Saturday, November 16, 2002

Blessed are the neurotic bloggers who publish links to great wastes of time. They shall inherit the donuts.

Which Winona Are You?

Monday, November 11, 2002

I never knew how magical the phrase 'three day weekend' was until I became a teacher. Not only do I get an extra day of recharging, but I also only have to teach four days. Now that lesson plans are being integrated into my psyche like some kind of organizational succubus, I already had a mental game plan for the weekend.

Life Lesson Plan, Veteran's Day Weekend
Aim: How do we recharge our batteries?
Objective: TTWBAT (Tired Teacher Will Be Able To) drink alcohol, eat sugary confections, read comics, sleep, build new counter for kitchen, buy new all-in-one HP printer, hike in mountains, bond with new friends, have bondage with old friends, eat Chinese food.
Vocab: Bear Mountain, Lexar media card inclusion, toluene/naptha/cyclohexane

Motivate: Describe to class amusing anecdotes, incl. comic book frustrations, frosted boob, Hudson River time.

Yuck. Enough of the lesson plan format.

The audit on Thursday went without a hitch. I was almost disappointed, as I really wanted an external reason to just quit. Friday afternoon I almost danced my way out of school I was so excited to be done. I did the usual H-squared with the other teachers, which translates to Happy Hour at Life Cafe. We all go to that great little bar down the street, commiserating over the week, laughing over gossip. I had plans to go with roommate Dan, Stephen, and Trick to see Scissor Sisters at Fez, but first Dan and Stephen canceled, then I got sleepy. I canceled, stayed home, read comics, went to bed early. I have to say that having a roommate who buys comics is so much fun. Back in Lubbock, Evan bought those amazing Harry Potter books. I would never have bought them myself, so reading them was a guilty pleasure. Dan does the same thing for me here. He buys comics, I mosey over to his side of the loft, furtively grab a comic, mosey back over to my side to obsessively read the crazy antics of Green Lantern, Planetary, and the X-men. Dan helps bring out the inner comic geek in me. I've gone to Forbidden Planet, the massive comic book store at Union Square, on the pretense of buying Dan the latest comic book series that he likes.

Next morning I dredge out my router and other hardware ilk to finish the counters on the stainless steel island. Dan and I opted for a standard formica, specific green color chosen by roommate who can match things. I love working with my router, tracing the path around the counter, methodically changing the contour of the surface, nicely beveling the edges. Then we bring out the serious chemicals used for bonding laminates. If the Russians had pumped this into the auditorium, everyone would have been dead and very sticky. I have a fan in the window, but the fumes still give me a headache. California even has their own warning on the back of the can for pregnant women who like to bond formica. I mindlessly played video games while the worst of the fumes made Bear act silly, then headed over to Scott's for an evening of weirdness.

I always have weird times at Scott's apartment in Manhattan. Last time I was there, we sang the Hava Nagila (I'm sure that's a bad spelling, but I can only phoneticize it) while Scott lit up wearing his spiffy yarmulka. Saturday night I walk into a sick scene of Scott and Christina drinking wine and watching Pretty Woman on tv. I resisted briefly but was quickly sucked into having a glass while really wishing I could find a hooker with a heart of gold, a drunken gaffer, and a body double for all of my sex scenes.

Christina is so much fun. She's not in the Teaching Fellows program, but she is a new teacher. We build on each other's wackiness, escalating into a frenzy of bad innuendos and mockeries of education. Plus we both like sweets, which is why we didn't go drinking, we went to Veniro's, the same place I found the marzipan lambs months ago. We sit down in the packed rear area and gorge ourselves on desserts. We each have TWO desserts. My first one was a chocolate mousse torte, the second was this marzipan thing shaped just like a marble breast. When asked what it is called, the waitress called it the boob. I'm guessing that is italian for marzipan mound filled with cannoli and amaretto, and that we degraded the word to its current use. Christina caught a cab, Scott and I caught an urge to go to Urge for drinks. Scott goes there often, it was my first time. I like it a lot. Nice crowd, nice bartenders, good music. I leave early, as I am going hiking on Sunday morning.

I've been getting a serious itch to go outside of the city, experience the fall, see some mountains. My friend Simon and I talked about this a few weeks back, and we invited some other people to go with us. Just try to get any gay men in NYC to wake up early on a Sunday and leave for a place with few paved roads and no brunch. I went with the conversationally and physically agile Simon and Michael Y to Bear Mountain. My travel karma was at full strength, as the trip went smoothly. I've never been on a bus winding its way through mountains, so we all got a wee bit queasy, but we survived.

The weather was perfect. It was slightly overcast, but the temperatures were mild. By the top of the mountain, I had shed my coat, my sweater, and any worries about school. From the top of the mountain you could see miles of golds, reds, and greens flowing across the Hudson River valley. I have photos of Michael hugging trees and kissing stones, other photos of Simon licking hot red bush. All of us are directionally challenged, so we went the exact opposite direction from what we needed to go. It was one of the best mistakes, as our trail led us to this midas valley of golden leaves raining from the blue sky into an ocean of rustling loam. I couldn't have picked a better trio for the trip. Simon reinforced my introspective need to just feel the incredibly rare sense of solitude/companionship, while Michael encouraged my need to play in the leaves.

It was jarring to sweat my way up this arduous trail, only to reach the pinnacle that is easily accessible by minivan and lost-youth harley. The monument tower at the peak was packed with corpulent men in complete leather Harley gear, rampaging children, and large women eating tubs of mayonnaise. You could almost feeling the mountain and those poor motorcycles groaning under the weight of that much metropolis. We fled down the next trail away from the giant parking lot, the sounds of the throng fading, replaced by the wind shaking leaves loose from the limbs. The conversation drifted randomly like the trail, sometimes strident, sometimes solemn. It was just what I needed. Now I'm off to get some coffee, write some lesson plans.