June 8, 2012

Great minds thinking alike

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 12:16 am by chavisory

“You take all your interests and all your preoccupations and you kind of fill up a bucket.  And the stuff that runs off, over the top, is a song, or is a novel.”  -Josh Ritter

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.  The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  -Ray Bradbury

Two men whose writing has meant the world to me.

Josh had just better plan on sticking around a while longer….

May 2, 2012

Incongruity

Posted in City life, Weird stuff tagged , at 12:05 am by chavisory

I was on my way to an event in Times Square last week when I smelled…what in my childhood memory is the smell of driving through southern Kansas….

Yep.  Oil.

The only thing weirder than walking past oil pumps in Times Square?…was watching the number of people who walked right past them without even blinking.

December 23, 2011

Onion-esque, volume 5

Posted in Onion-esque tagged , , , at 12:08 am by chavisory

While I gather my wits for a more substantial post, please enjoy this edition of “Headlines that should be from the Onion, but are not.”

“Despite careful calculations, the world does not end.” –New York Times, 5/21/11

“City strewn with perverts.” –AMNY, 6/15/11  (I know the situation isn’t funny, but the imagery is.)

“Girls Meet Bieber in Meeting Brokered by President Obama.” –gawker.com, 6/27/11

“China admits officials cannot levitate.” –New York Times, 6/30/11

“Cowboy monks quit the cattle business.” –New York Times, 8/14/11

“Bisexual men do exist, study finds.” –New York Times, 8/21/11

“Why do college students love getting wasted?” –Salon.com, 8/29/11

“Do we really need a national weather service?” –foxnews.com, 8/27/11 (i.e., the weekend of Hurricane Irene, which swiped the entire east coast of the United States from the Carolinas to Massachusetts and Vermont.  Yeah.)

“White House Says No Evidence of Extra-Terrestrials.” –AP, 11/7/11

“Rick Perry fails to remember what agency he’d get rid of in GOP debates.” –cbsnews.com, 11/9/11

“Starbucks toilet mutiny exposes reliance.” –New York Times, 11/22/11

December 7, 2011

Happy holidays…

Posted in City life tagged , , at 1:35 pm by chavisory

…from my neighbors in Manhattan Valley…

 

 

I have mentioned that I love my neighborhood, right?

November 9, 2011

Reality: Ur doin’ it wrong.

Posted in City life, Lists, Reality tagged , , , , , at 10:48 pm by chavisory

On Fantasy

 Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

-George R. R. Martin, author

**********

I feel much the same way as GRRM about fantasy—that it connects us to a deep internal knowledge and history of our own psyches, and recalls something huge and eternal in us.  Epic fantasy, when I was in middle and high school, assured me that there was so much more worth living for than my schools and community were trying to tell me.

But I’m not sure about his dim view of reality…as opposed to the disposable and shallow nature of much of what is sold to us as “reality,” and told we have to accept as the scope of our adult lives.

May I suggest, that if strip malls, plastic and plywood define your reality, and you don’t like it…you’re doing reality wrong.

Because reality is all that stuff, George, but reality is also—

The whistle and rumbling murmur of an early-morning train.

Reality is the first pale green shoots of peppermint pushing up through the dirt in March.

Reality is the guy who plays Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” on Peruvian pan pipes in the Times Square subway station.

Reality is the stunning silence of a great blue heron taking flight.

Reality is the old Hispanic men in my neighborhood who sit outside in the summertime, playing an eternal sidewalk game of dominos with their boomboxes turned up loud.

Reality is sunset over the Hudson River.

Reality is moonlight, starlight, candle light, lantern light.

Reality is creaky old bookstores, and the thrill of reading a forbidden book hidden between the shelves.

Reality is the feel of sand as soft as cake flour under your feet.

Reality is the smell of wood smoke on the first cold night of fall.

Reality is stained glass, dark coffee, red wine, rosewood incense.  The brush of a fat cat around your ankles, the way evening light moves over the Brooklyn Bridge and tops of the sycamore trees, rooftop Fourth of July parties with the sky on fire around you, waking up on a foggy morning in the Catskill mountains, the sound of the concertmaster tuning an orchestra, tiny cemeteries behind old churches, hidden waterfalls, thunder in a snowstorm, the way deer’s eyes shine in the dark in a flashlight beam.

Nurture magic, wonder, and beauty wherever they occur in your life.  They are real—far more real than strip malls, suburban office parks, and Disneyland—whatever anyone tells you.

November 3, 2011

Sights that make me feel like a lucky human being

Posted in City life tagged , , at 11:41 pm by chavisory

Sunset over the far west side of Manhattan, from our rehearsal studio last night.

September 15, 2011

Coffee shop cat

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged , at 12:20 pm by chavisory

Trixie, guardian cat of the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

September 2, 2011

Morning fog

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:34 pm by chavisory


From my last morning at our rehearsal retreat in Tivoli, NY before heading home.

August 25, 2011

Why nerds matter

Posted in Cool kids, Reflections, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:10 am by chavisory

Last summer, I wrote a post rather emotionally detailing my issues with the thinking behind a new reality show, NERD GIRLS, which was then in the casting process.  That post (Real nerd girls; June 2, 2010) has by far and away generated the most page views to my blog of anything that I’ve written…though not always in the way I might’ve imagined or intended.

See, WordPress has this nifty feature whereby you can see which search engine terms are bringing readers to your blog.  The following are some of the actual phrases that internet surfers have entered into search engines which brought them to my post “Real nerd girls.”

“real nerd girls”  (Okay, fair enough.)
“actual nerdy girls”
“real pretty nerd ladies”
“hot nerd girl not real nerd” (Yeah, well, sorry to disappoint you.)
“sexy girl in renaissance dress fuck”  (I admit to being particularly impressed by this searcher’s ability to spell “renaissance” correctly.)
“hot actual nerd girls?”  (The tone of that question mark is just so forlorn….)
“nerd girls in short skirts”
“live nerd girls looking for me”  (Uh, no.)
“romantic girls girls hot sexy just engineers real”  (Dude… )
“fetish pics from women in waders”  (……. )

But then there was one that actually broke my heart.

“I don’t want to be a nerd anymore.”

I have no way of knowing who the searcher was who made this request, and I rather doubt that he or she is still reading, obviously having not found the solution here.  But, I don’t know, just in case…or in case anyone else comes looking…

***

Dear nerdling,

At risk of sounding patronizing, which is not my intention…I know how hard it is.  I really do.  I won’t try to minimize what you’re going through, because I’m sure you’ve got enough people trying to do that.  I remember only too well what it’s like to feel awkward, ugly, left out, and like no one gives a damn about you.

But I can’t tell you how not to be a nerd, because I don’t know…and I’m not sure I’d tell you even if I knew.  Because here’s what I do know:

High school (or, god forbid, middle school?) is not the best time of your life.  Do not believe anyone who tells you it is, or that it should be.  Life gets far better for nerds after high school in most cases.  The adult world is much, much kinder to nerds than the adolescent world is.

Nerds are not superficial beings.  What makes you a nerd isn’t on the surface, so there’s nothing you can do to yourself cosmetically that will make you not a nerd.  Not makeup or prettier hair.  Not better clothes, cuter shoes, or any amount of waxing or plucking.  Not mani/pedicures, piercings or tattoos.  Some of the most sexy and attractive people I know are still nerds.  If you’re a nerd, you’re a nerd all the way through.

Nerds believe that knowledge matters, that information matters, and that truth matters.  You might manage to hide or suppress that belief for social convenience, for a limited amount of time, but I doubt you can make yourself unbelieve it.

Nerds are passionate.  Nerds are intensely interested in how the world works.  Nerds thrive in places where bottomless passion is valued rather than scorned.  Nerds care about the world around them.

Nerds tend to be very, very good at what they do, and doing something they love, because they do it for its own sake and not for what other people think.  (And we don’t just do science or technology, but also all the arts and humanities, teaching, politics…anything that takes passion and attention to detail.  Don’t let anyone try to push you into science or math just because you’re smart if that’s not what you want.  I know dancers and actors who are Ivy League grads with higher SAT scores than me.  You don’t owe anyone whatever use of your intelligence they happen to want from you.)

Nerds are in touch with their own inner lives.

Nerds never lose the ability to be amazed.

Nerds are genuine.  Nerds aren’t ashamed to be sincere.

Nerds aren’t embarrassed to take things seriously, but also know how not to take themselves too seriously.

Because nerds aren’t addicted to popularity or social approval, they’re better at standing up for what’s right, and standing up for other people, even when it’s unpopular.

And in my experience with people, because nerds remember how hard it was to be young, they make nicer adults.

***

So to not be a nerd anymore, you’d have to somehow smother your curiosity, your sense of wonder, your joy for whatever it is that you love, your empathy, sincerity, and inclination to think for yourself.  Now, you MIGHT be able to accomplish that–again, I wouldn’t know how–but my strong suspicion is that, much like the making of a Horcrux, it might seem like a cool idea from the outset, but the actual process would do such violence to the integrity of your soul that it would be soooo not worth it in the end.

Please reconsider?  At least just give it some time.  Because all the happiest people I know are the ones who have figured out how to accept themselves for who they truly are.  And most of the very most wonderful people I know are nerds.

***

August 13, 2011

Your recommended daily allowance of adorableness

Posted in City life tagged , , , at 4:30 pm by chavisory

Baby turtles.  That is all.

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