that fashion is an ouroboros.

FP1 had very specific instructions for arranging his books. "Stack them in piles, I don't know why, but I don't like them to be vertical. I think there's more room for them if you do that too."

When I mentioned to FP1 that, yes, there'll be more room for the books, but they will be harder to get to, he gave the blankest of blank stares.

Clearly, that is not the point.

| posted by christopher | 11:07 PM  

From 'bama?

Someone tripped over my site with the google search "a pitcher of a concrete table."

| posted by christopher | 8:04 PM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

We all have them and they all stink

My show got a review on a New York theatre focused website. The reviewer liked it. Particularly, he liked me. It put me in an interesting spot. While there were no negative comments, no one got singled out except for me. The cast gave me some good natured ribbing ("He wants to fuck you!"), as did the Crazy Artistic Director. In fact CAD actually teased me, at one point walking backwards flapping her arms like a goddamned bird and singing "He's so waaaaaaachable!" in that neener-neener tune kids use. Loony bird, that one.

So, while it's nice and all, I could give two squirts about reviews. Well, not entirely true. If The Times wants to call me "watchable" then I'm all for it. Mostly, though, I don't think they're worth all that much, nor do I think that reviewers really know what the hell they're talking about. A good review can make people complacent. Me, whatever. Although, I will probably share it when I go agent shopping. And my Mom'll like it.

| posted by christopher | 6:17 PM

Monday, May 12, 2003  

Negative Space

Had a conversation with bg last night about the moving in. She is concerned that 1) there won't be enough space in the apartment to accommodate her stuff and 2) I will have more stuff than she and will thereby get an advantage regarding dominance. I think that there was an unspoken third: that some of the stuff I have belonged to me and X, and bg is uncomfortable around it.

I want to get angry. Not at bg, nothing to be angry about there. No, the thing I want to get angry about is X, and how the fear of her wrath is still a motivating factor in my life, even though I'm now three thousand miles away. Her disappointment and judgment were so strong, they affect me still. Burned into my synaptic pathways is the fear of making X displeased. And here it is still, peeking out from my psyche telling me to beware the throwing away of things that were given to me by her.

I want to get mad. I want to see red and burn the excess in a bon fire. I want rage.

I have none.

| posted by christopher | 2:25 PM

Saturday, May 10, 2003  

Do I get a card for Ma Bell?

The bg and I have been trying to have a decent phone conversation for what seems like a week now. She's been busy, I've been busy, and things just don't seem to line up right. First of all, we try to call only at night, when cell phone minutes are free. Since we're in different time zones, that means I have to wait until midnight before we can talk. Except weekends, when we can talk all night if she's not going to visit her parents for the Mother's Day weekend (Hallmark, how I despise you).

Just under two months to go. I can't wait to be in the same place she is.

| posted by christopher | 12:54 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

Taking exercise

Last night thunderstorms rolled through the city with great intensity. I had forgotten thunderstorms. There are no thunderstorms in the Evil West. At least not where I was, not to speak of. Lightning, thunder, and especially the driving, pounding rain.

I like rain. Those who know me may think otherwise, but I like rain. I like the kind of rain that seems to come from the very heavens to wash the world of evil. I like the kind of rain that drowns out all other sound with its roar. I like the kind of rain that soaks you to the bone in an instant; the kind in which the movie lovers will finally consummate their longing with a passionate kiss. That's rain, dammit.

What I don't like is grey drizzle, much like the weather was all day here. What I don't like is the kind of weather that makes you damp rather than wet. It seeps into your skin and chills you from the inside out, like some kind of evil spirit invading your soul, waiting until your friends are all asleep by the campfire to take over your body and slaughter them all. Or, at least, the kind that makes you crabby.

I don't think it was living in the Evil West that did this to me, I think it's always been that way. The Evil West just took this and threw it into high relief. When it is relentlessly gloomy for three months - ninety days - in a row you begin to get the idea of wether or not you can survive this climate.

| posted by christopher | 9:06 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

Get it out of my mouth!

I cooked tonight. It was nice, now that the show is open, to spend a bit of quiet time at home in the kitchen. I love to cook. It's relaxing, creative, and I get to eat the final product. Or, in some cases, have to.

I made some green curry paste a couple of weeks ago. It's a big pain in the ass as X still has the food processor, while I kept the industrial strength mortar and pestle. Lot's of ingredients, mashed by hand. But, I did it and it didn't come out too bad. I used one half the batch some time ago, and used the rest tonight.

So, toss the curry paste in with some chicken thighs that I browned, and then stir in coconut milk. What? There's no coconut milk you say? Well, here's a can of creme de cocoa. It's not the same thing, sure, but I'll toss it in here and it'll be great.

No! It tasted like my dinner was made of Lifesavers. This was the worst shit I've ever forced myself to eat. I need to go have a big glass of whiskey or something to take the cloying sweetness away. Bleh. I'm not worthy my new knives.

| posted by christopher | 10:06 PM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  

Rainy days and Tuesdays

Today is a day with nothing to do. A lazy day. A stay in bed day. A day where I wish I were working, but not too much. A day to get the dishes done, maybe go to the bank. A day of rest after opening the show.

It's also a day to do some maintenance on the ole' Powerbook.

| posted by christopher | 1:31 PM

Sunday, May 04, 2003  


There haven't been many posts lately about the best girl, probably because I felt like I was dwelling on it, or being sappy, or because I was getting the creeping worries about her and me, and about her imminent moving in, and her being so far away, and all those things that jump into my head at 3 am. The creeping worries have crept away after this weekend. Here are some of the reasons she is the bg:

* I put her on a plane back to the evil west, and when I got back to my apartment there was a card on my pillow with a cd (yeah, alright, we make mix tapes for each other. Duran Duran rules!)
* She sprayed my pillows with her perfume.
* She flew in for the weekend visit, which was way above and beyond the call of duty.
* She saw my opening because I told her I wanted her too.
* She told me I was great in the show, and that the show wasn't nearly as bad as I feared, but that my fears were not unfounded.

She rocks my world in a hundred different ways. I fell in love with her anew this weekend. No one has ever looked at me the way she does, or treated me the way she does, or been as kind and loving and generous and patient.

Plus, she laughs when I make fart jokes.

| posted by christopher | 8:43 PM

Saturday, May 03, 2003  

In the bigs

I'm opening my show tonight. It is my sincere hope that it doesn't suck.

| posted by christopher | 5:46 PM

Thursday, May 01, 2003  

Paddle turns and jazz squares

Best girl comes into town tomorrow for a whirlwind tour. She's flying back home Sunday after watching my little show. I'm a little nervous about her seeing it. It's a far cry from the last show she saw me do, in the big theatre on the big stage with the big-ish budget. This is in a church basement fer cry eye. I hope she likes it enough. I hope she likes me in it. She's going to wear a smokin' outfit to the opening night, so she says. I hope she's not the only one, but if she is, she won't care. And, the girl in the smokin' outfit will be there to see me.

| posted by christopher | 3:13 PM  

What risk? you're the only one here, friend.

I might be breaking a confidentiality agreement here, but I really need to talk some more about this fashion gig. Today was my second day, and S., the very pretty model came back in to try on more clothes and generally sit around looking good. Bg pointed out that the point of S. was to make the clothes look good, and he's a viking at that. However, after he left, F., the old-school tailor from Europe was complaining that the model's waist kept fluctuating, and that maybe next time he should skip desert. This is a whole different world.

Also, when getting some items from the ridiculously posh main office, which is very very far from where I was working, I ran into the man in charge, the guy whose name is on the label. And by ran into him, I mean I nearly ran into him because I was carrying four huge mounted photos of clothes. Most of the time, when you see his picture (and they are everywhere at this place) he's smiling, or youngish or kindly hugging a golden retriever. In real life, he's kinda short, kinda old, and kinda looks like he would eat your grandmother's liver if she fucked with his business.

Tomorrow, though, I don't have to go back. They liked me, and are going to keep my name on a list. Hell, I hope it's to give me a jacket. I wear 42 long, in case you have any like that around.

| posted by christopher | 12:13 AM
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