Lame Adventure 475: Worldwide Pride, Milton and Me



The Big Five-Oh.

With my friend, Milton, I attended Worldwide Pride, an honor bestowed on New York City to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that occurred on June 28, 1969. This event was spearheaded when a courageous group of LGBT people was congregating at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. They reached a boiling point because the NYPD conducted yet another raid. The Stonewall patrons, fed up with police harassment, retaliated against the cops for days, furious that the police could invade their space at will.

Officer Krupke

A member of New York’s Finest circa 2019. Milton loved her hair.

The Stonewall uprising is seen as the birth of the gay rights movement, what is now known as LGBTQ Pride. Unrelated, June 28th is also Milton’s birthday, but in 1969 he was seven, and living in Iowa. I happened to be ten and living in San Francisco. It would be 35 years before a completely un-seminal event in LGBTQ history would occur: Milton and I would cross paths here in New York City and become great buds. The only downside to him being male and me, female, is that sometimes people erroneously assume we must be straight, and even more insulting, married. Aghast, Milton has wondered aloud:

Milton: I didn’t realize we look miserable.

Milton and I skipped Pride in 2017 and 2018 because in 2017, I had just started a Serious New Job and had anxiety being utterly clueless about the industry I had entered. In 2018, he had a sore knee; standing for long hours was out of the question for him. By 2019, I’ve re-mastered the art of being busy while bored at work and after investing mega hours at the gym Milton can stand again, so hey:

Milton and Me: Let’s attend Worldwide Pride!

Happy to see you!

Happy to see you!

Unlike years past, we did not take hundreds of pictures this time. Milton could not find his camera’s charger, but he located an errant grape when we reached Fifth Avenue. He stepped on it promptly. It remained crushed and slippery under his sneaker for the entirety of our stay. He declared that he hated that grape as much as a certain politician that will remain unnamed.


Makeup table to go.

Fortunately, we achieved our goal: we stood and watched Worldwide Pride unfold for a few glorious hours while basking in the energy of the crowd on a near idyllic summer’s day. When the countdown clock exceeded three hours I felt on the verge of collapse, so we continued celebrating with frosty libations at a nearby watering hole that had Pride tuned into every widescreen TV. You could not escape the festivities and that was wonderful.


These stilts were made for walkin’. Who knew?

Lame Adventure 474: Shooting the Sun

Twice a year, just before and just after the summer solstice, the setting sun aligns perfectly with the Manhattan street grid illuminating both the north and the south sides of every cross street. This phenomenon is called Manhattanhenge, a term coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. For photographers that know what they’re doing with a camera, they can capture the most magnificent light shining through the glass and steel canyons. If you’re hoping to find images like that here, read no further.

Manhattanhenge first occurs around Memorial Day, this year that was on May 29 and 30. The weather was lousy both days so the magnificence was a no show. The second time it happened was during Major League Baseball’s All-Star break, this week on July 11 and 12. Skies were clear. The best locations to take pictures are wide cross streets where one can see straight through to New Jersey: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets.

On Monday evening, July 11, when I was walking up West 72nd Street en route to the subway, I noticed a guy walking ahead of me carrying a nice digital camera. I was certain he was going to shoot Manhattanhenge photos, so I decided it would behoove me to follow him. Was he going to take his pictures on 72nd Street? I felt sucker punched when he turned right on Broadway and entered Trader Joes.

I entered the subway station where I caught the 1 local to 59th Street. Fifteen minutes later, I joined a crowd of fellow sunset chasers at 57th and Broadway. Many were chumps like me, prepared to shoot pictures with just their iPhones. Several seemed content to just take selfies. I observed one guy with an ancient point and shoot camera that he carried in a plastic sandwich bag. Possibly, when he’s not using it, he stores it the cupboard next to the mustard.

I exchanged small talk with Megan, a very personable young woman who told me that she had just arrived from Dublin, Ireland the week before; this was her first time visiting New York. She was here for a year. I thought that was wonderful. Here she was in this dynamic city that never sleeps, mixing with the nerds. I wanted to ask her if she had seen the film, Brooklyn, about a young Irish woman who visits New York, but I suffered a brain freeze and inconveniently blanked on the word, “Brooklyn.”

What I predominantly observed as I stared at the sun was fierce retina burn and this fleshy fellow lugging tons of camera gear running frantically from the curb to the center of the street several times while angry motorists honked their horns.

Flirting with disaster.

Flirting with disaster.

I was fully prepared to photograph him bouncing off the hood of a taxi.

By sunset, the street was flooded with onlookers raising their cameras upward and West, in observance of the magnificent glow of the radiant round ball. Unfortunately, my best shot at that magical moment resembled a study of runny scrambled eggs.

Scrambled egg sunset.

Scrambled egg sunset.

The next day, Tuesday, July 12, with my iPhone SE in my pocket and invisible bucket of insanity planted on my head, I returned to 57th Street. That evening, the sight was a half sun setting on the grid. I decided I would try my luck one block further east at 57th and Seventh Avenue, across the street from Carnegie Hall.

Practice, practice, practice taking a better sunset shot.

Practice, practice, practice taking a better sunset shot.

The slight change of surroundings did not reveal a vastly different result, but I hit some button on my phone that produced images that were indeed better, or more accurately, better on the low end of mediocre.

The sun at 7:58 pm.

The sun at 7:58 pm.

Crowd at 8:10 pm eager to get the shot.

Crowd at 8:10 pm eager to get the shot.

Hit some button shot at 8:12 pm.

Hit some button shot at 8:12 pm.

Fellow sunset chasers.

Fellow sunset chasers.

Hit button shot at 8:15 pm.

Hit button shot at 8:15 pm.

As for seeing the enchanting sight of a half sun setting on the grid, even though I was there, somehow I completely missed it.

As I was leaving, I realized that all was not lost. Something did catch my eye: this guy’s satchel.

That's an interesting satchel!

That’s an interesting satchel!

So I set out to photograph a natural phenomenon and end up with an image of a sling bag shaped like a station wagon that can hold a six-pack. That’s not something I see everyday. It’s comforting to know that I was finally in the right place at the right time to get that shot.

Lame Adventure 473: It’s Raining Rats!

On evenings when I return home to my sacred space straight from The Grind, my creature of habit routine is comprised of preparing dinner and eating it at my dining table while watching the nightly news on TV. After finishing my entrée, I transfer to the couch for dessert. By the time Phil Mickelson shows up to shill Enbrel, whatever the hell that is, the dynamic-less duo of food coma and sheer boredom have cast their spell and I’ve nodded out. Falling asleep at this point in the broadcast is convenient timing because it allows me to miss the sap-filled human-interest story at the end that always triggers my gag reflex.

On this particular summer evening I woke with a start remembering that I had to run a very important errand at my neighborhood Papyrus, the card shop. Next week is my colleague Godsend’s birthday. I reminded Stu, The Grind’s owner, that our graphics designer is turning 28. Stu reflected philosophically:

Stu: I have socks older than her.

Godsend is not only my colleague, but she is a valued friend, a close confidant and often, my collaborator.

Godsend and me looking film noir-ish at The Grind. Photo by The Boss.

Godsend and me looking very film noir-ish at The Grind. Photo by The Boss.

I had to find the perfect card for someone so dear, a card that combines the key ingredients of sophistication, wit, and good design. But, by the time I arrived, the store was about to close in nineteen seconds so I snagged one at half price from the What Were We Thinking bin.

As I walked south on Broadway, I noticed a small crowd gathered outside the Chase bank at the corner of West 73rd Street. They were gazing upward; many were smiling that goofy, mush-headed smile usually reserved for puppies, kittens, babies — anyone freshly hatched. Several were taking pictures with their smart phones. At first, I could not figure out what they were looking at, but I reasoned it probably was not someone attempting suicide. Then I saw it: a fluffy bird perched on the bank’s clock. It was my turn to flash a mush-headed smile.

Clock percher.

Clock percher.

As much as I love birds, if it’s not a pigeon, mourning dove or Thanksgiving dinner, I’m lost when it comes to identifying our flying friends. This critter was no exception so I bellowed:

Me: What kind of bird is that?

That opened the floodgates of response. It’s a red tailed hawk. Someone opined that it is probably a relative of Pale Male, a legendary red tailed hawk that nests at 927 Fifth Avenue, apparently with co-op board approval. He’s currently on his eighth wife. Maybe his name should be Larry King. Normally, these birds of prey nest in trees, but Pale Male plays by his own rules. Because the hawk atop the  clock is fuzzy, someone pronounced it a fledgling. Because it’s young, it’s still honing its hunting skills, which explains why it dropped its dinner.

Dinner. Freshly killed.

Dinner. Freshly killed.

That rat falling out of the sky is what first created the stir on the sidewalk. Had I witnessed that pre-show entertainment, I would have been so traumatized, I would have needed therapy. As I was snapping a shot of the rodent, a middle-aged woman holding A Serious Camera asked me:

Serious Camera Woman: Is it dead?

Me: I don’t think it’s going to sing Everything’s Coming Up Roses again.

She nudged its head with her toe, a gesture I found so repugnant, I bolted. Something about making physical contact with a dead rat gives me industrial strength willies. I also didn’t want to witness it spring back to life, even if that meant missing it channel Ethel Merman.

When I returned to my oasis, My Doorman greeted me. I showed him the pictures I shot of the hawk. He’s a bird enthusiast and said that many red tailed hawks live near 116th and Riverside. Like the hawk expert in the crowd, he also thinks it dropped its dinner because it’s in the learner’s permit stage of development. I reasoned that maybe it was for the best:

Me: How was he going to eat that rat? He wasn’t sitting on that clock holding a knife and fork.

My Doorman: He’d shred it. When they’re flying around, hang onto the Chihuahua.

Ingesting that factoid, I entered the elevator promising to keep that advice in mind.

"I'm so hungry."

“I’m so hungry.”

Lame Adventure 472: New York City Gay Pride Parade 2016

If anyone has noticed, I’ve been on an extended hiatus from the blogosphere, completely enjoying life in the real world. One Lame Adventure tradition that’s inspired me to surface is covering New York’s Gay Pride parade with my pal, Milton. We have been constant sideline fixtures at this parade for several years, so constant that we actually appeared in a crowd shot on our local TV news in 2015. I will be forever grateful that it was not our sweating mugs in close up.

This year, it seemed to us that there were a record number of participants as well as a record turnout watching from the sidelines. Or, maybe we just showed up too late to get a good spot to shoot photos. This inflated tube courtesy of T Mobile marred almost every picture we tried to take.

View hog.

View hog.

One aspect of the parade I loathe is the flood of corporate sponsorship, but I realize the overt pandering for LGBT dollars is a reflection of just how far gay people have come since the Stonewall riots in 1969.

Delta Airlines shilling for LGBT dollars.

Delta Airlines shilling for LGBT dollars.

There were also the usual suspect politicians marching including our mayor, Bill de Blasio, governor, Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer.

Senator Chuck Schumer marching and bullhorning.

Senator Chuck Schumer marching and bullhorning.

There were anemic cheers for the trickle of die-hard Bernie Sanders marchers and thunderous applause for Hillary Clinton’s tsunami of foot soldiers.

Message from member of Hillary contingent.

Message from member of Hillary contingent.

We did not see Hillary. She marched the last two blocks of the parade when she joined de Blasio and Cuomo at the route’s end in Greenwich Village.

This year, paying tribute to the victims of the shooting massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was in the forefront of the march. The most moving homage to the victims was 49 silent marchers shrouded in white veils wearing signs with a photograph of each victim. It was like seeing 49 ghosts.

Haunting sight of 49 ghosts.

Haunting sight of 49 ghosts.

But it was far from a somber parade. The tragedy in Orlando seemed to inspire more people to march with both joyful abandon and a greater sense of purpose.

Dykes on bikes at parade's start.

Dykes on bikes at parade’s start.

Joyful pedal pushers.

Joyful pedal pushers.

Guys on bikes.

Guys on bikes.

Fancy footwear man.

Fancy footwear man.

The glad hatter.

The glad hatter.

Here comes the bride and bride.

Here comes the bride and bride.

Oh good, someone remembered to bring the double halo penis sign.

Oh good, someone remembered to bring the double halo penis sign.

Queen for a day, or maybe forever.

Queen for a day, or maybe forever.

Aching headdress.

Aching headdress.

Dry clean only.

Dry clean only.

Gays against guns.

Gays against guns.

Good idea.

Good idea.

Lame Adventure 471: New Beginnings

Six years ago I started writing Lame Adventures because I was down on my luck. The country was deep in recession and I needed something free to fill my time following a twenty percent pay cut in 2009. Writing a blog was the perfect solution. I had to take photographs, concoct a story, make it somewhat coherent, and field comments from my trickle of followers. That was a great time sponge.

Over the years, as my following increased, The Grind every so often stuck a crow bar in the company safe and returned some of my cut pay. After my father shed his mortal coil in summer 2014, my siblings and I sold our family home in San Francisco, and split the proceeds three ways. Suddenly I was up on my luck. My brother, Axel, suggested the unfathomable:

Axel: Why don’t you look into buying a piece of New York real estate?

Give up the rent stabilized apartment in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side that I had called my sanctum sanctorum for over thirty years? So it was in a walk-up building with thin walls, worn floors, torn window screens, it had one closet, the refrigerator light was busted and a replacement bulb could not be found, the bathroom sink leaked, and the ancient stove, originally intended for a motor home, had to be lit with a match. It wasn’t wired for air conditioning, it only had three outlets with five working plugs, I had to walk three blocks to the laundromat in the blistering heat and freezing cold, my letter carrier was the poster child for anger management, the tenant below me lay dead on the floor for several days in 2014, and last summer, I temporarily had a room mate, a pigeon that flew in through the chimney. Was my closest living male relative smoking crack when he suggested that I give up that slice of paradise?

Is that spit in my mailbox or just pure venom?

Is that spit in my mailbox or pure venom?

The time had come to do what had initially seemed unthinkable: stop being a renter and start being an owner. It took all of 2015 through January of 2016 for me to complete this process. After searching for eight months, bidding half a dozen times on apartments as far north as 103rd Street and south as 57th Street, getting rejected five times in the ferocious blood sport that is Manhattan real estate shopping, I finally had my offer accepted. Then, I entered a new hell: the complicated buying process for this sliver of Big Apple in a landmark Emery Roth co-op building a short walk from my former sanctum sanctorum.

Before I started looking into purchasing a place, I would not have known Emery Roth from an emery board. He’s the architect who designed the iconic San Remo, the building with the two towers that I’m flying past in my banner. To afford to live in the San Remo, you need the assets of a sultan. Considering that I remain in the neighborhood that I’ve called home for over thirty years, I feel like I’ve won Powerball gaining admittance into discount Emery Roth. Residents that live on the side of the San Remo facing east get a view of Central Park. In my building, my apartment faces north, so my view is a dentist’s terrace.

As long as he doesn't play the tuba naked at midnight, I'm fine with this view.

As long as he doesn’t play the tuba naked at midnight, this equals Central Park to me.

My new building has an opulent lobby, two elevators, an immaculate laundry room (open twenty hours a day, seven days a week), 24 hour doormen who greet me warmly and accept my deliveries, a live-in super and friendly handyman. My apartment has air conditioning, two closets, a real stove, a refrigerator with a light, and unlike my old sanctum sanctorum, room for a couch and space for a desk. Electricity is included in the maintenance.

Yes, the shadow box coffee table is full of tiles.

Yes, the shadow box coffee table is full of tiles.

Where I was sitting as I wrote this post.

Where I was sitting as I wrote this post under a TV with devil horns.

Because my new place is near my old one, I didn’t hire movers. Aside from my spin bike, pictures, a file box and magazine rack, I ditched my old furniture and decided to start over fresh. What I did keep, about a third of what I had, required approximately 347 pack mule schleps with a duffel bag. I parted with many things I didn’t even know I had from my first phone to a specimen cup.

Specimen cup: at least it was empty.

Specimen cup: at least it was empty … or evaporated.

Despite its many quirks, I bid my rental apartment of 32 years and four months a fond adieu.

A final locking of the old door.

A final locking of the old door.

When I returned the keys, I suspect that my now elderly Irish landlady tossed aside her cane and did a little Riverdance, shouting at the top of her lungs:

Irish Landlady: Hallelujah, she’s gone! We can double the rent!

I am adapting to the good life in my new sanctum sanctorum at warp speed, but I am confident that wherever I go, more Lame Adventures will follow.

These guys were parked on my block as I was schlepping: maybe next time I'll hire them.

These guys were parked on my block as I was schlepping: maybe next time I’ll hire them.

Lame Adventure 470: The Highlight of the 53rd New York Film Festival

Milton and I have spent much of the past two weeks at the New York Film Festival where we’ve seen quite a few low lights. Before attending a screening of Mountains May Depart, the latest film by the Chinese director and screenwriter, Jia Zhangke, we rubber necked the red carpet photo op. Here is Jia with his frequent leading lady, his wife, Zhao Tao.

Tao and Jia.

Tao and Jia.

Mountains is a drama set in the past, present and future about a woman who is loved by two men, one rich and the other, poor. She marries the rich guy and has a son he names Dollar. Even though Jia insists that his film is about 21st Century capitalism and the discontent felt by those that have benefitted from it, we found it trite. To quote Milton:

Milton: I didn’t buy any of it.

He also hated the q&a and grumbled:

Milton: I can’t believe I’m giving up food for this.

What I will remember most from that film is how much it made me crave dumplings.

While Milton was in the bathroom, I noticed the filmmaker, Michel Gondry, in the lobby, following a screening of his latest, Microbe & Gasoline, a whimsical tale about two French teenage boys that build a vehicle and set out on a road trip.

Michel Gondry.

Michel Gondry.

I found it entertaining fluff. Milton thought it had absolutely no business being in the festival and groused that that slot should have gone to Macbeth starring Michael Fassbinder and Marion Cotillard. I would have gladly argued that point with him, but I couldn’t. I was also disappointed that Macbeth wasn’t screened.

While I was busy at work, Milton emailed me that filmmaker Chantal Akerman had died in Paris on Monday, an apparent suicide. This was quite a shock. We had tickets to her latest film, No Home Movie, and we were looking forward to hearing her speak at the post-screening q&a. As news of her death spread, our screening became a very hot ticket. I raced straight from work in Long Island City to Alice Tully Hall. I was very surprised that the lobby was not busier and that I had arrived before Milton. As I waited for him, I noticed the filmmaker, Wes Anderson. I took this terrible gotcha shot and texted it to Milton.

Wes Anderson as a blue in brown shoes.

Wes Anderson as a blur in brown shoes.

At about the same time, I realized that I was at the wrong theater. I rocketed to the theater I needed to be at about a block away. When I arrived, it was the mob scene I had anticipated. Fortunately, Milton had gotten there first and had secured seats. As for Akerman’s final film, an experimental documentary about her dying, elderly mother, an Auschwitz survivor, I found it painfully dull and slept through most of the first quarter. Upon leaving, we ran into my friend, Lola, who said that she liked it. Milton asked:

Milton: What did you like about it?

This film was another misfire with us. I told Milton that it made me think about my father at the end, a difficult time in his life I never considered recording on film. Milton said:

Milton: It made me think about wanting dinner.

Even though these movies were misfires, these were all films we had wanted to see, so we don’t regret going. But the film we wanted to see most delivered. That film was Carol, a lesbian May-December romance set in the 1950s, a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Phyllis Nagy brilliantly adapted Patricia Highsmith’s novel, which was essentially a road movie, for the screen. Cate Blanchett, who has never looked more alluring, plays the title character, a gorgeous but troubled cool blonde straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s gorgeous cool blonde playbook. Rooney Mara is Therese, the shop girl and aspiring photographer, who is instantly smitten with this glamorous, charismatic, sophisticated woman twice her age. Shining just as brightly as his two perfectly cast female leads, is filmmaker, Todd Haynes. He has skillfully directed a masterpiece that is superbly shot by cinematographer, Ed Lachman, and scored by composer, Carter Burwell. Even though I had read the novel that Highsmith had published under the pseudonym, Claire Morgan, when it was originally titled The Price of Salt, almost 25 years ago, I knew the story well, but I was so elated at the film’s ending, it gave me chills. Carol is filmmaking at its finest. It is a great lesbian love story that packs an emotional wallop. It opens in the US on November 20th.

Carol q&a with from left to right, Cate Blanchett, producer Elizabeth Karlsen, Phyllis Nagy, Rooney Mara, Todd Haynes, Amy Taubin

Carol q&a (l to r), Cate Blanchett, producer Elizabeth Karlsen, Phyllis Nagy, Rooney Mara, Todd Haynes, moderator Amy Taubin

Lame Adventure 469: Opening Night at the 53rd New York Film Festival

Since I am a creature of habit, and I annually discuss the films I see at the New York Film Festival, which is like Christmas in October, here are observations from this year’s opening night festivities.

As usual, I was with my dear bud, Milton. We had not planned to attend the opening night film, The Walk, because it opens nationwide on October 9th. The Walk is based on the true story about Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist from France, who in 1974 walked the tightrope between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. When that mind blowing event happened, we had plenty of dinner table conversation about it in my house. That took balls the size of cantaloupes, but if memory serves correct, that was not an exact quote at our dinner table, but my brother, Axel, could have said it afterward when we stepped out to walk the dog.

Tickets to the gala event screening at Alice Tully Hall cost a king’s ransom. Even more distressing was that it was not a tee shirt and sneaker-type screening. The idea of dressing formal to see a popcorn movie in 3D that is opening at every multiplex across the country in less than two weeks, rubs us wrong. Fortunately, a few days before the screening, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that there would be additional screenings on opening night in their more intimate surrounding theaters for the come-as-you-are types with stains on their shirts. Those tickets cost $20. Count us in!



Because the gala screening started at 6pm, while the screenings for slobs kicked off half an hour later, we realized that gave us ample time to rubberneck the red carpet ceremony outside Alice Tully Hall featuring the film’s stars. Unfortunately, a horde of autograph hounds had the same idea, creating a dense wall of humanity in front of us.

Better doors than windows.

Autograph hounds making better doors than windows.

Autograph hounds are on a mission. Basically, they’re dragon air breathing descendants of paparazzi. Milton explained that they sell the autographs they collect on line. I asked him if any of these autograph hounds had tickets to see the film. He thought that was highly unlikely. Apparently, standing behind a police barricade for hours waiting for a celebrity to pass by for a split second to sign a paper thrust aggressively in their face is their typical day at the office.

As we were waiting, Milton spotted Kate Mulgrew, who is currently appearing as Red in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. She is not in The Walk and she didn’t register on the autograph hounds radar, either. They stood slack jawed as Milton snapped this shot of her.

Kate Mulgrew wearing red scarf.

Kate Mulgrew wearing red scarf.

When the film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, appeared, the hounds sprang into action.

Crowd surge.

Crowd surge.

He's there somewhere!

Robert Zemeckis is there somewhere!

Milton's gotcha shot proving the new adage that two cameras are better than one.

Milton’s gotcha shot proving the new adage that two cameras are better than one.

They also pounced all over actor Steve Valentine.

Steve Valentine happy to oblige.

Steve Valentine happy to oblige.

Steve Valentine working the horde.

Steve Valentine working the horde.

But they went their most bat-shit crazy when Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who stars as Philippe Petit, approached.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt about to approach the lion's den.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt about to approach the lion’s den.

What was craziest was as he was being rushed inside the theater a voice among the hounds cried out:

Autograph Hound: Joseph, please come back!

And he did!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt a.k.a. Mr. Nice Guy.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt being Mr. Nice Guy.

The film is a very entertaining story about a wildly ambitious young man with the tenacity to do something historical. Milton thought it was the best use of 3D he had ever seen in a film. At one point when Petit is learning how to walk the wire, he drops his balancing pole. Milton and I both ducked, fearing we were each about to lose an eye. Even though we knew the story well, the film packs a tremendous amount of tension and suspense. Often, I found myself squirming; I suffered so much such anxiety. Afterward, I asked Milton if he thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually learned to walk a tightrope for this film.

Milton: Yes, but his wire was probably two inches off the ground and everything around him was superimposed.

Petit’s magical achievement was something that could only be accomplished in a bygone era when it was possible to plot something so audacious almost invisibly in plain sight. The film was also a wonderful tribute to the towers. Before Petit walked the tightrope between them, New Yorkers viewed them as primarily two ugly boxes, but afterward, they took on a degree of humanity and New Yorkers embraced them. The film is peppered throughout with Petit standing inside Lady Liberty’s torch, talking directly to the camera about his feat, a cheesy device that breaks the fourth wall. At first, we found that gimmick irritating, but by the very end, we realized it provided poignant punctuation.

The Walk was a perfect film to inaugurate this year’s New York Film Festival. Don’t miss seeing it in 3D when it plays the multiplex wherever you live.

Lame Adventure 468: Period of Adjustment

This is just a post for anyone who might take a nanosecond to wonder if I still have a pulse. I do. Or, at least, I had one that bounced off the sky when a creepy crawly critter skittered across my naked thigh (the perils of wearing shorts on a hot summer’s day) in the dark of a movie theater recently. Life outside the blogosphere is still very demanding. I anticipate that it will continue to be so through the months ahead on both the work front and very soon, on the home front, when those walls will come crashing down for a while compelling me to continue my disappearing act. The home front hysteria of  this year’s mania will one day be Lame Adventurized. It’s epic.

On The Grind front, I have been adapting to working in Long Island City. The commute is about ten minutes longer from my sanctum sanctorum, I’m not feeling tortured in The New Place, but I’m not in my bliss, either. Culturally, it’s very different from Manhattan’s chic and trendy Tribeca. But, the take out is cheaper when I don’t bother to pack my organic kale lunch. I like that. There’s a nearby Greek deli that makes an excellent chicken gyro. Even though my boss and colleagues have not complained, I know that when I get that gyro, unlike my usual kale, carrots and whatever else I add to that dreariness, it stinks up our entire office something fierce. Possibly, it stinks up our entire factory. With that in mind, I’ve cooled it with inhaling gyros at my desk.

As for settling in, that’s proceeding at tai chi pace. We still have mountains of stuff to slog through and shelve. It fills much of our factory space and about two thirds of our new location’s cavernous basement. It’s overwhelming. One of our sales associates thinks that the lost ark of the covenant is somewhere in there.

Some mountains of stuff.

Mountains of overwhelming.

Last week, I ventured down to that basement with my colleague, Godsend, to look for something other than the lost ark. We didn’t find what we were seeking, but I think we stumbled upon a piece of the San Andreas Fault.

"Don't step on that!"

“Godsend, don’t step on that!”

We made a quick exit to avoid antagonizing it.

We’re fairly settled in in my department’s new office space. The Boss has planted her roots; she’s shelved both her ceramic lizard and industrial sized light bulb.

Elspeth's lizard.

Elspeth’s lizard.

Elspeth's holy honking light bulb next to cup of headache pain reliever.

Elspeth’s holy honking light bulb next to cup of headache pain reliever.

I have followed her lead on a reduced scale. I placed my polished onyx alligator between my keyboard and monitor next to my favorite mystery tile.

Gator buddy.

Gator bud and don’t ask me what the thing behind it is.

Something that I could not take with me from our former location were the pigeons that perched on the sill outside my window and the mourning doves that cooed under the air conditioner. What’s outside my window now are subway trains rumbling on the elevated track and a symphony of horns honking on Queens Boulevard. Naturally, the horns honk most when I’m on the phone.

Seven train perched outside window.

The 7 train perched outside my window.

I think I might be going through something akin to bird watching withdrawal. Occasionally, I see a few when I’m waiting for the train to take me back home to Manhattan. I find the sight of a perched pigeon comforting, particularly if that pigeon is not perched on the bookcase in my sanctum sanctorum.

A pigeon perched in LIC, so close and yet so far.

A pigeon perched in LIC. So close and yet so far.

Recently, when I was home on the Upper West Side, I had this up close and personal encounter with a feathered friend.

I wish everyone well until whenever I next resurface.

Lame Adventure 467: Goodbye Manhattan

I have not been around much lately because I have been insanely busy working long hours at The Grind. One night I worked so late when I entered the subway, the car was completely empty.

Lights on, nobody home.

Lights on, nobody home.

Another night, the trains I normally take to head uptown stopped running altogether due to track work. That was supremely irritating.

My company’s 20-year lease in Tribeca is officially up tomorrow. When I was hired eleven years ago, I asked a manager how long the company’s lease was for. He laughed heartily and indicated that it was infinitely long. That guy’s long gone. I’m still there and infinity has reached its end point. Go figure.

For the past month, we have been packing up a business that’s been housed in a six story building in a picturesque, trendy neighborhood in lower Manhattan for two decades. We have tons of stuff. I think we may have miscalculated a tad the enormity of the task.

My almost packed office with Godsend's tissues atop a file box.

My almost packed office with Godsend’s tissues atop a file box.

When we’re not packing, we’re ditching. I have personally thrown out thousands of dollars worth of tile samples. I feel melancholy about that. Stu, our founder and owner, caught me looking quizzically at a piece of tile. He ordered:

Stu: Throw it out!

I have thrown out dumpster loads of tile, so much so that I ache in parts of my body that I never knew I could feel any pain. My inner Thor is not quite the brute she used to be. Physically, this is hard and I know that psychologically it’s not easy on Stu or my boss, his wife, Elspeth. Luckily, no one is too morose. The hardest moment in this ordeal was at the beginning when The Boss was bereft over losing her cat. Fortunately, the cat was never lost. She was hiding. Animals are smart. That cat knew some heavy shit was going on and she wanted nothing to do with it, but she likes to eat and sleep, so she surfaced quickly. The collective sigh of relief over that cat showing up was so loud in my department it could have registered on the Richter scale.

Sleep is so good!

Sleep is so good!

As soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, I will probably find myself working in Long Island City. That’s in Queens. The first order of business in the new location will be mega hours of unpacking. The commute will be different, the location will be different, but the people will be the same. My long-time colleague, Godsend, will continue to sit next to me. Our new building is in a desolate architecturally lacking area. There are no cool places nearby to grab a sandwich or a cupcake. No trendy bar for Godsend and I to quaff a pint at the end of the day. All I will likely want to do is head back to mainland Manhattan at warp speed. The view outside the window will be gone and so will all my pigeon pals, unless they decide to follow. I am not counting on that happening. They might be bird-brained, but they’re not idiots. They’ll take Manhattan.

"See ya! Don't wanna be ya!"

“See ya! Don’t wanna be ya!”

Lame Adventure 466: Testing My Limits

It is no secret that I am fond of pigeons. When they perch on the sill while I’m at The Grind, I welcome their visits.

Hello there!

Hello there!

I envy their freedom, their swagger and their ability to fly. The irony that they are on the outside of the bars while I’m on the inside is not lost on me. Every so often, mourning doves come around, too, like this pair that visited last month.

Mourning doves hanging out.

Mourning doves that dropped by.

Following a Sunday outing with my friend, Milton, I returned home, entered my abode and noticed that I had a guest perched on my bookshelf.

Guest inside my sanctum sanctorum.

Guest inside my sanctum sanctorum: “If I stay very, very still, I’m sure I’ll be invisible to her.”

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress in recent months. Nothing bad is going on, but I have been extremely preoccupied both at The Grind and on my own time. Two days earlier, on Friday before heading to the subway to go to The Grind, I heard a rustling sound inside my non-working fireplace.

It didn’t faze me.

As I was looking at the guest perched on my bookshelf, my first thought was:

Me: Huh. When did I get a stuffed pigeon?

Then, my guest blinked. I thought:

Me: Holy shit!

Next, I called Building Management. They were home in Brooklyn. They were unfazed, too. They told me to open the window.

Building Management: It’ll find its way out.

Me: How long might that take?

Building Management: Hit it with a broom.

Me (thinking): No way am I hitting it with a broom and risk literally scaring the crap out of it all over the place!

Me (saying): I don’t have a broom.

I have a vacuum cleaner and a whisk broom with a plastic frog handle.

Frog broom.

Frog broom.

Next, I called Milton. He laughed for five minutes straight, then advised:

Milton: Put on your rubber gloves, pick it up and throw it out the window!

Me: Are you insane? I have to climb up to it, it’s going to see me approaching, that should freak it out and then it might fly right at me. I’ll have a heart attack!

Milton: Hit it with a broom!

What is this about people wanting me to hit this poor creature with a broom? I’m not a violent person, I don’t own a broom and I would never hit it with a vacuum cleaner. It occurred to me that it had been in my apartment for three days, probably perched on that shelf the entire time, traumatized in these strange surroundings. It might have watched me ride my spin bike. Seeing me huff and puff in spandex could have traumatized it further. Had it flown around then, I would have certainly had a seizure. It is perverse to think that I had been completely oblivious to a pigeon perched inside my apartment for 72 hours.

It also occurred to me that it had not had anything to eat or drink since it flew out of the fireplace. Because I was not anticipating its visit, I didn’t have any appropriate provisions on hand: birdseed, bagel or pizza. Therefore, I was forced to improvise. I poured pellets of organic kamut, an ancient grain, and some water in a bowl. I placed the meal on a magazine outside the open window, hoping that my guest would chow down, then take the hint and fly away.

My guest didn’t stir.

So, I whistled.

My guest didn’t stir.

I clapped my hands.

My guest didn’t stir.

I shouted:

Me: Hey Birdy, look over here! Food, water, an open window!

Food, water and a Stella Artois ad to crap on, if nature calls.

Food, water and a Stella Artois ad to crap on if nature calls.

My guest didn’t stir.

I took a roll of wrapping paper and tapped it lightly on the talon.

My guest stirred big time, perched briefly on my spin bike’s handlebars and then flew behind a stack of sneaker boxes in an attempt to hide. I cleared the barricade. It was terrified and tried to press itself deeper against the wall. I felt so sorry for it. Then, a piece of a metal fan stand I have been meaning to throw out for the past two years, fell on its wing.

I nearly suffered a stroke and feared that the wing had been broken. Quickly I lifted off the fan stand. Luckily, the wing seemed okay. I was so grateful that stand did not hit it on its head.

I swooped down with gloved hands and picked it up. Pigeons are rather light. Its wings were flapping frantically. I extended my arms out the window, opened my hands and as it started to fly away, a breeze blew the cord from my blinds out the window and the pigeon got caught in the cord. I feared that the cord was strangling it, but only its wing was caught in the cord. It freed itself and flew straight to a tree across the courtyard.

Out this wide open window Birdy flew!

Out this wide open window Birdy flew! Eventually.

We both breathed an epic sigh of relief.

I have not found a single dropping. It was a considerate guest.

But I really prefer you guys perched outside.

But I really prefer you guys perched outside.