Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Electric Bender Radiator

As a visual artist and 30-year-old child, I'm always on the lookout for anthropomorphic inanimate objects. (See previous post) However, this particular example has been staring me in the face for 6 years now, and I'm only now noticing it.

This is the side view of my electric heater. Its gripped at the "mouth" for lugging around. Imagine shoving your hand in someone's mouth to move them?
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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Secret Thoughts of Water-Filled Dividers

Soho, NYC
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Beach Chairs at Night

Originally uploaded by Thanassi Karageorgiou

Turning twenty nine wasn't all that spectacular. It was a sticky hot Tuesday night in the big Apple and Mike and I decided the best way to celebrate the year before thirty was quietly. with three Heineken keg cans (two for me), a couple of beach chairs and some lighting equipment. Mike was kinda surprised that I had four tripods in my trunk. I told him there's another one under the hood. Heeyyy- ohhhhh!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is It Manly to Dig Chick Flicks?

We've heard the term being thrown around for years. But what does it mean? Are they movies about adolescent poultry? No. Excuse the author's corny sense of humor. He just can't resist sometimes.

From Wikipedia:

"Chick flick (also "chick's flick") is slang for a film designed to appeal to a female target audience. The term was first used in the 1980s, a decade during which such chick flicks as Beaches were released. Although many types of films may be directed toward the female gender, "chick flick" is typically used only in reference to films that are heavy with emotion or contain themes that are relationship-based (though not necessarily romantic and may not involve men). It is typically not used for high art, feminist subject matter, or romantic comedies intended for a wider audience (such as the 2005 film Wedding Crashers and Fever Pitch[1]).
The concept of movies designed to appeal specifically to women has existed since the early days of cinema and has been known by other colloquial terms, including "women's pictures." However, women's films such as Brief Encounter, Now, Voyager, and Mildred Pierce and the 1950s melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk, such as All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind, it might be argued, are sufficiently different in tone and content to be seen as a sub-genre of women's films.

Film critic Molly Haskell suggested that chick flicks are very different from the women's films of the 1940s and '50s in that they now "sing a different tune." She feels that they are "more defiant and upbeat, post-modern and post-feminist."[citation needed]
Several chick flicks have been patterned after the story of Cinderella or other fairy tales (e.g. The Princess Diaries, A Cinderella Story, Ever After, and Pretty Woman), or even Shakespeare in the case of She's the Man; a large number are adapted from popular novels (e.g. The Devil Wears Prada) and literary classics (e.g. Little Women). Other prominent examples include Terms of Endearment and Steel Magnolias."

Wait so you're saying these movies are meant for women? Does that make me gay?.....
Why do I and other men like chick flicks? Based on a recent survey I took of some close male friends, it turns out that one in two males are suckers for sweetie-pie cinema. OK so I only asked two of my friends, but I never said I was a scientist. I'm going to attempt to explain what my fascination with chick flicks is, and hopefully, some of you guys that are still in the closet about your guilty pleasure can identify with me.
From a young age, little boys are also fed the Cinderella fairly tale stories just as much as little girls. We watched the Disney channel too you know. As much as the girls wanted to be swept away by a handsome prince, we wanted to be that prince, sweeping you off your feet and living happily ever after with 2.5 kids and a dog named Sparky. We sustained the same hypnotic bombardment of fictional romance from the media. In a sense, we men are programmed to like chick flicks too. Undoubtedly, the term was coined by a man who was either a) afraid to admit his love for emotional and relationship-based movies for fear of being ridiculed by his male peers... or b) so fed up with his wife crying on the sofa every night over Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore that he needed to be condescending. This guy probably liked that movie too, but he didn't want to commit to it emotionally more than once. Remember girls, crying is actually painful for guys because we don't want to ever be vulnerable. This is where the macho programming in our software usually interferes with the Disney Channel algorithms. And we all know men run the simplest of operating systems with the minimum amount of RAM required:

C:\Program Files\start
C:\Program Files\eat>eggs
C:\Program Files\run>work
C:\Program Files\eat>steak
C:\Program Files\punch>guy>in>face
C:\Program Files\hump>wife\girlfriend>or both
C:\Program Files\end

OK enough jokes. So what do the men who like chick flicks get out of them? Well, first and foremost, they're movies. They're fictional stories and they let us escape our realities for 90 minutes. (or 3 hours if you're watching The Notebook) The dudes who sincerely dig chick flicks still want to believe in something that perhaps doesn't exist. True Love, the "One" and only, Happy Endings (not that kind. get your mind outa the gutter), eternal good looks, a world where it never rains, etc. So yea, I'm one of those guys. I've complied a list of some of my favorite emotional movies involving relationships from the past couple decades. If your favorites didn't make the list, I'm sorry but it's because I either haven't seen them, don't care for them, or... yea that's basically it.
In no particular order:

1. Groundhog Day (1993)
Bill Murray is at his absolute best here with unmatched charm and wit. The always lovely Andie McDowell retains her good-girl persona from 1989's "Sex, Lies and Videotape". Set against a beautiful wintry small town backdrop, and a classic big-band soundtrack, Groundhog Day is one of those movies you want to share with your kids by the fireplace while eating cookies with milk. It doesn't get more feel-good romantic comedy than this.

2. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Not only do gentlemen prefer blondes, they prefer Meg Ryan. 1990's, you can have your Drew Barrymores and Sandra Bullocks. 2000's, you can have your Julia Stiles-is and Mandy Moores, but we all know who the undisputed queen of the Chick Flicks is. With those gorgeous blue eyes, that youthful demeanor, and a face that just says, "I do" with one of the most radiant of smiles the big screen has ever seen, Meg Ryan made guys all across the world fall in love with her. Oh yea, and Billy Crystal was good too.

3. Brokeback Mountain. (2005)
Yea, I said it. I dare any dude to sit down and watch this movie beginning to end with no distractions and not feel some shit. Jake Gyllenhall and Heath Ledger act their asses off under the superb direction of Ang Lee who manages to bring a gay romance to the masses with widespread acclaim. If you've been passing this one up for fear of turning gay, do yourself a favor and watch it. It's a really good love story. Period.

4. As Good As It Gets (1997)
There's a reason why Jack Nicholson wins oscars. Its because he's good. But its not just him that makes this movie a classic. Helen Hunt (runner up to Meg Ryan), Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding Jr. all put in awesome performances in this unlikely romance between a waitress and a strange anti-social author who has a bad case of OCD, among other faults. Even some of the more serious scenes in the movie are expertly complemented with just the right amount of comic relief.

5. Good Advice (2001)
I Believe this one went straight to DVD, but its a hidden gem nonetheless. Charlie Sheen pretty much plays the same character from "Two And a Half Men" (himself). When Ryan's (Sheen) cute, ditsy, gold-digging girlfriend Cindy (Denise Richards) dumps him for losing his job and runs to Brazil with another man, he takes over the writing of her column "Ask Cindy" at a local newspaper. Posing as Cindy and collecting her checks for income, Ryan's initial attempts at writing a women's advice column are brash and male chauvinist. He changes his tune though, and falls in love with his editor, the beautiful Page Hensen (Angie Harmon). This one is so corny you have to love it. Great comic relief provided by Jon Lovitz as "Barry", Ryan's best friend.

6. It Could Happen To You (1994)
Charlie Lang (Nicholas Cage) is an unhappily married New York cop who promises struggling waitress Yvonne Biasi (Bridget Fonda) half the winnings of a lottery ticket in the absense of sufficient cash for a tip. Do we have your attention yet? He wins the lottery and goes to the diner the next day to honor his promise to Yvonne. Does it get more romantical than that? Of course there's drama when Charlie's wife Muriel (Rosie Perez) finds out and all hell breaks loose, but this is one of those great "what if" movies that we all get sucked into and never want to end. That and Bridget Fonda is so goddam cute you just wanna bite her!

7. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Again, Meg Ryan. Need I say more?

8. Dirty Dancing (1987)
I don't care what any guy says about this movie, we ALL wanted to be Patrick Swayze. The charisma, that bay-boy rebel attitude, those slick moves and the chiseled abs. We all wanted a part of that dream, not to mention getting into pre-op Jennifer Grey's 1958 granny panties. (why did she ever make her nose ordinary?) But this movie was about more than that. It was about standing up to adversity and loving someone when everyone told you that you shouldn't., Because you fuckin' love them goddamit! Nobody puts Baby in a corner, Mr. Orbach!

9. Goodwill Hunting (1997)
Goodwill Hunting? I thought that was just a clever indie flick that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote together? Yea it was, and Robin Williams was dope in it as psychotherapist Sean Maguire. (Probably because he wasn't snorting coke that year) Matt and Ben were also good as usual, but it was Minnie Driver as "Skylar", Matt Damon's girlfriend who stole the show for me and nudged this movie into chick flick territory. Her performance in the scene where Damon tells her he doesn't love her is so sad, I just want to swoop in after he leaves and be her rebound boyfriend forever and ever. Of course in the end he does love her and drives cross-country to find her. awwww.

10. The Story Of Us (1999)
Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer play a married couple who go through a very rough patch in their relationship. They try their best to hide it from the kids but they ultimately seek divorce as the only means to an end. Just when you think all is lost, they start to miss each other, and with the help of an 80's style montage, they get back together. Maybe it was because I was freshly single with a bleeding heart at the time, but this movie really made my eyes get watery at the theater. This one made me want to go home and cry for hours under a blanket.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Counting Suede Sheep

Every era has its fashion fads. Every decade has a few milestones in the "i can't believe we use to wear that" department. In the 1970's it was bell bottoms, big collars, and headache-inducing textures. In the 1980's we had unnecessarily big, asymmetrical hair, tighter-than required leg wear and bad make-up. The 1990's graced us with over sized clothing trickled down from hip-hop culture, the Goth/Industrial subculture, and Euro trash (both of which predominantly wear black) We won't even get into the 70's revival of the bell bottoms and platforms. (Why do revivals skip a decade? Couldn't we have gotten it over with earlier?) The early 2000's brought us a rekindled love for fake tans, metro sexuality among men, excessively colored hair and the ushering of the Gotti Boys' hairstyles into mainstream suburbia. What I fear is the most disturbing phenomenon today is the widespread adaptation of Ugg boots among young girls.

Ladies, this may be the ugliest article of clothing you have ever worn... EVER. Even the 80's never got this bad.

Why Ugg boots are retarded:

1. Their silhouette is not flattering. Compare the following images of a gal wearing Ugg Boots verses a sexy pair of stilettos. Guys, lets be frank, who's footwear would you rather have rubbing against your ears? No one likes doin' the Nasty with Ronald McDonald. Nuff said.

2. They appear in ads where women are wearing them in summer months on the beach. WTF? Now, I've never gotten close enough to a pair of these things to actually feel them (for fear of cooties), but it looks to me like they're pretty well insulated with some kind of fur, whether its real or artificial. And some of you gals have the audacity to wear these things with no socks. (You know who you are). So much for taking a long walk on the beach with your boyfriend, and then having some impromptu love making at the hotel room. As soon as you take those Uggs off, he's gonna pass out from the vile stench.

3. Every body's doing it. Girls, when you were little, didn't your mother ask you, "If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge..."? There's no comparison, you say? I'm being too harsh? Well excuse me for not wanting to look like everyone else at the Roosevelt Field Mall. I've seen whole groups of girls walking through the mall together with their Uggs on - in the summer! Sometimes I want to sit them all down and give them a nice stern talking to. It would go something like this:

"Excuse me girls, can I have your attention? Please take one of these informational brochures on the dangers of Ugg Boots." The literature would start off like, "Why Daniella doens't have a date for the prom..." with a picture of a girl wearing Ugg boots on the cover, while crying herself to sleep. LOL. How fun would that be?

I can't wait till it's ten years from now and girls look at old pictures, making comments like, "Oh... My.... God!..... I can't believe we use to wear those things, Becky"

Friday, February 20, 2009

10 Things I Hate About New York

So I've lived in this city since 1984. I think I have some good examples here that most of you can relate to. If you're a recently baptized New Yorker (transplant), many of these will not apply to you. If I've left anything out, please bring it to my attention. If you don't agree with me for whatever reason, go cluck yourself.

In no particular Order:

1. Potholes

Granted, freeze/thaw cycles are mostly to blame, but the fact is that the city could invest in better asphalt/concrete mixtures and formulas that are more resilient and last longer. They won't do it because it costs more and the infrastructure is not in place. The upside: We're still better than Detroit. If you've ever driven through the motor city, its like freekin' Armageddon. And I'm not just talking about city streets. I'm talking major interstate highways, folks. With craters so big, you have to swerve every 8 seconds on average. Kinda makes you wonder why its called "The Motor City" when its not safe to take your car out of your driveway.

2. Michael Bloomberg

I was completely neutral about our mayor of the last 7 years until a couple months ago when he swindled the system and basically said "Fuck you" to all New Yorkers. His extension of the term limits bill, allowing himself to run for a third term stinks of hidden agendas and an administration that wants to keep all their current jobs. A televised public hearing on the matter did nothing to combat the ongoing propaganda depicting Bloomberg as the "only" man fit for the job in this "troubled economy" and "hard times"..... Huh? You mean to tell me that out of ELEVEN MILLION New Yorkers, NO ONE else is qualified to perform mayoral duties? Riiiiiiiiiiight. So, say he wins the election and stays mayor for another four years. If the city is in worse shape than it is today (which is entirely possible), would he go down in history as the worst mayor New York has ever seen, despite all the accomplishments of his first two terms? Let's wait and see.

3. Banks, EZ-Pass, and the DMV

Why are all three in the same category? Long lines? Check. Retarded fees? Check. Personnel with a sub G.E.D education? Check. But that's not why they're all on this item. The reason I loathe these (and other) institutions is for a very simple reason: The build 10 teller windows and at any given time, only two to three are operational. But its not their fault. The architects are to blame. The architects, who are presumably also from New York should have foreseen this phenomenon and redesigned accordingly. Why build ten windows when you're only gonna use three? If I walked into a bank with only two windows and two tellers were working, I would feel better about my overall transaction experience. It would let me know that they're working at their full capacity for me. Hell, I might even fill out one of those "How did we serve you?" cards sincerely. Its the little things that make you spend your money in these places. The subconscious intangibles. Think about it, Atlantic Bank of New York.

4. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway

See number one.

5. The 59th Street Subway Station: 4 and 5 Express Platforms

I don't know if it's the sheer depth of these platforms (I've estimated roughly 100,000 feet below Street Level), and their potential adjacency to whatever decaying life forms from the Mesozoic era that lie that close to China, but the stench down there is worse than the stench "down there". Attention, MTA: Glade makes air fresheners with timers now. Ask them to fabricate an industrial sized model and place one at each end of the platform. In the summer months, it should be set to the smallest time interval to account for the heat funk factor.

6. Cabbies

Excuse me, Taxi operators. These people are right up (err.. down) there with protozoa in my book. Its no secret that most New York City cabbies are recent immigrants from another continent. And yes, most of them make an honest living supporting their families (many of which are still back in the motherland), but let's remember that they got their licenses from the DMV (we all know how I feel about them) and probably didn't really read the permit manual, and probably hate Americans, and probably have a "I already know how to drive" attitude. All these ingredients are a recipe for road rage. Not for the cabbies, for us civilians who abide by all the traffic laws and who care about maintaining the structural and aesthetic integrity of our cars. I don't think I've ever seen a cabbie stay in his lane for more than ten seconds, let alone signal for a turn. True story: I once saw a cabbie pee in a Snapple bottle while at a red light. How is a hands-free law gonna stop that?

7. Times Square

But why? It's so bright and pretty, and there's a happy treasure troll on every corner handing out rainbow cookies!.... Exactly. Give me Times Square circa 1987. There were peep shows, prostitutes, pimps, porn shops, pawn shops, pedophiles, the constant fear for your valuables and/or life and arcades! All at the epicenter of the world. New York was bad-ass back then and Times Square was its Talent Agent. It secretly made us all proud to be New Yorkers. Especially when out-of-towners would recite those statistics about it being the most dangerous city in America. It made me feel all fuzzy inside. Yea I was 7, so what? I'd still rob you for your chain, fool.... But no. Not anymore. New York is now the "safest big city". What fun is that? That's gay. New York is pussy now. As docile as a castrated, colorblind bull. What should we brag about now? The new Yankee Stadium? Central Park? The Circle Line boat tours? BooooooRiiinngg.

8. People Who Ask You For Money...

...without performing a service. Listen, I dig it. When times are rough, they're fuckin' rough. My father and I slept in subway trains when we first came to this country in '84. I know what its like to not have any money or hope. The bottom line is, you need to keep a positive attitude in order to better your situation. Simply giving up and asking people for money in order to merely stay alive is a miserable existence. While you beg for money, your posture, physiognomy, and voice spread that misery to others. I don't believe that most people refuse to give change to beggars because they cant afford it. After all "every little bit helps" is the motto. No, I think that deep down, we refuse because we want to distance ourselves from that misery. We don't want to feel it. We don't want to form an emotional connection with that person, however short, because it puts us in a bad place, and makes us feel guilt for having a roof over our heads. No one likes that.

However, aren't we all more inclined to donate to a needy person in the subway or on the street when they've put a smile on our face? When you've had a shitty day and your boss told one-too-many inappropriate jokes, isn't it kinda nice when someone whips out their guitar on the train and plays a great song all while singing and keeping their balance? Or how about the charming black guy with 2 fingers on each hand who's only request is to see you smile? Or the blind Eastern European man who plays the accordion? All these people have gotten my money on more than one occasion. And not that metal stuff, we're talking paper here, folks. Washingtons. Yes, Plural in some cases. Suddenly your boss doesn't matter so much, right? If these people are living life and smiling, why am I bitching about insignificant bullshit? You feel me?

9. The Proximity to New Jersey and Nassau County

They may as well be called "Wannabe New York" because they're always among us infiltrating our lives. New Jersey is the armpit of America and New York is the unfortunate passenger that sat next to it on this 235 year flight. We've had to endure its smell, it talking to us with its halitosis, its people making right turns at our red lights. Same goes for you, Nassau. Can someone please get the flight attendant? This button seems to be broken. Thank goodness we have an aisle seat.

10. Traffic Cops

We won't even get into full-blown cops right now. That's for another time. Why do they call them "Traffic Cops" when all they police is parked cars? It's like calling a janitor a "master of the custodial arts" (as Dave Chapelle puts it). If an alien landed on earth and learned english, and learned how to drive, and you told him/her to watch out for traffic cops, he/she would assume you meant law enforcement figures who patrol all moving vehicles. Mr. or Mrs. Alien would laugh when you told them that traffic cops only check meters for quarters.