Friday, October 29, 2004

Revising the future

The future, or at least my fears and predictions.

It was worth it to see the Sox win. So worth it. And unbelievable as well. My sphincter didn't relax until the last out was in the glove. Even then it wasn't real for a while.

I'm noticing that none of those Yankee fans that made fun of me during the first games of the ALCS have taken the initiative to apologize to me. Or even congratulate me. I'm not pushing, I don't want to get into that "Let's look at the record over the last 86 years, shall we?" conversation. This year was something to be proud of and I don't need anyone trying to rain on that.

What's been cool is meeting new Yankees fans, the ones who just like baseball. Always good to meet more baseball lovers.

I have been met with horror, however, at my suggestion that we might get either a World Series win OR a Kerry victory. I'm thinking about it and really it's not quite a fair trade.

Revision: We have no hockey this year (IDIOTS!) and that has paid fate for the Red Sox sweet, sweet victory. I'm just hoping that 4 years of Bush is payment enough for a Kerry win.

I sure hope the Get Out the Vote people are out in force at the Red Sox victory parade. They're expecting 5 million people tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Making the hard choices

I think anyone that knows me knows that I think this year's election is of dire importance. "Wicked important" in the parlance of my home.

Tonight I sit here watching the 4th, and possibly deciding, game of the World Series. Tonight the Red Sox have an opportunity to win the World Series for the first time since 1918 (as I'm sure anyone with a pulse and a TV has been told countless times).

Now that's wicked important.

My baseball upbringing began in the summer of 1986. Some boy peaked my interest. No surpise there. I was 17 for cripes sake, give me a break. I was alone with him during the 6th game. If you don't know why that's wicked important google "Bill Buckner." I still didn't actually get it. I believe I had the gall to say, "It's OK, there'll be a 7th game, they can still win it."

So naive.

For the next 17 years I learned that we play well but August is a bad month and we tend to strand runners on base for like the whole of it. I learned that it's never over until it's over. If there's the slightest chance we can lose a game we'll make a stab at it. And I learned to keep loving the game and the team no matter what. My fledgling knowledge and near ignorance of the infield fly rule have not stopped me from questioning the management and giving spirited mid-game advice to players.

It's probably best that they couldn't hear me.

The thing I appreciate most about the people that have taught me about baseball, and about being a Red Sox fan, is that it's about the game. And if you love the game then you appreciate every play that's made, even if it means you go home empty handed...again. You appreciate how beautifully Ken Caminiti played, his speed and strength. You appreciate Paul O'Neill and even Derek Jeter from behind a haze of hatred for the Yankees. You separate Pete Rose's playing from his betting and voice your opinions on both. That's what being a good sport is all about.

So here we are on the verge of a sweep and I watch the glazed stares of the Cardinals fans and I see myself. I see that boy fall to his knees in front of the television in the 10th inning of the 6th game in the 1986 series. A car wreck of grief from the deeply loyal. You cannot look away because every moment could be the one where your team comes back and they need all the help your fervent hopes can bring. And it's just not happening.

That part of me wants the Cards to win just one.

The presiding part of me wants to wrap this baby up right now.

I believe.

There are bigger things going on in the world, though. Voters are being scammed and suppressed. Emotions are riding higher than knowledge. Ignorance is proving to be anything but bliss. I am frightened of what might happen to me; the single, lower middle class artist, only child of 2 parents who may both be retired in the next 4 years. I am frightened about the precedents being set that will haunt us for many years to come. Supreme Court Justices. I am frightened of what will happen to me when it's time for me to retire or have children or if I lose my job.

Fate is a complex thing. It requires payment.

What if fate is willing to give us only one good thing this year? My experience with 2004 to date has been that fate is being fucking stingy with the good stuff. What if we can either have a Red Sox World Series victory or John Kerry for president?

I'm a loyal fan and a patriotic American.

I choose Kerry. But it ain't easy. In fact, it's wicked hard.

I hope it doesn't come to that.

Monday, October 25, 2004

And sometimes they're truly crazy

Part of my job is to answer the phone. Not like find out who it is and transfer them to the right person but to gate keep. I talk to the people who want to talk to my boss but don't know him and I don't let them talk to him.

People will ask for anything. From a foster dad to a million dollars for hot women and fast cars to backing for plays about politics.

Today I had a repeat customer. He's a lovely man, far away, who wants to get to know my boss and to sell him collectibles. We've chatted for a few minutes once or twice a week for about 3 weeks. Up until today he seemed over eager and has way too much to say but harmless and nice enough.

Today, however, he signed off like this, "My daddy built this nation. He's been around for a long time, probably 200 years. He's an extra terrestrial. I've been around extra terrestrials."

So much for my stellar people-reading skills.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Teatown Jenny's latest race

Updated: Last night, just about the time I posted this, Teatown Jenny passed away. She took a turn for the worse and when dad arrived at the veterinary hospital it was clear it was time for her to go. Stay tuned for more Jenny stories in the next couple of days.

My dad, Papa Kizz, and his girlfriend have a greyhound named Jenny. She came to them off three winning years on the track. She sports an ear with a bit of a chunk out of it and a Nike swoosh of a scar on one flank as well as a few other dings and scrapes, most of which she arrived with.

This evening as she ran across the kitchen floor she slid and fractured her leg quite seriously in a manner that suggests the presence of cancer. So, while some difficult decisions are likely being made back at the Ranch by the Sea I thought it best to bolster Jenny's strength by telling stories about her.

I admit to being skeptical when dad brought home a greyhound. They'd been looking but had been keeping a long list of reasons not to. That list was swiftly trumped by teh face of a fawn colored greyhound. The entire family immediately began to learn the special care and feeding of the average greyhound. One major lesson is that, having been brought up on special vegetarian diets the breed often has delicate digestion. About 4 days after Jenny came home with Papa Kizz we all attended my cousin's fancy schamncy wedding. Dad is late and I'm doing a reading so I don't get to see him until after the ceremony when we're standing in front of the church. As we catch up I notice that my father is covered in tiny pink dots. He's flecked all over with the color of pink Canada mints. If it were an acquaintance, or even a member of the extended family I might have let it go. Couldn't do it. Apparently Jenny's delicate stomach had come into evidence. All over the house. So a dose of Pepto Bismol was administered with the syringe provided by the adoption agency. Well, if you're not in practice with the equipment you don't get the Pepto down the gullet and once you remove the syringe there's a gap in the teeth on the side. When she shook her head she Jackson Pollacked everything within a 10 foot radius.

The four footed guests and residents of the Ranch by the Sea are given pride of place. Treats are administered on a nearly hourly basis. Human dinner plates are held for you to lick. At some special events you are even taught how to beg properly by Auntie Gette. And she's a serious teacher, she'll keep trying until you get it right. If that means cracking a whole new tub of brie and sending someone out for more crackers Auntie Gette will have it done, all in the name of education. So if a dog were to perhaps slip an hors d'ouevre off the coffee table it's really no big deal. One night Papa Kizz has his back turned and Princess Jennifer nabs herself a cracker with some pate. He watches as she leans over and sticks her pointy nose into his wine glass for a sip of wine. That got a chuckle since he bet that she was looking for water and got a surprise. Until she grabbed herself another cracker and followed it up with another sip of wine.

PonyExpress and I always joke that the Powers That Be took a greyhound sized lump of clay and decided to fashion a swift companion for man. They started with gargantuan thighs. And they built a beast that could run like the wind and were just working on the finishing touches, like the head and realized that they didn't have any clay left. A number of solutions were put to the committee and a decision was made, "Screw it, tease out the neck, throw some eyes on it and forget about it. It'll be going so fast no one'll be able to see the head anyway."

Since I started the entry I've checked in and Jen is resting comfortably and waiting for the surgeon to decide tomorrow if she gets to keep the leg. Your good thoughts are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


I am pressed for change. Like nothing will work if I don't change something, everything, anything.

The show isn't selling. I did some good work today and people are actually calling me back but no yeses. (PB says you've got to get 50 nos and I think I'm down to 47 now, possibly 46.) I feel like I've got to change something to make it change. Change the price? Write a new show? Change who I'm approaching?

But it feels like those choices are not enough. Maybe I scrap the show. I can't stay in this job I'm in now. Full time writing? Same problems as full time acting this show only with even less chance of swift, regular income.

All the dreams and fantasies and stories with which I entertain myself involve writing professionally and being in a romantic relationship with a famous actor. At least one. And usually the writing is in the form of TV or Film scripts and then when I've made myself comfortable with those I write a play and all my famous friends are in it. (It's a FANTASY people, work with me.) Usually I'm acting in a show for which I was originally hired to write. So should I be pursuing that? And how? I don't have the faintest idea how to do that.

I'm a Capricorn. I'm generally a really good example of one. We're practical and single minded and walk in quick, straight lines from Point A to Point Z by passing through all the correct points in between in order dammit! So, change? Not exactly something I crave.

Selling this show is hard and it's been discouraging of late. Facing the scary parts has not brought satisfying result. Yet. It's possible that this craving for change is craving for an excuse to run away from the tough part. An excuse to not be rejected again.

One might remind me to look at all the above plans for change and ask myself where in them there's an option that doesn't involve rejection of some kind. If I really think I'm going to be married to a movie star one might think I crave rejection more than change.

Or maybe this is the voice in my head I'm supposed to be listening to. Maybe my path is veering to a side and I'm supposed to take it. Maybe I'm supposed to read Tarot or write the next great adventure series of books or the next gritty cutting edge series on FX.

I know it's impossible but I want someone from outside my body, someone I can trust completely to say, "Yes, this show is the thing. Keep working, I know it's going to come through." or "This is a sign, make the biggest, boldest change you can fathom right NOW!" or anything definitive in between.

Something has to change. I don't know what or how to change or even why I want to so much but it has to change.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Smell the future

"There is a park bench on my route home from work to the train. Sheltered by trees but on the main thoroughfare.

One evening he was there. I didn't know he'd be there but for some time I'd been expecting to see him sitting there, if that makes any sense.

He sat just off center of the bench, anchored by the necessary detritus of parenthood and holding fast to the helium filled balloon that is his daughter.

I saw them from about ten steps away. Too close to turn away. He cradled her with both muscled arms and she slept the sleep of the just. So I didn't turn away.

I didn't check my stride but walked over, pocketed my keys and held out my arms for the tow-headed toddler. He easily gave her over and I sat within the circle of his protective embrace. Her palm sized skull rested just below my collarbone while on the other side her legs dangled over my arm, almost gangly for someone not yet two years old.

He didn't know better than to talk. He had, however, learned his lesson on the priority of a child so he spoke of nothing important. An article he'd read, a game he'd seen, a man he'd spoken to. I can't really tell you what. His voice was far away. My head was full to the brim with her smell.

She smelled good and clean. She smelled of fresh air and clean diapers and sweet melon. She smelled of the future. T-ball, soccer practice, birthday cake, Junior High dances, graduation, the road less traveled. I couldn't breathe it in deeply enough. You can't take it in all at once. And, like food, you digest it and are hungry again too soon.

I nodded once to keep him talking, discouraging a direct question. Then I closed my eyes and truly felt her. That smooth skin, divots around her chubby knees, the exact weight of her head, her tiny fingers grasping my t-shirt convulsively. Her sighing breath made condensation in my clavicle and her feathery hair tickled my shoulder.

I gathered her marginally closer and thought, "I love you." Strong, hard, desperate thoughts sent on mission impossible.

After short minutes she stirred. I jiggled her gently, hoping she wouldn't wake. If she did and saw me it wouldn't be her own mirrored face she would look into. She doesn't know me, has no reason to trust me. Her terror would be justified. Because she isn't mine. By blood or document or hours spent - so far as she knows I am nothing to her.

I do love her, though, and I wouldn't wish her even the moment of fear before I could spill her into her father's clutches.

Once she settled again I stood and carefully arranged her on his lap. He'd run out of words or was concentrating on her again. After I kissed her delectable cheeks and sent my love on another fool's errand I stood and his look was expectant. I might have kissed him too, at least on the forehead, but I was too far away by the time I let her go.

I turned and headed to the train. I wanted to cry. I wanted buckets of tears to soak her scent out of my jacket. And it would have felt good. Dramatic and final and cathartic. But it wouldn't have been real.

When I held her I only borrowed her from her parents. I borrowed her father as much from my memories as from his wife - her mother. It wasn't my life. And when I stepped in like that I was only part. Partly me, partly living. Now, here, walking home I am whole. And while I love her she's not mine to keep or teach or hold and that's OK."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I was talking to Chili on the IM today and she was telling a stressful story about having a big family lunch at MILChili's house. Chili (and all the kids) knew that MILChili wouldn't have any food. Apparently there was an incident with spoiled grape jelly for dinner one night and caution has been the watch word ever since. So Chili went to the store and got meat and cheese vegetables and condiments and bread, a whole cooler full and brought it to MILCHili's house along with the delightful grandchildren, PunkinChili and BeanChili. Enough, one would think, to make any Granny happy. Not MILChili. MILChili had also gone to the store and returned with what's reported to be 1 loaf of bread and 7 slices of roast beast, for 7 adults (one vegetarian) and 2 children. Chili broke out the cooler and all would be well for the lunch but MILChili was offended and upset. I don't get it. Neither does Chili. It's possible that MILChili doesn't either.

But of course, it made me think.

There was this night at least 2 lifetimes ago in my apartment in the West Village and there was a dinner. My kitchen was the size of a grain of rice, or possibly cous cous, the other room of the apartment was the size of the rice grain. I had 3 dinner plates, more mugs than glasses and not many of either, completely unmatched cutlery and questionable numbers and types of cooking utensils and pans. Everyone was there; PonyExpress and her Ex, JAM, OtherIzz, BaldSug, TV and probably a couple of others. We had roast chicken and roasted potatoes. OtherIzz made the gravy because she hadn't taught me how yet. PonyExpress brought a milk crate full of plates and probably silverware too. BaldSug did all the dishes after dinner and while he did we talked for real for the first time. TV and PonyExpress had a drinking contest. PonyExpress won. TV sang Oh Danny Boy at my request. It was the first time I knew that PonyExpress really considered me a friend. It was, possibly, the last night that OtherIzz and I were truly friends with nothing the matter. TV tried to kiss me as I poured his ass into a cab.

That was family. People brought Tequila and dishes. They did the dishes which I hate and made the gravy that I love. We gave and took and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was fun and it was sad and it didn't matter who did what because we liked each other. Well back then we did at least. I wasn't embarrassed to ask for dishes and PonyExpress didn't think it was foolish of me to ask for them. And, really, she and I have thrown a bunch of parties together since then and we still wouldn't think anything of it.

MILChili is really missing out.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Theme of the week has been humiliation.

1. Gynecologist.
From the usual to trying to explain that I'm not a new patient to the practice but the last time I saw them was so long ago that most of the people there have never even heard of the doctor I saw. And it's not over. The peripheral fun was sitting in my cubicle, which is in a hallway, and having to call to make the appointments for the follow up bilateral mammogram and transvaginal sonogram. So I've got that to look forward to as well. What's particularly fun is that no one in scheduling at radiology organizations ever listens to what you're calling about the first time. "I need to schedule a mamogram and a transvaginal sonogram." And they take all your personal details and then they say, "Now what procedure do you need?" "Mammogram and a transgvaginal sonogram." "OK, I can get you in for the mammogram in 2 weeks and what else do you need?" "A transvaginal sonogram." My hallway cube is right out side of the 2 co-Deputy Chairmen and the CEO. They almost always have their doors open. And I've got a colleague on either side of me, not separated even by partial walls. I'm a rock star.

2. Pet.
Elvis, feline boy wonder, has a urinary tract ailment. Common. Treatable. Requiring, however, a vet visit to diagnose and treat. By the time I'd gotten him into the crate and to the vet and we got into a room he'd wet himself. A lot. The cat I dragged out of the crate looked part drowned. And he was angry. Wet, angry cat tail slapping back and forth, whatever it could reach. He wasn't happy and he wanted to get out. So I had to hold him. Clutching urine-soaked cat to my chest. I am glamorous.

3. Rejection.
I got my first rejection of my play, Susanna Shakespeare from a school. I had a personal connection, I've got family that was and is well involved with the school. I thought I'd get a little break. But no. There's good that came out of it. But I'm not ready to dwell on that yet.

4. Pain.
I was finally feeling pretty good. Going out to see a friend's play. I did my hair, I put on some make up, I'd put together the casual but hip outfit - so far as I can manage in that regard. I headed out just a few minutes later than I'd wanted feeling confident and fun and ready to mingle and enjoy. Halfway down the block I saw the bus so I ran. I've run for this bus from that far in those shoes hundreds of times. Truly. Checking the light as I rounded the corner I have no idea what happened. The thought, "I'm going to fall." flashed in my head. There was nothing I could do about it. Slow motion. Right down on my side in the street. I skipped once or twice like a nice flat stone on still water. No one did anything to indicate that they'd seen me. The bus didn't even slow down. I thought for sure everyone was watching me, though, so I popped up and felt that I had to keep on walking despite pain. Lot of pain, man, you slam my 140 odd pounds down on one leg and it can really hurt. And I ended up walking the 15 minutes to the train. Didn't feel so goddamn confident and cool then now did I?

Tomorrow we begin all over again. A whole new week.