Thursday, September 27, 2007

Post-Philanthropic Guilt Disorder

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go volunteer at the Midtown Family Center. The activity was coordinated between my company and NYCares to benefit kids in a Foster Home Prevention program.
I didn't really know what that meant, so let me explain. Foster Prevention is for children who are on the verge of being removed from their homes. For example, if there were criminal charges pending on a parent and, if convicted, there were no Next of Kin, then the child would be involved in this program.

The idea is to give them extra help and attention. They live in environments that are not healthy and don't receive great care. They learn in schools that are under-staffed, under-equipped, and under-funded. So NYCares created this after school program to provide these kids an opportunity to interact with adults in a fun, creative, and educational way.

Last night the theme was the book "Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse". It was a very cute story about a mouse who wishes he was a toy so that the humans would like him. So he goes to see a magic lizard who can grant him a wish. But before he makes his wish he discovers that the Wind-Up mouse is going to get thrown away because the humans got new toys. So instead he wishes that the Wind-Up mouse get turned into a real mouse so that they can be friends...

It's a really cute story. So we read the books with the kids, and then did art projects with them themed around the book. At the end they served the kids pizza which they all went CRAZY for. It was tempting to have some - but I stuck to my guns and am still on tap with my cleanse!

Anyway, it was a really awesome experience. I mean, in a totally heart-breaking sort of way. The kids were all so excited to read the books to/with us. They were elated to to use colored paper and scissors. And even more elated to get a Regular slice of Ray's. They were so happy. That part was awesome.

And then I thought about where these kids are headed. Into foster care and then who-knows-where. Most won't graduate from high school. Nearly none will get to attend college. They'll grow up to become a Product of a flawed system. And that is the part where my heart broke. All those smiles....

It makes me feel guilty, which I know it shouldn't but it does. I mean, education was expected - Not a luxury. Pizza was junk food and not allowed all that often. My mom standing at the curb outside school waiting for me every day. I went to arcades. And a special meal was Market Street Grill or some other fine dining, not pizza. Pizza to me as a kid was totally common and nothing to get excited about!

It really made me stop and appreciate how good my life has been. It made all the "Poor Me" moments in the past seem so stupid! Not that getting deported was stupid, but you know what I mean.

I don't mean to sound like an after-school special. I really don't. It's just how I felt.

You know what made me feel the most guilty? When I left yesterday, I was filled with all this philanthropic motivation... "I'm going to volunteer at least once a week!" "I'm going to really dive into the communities and give back!" "I'm going to make a difference!"

The problem is that I feel that way every time I volunteer, and I never do anything about it. Work happens. Friends happen. LIFE happens, and the idea that I want to help just sort of falls to the back burner.

And I hate that.

So my goal is to get involved. This time FOR REAL.

So - to my friends - stop calling me. I have to contribute to the world! :0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Belated but Updated

Sorry it's been so long.

I don't really know who exactly I am apologizing to, as I am unsure who my avid readers are... I know my own sister doesn't really ever check in so I can't very well expect anyone else to. Never the less I assume that there are folks out there who occasionally check in on Spenc in the City, and have been disappointed at the lack of posts for the week!

So to you folks: Many. Sincere. Apologies.

Last Saturday B. finally arrived! Can I just tell you how thrilling it is for me to finally have my best friend in the same city as me? It's like... I don't even know what - Just something really good!

So Saturday morning my cousin Jos's baby (Ajani) turned one.

The party was scheduled to begin at 11:30 at a park on Jane St and West Side Highway. So I agreed to meet my sister and nephew at Grand Central as opposed to explaining how to transfer subways and what not (not really on my way, but that's just the kind of brother/uncle I am!) We ended up getting down to 14th St and 8th Ave at the time the party was scheduled to start. We began walking toward the west side when I mentioned that it looked like it was going to rain. The words had barely left my tongue when sure enough it started to pour! So we huddled under a bus stop and called my cousin. He said the rain would let up and they were going to hold out. So we got in a cab and got down to Jane St. As we were getting out of the cab, he called and said that they had given up and were going to go back to their loft, which is about two blocks from the bus stop we had been dry under before! So back into the cab we went.

The party itself was very cute. Lots of children between the ages of 1 and 3. By "a lot" I mean five. But in New York City that feels like A LOT.

After the party was done I met up with Brian who had finally arrived! We had dinner and then met up with a guy that I dated like three years ago and hadn't seen since. It was great to see him - such a cutie! The night would've been really great had we not ended up at the trashiest bar EVER and my former-crush hadn't tried to hook me up with his friend. Not that the friend wasn't cute (and it was really flattering how into me he was) but I couldn't have been less interested.

Sunday we shopped and ended up at South Street Seaport at Nelson Blue - the Kiwi bar that my sort-of-sister-in-law is always trying to get me to. She's a Kiwi herself, but the way she had described it made me expect a grimy sports bar. In actuality the bar is GORGEOUS and lots of fun!

Monday night B and I went to HAIR at the Delacorte. The show was fantastic, and Jonathan Groff was really quite amazing as Claude. It was my first experience with the show, so I'm really glad that it was a good one! I also some Tom Hulce and Michael Mayer while we were waiting to get in (producer and director of Spring Awakening respectively) so that was really cool. Oh, and Lily Cooper was sitting like two rows in front of us (also of Spring Awakening fame).

Afterwards I went home. B was hungry but I had started my cleanse that morning (no wheat and no dairy) so I opted to just head home.

The cleanse is still going strong! It's hard to find things to eat, and especially hard to turn down dairy because it's involved in SO MUCH STUFF! But I've been creative and haven't cheated even once. Go me!

My goal is to go a full week. Maybe even two if I'm up to it come next Monday.

Today I'm heading over to the Midtown Family Center to volunteer with their preventative foster care program. A group of us from work will be hanging with the kids, reading stories, and making arts/crafts. The kids are K-5, which should be really fun! I'll let ya'll (whoever you are) know how that goes tomorrow.

B and I are meeting up afterwards. No plans. Just chillin'. My social life is limited this week as I can't drink (alcohol) and I'm not strong enough to reject temptation should I walk into a bar.

Not that I'm an alcoholic or anything. I assure you I am not. But it's just best that I not tempt myself.

Anyway, I hope you have a good night!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eerily Accurate

You Are An ESFJ
The Caregiver
You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.
In love, you value harmony and mutual understanding.You will apologize or give someone the benefit of the doubt, if it means getting over a fight sooner.
At work, you are good at building relationships and connecting with people.You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher. How you see yourself: Organized, dependable, co-operative
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Opinionated, critical, and know-it-all

Mommie to Be

Last night I was redressing my wounds and channel surfing, and I happened past one of those Entertainment Gossip shows. I normally don't stop and watch Extra or Insider (or whatever it was) but the images running across the screen caught my attention.

Charlotte's pregnant, ya'll!

"[Chris] Noth and [Kristen] Davis were full of smiles for the crowds and each other between takes, but the atmosphere between the two takes a tempestuous turn when the cameras roll.

Arms loaded with shopping bags, a flustered Charlotte flees the restaurant, screaming, "I don't want to see you," as Big runs behind her.

Arguing in the street, Charlotte yells, "I curse the day that you were born," before labor pains stop her in her tracks, forcing her to take Big's ever-present chauffeured limousine to the hospital." (Source)

What the EPH is going on there? Big and Carrie are back together and, from photos I saw yesterday, really happy. What is Charlotte so worked up about?

Good lord... I hate that I have to wait until next summer for this...

I'm going to go scoop out the set today. Rumor has it they're shooting on 55th and Park, which isn't all that far from my office.

Lunch break, anyone?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Personal Jesus

Filming began in New York City yesterday on the upcoming "Sex And The City" film!
I hate to geek out about this, but if you understood how obsessed I was back in the day… I mean, I didn't even go to school the week the series ended. I stayed in my apartment watching the marathon leading up to the final episode. I sat on the couch crying when the girls were on Oprah.
Ya, it was pretty ridiculous.
Anyway, they've been so back and forth about the reality of the project ever really coming to fruition. I can't help but goosh my excitement all over the place.
It's like the Second Coming for me - except that Jesus is a blonde with much better footwear!

(SOURCE) - Via B. - Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Coming in Concert

So my favorite music maker Matt Nathanson will be here on October 12th. I seriously can't wait. I don't go to a lot of concerts; it's just never really been my thing. But Matt is a must-see!

And for all my Utah friends, he's playing in Provo on Friday. You all should go, and tell him his Fan in NY says HI!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Add "Burn Victim" to the list...

Last night, in a fit of culinary inspiration, I decided to cook.

I like to cook, and if I had a kitchen that was bigger than a standard closet I would do it far more often. But last night I had such a hankering for this recipe that I had invented in my head, I made the rare exception and cooked at home.

So I was making a Apple Gorgonzola Chicken Salad. Step one was to begin cooking two chicken breasts, which I do with a little salt, pepper, and about one turn of the pan of EVOO (can you tell I love Rachel Ray just a bit?) So I got the oil heated and put the chicken on. Side one goes for about 6 minutes. So I start the walnuts on the next burner. So I'm chatting away and stirring my walnuts (that shouldn't sound so dirty...) when it's time to flip the chicken.

I should know better than to not pay attention to such things.

I pick up the tongs, flip breast one over, and splash scalding hot oil all up my forearm!

The Boy Scout (Eagle Scout actually, for those that know the difference) in me reacts and I run it under water. You know, basic first aid. But it still got all blistered and R.E.D.

It's like The Phantom of the Opera on my arm.

Since I have to be all bandaged and people keep asking what happened, I think I'm going to start saying I got mugged. That the bandages are covering a knife-wound earned in self-defense.

That sounds better than "I hurt myself making Apple Gorgonzola Chicken Salad", right?

Bale, Ben, and Broadway, Baby!

It's Tuesday morning, and I have nothing to do. All of the senior bankers are attending a conference in London this week, so it's a ghost town here in the office. Everyone around me is either catching up on past episodes of network TV (which I will most likely do a bit later) or chattering away about religion or men. Rest assured RELIGION won't be creeping into my daily repertoire.

So in lieu of having forced conversations or turning my computer into a network television with "limited" commercials, I thought I'd take this opportunity to write a little bit about my weekend!

Let's start at the beginning. I hear it's a "very good place to start" *If you were in my head right now, you would be hearing Julie Andrews circa The Sound Of Music*

The weekend kicked off with a little "Friday at Five" action. "Friday at Five" is something that my group does at work every now and then, where our bosses turn the big conference room on our floor into a happy hour - complete with cheap wine and cheap beer! It's good times. So I knocked down a few and then went out with one of my co-workers. We hit up CILANTRO (UWS) for the last 10 minutes of their happy hour: $4 Margaritas - and they are large, unlike a certain outdoor courtyard in Midtown that calls their tiny frozen versions a "good deal"...

After a few drinks we went to the AMC at Lincoln Center to catch "3:10 to Yuma", which was sold out. Instead of going to another theater (I blatantly refuse to go to the ones on 42nd Street) we purchased tickets to the 11:00 pm show, and went to kill the 2+ hours at Barnes and Noble.

The movie rocked. I didn't grow up on westerns, but I've kinda got a thing for cowboys. Especially when said cowboys are the likes of Ben Foster, Russell Crowe, and Christian Bale! The movie has something for everyone: violent action sequences for the straight guys, western themes for the older crowds, and hot men for the women and not-so-straight guys. I guess that just leaves out lesbians, except I'm pretty sure that even they would enjoy it regardless!

Saturday morning I ventured down to Chinatown to catch the bus to Philly, PA. First off, Chinatown is scary ya'll. It was the most uncomfortable I've been in this city to date. Between the constant barrage of little women trying to sell me stuff, the complete lack of English signs, and the disturbing absence of all things Starbucks, I was horrified. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. I would imagine it is what being lost in a foreign country is like, if that country was poor and chalk-full of desperate street vendors.

I finally boarded the bus to PA. It was surprisingly clean, quick, and only cost $10 each way! It was actually cheaper for me to get to Philly than it is to go out to the country on the weekends. The other surprising thing was how clean Philly is. I was expecting to be dropped off in the same sort of smelly urban 'hood that I left from, but arrived in a quaint area just north of what I learned is called "City Center". The day was great. I went straight to the theater where I was seeing the premiere of a new dance company (one of my college peers is the Artistic Director). After the show, my friend gave me a walking tour of the city. I saw the City Hall topped with the enormous Ben Franklin statue (pictured), the Liberty Bell, and Museum row. The architecture there is really impressive, and feels much more authentically colonial than anything here in NYC. I finally got back home at about 11:00 pm. So it was a quick day trip, but totally worth it. I highly recommend a day in Philly to anyone who has never been!

Sunday was the Broadway on Broadway concert. I overslept, so didn't get quite as good a spot as I had hoped. But I wasn't far from the stage, and all the big screens in Times Square were streaming live footage, so that was awesome. Highlights were the ever-adorable Howie Michael Smith (le sigh), Julia Murney (who sounded way better than I've heard her in a while), Adrienne Lenox (whose "Good to Mama" was more R&B than usual - and I loved it!), and the huge confetti storm at the end (while all the performers butchered a karaoke-esque version of "New York, New York" - more rehearsal next time, ok kids?!)

After the concert I spent the day doing my wash, taking a nap, and watching the Emmy Awards (PS- how hilarious was Elaine Stritch?!)

I love that Sally Field won. Brothers & Sisters was by far my favorite program last season, and I'm so excited to get it back next Sunday (or a week from Sunday as it may be...)

So anyway, that was my weekend. I got in some great film, great exploring, and great live entertainment! Have I mentioned lately how much I really like my life?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Favorite Summer Couple :0)

I haven't seen a whole lot about So-You-Think-You-Can-Dancers Danny Tidwell & Neil Haskell since the third season ended last month. TMZ had this photo posted of the pair during a work out on the UCLA Campus.


So the rumors are flying about the two of them. I've heard stuff both online, and from more reliable sources here in NYC. I for one would be thrilled if the the boys had "coupled up".

Well, I'd be thrilled, and jealous...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

See - I Like Sports!

Ok, so I may be referring to a sport that's considered pretty "gay" - but would you have it any other way?

Last Sunday I was out in Connecticut and was able to catch quite a bit of the Gymnastics World Finals. I am consistently AMAZED by what the athletes can do. My sister and I were both "ooo"ing and "ah!"ing the whole time, which my brother-in-law found pretty ridiculous...

So good news for the US -

The mens team, after finishing in 14th place last year, finished this year in 4th place! No one expected it, but they really pulled through. While they didn't medal, it's a big deal because it qualifies the team for the Olympics next year.

Men's All Around was pretty close, and US Gymnast Jonathan Horton (at left) ended up finishing in 4th place. GO JONATHAN! He's so cute... I'm not usually into guys that look like they're 14, but he's a REALLY HOT 14 (actually, he's 19 - so don't judge!)
Here's a clip I found that of him for those of you who aren't familiar. It's not from the finals, but from last February. He's MUCH better now then back then. I mean, his legs are apart on the pommel and he's got too much swing on the rings... but still, he is awesome!
Shawn Johnson of the US Women's Team finished first in All-Around at the Championship. She is seriously amazing. She kinda flubbed up her beam routine, but her Floor Ex was unbelievable.

I can't wait for the Olympics next year! I try to follow both men's and women's gymnastics, swimming, and diving so there will be many a post to come!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

JHud to work for SJP

The Academy Award-winning actress (Dreamgirls) has been cast to play an assistant to Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw in the big-screen version of HBO's hit comedy. The anticipated movie follows the show's four main characters (Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte) four years after the series ended. (SOURCE)

Woo hoo! Another reason to get excited about the long-awaited revival of the best show ever on TV. So Carrie has an assistant... What could she be up to that she has an assistant? A better full-time gig at Vogue? When the series ended she was unemployed so the windows are WIDE OPEN!

It's an Art, really...

Your Seduction Style: The Charmer
You're a master at intimate conversation and verbal enticement.
You seduce with words, by getting people to open up to you.
By establishing this deep connection quickly, people feel under your power.
And then you've got them exactly where you want them!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pics of Brian's Trip

I never received an email with any photos (grrr) but I was able to pirate some photos of off Brian's myspace page!

Caught a little off-guard...
Haha! I've got mad photographic skills! I should work for GQ... Brian and Katie Kido... we love her!After a day at the beach. I think this was at Blockheads - I have "Margarita Eyes"!
Post show at Therapy, right before Brian made his drag debut!
Me, little Gibbies, and David - dude, my friends rock.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm Exhausted...

It has been a seriously insane week!

My best friend came into town last Saturday night to do some interviews and hang out. I thought that it was going to be a pretty mellow trip, but ended up being GO GO GO.

Saturday night he arrived, and we went out with friends. We started at Ariba for Margaritas, and then went from Therapy to Vlada to Sortie... and then we went home (which I have no recollection of....) My favorite moment of the night was when he handed me $20 and asked me to order 2 margaritas and 1 Jack & Coke. When I asked him for another $20, his reaction was priceless! WELCOME TO NYC! One of his good friends from high school came out with us and she is one of my new FAVORITE people. I love me some Katie Kido!

Sunday morning, we dragged our hungover arses down to the meatpacking district for brunch at Park with the gang. I was pretty fuzzy-brained, but def remember their Ricotta Pancakes. They are the only pancakes I've had to rival the crack-pancakes at Artists' Palette back in SLC. After brunch we did some shopping, and then headed out to CT.

My sister and brother in law were running late getting home from Massachuesettes, so we had to take a (terrifying) cab to their house from Bridgeport. For the Utah folks... Bridgeport is on par with Kerns or West Valley City. And for the New Yorkers, imagine East Harlem as it's own suburb!

We made it safely there and hung out, ate pizza, and stayed up late braiding each others' hair and watching "Broken Hearts Club". Yep, we are that gay!

Monday was a holiday aka was a beach day - and gorgeous! We were joined by the whole Kilmartin clan down in Noroton Bay. I was really glad that everyone got to meet him.

We trained back to the city and went for drinks - first at the east side Blockheads and then to Posh so that Brian could meet up with his friend Nate (who is adorable btw).

Tuesday I took off work to hang with him during his interviews - which sadly didn't go as well as he'd hoped. The reality really set in, that he's not going to get offered a job until he actually lives here. So yesterday he put in his 2 weeks notice in Ohio and will be arriving right after that. WOO HOO!

Tuesday night, we went to see RENT. The show has Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp back in the production. And Tamyra Grey from the first season of American Idol. All of the above were fabulous, and it was especially awesome to see the two original stars back on the stage!

After the show we went out with Anthony. His driver took us up to Therapy, where there ended up being a drag show, and my "shy" best friend got on stage and lip-synched to "And I'm Telling You" from DreamGirls. Talk about insane! The whole club was hollerin' and I couldn't stop laughing... I don't think Anthony quite knew what to think! It was def more than he'd bargained for...

Anyway, so that was a late night.

Wednesday was Shakespeare in the Park, and then a sports bar to watch Federer vs Roddick right after. Another late night...

Last night I got invited to NBC's Comedy Short film festival. It was fun - good films, though some were more touching than funny... and that was confusing because it was a comedy festival... but oh well... So ANOTHER late night.

And today - I'm wiped. Seriously I've had three LARGE coffees today and I'm still draggin arse. I've got to get some sleep before the weekend.

Tomorrow I'm working down at Fashion week for a few hours. Then I may be headed out to Connecticut for the Oyster Fest with my sister. Apparently the Village People (ya, like those Village People) are playing tomorrow night. I might be the youngest guy in the crowd, but anything is fun with booze and friends, right? Especially MACHO MAN and the freakin YMCA!

Anyway, sorry I was away so long, but you understand, yeah?

I'll get some pics up from Brian's trip as soon as the biotch emails them to me.