Monday, 26 October 2009

Learning to Embarrass Yourself in Public

Man: "You two really know Chicago."
Me: "We spent most of the summer of 2001 practicing approximately 400 times."

One of the skills that Brady and I did not expect to acquire at debate camp in Iowa was the ability - eight years later - to flawlessly and show-stoppingly belt "We Both Reached for the Gun" in a piano bar in Manhattan. Very marketable! (I'm including the James Naughton clip because we both do it so much better than Richard Gere.)

I'm Full of Good Ideas!

David and I went to see Kirsten Gillibrand at the LGBT Community Center yesterday. She was so likeable! We also went to see Sister Spit and I developed an intensely passionate crush on Michelle Tea. If Kirsten Gillibrand joined Sister Spit and they did lesbian-feminist performance art at the US Capitol, I would basically be the happiest person alive. (Sometimes I think this is what Tammy Baldwin is actually doing and it is deeply inspiring.)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Marry Me

Cubbyhole is the best bar ever. Within fifteen minutes of arriving with Abby and Emma, I made friends with a woman who offered to buy me a hamburger, ruffled my hair, said that I don't have any body fat, kissed me goodbye twice, and told me she'd have to give me a job at her university when I finish my PhD. She literally found every part of my personality and made it feel good.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

PhD Quote of the Day

"This level of personal involvement is important to the direction that this work has taken - a less involved observer would be unlikely to appreciate the embodied thrill of participating in cooking in a communal cafe for a hundred people, building a sadomasochistic play space out of found objects, or facing a line of riot police dressed in pink and silver gender-ambiguous drag" (Brown 2007: 2686).

This will be a footnote in my methodology section if it kills me.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hard Knock Life

The highlight of my evening yesterday was when Brady, Emma, and I were getting ready to leave Musical Mondays, and then this came on and Emma got so excited that she almost tipped over the table. Orphanages are so whimsical!

This can be filed with Hogan's Heroes, Oliver!, and Pretty Woman under "People Having Fun Under Objectively Un-Fun Circumstances." Appropriately, it was followed by Newsies, the most upbeat musical ever about striking child laborers. And I have obviously had this stuck in my head all day.

Monday, 19 October 2009

'Til Death

On Friday, I was getting ready to take Lee's poodle, Tabitha, out for a walk and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the hall from the elevator. As I stood there in my corduroy jacket, balancing the poodle tucked under my arm with a cup of coffee in the other, it suddenly struck me that this is exactly what I'm going to look like when I'm 30. I actually think that's pretty awesome - shortly thereafter, I had to restrain Tabitha when she tried to attack a woman in a fur coat in a Century 21 advertisement on the side of a bus, and then we went home and played tennis and I had the kind of good (if one-sided) conversation that I typically have with dogs. We have a lot in common, as I learned we are both afraid of jackhammers and sometimes run into walls.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much the same. David was up, and I did all sorts of domestic things like baking pre-fab cookies, replacing the batteries in my carbon monoxide detector, fixing my showerhead, and re-mounting a hook in my bathroom. (The cookies were the best part, although I'm not going to knock the ability to shower without a metal astroid firing off at your naked body when you least expect it.)

David brought a bunch of work, so we didn't really go out, but Emma and I went to Long Island City for a wedding reception for a friend of mine, and we saw Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy at the 2econd Stage Theatre. (If you have a chance to see it before it closes in early December, definitely do. It's a great meditation on death and dying and the fragility and resilience of the human body. She's amazing, and she does a pretty convincing Reverend Gomes.)

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Balloon Boy Is the Hero of Our Apartment

"You hate children, and I watch the news. I think he did this to help us out at parties."

Thursday, 15 October 2009

America's Next Top Model

So on the magic that is my morning jog, I was running toward Columbus Circle the other morning and spotted two men standing by a coffee cart wearing matching black tee-shirts. And the backs of the shirts said something like "Cosmopolitan's Hottest Bachelor," and then I realized that the front of one guy's shirt said "North Dakota 2009." (The other one said Oregon 2009. I wasn't interested.)

I jogged past, and then I was like, no, I can't let this one go. So I jogged backwards and stopped and I was like, "hey, sorry to interrupt, but are you Cosmopolitan's Sexiest Bachelor in North Dakota 2009?"

He was like, ", yes."

And I was like, "I saw the article in the Forum. Congratulations!" (In retrospect, I am so, so glad that I didn't remember his name and never uttered the words "Jesse Regan." I feel like that would have kicked it up from sort of creepy to being justifiably maceable.)

He asked if I was from Fargo and we talked a little bit about that, and then I was like, "well, anyway, keep up the good work," and then I literally ran away. I don't know what good work I was referring to - being attractive? being from a sparsely populated state? - but things like this really make the city feel smaller. It practically made my morning.

(What really made my morning was that there's this tiny man - and frankly, I'm only 90% sure of that - who walks his poodle along my jogging route every morning at 7:45 wearing a suit and ascot and he was there like clockwork and waved hello and winked and I was like, wow, jogging outside is fun.

One Take on the Balloon Child

"I wanted the kid to be in the balloon. Just think - twelve years from now, that kid would have had the most awesome college admission essays ever."

Monday, 12 October 2009

Action is Hot

There is something very adorable about hopping on a bus from DC back to New York and slowly realizing that just about every other person on the bus is coming back from the National Equality March. And there is something even more adorable about everybody else realizing that at the same time, and then starting to chat with total strangers about where they were from and what they thought of the march and which speakers they found really compelling. (It is less cute when the bus breaks down in Baltimore, but Emma and I ended up talking to this lesbian mom across from us and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my weekend. She was awesome.)

The march itself was a much more galvanizing, energizing, and all-around empowering experience than I expected it to be. It was also way more lefty than I had expected, and it was kind of refreshing to march with anarchists and sit with socialists at the rally at the Capitol. It was stuff like that that made this feel really different from any of the Prides I've attended, and part of the reason I really liked the energy at the march. (Plus, David was right - you can't have a march without anarchists, because nobody else remembers to bring the drum.) The warm fuzzies kept on rolling when a bunch of the speakers at the rally got all fired up about healthcare and immigration reform and social justice in addition to the usual laundry list of HRC-sponsored agenda items. I cannot emphasize how nice it was to not see a beer advertisement during the whole five hours we were there.

The rest of the weekend was a blast, too. I had the usual This Is Your Life moments as I hung out with my brother, my boyfriend, my best friends in college, a couple of friends from Oxford, and alumni and faculty I knew from Harvard at the mixer, and I kept running into people I knew from college mixed into the 200,000 people at the march. David and I also popped by a pre-march brunch with a bunch of the other queer alums of the scholarship that I'm on, and talking to them about the march and the pace of social change all added up to a surprisingly impactful and meaningful weekend. We'll see if it actually translates into any sort of political impact, but I think it's a mistake to focus only on that and not what it meant to the people who were there. (Also, I have never seen as much anti-HRC sentiment in my entire life. And then Cynthia Nixon spoke. It was fairly surreal.)

Saturday, 10 October 2009


"Ugh, we have so many forks. I'm telling you, when I have my own apartment..."
"You'll have one fork?"
"Yes. One fork. And one spoon. Ideally, just a spork."

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Foods I Can Make But Cannot Pronounce

So things like "adequate seating" and "skill" have never once stopped me from hosting dinner parties, and tonight was no exception. I managed to pull off a passable vegetarian gratin, which involved epic landmarks like:

- purchasing breadcrumbs,
- learning how to peel tomatoes,
- not fucking up an eggplant, and
- peeling a butternut squash without taking off a finger.

Victory! It was a little bland, but you can't really screw up something with roasted squash and feta, and nobody has thrown up yet that I'm aware of. I'm actually starting to get a fairly impressive repertoire of variations on vegetarian stir-fry. When Erika and I finally publish our cookbook, there's now a fighting chance that it will be more than a page long. If I may be so bold, I think we're getting into pamphlet territory.


You can tell when I'm having a stressful day at work because I go into the kitchen and compulsively wash all of the dishes in the sink. I think it reminds me of the days when my job partially consisted of making coffee and running to the post office, and knowing with certainty that I make excellent coffee and that I'm a fast walker who never leaves his boss's credit card on top of the stamp machine. I should probably just get a security blanket.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

In Which Filene Saves My Shins

I need running shoes because my Sketchers just do not cut it, and so I set out to find the cheapest ones I could find after work today. This is no small feat, since I bought my last two pairs of shoes at Sports World, which is always slightly overwhelming and would land on anybody's list for most incomprehensible and seemingly unprofitable chain in Europe. When I was in Belgium a few years ago, I got a pair of shiny black Umbro soccer cleats for like six euros, and those lasted me until I spent like five pounds two years ago on a pair of blue suede Everlasts that were so thin that you could feel every paving stone in Oxford. In New York, I figured it would be difficult for me to find comparably cheap shoes without a) stealing them or b) making them out of tinfoil and floss.

So I went to DSW and found a pair of New Balance shoes for $27. Success! They do look like a pair of shoes that my mom had in the mid-80s - in fact, they may actually be women's sneakers, so that's fun - but they are so comfortable I can barely stand it, and since the goal was to replace my Sketchers and not destroy my shins, I consider that a success.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Last [Two] Years

It's been over two years since Lee and I lived together, and some of my favorite memories of that year took place in the kitchen. (Our homemade Thanksgiving springs to mind as being an epic success, while my pancakes-in-the-shape-of-your-initials where we ran out of milk and I had to substitute yogurt was decidedly less so.) And something about firing up the same espresso pot two years later in a totally different kitchen in a totally different city warms my heart a little.

But still, I think it's safe to say that we've both become better cooks over the past year. I mostly credit David with this, since our kitchen dates in Oxford were where we tried out falafel, ratatouille, and homemade bagels, experimented with various kinds of crepes and french toast, made up biscuit, cookie, and bread recipes, tried every conceivable form of vegetarian pizza and stir-fry, discovered parsnips, and made everything from stuffed peppers to candy pie to gigantic salads for dinner parties. In the meantime, Lee became the kind of cook whose food is on a food blog. And tonight, I met Sarah at Spitzer's for a beer and then ran up to Lee's for dinner, where we made cranberry and pear salad and reheated leftover Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with one of his friends who I knew from back in the day and Tabitha, his poodle, who I did not.

When Tom arrived, we hugged and he was like, "So, how was... wow, the last two years?"
I didn't really know how to answer that, so I just said, "Um, you know. Ups and downs."

Which is true. But I'm realizing more and more that the ups of the past few years have vastly outnumbered the downs, and I think that realization is dawning on me as part of being around some of the people who have meant the most in my life. Going for a jog with your ex who lives eight blocks away is special, but so is living across town from your brother, getting an apartment with your best friend from high school, grabbing brunch with your best friend from college, going out with both of those friends together, getting drinks with friends from Oxford, introducing your boyfriend to all these people when he spends the weekend in New York, and then bumping into various friends from college in bars, on the subway, on rooftops, and in seminars that you crash at various law schools - and doing all of that in two weeks. You can't even script television shows like this.

(Incidentally, the bread pudding was so good that I ate until it hurt a little. Lee also made post-dinner espresso, which I pretty predictably drank even though it probably means that I'm going to get about four hours of sleep tonight. Despite your best efforts, some things do not change.)

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Ow, Fitness

So living in my neighborhood puts me within five minutes of Central Park, and I kept telling myself that I'd go running every morning instead of getting a membership at a gym. As anyone would have predicted, this has happened approximately zero times in the past month. I met up with Lee for brunch this morning, and after hacking up a baguette and making french toast with copious amounts of butter and Nutella, we decided it would be a good idea to go for a run in what is now our collective neighborhood. We did, and afterwards, I felt really good about myself, life, my neighborhood, the woman who overcharged me for biscotti at Whole Foods, the weird shape of my calves after two months of atrophy, the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and other things that endorphins make you feel very positively about. It was lovely.

A couple of hours later, I feel like someone took a hammer to my inner thighs. I really shouldn't go two months without doing anything more physical than walking to get cake at lunch.

Friday, 2 October 2009


So we went to Therapy tonight because, hey, we now live approximately four minutes away, and Thursday is when they do a double-header of Project Runway followed by Lavinia, who is terrifying. At about 10:50pm, Brady was like, "you have to sit on the outside of the table," and I was like, "no," and then went to the bathroom and found out that Brady switched our seats so I was sitting closer to the middle of the room. Fine. At about 11:15pm, I found out that this is because the people who sit on the outside of the table are the ones who get dragged on stage for the amateur go-go dancing contest. And the only thing worse than being forced into an amateur go-go dancing contest for like forty-five minutes is having to gracefully bow out of it, even if that does make you look more mature than the guy who is clearly out of the contest but refuses to get off the stage. The upside is that I got a free drink out of the evening; the downside is that I'd always hoped my dignity was worth more than $7. (I guess it's good that someone has clarified that, no, my dignity is worth exactly $7, and only in the form of a plastic token.)