– I have a lot of current clients each with their crazy deadlines, all of them crashing into each other. This makes me edgy in a way I wish it didn’t. It is a feeling of pressure I haven’t felt in a long time, and even though I know I am responsible for feeling it, it pervades my consciousness these days.
– New music is great.
– I just saw the movie Salt. It amazes me that Angelina Jolie is so mesmerizing to watch that she can make me enjoy an empty-headed piece of action crap like this.
– August is filled to the brim with visitors and arrivals.
– I took a lovely walk home tonight (while listening to music about loves lost and found) in the warm summer breeze and thought to myself: It has been a long time since I have had my heart broken. I wouldn’t mind, actually.
…but still happy I went. There is a strange logic to Fire Island that I am figuring out, a kind of alternate universe where the same laws of gayness don’t apply, or apply more than ever, or both. I really like the easy breezy stop-by-for-a-drink everywhere vacation atmosphere, and the his and hellos that people give strangers as they pass them along the path. These are the same people who once back in the city would never behave with such random kindness, but the island has its own etiquette and rules, and people are generally more relaxed there and willing and able to be friendlier. Despite everyone’s obsession with cell phone signal (I’m as guilty as everyone), people really do seem to forget the rest of the world while there, and go after relaxation with some small vengeance. This can take the form of a beach, a bbq, a bar, or a boy, and sometimes more than one of these in the same moment.
Despite the very high humidity, the last two days have been a lot of fun and pretty relaxing. We have spent a fair amount of time on the beach, walking the island, going to tea, drinking and most of all eating. There is something really great about getting to know a new group and cooking and eating together. This has been exactly the kind of break I needed, and everyone here is really great. Some of our party are leaving tomorrow for a more or less normal work week. And three of us will stay til Tuesday and then head back. It started raining heavily about an hour ago after two days of pretty uninterrupted sunshine (right, as luck would have it, as we were on our way to the store), but we have taken it all in stride and are hanging out getting ready with dinner and conversation and lazing about. Just what a vacation should be.
After a couple of trains, a van, a ferry and a walk, we made it to our rental house on Fire Island. The location is great and the house is…rustic. Which is just to say that it is in a bit of disrepair and not as clean as it could be. It is also hotter than hell here and cooling is in short supply. The houseboy/property manager Ryan was a cracked out mess who is clearly falling down on his job a bit. We figure he took the cleaning deposit and decided to buy crystal or ecstasy with it instead. But, I was thinking that this is how groups come to know the island, and over time get better at picking out a place to stay and making sure that it meets all of their expectations. That said, the group of guys seems very nice and we had a fantastic dinner together last night of lasagna, caesar salad and tiramisu (guess who made that). Before that we went to one of the daily tea dances and said hi to our fellow vacationers. Today we will go to the beach and walk around a bit exploring.
…there is fire. A whole island of it in this case. Since I have been killing myself with work the past month, I decided to take a much needed little vacation of a few days on Fire Island. As luck would have it, my friend Barrett was going in with a group of friends on a week share and the price was right so I jumped at it. I am really looking forward to the experience of getting to know a group of guys and hanging out with them for a relaxing few days. I only ever spent one day on Fire Island (last year with Josh), so it will be nice to get more of the full experience. I will leave early tomorrow morning and be back sometime next week. What internet access I have will be a little uncertain, so not sure how much I will be posting. This break couldn’t come at a better time, though. I had my first work-stress dream in years this week, THAT is how much I have been working.
A few days ago, when talking about my trip to the boardwalks on the Jersey Shore, I mentioned how it had a 40s feel to me because it reminded me of a photo I had seen of my mother and grandmother on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. As luck would have it, my mother was passing through town today briefly and brought me this very photograph, which probably dates to 1946. Check it out:
When one is traveling with a camera as much as I do, one takes a lot of photos. I also have a penchant for wanting to document the people I meet or friends I am traveling with. It also tickles me to get us in the same shot, whether or not there is a handy passerby to take the photo. As such, I have gotten really good at taking these shots myself. I almost never miss framing everyone at (my own) arm’s length. Since I have taken so many of them over the past few years, I thought it would be fun to put a bunch of them together into one collection. So here is the album, 100 shots of me and my buddies (in chronological order no less). Enjoy.
I have had a TON of project work recently. Often I have been waking up and jumping straight from bed to my desk, only realizing around noon that I am still in my underwear. Sensing a need to break free of this cycle from time to time, even in a very busy period, I accepted my friend Ric’s offer to explore an exotic land I had never really been to called “New Jersey”. In particular, he was going to show me something called “The Shore”. Vague guidonic, somewhat trashy , MTV visions dancing in my head, I set out by bus from Port Authority to Ric’s place in Union. We then drove well over an hour to get to our starting place, Island Beach State Park where I have to admit to being surprised by how lovely and remote it seemed. The dunes were really beautiful, and we hung out for a while being goofy on the beach (see photos). After that we headed up to a lunch and a couple of boardwalks at Seaside Heights and Asbury Park. They were pretty fascinating places, in a style that reminded me of the 1940s for some reason, perhaps because I had in my head an image of my mother as a very young girl on the boardwalk in Atlantic City with my grandmother, both looking glamorous from about that time period. Ric was a wealth of information about the area and the waves of migration and various economic conditions that have shaped these places over the years. Asbury Park in particular has a spectacular stock of old houses. All in all, a much needed short day break from my work and a very interesting place to visit. Click on the image below to go to the picasaweb album.
Just got back from seeing the new movie “The Kids Are All Right” with Julianne Moore and Annette Benning and Marc Ruffalo. I wasn’t expecting much and was blown away by the acting, directing and editing touches. Treated with less finesse, this could have been an extremely dull film, but it didn’t shy away from the subtle messiness of life, ego and desire set against a backdrop of rather plain domesticity. It tells the story of a family with two kids headed by a lesbian couple and the meeting of the sperm donor by the kids. The introduction of this character reveals all kinds of fault lines in an otherwise normal quotidian existence. I am not sure if it is supposed to be “edgy” that the main couple is a same-sex one, but to me it mattered not very much except for the light underlying personality touches that could only have been related to a lesbian couple. For that matter, a film like this could have mined the particular psychology of any couple of any stripe, this one just happened to be gay. It was particularly around the editing choices that this film really stood out, as when one of the characters finds out a secret about the other and the entire world fades into the background and we are held in an uncomfortable, tense quiet as the truth sinks in. There were also some very nicely done asides having to do with the nature of sexual desire and suspicion. This is a film very much about the interior of people, and in less talented acting hands it could have been very thin, but the entire cast was restrained yet powerful. This was a film in which very little actually happened, but it was intensely moving and one of the finer films I have seen. Highly recommended.
I was in the low-ceilinged top floor of an old house, looking out the small gabled window for the guests that were arriving and impatiently waiting for those still to arrive. This room had perhaps been an old attic that was converted, and although painted a light, inoffensive color, it felt a little stuffy and cramped. The event was possibly a sort of wake or memorial, but this was never mentioned. Food was laid out along the table for the arriving guests, but I couldn’t really make out anyone that was there. I kept talking to someone though, and we kept trying to work out these odd formulas that kept floating in the air like writing on a chalkboard, the letters themselves in grays, blues, and greens as we spoke of them. They all had a kind of mathematical notation about them (several of them ended with things like “= #b4”) even as they seemed not at all related to math, but were more about people, their names and their personal histories. They were somehow related to telling a story about the guests yet to arrive and what had happened to them. There was a light sadness in the air as people came and went. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves, myself and two companions, in the countryside (it may have been France) walking down half abandoned pathways because the bus were we on had broken down. It was taking us quite a long time to make our way back and we came to several unrecognizable areas and had to guess at which fork in the road to take. Still, we were unconcerned and making our way back in the summer air with slow determination. As we reached a sort of open, grassy, and stony area my friend Andrew showed up and started walking with us the rest of the way back. He was complaining a little about not having much work and asking me if I was happy with my clients and the work I was doing. I told him that yes I was and he seemed a little frustrated and sad at his own situation. Concerned, I started trying to talk him out of being glum about it, letting him know that it was ok and that he would soon find what he was looking for, and then I woke up.