Tuesday, 27 April 2010

My Life is Less Complicated Than Stealing A Baby. Or: Success!

I just had one of those days where I am not only overwhelmed by everything but then handle all of those things kind of incompetently, and then feel really useless. (I have a creeping fear of the bedbugs returning, I'm waiting on my funding for the upcoming year, and it turns out South Africa Airways does not have a confirmation screen to confirm that the dates are right. The highlight of today was when, after a full afternoon of shopping for flights, I accidentally bought a $1650 flight on the wrong day instead of the $1250 flight I intended. I called them immediately, but was told it still takes $250 to fix this. Boo.) It helped that I went to dinner at Room Service with David and a bunch of friends and saw The Kid, which was all complex with its gay politics and its adoption politics and its homelessness politics and at least made me feel like my life is not as complicated as I sometimes pretend that it is. (The lesson I took away from it is that the easiest way to get a baby is probably just to kidnap one from a crowded public venue. I do not think that was Dan Savage's intention, but there you go.)

Close Enough

B: "How am I supposed to translate? I don't have the Francis Scott Key."
R: "Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner."
B: "You know what I mean."
R: "The Rosetta Stone?"
B: "Exactly."

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Man Vs. Nature

I've been AWOL for a variety of sexy reasons, but one of them is decidedly not sexy and that is that we totally have bedbugs. We've had the occasional bite and been in preemptive lockdown mode since January, but that is not helping, and we've finally convinced them to send the exterminator again tomorrow. My room is now furnished with only a bed, which is actually kind of calming in a minimalist, Buddhist sort of way, until you remember that the reason is not simplicity as a virtue but tiny bugs that live in the parquet floor you thought was so pretty when you looked at the apartment. I think I've actually been remarkably level-headed about this, given that I have given up furniture, personal effects, and all clothing that does not fit in a two week rotation stored in garbage bags, but I've spent the past five hours prepping for the exterminator and just bought a teddy-bear shaped jar of animal crackers and accidentally stress ate the larger portion of its head. The bugs get nothing but reconstituted flour tonight.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Glee, then Panic, then Glee

There is perhaps nothing more panic-inducing than going to a viewing party for the return of Glee and being fully prepared - to the point that you know the guest stars, have readied the drinking game, and know that it will begin at exactly 9:28 EST - than having someone accidentally sit on the remote at 9:17. It was the most frantic and tense ten minutes in recent memory, which not only tells you something about how much excitement I have in my life but also how bad we all are at operating rudimentary technology.

We managed with a minute to spare, were so thrilled by Sue Sylvester's reenactment of Vogue that we promptly went to Marie's - making this the fourth or fifth time that we have gone on a Tuesday promising to stay for an hour and broke that promise to nobody's surprise but our own. I'm lucky we didn't have a Glee Club in high school, because I suspect it would have ruined my life.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Yay, Panels!

Today's educational fieldtrip was to the Off-Broadway Alliance's "New Directions for Gay Theater" with Christopher Sieber, Michael Urie, Leslie Jordan, and a bunch of other people involved in productions with gay characters and themes this season. Fun!

The whole Hell's Kitchen crew ended up going - myself, David, Brady, Leah, and Lee - and we obviously arrived precisely at noon, because I was militant about getting there in time for bagels and coffee because grad students get a free pass when it comes to complimentary food and because I haven't done theater since high school that means I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself in front of these people.

It was surprisingly good, and there were a bunch of solid questions and thoughtful responses about the politics of representation, typecasting, labeling and marketing, and the usual stuff that comes along with queer media. The lesbian in the audience beat me to the question about lesbians, which was fine, as I'm pretty sure she asked it more convincingly than I would have. It was a nice change of pace - as we've all established, I'm a sucker for panels, but most of the ones I go to have to do with treaty bodies and grave violations of human rights, and do not involve me falling in love with Leslie Jordan.

I'm actually going to see The Kid at the end of the month with a couple of friends, so I can report back on that in approximately three weeks. Which is good, because the fact that my Sunday involved a panel, laundry, and writing two conference papers clearly suggests that I need to get out more.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

My Inner Boy-Child

I'm posting this photo from Street Fighter for David because he didn't get my reference to Blanka yesterday, and this is less scarring than trying to explain him as the product of a torrid affair between the Hulk and Pikachu.

Also, because Street Fighter is objectively the best game ever. I had a dream afterwards about the Chipmunks and the Chipettes competing in what seemed to be a cartoon version of Project Runway. I really, really need to stop drinking coffee immediately before bed.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

This Is Not What Is Typically Meant By 'The City that Never Sleeps'

I just had dinner over a journal article about sexuality and lobbying at the African Commission on Human and People's Rights. I've got five items on my to-do list before bed, and I'm still drinking coffee to power through it. There's a very good chance I'll only go to sleep when I pass out on top of my pink highlighter at the kitchen table in a couple of hours.

Whoever said Thursday is the new Friday is clearly wrong, because my Thursday is the new Tuesday at 2pm.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Family Pilgrimage!

Since New York apparently speeds through spring with a week of drizzle and the aggressive appearance of 100,000 tulips, it is now summer, and that means I have no excuse to avoid running in the morning. This started on Tuesday when Lee and I went for a run by the garbage piles and heavy machinery of the piers in Midtown West, and will (theoretically) continue tomorrow when I try the park and see if there are fewer piles of trash and bulldozers in our way. (I know there are approximately as many yuppies with dogs, which I actually kind of like on my jogging route.)

And with the warm weather comes my family, who are all heading up here at the end of April, when my brother and I will play host to our parents, younger brother, and younger sister. I go slightly overboard planning trips like this, and overcompensate for my family's tendency to be like, "we're up for pretty much anything." The result is sort of like if Rick Steves was in charge of leading the Bataan Death March. And while I'm a pro when it's my mom visiting Oxford or my little sister visiting New York, it's considerably harder when it's my 24 year old brother, both of my parents, my 18 year old brother, and my 14 year old sister, which automatically makes the majority of activity involving sports, art, museums, non-American food, and alcohol out of the question. (Only one of us is wrecking the last item, but I'm not pointing fingers.)

So basically, I'm looking for fun ideas in New York - I'm making them do all of the touristy stuff they want to do when I'm in Baltimore for the first day of their visit, and then planning frenetic activity for the rest of the weekend. I am totally open to quirky ideas, including those that involve splitting up strategically so everyone can have fun and nobody kills each other. This is so much harder than it sounds.

Monday, 5 April 2010

In Which I Binge on Nostalgia

I spent this weekend at a conference on sexuality and the law at Harvard, which was actually the first time that I've been back to Cambridge since the beginning of 2009. (And that was January, when it is less pleasant to walk around and marvel at things because I'm prone to frostbite and wiping out on brick sidewalks, and more fun to hide in cafes with your favorite people.)

What was particularly weird was that I felt like I knew more people in Boston this time around than I did the past two times, possibly because a whole bunch of them are prodigal children who left for a couple of years and then decided it was high time to go rack up another degree. I hopped a bus to South Station on Friday and raced to campus for the luncheon kicking off the conference, where I promptly ran into a dozen colleagues, one of my favorite professors from college, and Lee's former roommate before actually putting a fork to my mouth. This got even weirder by the final dinner, when I ran into one of the other writers for the progressive monthly I wrote for in college and a friend of mine from Oxford, who is German but apparently doing a fellowship at Harvard all year and prone to crashing free dinners when the opportunity arises.

The whole conference was great, partially because the presenters were all academic or activist rockstars, and partially because being away from a university setting this year has made me swoon any time someone sticks a panel in front of me and tells them to talk about something sexual. Without fail. It also let out early enough that I was able to go back to Lowell to grab dinner with some of the tutors I really liked, to go to a dinner party with some of my favorite people from the activist circles in undergrad, and to run around on Sunday catching up with Leana, Mischa, Devery, and other besties from back in the day. (I also got to swing by Darwin's and Hi-Rise, but not Diesel, continuing the trend of confusing cafes I love with people I love and treating them somewhat equivalently when deciding how to spend my time.)

And then I hopped a bus with one of my coworkers back to Boston, and was promptly dumped in the middle of the chaos in Times Square in which four people were shot on Easter. I was like, "my, it's rowdy for a Sunday" and kept on listening to NPR podcasts in what was apparently intermittent gang violence. New York has its exciting parts, too.