Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Eve of Thanksgiving

First things first. I misled you, Jay - it turned out not to be Lisa Kudrow after all in the Natalie Portman film. Sorry about that - but keep reading! Who turns who may turn up next as I navigate the shivering streams of background work? Watch this space!

God, I hate Thanksgiving. There is just way too much food to be cooked. (I know, I say this every sue me.)

Meanwhile of course, my budget constraints are being a real pain in the turkey innards. I got totally screwed up last week when I had to pay a cell phone bill of $56 and change before they'd let me have my new free phone (does that make it still free, I wonder?), and that was an EXTREMELY necessary $56 which meant the difference between what I needed to get and what I could get for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, I may conceivably be the only person who notices this - I have a tendency, faced with a head count of 11 (which it is this year) to assume that the 11 people are suddenly going to turn into 16 people (admittedly, this has happened). However, I have finally begun noticing that some things are always left over - the green beans, for instance. So for this year, I figured, well, hell, I just don't need four pounds of green beans for 11 people - most people take three or six green beans and concentrate on sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and stuffing - so I bought two pounds. (I really do usually have LOTS of left over green beans.) This, of course, now that I'm out of money, is making me twitch, and I am completely convinced that there are going to be people at my table tomorrow who are shrieking for pounds and pounds of green beans. You do understand that this has never happened in the entire history of my Thanksgivings, and I have ALWAYS had this large container of leftovers...but I remain convinced that I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH GREEN BEANS. This is making me twitch.

Our friend Shai came over last night and brined the turkey for me, bless him, and is also providing one of the stuffings (the one with meat in it - yay) and bread (and he has a friend who's going to deal with the Brussels sprouts), while I make the vegetarian stuffing for our non-red-meat-eating friend. And this year I couldn't afford the damn oysters for it (twitch, twitch, twitch). And unless someone turns up with some, the crudities are out too. I'm not too terribly worried about them (yes I am) because what usually happens by the time the bulk of the guests get here is that those of us who have been peeling potatoes and stringing beans (damn, I need another pound of green beans) have eaten the carrots, cucumber, olives and dip anyway and everything else is ready to go.

I also managed not to be able to afford the big container of heavy cream for the mashed potatoes (calorie? What's a calorie?) and to whip for the pumpkin pie, but I know damn well that the deli across the street will be open, and someone can go and get some half and half for the damn potatoes and some Reddi-whip for the pumpkin pie (my mother-in-law and I, one Thanksgiving, discovered on Thanksgiving Day that the milk was sour and used plain yogurt in the mashed potatoes and they turned out fine, so there). Unless they have proper heavy cream, of course, which seems doubtful. I got the sharp cheddar for the apple pie, anyway, and wrapped so Joshua can't get at it.

But essentially, with the good will of my wonderful friends, the basic menu will be in place with just a few missing bits that really aren't all that important (I NEED ANOTHER POUND OF GREEN BEANS!!!!), it will be a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you.

Meanwhile, my cousin Joshua has been competing for the title of most completely annoying carbon based life form in the universe. You notice I avoid the term "human being" here - this is because I'm seriously beginning to wonder. His antics this past few days have been beyond belief.

He started by deciding to do laundry, which is certainly laudable - one doesn't wish to live with someone who doesn't do his laundry. However, when it came time to DRY his laundry, he simply took my still wet laundry out of the dryer and put his in. And when I came downstairs and told him his laundry was dry, he calmly said, "Oh, I'll put yours back in again."

What? You mean, his t-shirts are so unbelievably important that they have to dry before the clothes that I wear to go to work where I actually earn some money (paltry, 'tis true, but something, anyway) instead of leeching off the government? I simply cannot believe that ANYBODY could think that they are so important in the general scheme of things. Actually, with Joshua, I can believe this - several weeks back the cable and computer went out through lack of payment (well, it was a week when my take-home was $98), and Joshua called me to tell me about this. I said, "Well, there's nothing I can do about it because I need prescriptions." He replied, unforgettably - "Let's deal with first things first." Of COURSE. My health or Joshua watching basketball. First things first.

And today he was at his absolute best. After listening to me freak out about the missing bits of tomorrow's dinner, he grudgingly gave me $21. He waited to do this until it was almost dark outside (when he had heard me moaning since 1 in the afternoon), thereby forcing me to go to the store in the dark (and cold). He also told me he didn't have any money. I am quite curious about what on earth has happened to the $20,000 he got from the government about a month ago. And just to be really charming and adorable, when I got back from the store, he told me he had just come back from spending $50 on gluten free goodies for himself from the health food store.

You know, this is just a bit beyond necessary.

Ah, well. I have got an almost 19 pound turkey. I have got the ingredients for one kind of stuffing in the kitchen. I have got white potatoes to mash and sweet potatoes to bake. I have got green beans and the mushrooms that go into them (ONLY TWO POUNDS OF GREEN BEANS!). I have got an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. The other stuffing and the Brussels sprouts will arrive (and if the Brussels sprouts don't arrive, I will take up a collection and get someone to go to the deli and get several cans of corn, which is the most successful of all canned vegetables.) And I have got lovely friends and a wonderful daughter, and if all else fails, we can cook Joshua. People will bring wine and beer and feed the cat scraps of turkey, and it will be a perfectly lovely day.

It will, please God, not be like a Thanksgiving of many years ago, when Sarah couldn't have been more than 9 or 10. I went to bake the pumpkin pie late in the afternoon of Thanksgiving Eve, and discovered that I had a non-working oven. There were something like 25 people coming the next day. So I called Sears in a panic (it being a Kenmore stove), and they promised to send someone right out. Thursday arrived. No repairman. I served everybody all the hors d'oeuvres I had made. Friday arrived. All my guests, trusting in me and Sears Roebuck, turned up again. I made pasta. In the middle of the pasta, the repairman arrived! It was, however, 9 at night. I had two fifteen pound turkeys...there was no way, unless we wanted to have a lovely breakfast. By God, don't you know, everybody came BACK on Saturday? And we finally had Thanksgiving.

Maybe the green beans aren't that important.

However, if anyone would like to drop by with a pound of them tomorrow, you'd be more than welcome....

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Little Sondheim Music

In Stephen Sondheim's wonderful show, A Little Night Music, the lead (Desiree, an aging actress) sings about her career, to wit:

Pack up the luggage, la la la,
Unpack the luggage, la la la,
Which town is this town? La, la, la
Heigh ho, the glamorous life.

(The la, la, la bit is Sondheim's, not mine. I know the words, he just wrote those la's in there. Listen to the album.)

Which is, of course, what our lives are like - those of us who have chosen acting as a life.

And this leads me directly to the madly glamorous world of movie making. So, yesterday:

Arrive nicely on time for 10 am call at a temple on the upper East Side (75th and Lexington). Collect papers - the all-important pay slip (wherein you give your SAG number and call time and all that stuff which allows them to pay you - VERY important), and the I-9 form, which announces that you are, in fact, a citizen or resident alien of the United States of America and can prove same.

Hang out in temple for an hour or so, get checked by wardrobe (suitably dull colored? Good to go. No red scarves or hats.).

There is NO COFFEE. Never work indie films. There was NO COFFEE. There was water and there was one lonely half bagel, which I scarfed up, along with some cold water. There was (yes, I know I'm repeating myself) NO COFFEE.

Walk down the block and get on background bus to get to site - which is Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. Get on set. There is NO COFFEE. There is, thank God, hot water and packets of hot chocolate mix. 'Tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as an ocean, but 'twill serve, 'twill serve.* However, there is still NO COFFEE.

Go be a background person. Walk here. Leave your mark at twenty beats. Okay, terrific. Now for this shot, leave your mark at 17 beats. (This means that when Action is called, you count to twenty or seventeen, as the case may be, and then move to where you're moving. Okay? Are we clear on this?)

This goes on for two and a half hours. Kindly remember that it is 38 degrees out.

Okay! Print that shot!

Back to bus, which doesn't have enough seats for everybody and is a climb up those stairs and a bit of a hike to get to from set. Get on bus and begin to thaw...then, as soon as thawing begins, get told to get out to craft services truck for food. Food is all cold, as far as I can tell. Have ham sandwich and some popcorn. There is NO COFFEE. What is WITH these people?

This takes rather less than an hour...not like anyone wants to hang out in a bus eating their lunch in the aisle.

Back to fountain. New scene. Yay! It now being three in the afternoon, begin to see light at the end of the increasingly cold tunnel (on account of there's this thing called, you know, um, sunset). Listen to Lisa Kudrow making small speech about our commitment to dead babies and their memorial service. (The scene is supposed to be one of those walks where you remember dead children who died of crib death or something and you have a badge with the name of a dead child on it...first scene was us all lining up to get said badges.) Gawk in a mild manner at Natalie Portman standing about four feet away. (But not while cameras are rolling. Anyway, I once saw Zero Mostel in his underpants a million years back when I was an apprentice...Natalie Portman is NOTHING. Lots smaller, to begin with.)

4:30 pm and completely congealed, many layers of clothing notwithstanding. Get wrapped (i.e., our day is over). Get told that we're being bumped (being bumped, in union language, means an extra payment) $25.00 bucks for not enough seats on the background bus. Cheer, shiveringly. Go back to temple. Get signed off. Go home and uncongeal. Not sure whether cold beer was exactly the proper thing for uncongealing, but it tasted wonderful.

Heigh ho, the glamorous life.

And you know what? I loved every second of it. There were lots of neat people to talk to, lots of industry chat, one lady who took my name and number for a new play she's doing, and a general feeling of bonhomie and we're all in this together. Freezing to damn death and (I think I'm beginning to belabor this point, but we were all yelping) WITHOUT COFFEE, but absolutely our deep desire to get the fuck out of Central Park and get somewhere warm that had hot food...and COFFEE.

And today I went trotting off like a nice little temp lady to my Population Council job and sent all those nice things off to Guatemala and Mexico and Bangladesh...and that office was colder than a witch's tit today, and the ladies room was friggin' freezing. Key West (only one of my favorite places in the whole sidereal universe) looks wonderful about now.

Tonight I had to take the subway home on account of being out of Metrocard (and wouldn't you think that the MTA would realize that there are those of us who are bus people and would dearly love to be able to buy a Metrocard above ground?). However, that was fine because just across the street on Lexington there is an AT&T store, and I had to stop there. I tried to charge my phone with the charger I keep downstairs last night and it wouldn't charge, so I tried with the upstairs charger, and it wouldn't charge. Evidently, I needed a new battery for the phone. I figure one charger not working may be the charger's fault, but two chargers not working has got to be the phone's fault. And I have two chargers because of the mitten theory. You know the mitten/glove theory. If you lose one mitten/glove, and you throw out the remaining one, the second it irretrievably disappears into the maw of the garbage truck, the other one turns up. This is what happened with my chargers...couldn't find one, bought another, a day later the original turned up. Anyway, turns out that my phone was so old (two years...oy, does technology ever not know from old) that they couldn't get a battery for it, so they gave me (GAVE me, like for free) a new phone. The voice mail seems to be screwed up somehow, but after trying to fix it for half an hour tonight (with customer service...hee, hee, hee...misnomer of the century) and it's STILL not working, I'll worry about it tomorrow.

Anyway, having achieved a new phone (I like my old one better, but I'll adjust), I found myself entering Grand Central to get the Metrocard and the shuttle at the door to that glorious food market. So I wandered through, wishing I could buy everything in sight (it looks rather like Dean & Deluca...everything all polished and not for the likes of us poor people). What I had planned to do was go to Gourmet Garage over by Christopher Street and get some shrimp for dinner, because they usually have great cheap shrimp. The shrimp at Grand Central were running in double digits, but as I was passing the last seafood stand on my way to the subway, I spotted a cooked lobster...FOR TEN DOLLLARS. For a 1-1/4 pound lobster. Well, hell - the best I can do at Gourmet Garage is 8.99 a pound for medium guess what I had for dinner? (Sidney Poitier, on toast...oh, no, that's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).

And just as I had finished my lobster, two pals turned up, and I actually got to talk in my own house. Well, Joshua doesn't converse, he pontificates, and Caesar keeps yelling at me to change my name or, alternatively, to feed him...and if the two of them are together, they talk to each other at cross purposes...and the result is that I never seem to get to talk in my own house. I had a lovely time, thank you.

And so to bed. Oh, and that asterisk? Here:

*This is what Mercutio says when he's dying in Romeo and Juliet - Act One, Scene about three, I think, but don't quote me. Romeo is saying "Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much," and the above regarding wells and oceans is Mercutio's line before he dies. And if you didn't already know this, you should immediately quit reading crap and apply yourself to Shakespeare. Yes, I am a snob and snot about it. Live with it.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Got Elected Dogcatcher!

Son of a gun...something finally paid off. There I was, calming playing solitaire and considering dinner, when the phone rang and it was a nice lady from Grant Wilfley casting asking me to be in her nice movie on Thursday! So that's what I'm going to do.

Naturally, this is an outdoor scene, during which I will probably freeze my adorably rounded bottom off, but what the hell. Movie sets are equipped with lots and lots of food and coffee and places to get warm. I don't care...I'm finally in!

Yay me!

Love, Wendy

The Intelligence of the MTA

No, I don't mean the whole thing about raising fares and cutting service - that's A. not exactly news, and B. too many people are yowling about it already.

No, the intelligent move for which I think they deserve praise is the fact that they have taken down the sign on the bus stop pole at 7th Avenue and Christopher for the crosstown M8 (on which I practically live). This was the sign that told you roughly when to expect the bus. Well, nobody who takes that bus EVER expects it to be on time going west. Going east, if you catch it at the beginning of the run over on 10th and Washington, as I do, it's almost always perfectly on time. But going the other way (coming from Avenue D), it invariably runs into trouble of some sort. So the clever MTA, rather than attempt to do anything about the on time habits of the bus, has sensibly removed the sign. Now nobody knows when it's actually supposed to arrive, so no more complaints! I think that shows excellent business sense. Clearly this is how our large corporations have been being run for some time...they seem to solve a problem by not actually doing anything about it. They just change the rules.

I have been doing very little of any interest whatsoever except getting up WAY too early. But I did manage to get five days of work last week, just in time to feed somewhere around 15 people on Thanksgiving, so that's a definite plus. I must say that my working habits do give me a tour of New York...49th and Lexington on Monday, Javits Center on Tuesday, 57th and 10th on Wednesday, 130th and Convent on Thursday, and 48th and 2nd on Friday. (By the way, in case you're keeping track, this required me to arise at 4:30 am Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 am on Thursday, since I had to be in Harlem by 8, and a blissful 6 am on Friday. I slept all day Sunday for some reason. I wonder why.)

My new pictures have not done a DAMN thing for my ability to get background work, which is annoying. My friend Caesar came over on Saturday and continued his absolutely nutty campaign to get me to change my name. He keeps screaming at me about this, which makes no sense at all. I figure if Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), Archibald Leach (Cary Grant) and Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers) were all hired for films under those names (which they were - the studio changed them later), that's not the problem. Besides which, it seems to me inherently unlikely that a casting director is going to pick my picture off the submissions, look at it, go, "Yeah, that's the right kind of face," and then decide, "No, I don't like her name." I mean, Meryl Streep's daughter is acting, and her name is Mamie Gummer. Now look, if Mamie Gummer can get cast...

I am now going to look at the magazine and catalogue that came in the mail today. I'm having a lot of fun with my free magazines. It seems that I live in a VERY high rent district (well, I know that - every time I walk past the real estate agent's place on Hudson, I look in the window and they're showing studio apartments for $3500 a month). So publishers send me all these magazines with names like Gotham (and today's offering, Bal Harbor, along with the CB2 catalogue) which consist of pages and pages of pictures of society types at various functions and pages and pages of ads for Omega watches, usually followed by about ten pages of fashion photography of $12,000 dresses and maybe a spread of Mr. and Mrs. Gotrock's place in know, their 12 bedroom getaway cottage with the two pools. I have a lot of fun reading these things. And they even have a practical side - when a casting call goes out for Upper East Side types, or upper class evening clothes, I know exactly what type of clothes they want - it's the stuff I can't afford to buy. However, I do now know what it's supposed to look like, at least, so when I do get some money to invest in a few pieces for this sort of thing, they'll be the right ones. (And it's not as much of a splurge as it sounds - first, because Loehman's has great evening clothes of the right type at low prices, and second, because if I get the thing and wear it in a film, it comes off my taxes as a union member as necessary wardrobe. God knows, it's not like my own personal life contains anything for which I'd need an evening gown.)

And of course, movies are unfortunately not costumed by people who inhabit Manhattan, as far as I can tell. The first thing they invariably say in the costume notes is "No black." Aside from the fact that I don't know anybody in this city who owns evening/cocktail clothes in any other color, have you ever tried to buy cocktail dresses, for instance, in anything but black? You can get red, but they usually don't want that, either - point being that it's BACKGROUND, just that. Black and red stand out too much. So you're faced with a very, very small collection of clothing. Unless you're young, of course, when you can wait until prom season and find all sorts of pretty pastel things. If you're me, usually the only thing lying around that's formal is beige and in the mother of the bride section.

Oh, well. Since I haven't currently got the cash to worry about this, I think I won't. Also, I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait until I actually get some damn work and then ask other people - networking is the only way to go.

I will now go and see what the beautiful people are doing.

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 7, 2008

Avoiding The Wet Spot

Gotcha! For all those of you were were longing for detailed salaciousness, sorry about that. Well, I don't deal in that sort of thing because, much as I love my loyal readers, it's none of your damn business, and anyway, I haven't got anything to report. And if I did, I would report it with three dots, otherwise known as an ellipsis, as they used to do in women's novels; i.e., "He took her in his strong arms and led her gently to the couch . . . " followed immediately by: "Chapter 12: Next Morning" (which, in novels of this ilk, invariably spoke of them both fully dressed at the breakfast table).

No, no, the damn cat threw up on my side of the bed, that's all. Growl. It's been a long day already.

I somehow completely forgot how quick it is to get to Harlem (probably because I had Monday's Bay Ridge excursion in my mind), so I ended up there at 7 am instead of 8 am. Or at any rate, getting off the A Train (which you may now start humming) at 7 am. As it turns out, 130th between St. Nicholas and Convent is ALL uphill from 125th Street...and it was a damp morning. I don't do damp mornings and climbing very well. And in this particular school (they have two branches - one on 130th and one on 122nd), there is no elevator. So AFTER you haul your tired panting ass uphill for five blocks, you still have to climb three flights of stairs, which I consider cruel and unusual punishment.

And I had a boss of a type that drives me nuts. She was one of those people who make a huge fuss of everything and yammer on incessantly about how busy they are and yet never actually get anything done because they're focused on being busy...if I'm making sense. And she also had to micromanage every single thing I was doing (which was a perfectly simple matter of stuffing some folders, for God's sake) - which of course made her even busier.

Luckily, they only hired me from 8 am to noon, and you better believe I wasn't going to hang out and offer them more time. So I took the bad taste of the lady out of my mouth by having some nice Popeye's spicy chicken (hate KFC, which is all doughy stuff and little chicken - LOVE Popeye's spicy) and one of their great biscuits and some coleslaw, and then indulged myself thoroughly by taking the bus all the way down 5th Avenue, which is a ride I adore. You can see all the fall foliage in Central Park (you've got to get out there, it's glorious) and all those great massive buildings. It was a lovely ride. (Lord & Taylor has started putting in its Christmas windows, God help me. I don't even have a headcount for Thanksgiving yet.)

Then I went over to Casting Networks and had them put my lovely new COLOR headshots on my site, and as soon as I can get somebody over here who can do it, I am actually going to put a picture of me up here. Are you thrilled to the very core of your collective being out there? I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that I'm going to spare you the tasteful, no, no, I'm not THAT crazy. Should you ever feel the need to look at ladies in late middle age and beyond cavorting in the rude nude, I suggest France, where this is normal behavior at the beach. Personally, I find it unaesthetic (although I love skinny dipping - I merely prefer a decent cover of darkness).

And boy, did I make a mistake when I told my newest temp agency that I was an early riser and lived in Manhattan. What I meant was that they could call me at say, 7:30 am and I could get to a decent office job that started at 9:30 am pretty nearly on time. What THEY took this to mean is that every damn seminar that comes down the pike now seems to require my services. I have to be at 49th and Lex at 7 am on Monday and at the Javits Center (again) at 7 am on Tuesday. There are drawbacks to this. I don't mind getting up at 5 am, since I do it for Equity auditions (if you're not in line by 7 am at Equity, you tend not to get seen). And in summer, it's no sweat at all - I love very early summer mornings. But once we're back to plain old Eastern Standard time, the sun doesn't rise until 6:30 - by which time I'm almost at my destination - and it'll start to get damned cold out there. To add insult to injury, next week's jobs are from 7 am to 1 pm on Monday and 7 am to 11 am on Tuesday. At $12 an hour. You know, I don't actually think this is worth getting out of bed for. However, since no one has offered me any OTHER work that pays at all on those two days...oh, wait, there WAS a gentleman this morning as I was traipsing around Harlem who seemed quite the worse for wear (and looked to be in his 70s) who was making kissing noises at me, but somehow he didn't look as if he'd pay much. Particularly since he reeled into the side of a car and dozed off standing up just after making the kissing noises. I guess I'll have to stick with the damn seminars until my magic new photos start working for me and I get some background work.

I'm going to bed, mainly because I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Actually I was ready for bed around 6 pm, but that sort of thing only leads to waking up at 4:30 tomorrow morning, which is completely unnecessary.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Finally Catching My Breath

Woo-hoo. I haven't been bouncing around this much for years.

It all started last Thursday, when I had a deeply disgusting temp job. That would be the "meet and greet" at Nike. That wasn't a meet and greet - that was friggin' slave labor. Turns out that what we temps were doing was directing customers to actual sales people and cleaning up dressing rooms (because people are true slobs who leave unbought clothes lying in heaps on the floor) and straightening out the stock. During this day (which lasted for nine solid hours with an hour for lunch), you were not allowed to sit down or even so much as lean on anything - and there was no water to drink. And there were no breaks. This last, by the by, is a breach of Federal law, in case anyone cares (Nike evidently doesn't). And the water thing? Well, I sort of understand that you wouldn't be allowed to bring drinks on the floor with the merchandise, but in the break room, the sink didn't work, and the water cooler (there was no drinking fountain) had no cups. When I asked about cups, someone sitting there looked at me as if I was from outer space and said there might be some cups in the basement. As the employee breakroom was on the 4th floor, this seemed somewhat pointless. Yuck. Never again.

So after that, I hit my first transportation snag of the week. I decided to take the bus downtown to 9th Street and get the crosstown, because I was going to see a friend's band on Christopher Street, and the crosstown would drop me right in front of the door. Well, the bus I got was evidently ahead of schedule. It would get to a street light - EVERY street light - and stop, whether the light was red or green. When it took me 45 minutes to get from 57th to 23rd, I said the hell with this, I'll get a cab. None of which turned out to BE on 23rd Street. So I thought okay, I'll take the 23th Street crosstown and get a cab over on 23rd and 7th. Where there ALSO weren't any cabs. So finally, it took me two buses, a subway, and an hour and 20 minutes to get from 57th and Madison to Christopher and 7th. Ugh. And then I didn't care much for the band. Luckily, by the time I got there their set was almost over.

Friday night I had perfect transportation from 2nd and 47th and no trouble getting to the Halloween parade, but I only watched half of that because I had to take a leak...and you can't do that at the parade. If you lose your front row seat (yeah, you can get one - you just have to get there early), that's all she wrote. But it was fun. Having to leave early annoyed me, since I'd had nothing to drink since 4 that afternoon in preparation...ah, well.

Saturday I futzed around the house and then went over to the East Village to pick up the video of the show I did at Nuyorican Poets Cafe last year, which I still haven't seen because it doesn't want to play on my computer for some reason. I'll get that fixed.

Sunday, more transportation horrors...these were entirely my own fault, however. You see, I had planned to go out to dinner in the East Village on Saturday night, but by the time I got over there and picked up my video, it was 8 pm. I don't know about you, but I think there is something just a little strange and desperate looking about eating alone in a French restaurant at 8 pm on a Saturday night. Creepy-ish. So I said the hell with that and went home. This, of course, left me with an extra chunk of cash. (Any gentlemen out there reading this - this is female accounting. If you don't buy something, then the cash you didn't spend on it is extra cash - a little windfall. Don't ask.) So I decided to spend this on taking a taxi to the marathon/Welcome Back Kotter (they just got back from their honeymoon) party at Tiger Lily and The Boss' place.

Certain people - like me - should overcome their deep and abiding disinterest in the NYC Marathon and look at the route before they attempt to take taxis directly to it. The marathon runs under their front window. You can't get there from here on marathon day. In order to do so, you have to take your taxi to 142nd street and around the FDR Drive and to 2nd Avenue. Luckily I had all that money I didn't spend the day before, so by my reckoning, I came out even.

So the party was lovely (Tiger Lily makes terrific ham), and then I got invited to an after marathon dinner at Blue Smoke because the male half of ANOTHER damn newlywed pair of friends had just run the silly thing.

Monday was the day I had to go get my new pictures Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Bay Ridge is quite a pleasant neighborhood, except for the fact that it is EXTREMELY far away and not at all the best place to have to get to when you are suffering from a monumental hangover. The pictures, oddly enough, turned out quite well, even if I had to change my usual makeup somewhat. I didn't use foundation - I used spackle. Worked fine. Oh, wait...and that was the night that I was trying to get some much-needed rest and Sarah bounced in and told me I had to get her up at 5 AM on Election Day so she could go home to Brooklyn, vote, and then come back into Manhattan to work. The result of this was that I got up at 5 AM to get HER up...she slept until 8. I didn't.

Tuesday...well, we ALL know about Tuesday. But I was still recovering from Sunday, so I had planned to go vote and then come home and take a nice nap until time to head over to my pal's place to watch the returns. However, as I was coming out of the polling place, my phone rang...and there was my friend John on the other end announcing that he was momentarily in NY and let's have a drink. Yes, well, so much for my nap and not starting to drink until much later.

Went to the election, cheered myself hoarse, came home, watched that fuckin' AMAZING acceptance speech, and crawled into bed. I actually got two hours sleep before my child came tripping in half-bagged and wanting a nice long chat before she left for the airport at 6:30 am.
As soon as she left, I turned over with a sigh of relief and conked out...until 7:41 AM, when my crazy temp lady called me and asked if I could go to a job in Harlem "RIGHT NOW!" The answer to that was, no fucking way. So yesterday, I finally slept, woke up, ate things, slept, woke up, ate other things, and slept some more.

Today, I went to the Population Council to send out their mail (Bamako, Mali had quite a lot of mail today), and then I got home and got blindsided by the crazy lady (never answer your phone without checking caller ID) and have to get up at 5 am tomorrow to get to Harlem by 8 am. I could do without this, as I had tomorrow all planned. Luckily, the job is only from 8 am to noon, so I can do my other stuff on the way home - this would be getting my new pictures up on Casting Networks so I can get some background work, for God's sake.

And now I'm going to bed. Which looks just lovely.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Not Tonight!

Damn...I was hoping to find nothing on earth to complain about on this glorious new dawn of America evening (dawn of evening? WTF? never mind, it's my euphoria), but unfortunately I opened an email from Greyhound touting their new cheap buses, and they were announcing their services on said buses - once of which, according to Greyhound, is "Video! Watch movies and the time fly by!" Yep, that time is shore gonna be done gone dere, ain't it?

Love, Wendy


I never, ever, ever thought this could happen - not that I thought our Obama could lose, you understand - but that I would hear a whole neighborhood CHEERING A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! That was without a doubt the most amazing thing I've ever heard in my life. And his acceptance speech was wonderful.

It had special significance to me. The last time I stood in Chicago's Grant Park, I had a wet washcloth draped over my nose and mouth for the tear gas, you see - I'm a veteran of the 1968 convention riots, and my apartment was a first aid station. To me, Grant Park has since then been a battlefield - I think of it somewhat like Civil War buffs think of Gettysburg. It was my war.

So to see President Obama - oh, all right, President-Elect Obama, if you must be picky - make that acceptance speech on that ground somehow cleansed it for me. And also, remember, he's a South Side Chicago working guy - and I'm an old South Side Chicago (Hyde Park) working civil rights activist. He's one of MY kids. I foufght for his right to be President, by God.

I will blog nicely and amusingly for you tomorrow, my children - promise - but tonight I am just sitting in absolute awe and delight. For once, the good guys won.

And I am snottily proud of this achievement - of his achievement - because I began working for civil rights in the very late '50s. I was a member of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) and SANE (For a Sane Nuclear Policy) when I was not quite 13 years old.

Hyde Park in Chicago is the neighborhood where the University of Chicago lives, and it's where I grew up. I was raised in the same house as my mother and her four sisters, and I went to the same grammar school (I don't recommend this - they were all VERY bright, and every time I screwed up I was confronted by a very huffy nun informing me that my mother and my aunts would NEVER have done anything that stupid - these were mostly nuns who had actually taught my mother and my aunts on account of nuns don't EVER die).

Hyde Park, however, has another distinction - it was just about the first completely integrated community in America. Well, a lot of Africans studied political science there, and went to the medical school there...and it just sort of happened that way. (This is the way it seemed to me growing up there from my perspective now - as a child, because integration was a normal state of things to me, I never paid any attention at all. For all I know, the integration was, in fact, planned - but it certainly never seemed that way - it was just a thing that - well, it just WAS.)

Now, I've always thought that a great deal of prejudice springs from the thought that 'These people aren't as good as we are." This was impossible in Hyde Park. I mean, when the couple in the married students' house over your back fence are a prince and princess of their own country, and they are, particularly in full tribal robes on their way to a University function, the most stunningly gorgeous pair you've ever seen in your life, and they are way richer than you are, and they're on their way home to rule a country as soon as they complete their doctorates in political, prejudice kind of doesn't work. Drooling adulation and envy work just fine, however. I prayed for years that I'd wake up black one morning so that I too could be that gorgeous, brilliant and rich.

So as soon as I woke up to the way the rest of the nation treated black people, I thoroughly lost my temper about it and started working for civil rights. And in later years, I worked for gay rights (well, you know - drag queens are better looking than I am, too). Then I took a much closer look at war - and I started fighting against that particularly idiotic activity, too.

I mean, really - can you think of anything more stupidly wasteful than war? Ruins the countryside, ruins the buildings, knocks out (see World War I) damn near an entire generation of young men - what an absolutely brainless way to settle differences. I have always (I mean always since I started thinking about it of course - I don't think I was that into it at say, two years old) thought that if two heads of state decide to go to war, they should fight it out on their own. Wouldn't that be better? Pistols for two at dawn? With, naturally, the vice presidents as seconds. The people who fight the war the way war is fought now don't have any personal connection with their enemies. Let the ones who're angry at each other work off their animosities with each other without involving 19 year olds for God's sake.

Oh, well, I got lost in there somehow. But oh, my God, what a glorious night. What a goddamn fucking glorious night.

Now, my children, let's all get ourselves together and help our new President out. Do what he asked. Help us pull together as a nation and work out our problems. Because, as the man said:


Love, Wendy