Wednesday, January 31, 2007

So good they named it twice

I apologise in advance if this turns into word vomit but I am still quite tired. But I wanted to blog about my time in NYC.

I had a great time. Before I had even taken off from Gatwick, the trip was already better than the one I took in November. Firstly, the day before I left, I had a letter from the bank saying while they wouldn’t refund me all the unfair charges, in order to resolve the complaint they were willing to refund £850 of the £1050 I was claiming. Well, alright then! One of the things I wanted to buy in NYC in November was a non film tie in copy of The Prestige. I HATE reading books with the film cover on them. I couldn’t find one anywhere. So I was wandering around the bookshop at the airport, seeing if they had an airport paperback version of the massive new Pynchon novel, Against The Day, when I spotted a non film tie in copy of The Prestige. Marvellous. Now, my one travel fear that I always have is that my bag will get lost. Like, I’m on the plane to Newark, my bag is going to Delaware. I sat in my window seat on the plane and looked out to notice that I was sat by the door to the cargo hold. And I saw my bag go up the conveyor belt into the cargo hold. So I relaxed and opened my book (Special Topics In Calamity Physics, amazing and will be an entry all of its own at some point).

I spent the whole two weeks seeing friends, seeing shows, going to the movies, and most importantly, eating good food. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to, they were busy, I was busy, some people gave me their old cell phone number then wondered why I didn’t call (the fools). I did get to meet someone from Blogger in the flesh though, which was fun. Blood Ray was in town for a few days at the end of my stay so on the day before I flew home, we met for lunch at the Renaissance Diner, my all time absolute favourite diner in all of NYC. Thanks to Eric (who I realise is also on Blogger but I knew him prior to us both being on here, so it doesn’t count) I discovered the joys of Smac and Sugar Sweet Sunshine. The red velvet chocolate almond cupcakes are to die for. There was a boys night out that involved much alcohol and crawling home at 5am, which was a total hoot. All in all, it was very satisfying from a social perspective.

Now, on to the shows. On the first Sunday I was there, I went to see The Little Dog Laughed, with Eric. There was a shower disaster as the friend I was staying with forgot to tell me his hot water tap was very temperamental and I couldn’t get it to turn on. I ended up having to get my stuff together and go over to my dear friend Christina’s apartment to take a shower. She lives in the East Village but it being a Sunday, the subways were effed up and the journey to her was really not fun. Luckily, she lives very near the aforementioned Sugar Sweet Sunshine, so Eric met me down there and we indulged, prior to the theatre. As the show has already announced it is closing and its capacity has hovered at the 50% mark since opening, I was expecting to get fairly decent seats from TKTS. Not so, we got partial view (which was actually ok) and the orchestra and mezzanine were rammed. Go figure. The play is sketchy and at times edged close to annoying, but the whole thing was elevated to a whole different level by the joyous Julie White. Her performance is indescribably brilliant, she stopped the show on more than one occasion and if there is any justice, she will win the Tony. I was wryly amused that during the naked scene when the rather hot and undeniably gifted duo of Johnny Galecki and Tom Everett Scott were showing the audience everything and were interrupted by Ms White, the couple next to me leaned to each other and said “my god, look at her shoes, they’re fantastic”.

Then I read that Elaine Paige had been cast in the upcoming London run of The Drowsy Chaperone. I hate her with the burning passion of a thousand suns so I figured I should see it in NYC. And so I did. It’s a very cute show, clever without being smug, celebratory without being indulgent and jokey without being wanky. Total fluff but it doesn’t ever pretend to be anything else and so that’s ok. Bob Martin is heartbreakingly wonderful as Man In Chair, Sutton Foster is suitably fabulous as Janet and Beth Leavel is a riot in the title role, the one being essayed by La Paige in London, for which she could NOT be less suited.

Prior to the boys night out, I got the last seat in the house for Spring Awakening. I think the kindest thing to say is that it didn’t work for me. I liked the songs and I liked the performances. The book is absolutely awful, clumsy and overdone with some very bad errors in judgement on what to play for laughs and what not to. And don’t even get me started on the staging. As soon as the hand held mics appeared I just thought “well I should just leave now”.

The final theatrical experience was The Apple Tree at Studio 54. What an ODD show. Three completely unrelated mini musicals (The Diary Of Adam and Eve, The Lady Or The Tiger and Passionella), the show is very uneven (Adam and Eve is all of act one, the latter two being squished together after the intermission) and is only really noteworthy for the show off trio of lead roles for Kristin Chenoweth. She is really very good in all of them and is clearly gunning for another Tony. Eh, she might get a nomination but everybody knows the Tony race for Lead Actress in a Musical was over the day Grey Gardens announced its Broadway transfer.

Movie wise, I saw Dreamgirls, which had to be done as it was still at the Ziegfeld. I really enjoyed it, cried twice. I am of course loving that Beyonce’s limelight grabbing antics have seen her be shut out of the Oscar nominations. Good. And as great as Jennifer Hudson was and as intense as her “And I Am Telling You” was, that number towards the end did expose her limitations. There’s only so many times you can wave your arms around to signal to the audience that you’re upset. I also managed to fit in Notes On A Scandal, which was fantastic. Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett in the same film, how can you go wrong? I decided I needed to see Letters From Iwo Jima and then regretted it. How this snoozefest has landed a Best Picture Oscar nod is beyond me. And the fact that it beat Pan’s Labyrinth at the Globes? Yeah, that’s just wrong. I had to see Alpha Dog, which I enjoyed, but whoever told Justin Timberlake he could pull of playing a tough guy was sorely mistaken. Bless him, in some scenes he sounded gayer than I do. Finally, for some unknown reason, I also saw the remake of The Hitcher. It was cold, I had a couple of hours to kill and it was the only movie starting. It was every bit as shit as I thought it would be. Nuff said.

And now to the main reason behind my trip. Well, you’ll forgive me if I suddenly get cagey but I don’t want to go into too much detail. I had a couple of interviews with the company who were supposed to be hiring me for last year’s H-1 intake. They were very nice and very apologetic that it went wrong and all but fell over themselves to re-do the application for this year. However, the final interview I had was literally the day before I flew home (which was also the coldest NYC day in two years, and they weren’t kidding!) and so nothing is definite yet, but it’s all looking very positive. However, I have been here before and so I am being cautiously optimistic and guardedly excited, but I’m not holding my breath.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm back

I got back from NYC yesterday and I'm just about out the other side of the jet lag. A full and proper entry about the trip will follow (though not a day by day account like last time, that would be boring). It will have to wait until I am less tired and more coherent but for now all I will say is it was a MUCH more successful trip than the one I took in November.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Best of times, worst of times

I'm going to be on a plane in like 18 hours. I'm a little bit freaked out. Last time I went to NY in November, I didn't have a good feeling about it all. To the degree that a little voice inside me told me to turn around and go home when I was checking in.

Well, in that vein, for the first time in two years, I have a bitch of an infected wisdom tooth. I am not registered with a doctor OR a dentist and I've been reduced to gargling with antiseptic, which is just the wrong side of no fun, let me tell you.

Counterbalancing that, I had some fantastic news today. Remember how I blogged a while back that I was going after my bank to reclaim the unauthorised overdraft charges, since these had been declared unlawful? My bank have rinsed me for £1046 in the last three years. They've had my complaint since mid November and I've been calling them weekly and making vaguely threatening noises if they don't give me a resolution asap. They wrote to me today to tell me they'll repay £846 of the charges. I could take it further and get it all back plus interest but fundamentally I don't want to drag it out any further. This is all an unexpected windfall so it's fine by me.

If ever there was a sign from the universe telling me that getting on the plane tomorrow was the right thing to do, this would be it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

An update

I haven't posted anything worthwhile lately because I've been completely freaking out. I am going back to NYC on Saturday. For two weeks. It's to do with the company I was supposed to have a job interview with back in November (you can read about that disaster here). I don't want to say too much on here so as to jinx everything but there's great potential here and it could finally lead me back to NYC on a more permanent basis.

So suffice it to say my blogging will be a titch erratic over the next two weeks. I won't have my laptop with me and I'm going to be dividing the time I'm there amongst several friends and so I won't always have computer access.

In other news, I decided that in a bid to widen my musical tastes, I needed to download the Rolling Stone 100 Songs of 2006 list. Some I already knew and some won't download no matter what I do (or just download three minutes of static which is even more annoying) but I have over 80 of the tracks now and so I'm sure I'll do a proper update once I've listened to them all.

I decided to lighten my televisual load by ditching Housewives and ER. I realised I hadn't watched any of the previous seasons of either show so didn't really see the point. There are far too many other shows on and imminent for me to faff around with shows I'm no longer feeling the love for. Supernatural is now bumped to the 28th Jan which is perfect timing as it's the day I arrive back from NY. Not that my life revolves around TV or anything. Honest.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Instruction manuals scare me

Michigan Law Suit Abuse Watch recently announced their most ridiculously OTT warning label. Here it is:

That's right. Never put a person in a washing machine. Let that be a valuable lesson to all of you. It's scary that in these law suit happy climes, such a warning is necessary. And to think I was amused when we bought a dishwasher recently and it warned us that "dishwasher water is not for drinking". No shit, really?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I must live under a rock

Just reading over on Towleroad that the following celebrities had all marched out of the closet in 2006 and somehow I had NO IDEA that it had happened:

Darren Hayes
Michelle Rodriguez
Kristanna Lokken
Raul Esparza

And 2007 has started with a bang as Ian Watkins, aka H from Steps preceded his stint on Celebrity Big Brother (which I would rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon than watch 3 seconds of) with an interview confirming his homosexuality. Somehow I missed this as well. There were some on the list that I had been aware of (Neil Patrick Harris, TR Knight, Lance Bass etc) but the listed four passed me by totally. I would like to point out that I already knew they were all gayers because, well, I have eyes. That said gayness was announced to the world is news to me. But seriously, good for them. I'm a firm believer in the fact that the perception of homosexuality as evil needs to be altered from the ground up. People so firmly in the public eye coming out and being very "so what?" about it and having it not alter their career trajectory is a fine place to start.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New year, new TV schedule

As well as being the month that most of the year end awards buzz movies from the US make an appearance, January is also the month that sees all the US TV shows, old and new, hitting our screens. Thanks to this, I am going to be in something of a televisual gridlock. Here's why:

January 3rd: Desperate Housewives Season 3
January 4th: ER Season 785
January 5th: Ugly Betty Season 1
January 8th: Nip/Tuck Season 4
January 8th: Medium Season 2
January 9th: Battlestar Galactica Season 3
January 15th: Prison Break Season 2
January 22nd: Supernatural Season 2
January TBA: 24 Season 6
February TBA: Heroes Season 1

That's just RIDICULOUS. And there's still some shows that don't have any kind of confirmed air date yet. There aren't enough hours in the day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New year, new blogging idea

This idea is stolen from Yoda Jeff. When the month and the day are the same, I am going to post the corresponding number of pictures on my blog. There don't seem to be any rules regarding that they have to be taken on the day in question so I'm sure I can have some fun with some old pics on here at some point. But for now, here is my one pic for 1/1. It's the view from my lounge window....