crossing 6th avenue at 17th street, after spending the morning at the place where we are going to build a really cool 5,700 s.f. loft for a broker not much older than me (a project rapidly becoming my baby because i've been allowed absolute design freedom by my office, and received nothing but 'i like this' from the client). chatting lively with a friend from the office also on the project. looking across the intersection and see some very familiar lambchop sideburns: the guy who looks like hugh jackman in x-men. he had a blue denim shirt, brown dickies, was on a silver phone. you may know the intersection: between old navy, bed-bath-and-beyond, today's man, and several other big-big retailers, and normal avenue traffic, it's an outright dangerous place to be killed as a pedestrian: i've witnessed endless close calls with bikes, and in turn seen a couple bike messengers get smacked by cars. very tense.
CROSS: we continue chatting, but eyes lock and i kind of drift off. i say 'ooo' and 'hell-llo' and 'mm-hmmm' and i think she gets who i'm looking at. drift from older mediterranian face down olive skin to hot neck tattoo, down to open shirt to tattooed chest. hotter in the bright sun, this guy bears no resemblance to hugh jackman at all, except in styling and hairiness. he's hard-core, not action figure. he meets my eyes, obviously remembers where he's seen me before, smiles and checks me out while continuing to chat. we pass, close. friend continues to politely ask question that i'm supposed to have a witty reply to. oblivious, i turn to meet hottie's eyes looking back, other pedestrians blocking cars, he's still smiling, i'm still dumbfounded, he's now walking very slowly, i brush several people myself. turn back to curb so i don't run over anyone, friend is talking still, i still have no cognition. she asks me if i saw that woman's sunglasses, the purple ones. i enthusiastically exclaim: "what? sunglasses, whothefuck cares about sunglasses? did you see that GUY?!"
another thing happened.
when i saw carl today in the steam room, he was looking fine as usual: sexy chest hair, beard, lovely body. (carl was also at this party saturday. troy says his name in two syllables: caa-aarll.) however, i'm always on my guard with him; he's incredibly flirtatious, and is almost magnetic in how he draws you in, but yet he's somewhat impassive. there's a barrier there up close, a reserve. he's very witty, intelligent, and never fails to unexpectedly insert a sharp phrase that encapsulates the moment while simultaneously comments upon it. at summerstage last year, i was interested in this sexy/daddy friend of his. he quickly replied "one man's feast is another man's poison", but didn't look at me at all, perfectly making his point by thinking aloud, telling several stories at once, telling me to forget it.
he's also one of the cool kids. he's perfectly sexy, perfectly not-styled, perfectly acquainted with every fun/cute/sexy/daddy/monied/etc gay male in lower manhattan, perfectly witty, perfectly sweet, perfectly degenerate. i keep my distance because his flirtations, touches, kisses, embraces, and phrases are very intoxicating, in that they interfere with my cognitive ability, affect my coordination, and leave a hangover. my strategy is to say an even more low-key hi than he, and this has worked for several months now. no hangover.
when he sat next to me in the steam, i just started by asking him how his evening had been. we made about two minutes of small talk, me getting cornered into telling him it'd been the first party like that of the year for me, him not saying much but interested in politely friendly small talk. we went silent, comfortably (easy when the steam starts up again). after another minute, i winked as i got up and fixing my towel, and left for the shower.
at my locker, shirt and dickies on, carl walked up to me slowly, reached out and touched my shirt, and said "hey." he nodded and pointed at his chin and touched mine, where i shave my beard. "this works." and nodded. i had no reply except a soft and unmitigated thank you, and he simply left. i felt like the kid who got the coke and a football jersey, except dizzier.
troy wore his leather corset, i wore the coveralls. both outfits were fun; only about twenty percent of the crowd deviated greatly from circuit-wear. next time i'll do see-thru shirt. the party was moved to a location near where i live, with people being shuttled via a very luxury tour bus. we took a cab. kerry was there. a guy who looked like a big and tattooed and sexy version of hugh jackman in x-men. bobby. frank (#1). the guy at world clothing (former #1). all the rest.
going to a very-hard-to-get-into party with troy in west chelsea tonight atop what was jonno's favorite club (no not king!). deciding between the see-thru shirt and the much more risque work coveralls that once belonged to my grandfather (and fit me with alarming niceness). having this as the very appropriate invitation, and actually having one in the first place(troy has jesus). after spending the day seeing art and chelsea, eating, shopping, cruising, more looking, and minor following with troy, napping, and getting inspired by jack smith again. it's spring, and i feel fantastic...
at work, employers were visibly trying to get my fur down. that didn't stop me from leaving at 3 (after a long lunch, you know i'm for real). it's spring, i need a vacation. didn't feel like going to the gym (see previous post) although not-going to the gym probably contributed to my crankiness in the first place.
in this dream, one that i've had in some variation ever since i heard the beatle's white album, i'm a member of my favorite broken-up-but-still-alive-so-technically-possible-to-reunite band. it's not that i've actually replaced any of them, i'm just there in the studio. She said: "Don't tou- anybody touch this is my stuff". And I said "You fucking die" like that. I was finishing her part for her. having it all the time at times, waking fantasy too, something that i conjure instinctively to escape my mood, simply by perfecting the letting-go behind somebody else's performed words, catapulting my life in the same direction.
on the smith machine next to me was this guy who is in his late thirties (a lot of my stories begin this way), a few inches shorter than me, body like he'd been lifting a lot longer than i have, but starting from the same place. muscular, but inherently lean like me. many tattoos on every limb. sideburns, little-goatee-chin beard, intensity when he lifted. nerdish edge i can never put my finger on. i rarely run into him, and now i know why. he's part of what is apparently a club of people who work out at 3pm, all know each other (there were only about 10 people on the floor), nyu college and graduate students, and they like it that way. i was an outsider, a gentrifier, someone not to be trusted (where'd he come from, and are there many more behind him?). the guy is hot, but completely straight, and when he was chatting to a friend between sets, i was sufficiently bored by his weirdly droning speaking tone/subjects that i lost physical interest in him. up close, that is. he's still easy on the eyes.
or i daydream that i'm in the presence of my good friends, in their home-locales, doing what they do, filling in the gaps as best i can. the little thing who loves my mother speaks no english but if you saw her you'd say isn't she lovely. riding a bike up and down chartres, looking for guys from the base jogging (marigny), or looking for the miller light delivery man (quarter), in between pool stops...
his first friend was the guy my eyes had beelined to when i got up there, gray sweatshirt and cutoff sweatshorts (i know who this one's for), same age, and a kind of nerdish edge too, doing straight-bar curls with his palms down (forearms), but very, very slowly, concentrating, giving a very funny look to the air as it got tough, as if to tell the invisible elf on his shoulder to quit bugging him, he's busy right now. big arms, beautiful tattoo on his bicep (no badge, on the top of the muscle). hot too. straight too, not much coming from his end of the conversation. except when they got to the part about how much he enjoys a particular exercise. i love it when straight guys talk about this kind of thing to each other; it's like when they pull up their shirts and flex their abs for themselves, in the mirror. it's as close to homo they get, being auto-erotic in intent but not really because it's done for all to admire, which is perfectly natural, true, but atop that is the fact that homos like me take the message differently, not admiration but an offering to share.
fucking hate work, fucking hate my life, which means nothing particularly serious is wrong, just tired of la-la-la, too you-know-what, no energy or inspiration or time to do this-or-that, and besides, who couldn't write these things themselves? And when I was a little boy, a ball of string my parents took from me. all i really need is a nap and a few consecutive evenings of television, but all i have right now is an afternoon off so i can study.
there were several other college-aged cuties there, who knew these two too, and this went on for some time, with me capturing the nuances of a particular guy's profile, them working out near me, talking to the other guy, me being perfectly unable to listen to much of it. i pushed two record flat-bench sets in the meantime, although not as much as you-know-who-2. i then ran into a contractor whose office is nearby and always works out in the afternoon to avoid crowds. i let him say hi to me these days, because he's always got a spooked look in his eyes till he recognizes me, the 'is he hitting on me?' look, and i get really tired of seeing that. he said hi, chatted a short time for once (he's a talker), then mercifully let me go on my way.
every time i hear surfer rosa i'm tickled silly by it's casual sloppiness, the intensity of the delivery carrying the lyrics (unlike later albums, with more resolved 'songs'), kim's in the forefront doing her thing, everything is just played on top of the other thing, everything is good. the A-B-A-B structure of music theory years past is maintained in the best of black francis' early songs, where A is something that happened while he was out west, B is his matching delusion:
Stuck here out of gas
Out here on the Gaza Strip
From driving in too fast
ride a tire down river euphrates
except i'm never really sure what he's saying, or which one occured to him first, just that it's okay to want to play, play, play, play.
i get tired of saying IT because it sounds disingenuous, the thing you say when you don't want someone to call you back, or you told them you'd be friends but that really means you've got other people to meet now, or the thing you say when you don't want to go to a boring movie or play, or what you say when someone pricing a freelance project calls at work and you are too busy finishing up a promotional book to chat what you once were isn't what you want to be, anymore, or what you say when someone calls at home and you are frantically trying to get through chapters on trusses and long-span structures even though you are being invited to meet a famous and interesting and brilliant and homo architect, or what you say to your mother when she calls (the measure is if you get more calls than you make, and are stupidly annoyed in getting them, even though at all other times lack of calls makes you blue) to get support for HER current dizzyness (accountants at this time of year are not to be envied) when she says "i miss new york" from ohio and you say "i need to get out!", or the thing that really means "i'm not relaxed enough to concentrate on more than one thing at a time" which is not my normal state of mind (multi-task-minx), or which also means "i have lost all sense of humor except that of defense mechanism" and "i need to be around people less" both of which are anxiety-inducing conditions, or to yourself as you ride in a cab i take too many cabs by myself and realize it turned from february to april without a blink or any intervening sex and with only scripted segments of weeks shuffling you around the same tired routes of the city, or to yourself as you scramble to make late fedex, or what you think before you lose your ability to breathe momentarily on the sidewalk at 23rd and 6th as you worry about the next impossible-two-day-deadline you've got to slay, an effect from letting stress build in your head (a point where no real-life events need actually provide pressure anymore), an effect of conflation: speed begets overcomittment becomes exclusion makes for anxiety which perceives lack of time, lovelessness, hunger, and fatigue.
I don't care if they're real or their pseudo
I don't care if they get any higher
I hope if someone retires
They pull another Menudo
something else happened today.
LESSON FOUR - QUIZ
....7. A beam of ASTM A36 steel
supports a uniformly distributed load of 1250 pounds
per foot on a 30-foot span. The beam is
laterally supported at the third points of the
span. What is the lightest section that may
A. W18 x 46
B. W16 x 50
C. W12 x 53
D. W21 x 57
Solution: compute maximum moment. M=wl^2/8 = 1250#/ft x 30'^2 / 8 = 140, 625#ft. Use AISC manual page 2-170 (Allowable Moments in Beams) to locate lightest allowable beam, which is W16x50.
i've been amused and fascinated by the 'all your base' site (now defunct?) since wired news reported it a couple of months ago. a moment of inspiration struck me yesterday connecting the all your base phenomenon to some other ideas i've been having. the larger connections include the direction of painting and sculpture to contemporary art, and how that might influence architectural practice, but there's not a fully formed idea there yet. however, i was inspired to consider how we use words and phrases today, how there always seems to be a series of catchphrases or concepts that invade our speech, then get replaced by new ones. the phrases come from everywhere: advertising, movies, television, politics, magazines, books, newspapers, video games, web sites. they go everywhere these places can't reach, carried on our tongues and by the mental impressions we wish to convey.
i'm particularly fond of this form of semiotic game. i've been able to sustain "i am a laser" for almost two months now. whenever i figure out some interesting technical feature of the software we're using at work that allows us to streamline our process, or whenever i make a particularly exciting phone call, i turn dramatically and say "i am a laser!" in an appropriately breathy and attitude-laden mode. or, phonetically, it comes out more like 'iamalaser!'. i might as well be saying 'i am fierce' or 'cool' or 'i am a robot' (i did the robot thing last fall, and it only really works on the phone with jonno). but i just like saying it, and it injects a form of absurdity (i am weird) to the sentiment (i did something good) that is intended to defuse some of the immodesty of patting yourself on the back, without being immodestly modest (lack of humor about 'being genuine' being the most insidious form of insincerity, in my view).
i'm certain i can have dean or tyler give a much more thorough interpretation, complete with reading list, on the cultural trends that allow us to replace forms of direct expression with catch phrases, without fully compromising the sentiment behind what you want to say. but i'm fascinated by it nonetheless. (although i never found the show funny (not witty enough for me), Seinfeld was an example of this kind of game in comedy.) i view 'all your base' not as some form of creepy invasion, but a brilliant illustration of how anything put on a t-shirt, billboard, package, software dialogue box, catalogue, coffee cup, or wrist watch face might as well be the clever phrase at the moment, because the context already dictates what is going to be said in the first place. what's wonderful is the playfulness of the clever phrase sitting on this context, and how this affects the original sentiment.
...transom. he doesn't know what that is. transom? quizzical look. transom! eyes wide. transom, transom, what's a transom? i've heard this before, but it's funny to act like you don't know what is being said, so that you beg for a witty or self-depricating description. you know, the window over the door that allows all your lasers belong to us.
and the show last night was surprisingly perfect. dudley gave me a flyer last week at the phoenix, and i was excited about going. kijak and pousson were going too. i bought tickets via the internet, task overcome (i'll not relate several embarrassing episodes regarding my fucking-up moviephone). met steven and martin at the knitting factory's little bar before the rush. check. kiss dudley, check. randomly see sparky and michaelo, check. wait forever to be seated, then split up to see who gets the best seats (splitting up NEVER works. anyone who watched scooby doo will tell you that.). steven actually getting martin and i seats, behind the above-mentioned blogsters no less, rock the party.
a show of movie tunes is something that usually loses some power on me because of a twin deficiency i have: movie ignorance and song displacement. i have seen fewer movies than pretty much anyone (for example only two of this year's oscar nominees, and one of those in the theater no less). i also can't seem to place most reinterpreted songs, although i'm perfectly aware of the melody and words, unless i have myself sang them over and over and have fixated on them.
but it was okay, because dudley's voice captivated me. it's so deep, pure, flexible, but his delivery is casual enough to make his personality shine through. i never realized he was such a wonderful performer, too, with such an understated, yet effective, stage presence that shines through his voice. he's sly, and his honkey-tonk version of 'xanadu', or the song by the carrie nations, rocked my world. and 'happy endings':
the life i lead is less dramatic
not remotely cinematic
stephen merrit impressed me a great deal too. not that '69 love songs' didn't do that, but seeing him up there, his bass vocal channeling sinatra, or doing the beatles' 'love to love you', or interpreting a song from liquid sky, careening and screeching with great interpretive powers, impressed me as being expansive in his abilities. my favorite was also 'the rainbow connection', which i loved so much when i saw the movie, i made my parents buy the sheet music for, so that i could play it on my trumpet.
or LD, whose perfect execution was tested with 'the lady in the radiator song' with his ukelele, and did a marvellous tenor on the beatle's tune.
the space was small, the setting good, the crowd was in a good mood and fun, and the band (ie kenny from kiki and herb) was amazing. i'm not a concert-goer by any stretch, if only because of the logistics, and that i never really follow many bands so much i need to see them live. but this was a different kind of show for me, because i've met and chatted with one of the performers, and about artist-audience relationship too. i wasn't consuming a live performance, but was running parallel to his life, in a way. i am casually acquainted with the person up there, and sitting amongst friends and acquaintances, a could see behind the work enough to make me feel part of it.
stumbling drunk up ninth avenue
suddenly behind a guy in a flannel shirt you want to go home with
your nose filled with cigarette smoke
and he crosses ninth
and you write this
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.