Guacamole Tour

I have a friend that sort of materialized out of nowhere in my life. I think that he maybe messaged me on facebook or twitter asking about… a trip I was on? I’m not sure, it’s fuzzy.

But anyway, after talking for a bit we ended up making plans to meet for coffee, and the coffee shop he chose was a kind of cool, indy place called Kahve in Hell’s Kitchen.  I remarked about how cool the shop was and he said that it was on a list of 10 best coffee shops that had been in a magazine article (New York Magazine I think).  And just like that, we agreed to go to all 10 coffee places. One per month! Along the way we added two more so we could celebrate a complete year of coffee which I have slowly become addicted to in my mid-late 20s.

And these coffee trips got more and more elaborate until we were pairing the coffees with museums and shopping trips in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. I think the furthest I went was cafe grumpy of the HBO “Girls” fame.

Well, it’s over a year since that first trip. and we’ve completed 12 coffee dates in 12 months. But now, since we don’t want to stop hanging out, we’ve made a simple shift! and so begins 1 full year of Guacamole.  So far we’ve only been to Dos Caminos and had their Spicy Mango Guacamole (delicious, but gimmicky). Today will be Mesa Coyoacan, in Williamsburg. I can’t wait to try it. We’ve been trying to come up with names for this adventure. So far I have Guacapalooza, or Woodsguac (woodstock). More names to follow. 🙂

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It’s kind of a big deal.

I came across this NPR article while waiting for a mango chicken wrap from my local juice bar. “In Changing America, Gay Masculinity Has ‘Many Different Shades.” I chose to read instead of a competing article about the ebola virus because I didn’t want to spoil my appetite with descriptions of death, but also because, hey, I’m gay.

It’s a nice article about how men in Colorado (who are gay!) are playing rugby and acting tough. I scanned the screen of my phone with narrowing eyes waiting to see if the article was going to take it somewhere new or fresh; to me this rugby team was not big news. I play on a gay sports league in New York and I’ll be the first to tell you: it’s competitive. 

The line that stood out the most (the pull quote on the top photo) takes, I think, a very defensive position about homosexuality, quoting one of the players: “I’ve always thought of myself as … the rugby player that happens to be gay… I never want to be the gay man who happens to play rugby.”

I remember thinking that way.  I remember telling people that it’s a small part of who I am. I remember building consensus with my family that it wasn’t important. But that philosophy is a phase, right?

I have just come back from a week-long vacation (or was it work?) hosting Absolut Vodka promos in Provincetown, MA. As I described to my mother on the phone, Ptown is a seaside artists’ colony, with plenty of places to buy lobster or souvenir sweaters, that also happens to be this incredible gay mecca.  Theaters, cute boutiques, gay bars, costume parties, drag acts, art galleries, and a parade. It’s a very special place and I feel blessed to have visited it. I also feel blessed to have claim to it. Being gay is awesome. We create great neighborhoods, great art and culture, and I’m pretty sure a gay high school student just beat an asian high school student at teen Jeopardy (at JEOPARDY, people!).

That above comment isn’t meant to be racists, only funny.  

So, I didn’t mean to write a diatribe this morning, nor did I intend for THIS SUBJECT to be my first post in about two years (eek), but I am really gay… like through and through. And it’s maybe one of the most permanent things about me.  I’m glad that this guy can self-identify as a rugby player who happens to be gay, but my life is in way to much flux to let me feel permanently identified by my career, city, hobbies, sports, etc. 

In 30 years I don’t know what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be with, or where I’ll be, but I’m pretty sure I will still be gay.

Yes We Can: A Hurricane Relief Story

I consider myself to be pretty adventurous, but sometimes even we adventurous folk fall into the awful trap of thinking you like your routine a lot more than you do.   Don’t get me wrong, routines are great. I like them for reasons of health, productivity, and comfort.  To me, workouts and healthy eating are a matter of waking up at the right time each morning and buying groceries with enough regularity that you don’t reach those scurvy-inducing busy weeks where floating pepper jack cheese into a bowl of ramen passes for dinner. I also believe that working toward your goals a little bit each day moves mountains, but man:  I’ve been caught in a rut where my Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to half-assed work on a few yet-outstanding  projects… and I’ve forgotten to make time to, you know, live.

I think this is why I was so excited when a friend  invited me to volunteer for the hurricane relief effort with her.  By this point I had already spent a lot of breath explaining to out-of-towners that I was fine, Yes New York got crushed, Yeah I was in a lucky place, Yes I had internet, etc…. but that’s really just a lot of talk for a non-experience.  And I always feel like the biggest hurdles to any sort volunteering are knowing how to start and going alone. So thank you, Teresa, for tackling the hard part.

We met up in Williamsburg and took the G train out to Red Hook, the lower part of Brooklyn that got storm-pounded and very badly flooded. From the rally point we were asked to join a clean-up crew. We said yes, but stood stiffly while we waited for the sentence details to be given to us. Eventually we were scooped up by a group leader and were off to our task.

Teresa and I with Masks!

Masks multiplied the fun by two and only slightly stifled our discussion of New York Magazine vs. The New Yorker.

Along with a team of 3 others we were cleaning out a warehouse down near the water.  The warehouse had been flooded with up to 6 feet of water during the hurricane.  If we had been there for it we would have been drowning, Teresa observed. Inside we encountered an strange landscape of toppled boxes that had melted down into soppy gook.  The contents of the boxes, thousands of soda cans, were swimming in the sea-water and dirt muck. Let’s assume there were a lot of bacteria.

Our task was to break off into mini teams, separate cans from garbage, bathe the cans in a wheelbarrow of bleach and then send them through a series of tub water baths until the the can was clean and could be open without fear of infecting the drinker.  At the end of the line a team dried and stacked cans on a new pallet to be donated or sold on the cheap.

It ended up being a really fun adventure.  We made small chat with the volunteers around us, and at one point thought Mayor Bloomberg was outside. Mis-translating the Spanish of some Puerto Rican women sent Teresa scampering after the photo op that wasn’t there.

The ONLY thing that I wish had been different about this entire day is that we had been salvaging something other than soda. Wouldn’t it be a much better story if it was cans of FOOD that were being used to feed other hurricane victims in the city? I like that story. I like it so much better that I have half lied twice to certain acquaintances and suggested that there was food mixed in with the rubble and pop.

Hurricane Sandy: Curbing my Enthusiasm

It’s very strange to turn on the TV to images of havoc when ultimately I ended up having such a calm night in my neighborhood.  If I hadn’t known it was a Hurricane I would have thought last night was just kind of stormy, not devastating.  The mood was light where I lived. A small handful of people wandered out to bars to socialize in the stranger-than-normal calm of NYC.

What’s funny is that the sensationalism in the news reporting is very easy to catch when it already feels in-genuine  Looking at the TV screen, then looking outside my window to my calm street I wanted to shout: Liars! but knew that the storm really was brutal in some places.

At one point I even joined in the twitter fun by passing this image around:

Hurricane and Monsters

Hurricane Sandy unleashes her worst.

But in all seriousness, I feel very happy to have escaped last night without any danger. And it’s provided some nice cuddle time with the boyfriend.  Although he did make us watch the shining… on a night when things are already creaking and the power might go out at any minute.  Can you imagine?!

New Tech

I’m somebody that cycles through a lot of Google calendars. First of all, when you have close friends who don’t mind sharing their calendar with you it’s not hard to collect a whole fleet of them because it makes planning events much more easy. When can I force you to come over and make soup with me?  Well, it looks like you’re free Thursday!

[On the topic of soup.  I’ve been thinking lately about home much I like inviting people over and cooking for them.  It’s such a nice thing that I don’t think I have much opportunity to do in NYC. Part of the reason is because there’s no room in our apartments, but also everyone is damn busy. My plan is to have a staggered dinner party that takes place on 4 different days throughout the month, that way you can invite everyone you like, and there’s a chance they can make one of the 4 days.  I would tie the days all together with a common menu theme, like serving a different soup each night.  The entire series would be called “4 Great Soups,” or maybe “Soup’s On!”  don’t you wanna be friends with me?]

Any anyway, calendars. I also I tend to set up a new google calendar for each project I’m’ involved in.  Lately I become a volunteer event coordinator for my college alumni group.  It’s a lot of fun but it fills my calendar with deadlines and events.  For this reason I created a new Google Calendar and, more than any other supporting calendar to date, i decided that I REALY needed this to sync alongside my general calendar on my iphone.

I’m just going to warn everybody.  This is more tricky than you expect, because you actually can’t do it from you device.  I snooped around in my settings menu for about 5 minutes before googling for the answer which takes exactly 1 more step than i would have expected in 2012.  You can visit this link for all the hairy details, but basically you’ve got a few steps to link you phone to your google account, THEN you gotta switch to your computer, sign into your google account and visit m.google.com, a place you’ve never been to before, to select what parts of your google calendar get sent over to your phone.

If you need to do this yourself. good luck. 🙂

NYC So Far: Xanadu-Moustache

New York City is so big and so anonymous that usually everything around me seems to feel a little timeless. It’s like everything you’re seeing and every practice was always here and is going to always be here. For these reason I really like when something comes along that gives New York City a timeline and actually offers me a chance to chart how long I’ve been here.

Sometimes you can do this with new buildings or billboards. Sometimes you can do this with neighborhood safety (in just two years in NYC I’ve watched Harlem be gentrified). One easy example of these things is theatre shows. It is always very satisfying to me as a discussion piece for how long you’ve lived in the city. I, for example, moved in the fall of 2008-  just in time for Title of Show (on Broadway) and Xanadu.

I also have been able to build a timeline of New York with public art installations.  These pieces come in for a few months, invade a section of the city, hopefully are appreciated, and hopefully are remembered. When I first moved here the big art project was the waterfalls that had been installed into the east river down around lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.  A recent project near my office placed Mannequinesque bronze statues on the rooftops of all the buildings facing Madison Sq. park.  Apparently the NYPD got repeated calls from people freaked out by “jumpers” on the skyscrappers. Showing here.

Sometimes the boy talks about the Central Park Gates.  I did not exist then.  it’s lost on  me.

All of these are very fancy very invited art pieces.  It’s also fun to watch the graffiti fads come and go. Currently, I love is the moustaches on the subway posters.

There are many of them. They are everywhere.

I think they are so funny.

And my personal favorite:

I think these are hysterical.  I always like anything with a bit of meta-humor (like Title of Show actually). And I feel like when this all dies out in a few months I’ll be able to tell people I was here during the “summer of  the Mystery Moustaches.”