kitchen_kink: (hawaii sign)
Hi, fab friends list,

I'm looking for a place to crash in Manhattan on the night of Nov. 19. The venue I'll be going to is the Society of Illustrators, at 128 East 63rd Street.

I'm searching hotels on Hotwire, and it gives me only neighborhoods until I book. What neighborhood would you say that address is in?

There is no way not to end the previous sentence with a preposition. Dammit.

(Well, there is, but I'm impatient right now.)
kitchen_kink: (mercenary)
Say for the sake of argument that you lived outside Teele Square, off Broadway, near 16 and the Arlington border.

1. What's the nearest park-like thing in walking distance?

2. Where's a good place that's bikeable-to for running on grass or other non-asphalt turf?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Seattle. It's a strange city for me. The first and only other time I was here was at the crossroads between the beginning of one relationship and the ending of another. Both were incredibly important to me; in this particular case, one had to win out over the other, though I wished it could be otherwise. A trip to Seattle was a brief respite from that struggle, a time to relax and be distracted and try to make it all work again. So the city is a bit fraught with that feeling, still.

The inn I'm staying at smells funny, but is beautiful. It's a bit of a schlep from the city, but driving there is simple. Our room is lovely, and [ profile] imlad is in it now, passed out on the bed while I wait for Chinese food to come. Glamorous, I know. We've been marching around Pioneer Square and the Space Needle and so on all day, and are still jetlagged. My body thinks it's midnight, but is starving anyway.

The inn is quiet but for a loud mantel clock down in the living room area. It ticks quite comfortingly and a few minutes ago charmingly struck the hour of nine. I'm appreciating the quiet, the break, the ability to just sit and read a magazine and, well, not be planning a wedding anymore.

(The wedding. Ah yes. More on that later. It was...indescribable. I'm still absorbing all of it.)

Today we went to the Elliot Something Bookstore, the cafe in which is supposedly the model for Cafe Nervosa on the show Frasier. In it, we met these two very intelligent, snarky and well-spoken brothers who told us all the great places to go along the coast, and of course disagreed and contradicted each other at every opportunity...

My food is here. More soon.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
On Russell St. between Orchard and Elm, someone has put out what looks like a perfectly good weight bench or exercise equipment of some sort. I have absolutely no place to put it in my apartment, but I thought somebody else might like to have it!
kitchen_kink: (meditative)
It's the shortest night of the year. Rum singing in my head atop the sweet whorls of passionfruit and mango, I float in and out of shadow, strolling home.

Once or twice I practice a stance of defense, an alert posture learned from years of city living, the dance of you-can't-be-too-careful in a town where I've never known trouble.

It's quiet. I don't see a soul. A bird sings so many different tunes in a row I wonder if it's a machine, duplicating birdsong, that someone has hung in a tree in the ballpark just outside the square. I remember a story about a city mockingbird who'd learned to ape car alarms. One after another, this one sings tunes for a sore ear in the middle of the shortest night of the year.

Every air conditioner rattles; every streetlamp hums. Along with the idling of taxis, the silence forms a subtle chord, tuning to the harmonics of neon in the pizza-shop window, the fluroesence of a disembodied hand hefting a Coollatta to eternity.

Even the hippest coffee shops have closed.

My muscles sing the warmth of a night walk, alone, safe. A police car rambles around the block with nothing to do. The sidewalk trees sigh. In the doorway of the Goodwill, amid the debris of the day's donations, a bearded man peacefully sleeps.
kitchen_kink: (sparkly doubt)
On the wall at the Diesel is an ad for Lily's Cleaning Service.

The graphic on the ad is a very nice photograph...of an iris.


for [ profile] regyt

Feb. 7th, 2005 12:44 am
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I've never quite understood New York. I like it well enough, but ultimately I find it too big, too ungainly and overwhelming, and after a few days there I'm usually happy to leave and get back to my funky suburb of my manageable little city.

But I appreciate people with a fierce love for a place like that; I think it says something brave and sharp and indomitable about them. People who love New York seem to me to be harder than most folks, but purer, too, more fully themselves. People who love New York have to protect their own personalities, not to get trampled or stripped by that impossible, merciless confusion. It crushes people under its teeming pressure until the ones who survive it are diamonds. [ profile] dr_memory is another such sort. But when I read this passage in Jeanette Winterson's Gut Symmetries (incidentally, a book that's great in parts, but overall disappointing for those who love Winterson generally), I thought of [ profile] regyt.

[After the first time she sleeps with her married lover, the main character Alice takes a midnight walk from Central Park to the Battery to think.]

I ignored the Stop-Go of the endless intersection traffic lights and took my chance across the quieted roads. Not night, not day, the city was suspended, its cries and shouts fainter now, its roar a rumble, like something far off. In the centre of it I felt like a creature on the edge. This is a city of edges, grand sharp, precipitous, unsafe. It is a city of corners not curves. Always a choice has to be made; which way now? A city of questions, mouthy and insolent, a built Sphinx to riddle at the old world.

I learned to feel comfortable in New York the way a fakir learns to feel comfortable on a bed of nails; enjoy it. Beauty and pain are not separate. That is so clear here. It is a crucible city, an alchemical vessel where dirt and glory do effect transformation. No one who succumbs to this city remains as they were. Its indifference is its possibility. Here you can be anything.

If you can. I was quite aware that much of what gets thrown into an alchemical jar is destroyed. Self-destroyed. The alchemical process breaks down substances according to their own laws. If there is anything vital, it will be distilled. If not...

Undecieve yourself Alice, a great part of you is trash.

True, but my hope lies in the rest.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I voted today in Somerville. Totally painless. However, the ballot was a weird one I'd never seen before, where you connect the head of the arrow to the point of the arrow. WTF, mate?

At Porter Square today, I saw a sign posted to two strange-looking green pole-like objects. The sign said, "What is this thing? I must know. Email me at ________________." I found this hilarious.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I'm walking towards the English department and then my classes at Such-and-Such University, wearing the regulation dress khakis, white French-cuff blouse, and black blazer of Beacon Hill workaday denizens. Walk up the short hill of Park Street toward the autumnally-glittering dome of the State House, where, once I'm in proximity, I hear a familiar sound: the adenoidally coarse voice of a particular, clearly mentally ill homeless man comically growling his usual refrain: "Can anyone spaaarre any chaaange?"

I've seen this guy before, but not in a long while. Generally I used to run into him trolling the Common down by Emerson, around Tremont Street. His request is always the same, and is simultaneously friendly and threatening in its loud insistance. You can hear him all the way down the street, long before you see his listing walk, his spasmodically outstretched hand, his bearded, blank face.

Today he's standing right in front of that glittering dome, and as I watch, a tall, trim, young security type with a hat like a forest ranger comes up behind him, a billy club in one hand.

"You cannot stand in front of the State House soliciting donations," he says to the man.

"Could you spaarre any chaaange?" the man responds, his hand stretched wildly to the side and upwards, as if he hopes the change will fall from the sky.

"You cannot stand in front of the State House solicting donations," the uniform repeats, as if echoing the man's disorder.

The man turns around toward the general throng. "Can anyone spare some change?"

"Sir," the uniform is close to yelling now, "you cannot stand in front of the state house soliciting donations! Move along, please."

The man turns, coming to himself a little. "I'll go across the street," he says, sounding like a stalled Muppet. And he starts to move.

"Keep going. On down the hill," the guard says. The man limps away, arms doing their own thing independent of his body. The guard stands there a moment, looking after him. I think of asking him, "Excuse me, but what law is it you're enforcing exactly?" But in my hurry, and usual cowardice of authority, I don't.


In the elevator, crowded and ascending to the eleventh floor of the classroom building at Such-and-such, I crowd back as an older man, portly and wearing a hearing aid, enters at the eighth. The doors close and we continue upwards, at which point the man turns and says, "Oh, we're going up?"

"Afraid so," I say.

"Do you suppose it will go down again?"

" has to eventually. We're going to the eleventh floor."

"Really!" he says, his interest perking. "What happens there?"

"Um. On the eleventh floor?"

"Yes. What do you do there?"

"I have classes there."

"Oh!" he says, brightening even more. "You go to classes here?"

"Well," I say, "I teach here."

"Ah," he says, deflating a little. "I teach here, too. And I didn't think people went to classes here."

"That's basically true," I say, and exit to the teeming hallway.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
"Barnaby Evans’ WaterFire® is an artwork involving movement, participation and surprise. When visitors encounter WaterFire, they cannot absorb the sculpture from just their sense of sight or even from a single vantage point -- they must walk through the installation and they must use all five of their senses. WaterFire is full of motion -- throughout the night the firetenders stoke the fires, the boats move past the flames, the rivers flow quietly beneath the braziers, and the flickering flames reflect off the dark surface of the water animating the architectural fabric of the city."

A few weeks ago, I went to Providence at last to experience WaterFire. Neat, I thought: bonfires on canals. Should be cool. So [ profile] imlad and I piled into the car and endured the annoyingly trafficy drive to Providence and met up with my old friend C. and her friend, K.

I'd only been in Providence a few times, and, being there mainly to see shows, I wasn't so much gazing at the architecture. This time I saw everything by daylight, and had the opportunity to walk around downtown. The preservation and neatness of the old buildings here puts Boston's counterpart to shame. And besides, there are all of these canals running through the city, along the edges of parks, with bridges over them, with statues and stone libraries and brick and cobblestone everywhere...this is a place where you really feel New England.

After having dinner we strolled down and saw where they were still lighting the fires. In the middle of the canals, at regular intervals, stood braziers filled with wood. Long black boats with names like Prometheus passed them with torches, setting them instantly ablaze. This was a fairly impressive sight. The lighters wore all black as well, giving the boats the solemnity of funeral vessels. And we strolled along the banks as it grew darker, and watched the fire flicker on the surface of the water. At the end of the line, we looked down the canal to see them all lit in a line, like an endless string of holiday lights.


And for a while, that was it. Okay: pretty. Fire and water. Yay! There was music floating from speakers installed beneath the bridges, creating maximum resonance in this outdoor setting. Haunting things, sounding like Eastern European composers (I later found out that what sounded like Arvo Part probably was), arias from Italian operas, snippets from especially moving film scores. We kept on walking. At some point I became aware of the woodsmoke smell, and the scent of the fuel they were using to light the braziers so efficiently. My head became heavy and light at the same time, and with muffled senses I strolled along, entranced by the flames. At a beautiful stone railing we stopped again and stared out. Some unspeakably gorgeous piece of music was echoing through the space: a mournful alto singing in some unknown language, over some intense instrumentation I cannot recall. I only know I felt I wanted to close my eyes and listen, but I have a voice in my head that tells me how I am supposed to experience art, and a conflicting desire made me want to keep them open and watch the flames. But at last I felt a moment of calm assurance that a few moments of isolated listening was what I wanted, and so, I gave in and my eyelids dropped soundlessly. The voice washed over me, the smell of the wood still reaching me, the fires still flickering behind my eyelids, the sound of their crackling a counterpoint to the music, and I entered a mystical realm of experience: the feeling of being nowhere and in no time, being within a bubble of sound, that sound at once the only thing existing, and the irony striking only afterwards that music, entirely dependent on the passage of time for human perception, is one of the few things that can transfix me in utter timelessness.

We continued to walk, and I was quiet, observing. Fires. Smells. More haunting music. Passing beneath the stone bridges, where there were hanging chandeliers and sconces alive with candles, creating the feeling of a medieval castle. What had seemed like a simple arrangement of elements had become spellbinding.

A bit later, we moved away from the water and checked out some of the exhibits nearby: a collection of large sculptures, one of which threatened to eat us (but which we frightened out of it by banging with our feet simultaneously on its metal hull); a mile of sidewalk chalk drawings in different levels of skill; a combination magician/mime, who actually did neither but wore a top hat over his adorable red head and created small origami creatures as we watched, then soundlessly handed them to children (including our C.); and the gargoyles.

The gargoyles might be getting a short story of their own. They were two men, dressed in horned workboots, tight jeans and pieced-together padded armor painted the same shade of stone grey. Their facial masks were in pieces to allow them expression, and their fingers were extended into spindly points. Left alone, they sat at the base of a huge statue, unmoving. Given a little money, they would animate and interact: scritching your head with a quizzical look, kissing your hand, even grabbing you a bit. One engaged in a staring contest with a child who eventually shrugged and walked away, leaving the gargoyle to put his head in his hands, distraught. One woman stood with him for a while, exploring touch and engaging in a kind of slow contact improv. Interactive spontaneous street performance. I yearned to explore their inner lives.

At last we walked up the hill to beautiful Benefit St., where C. had parked her car, which was full of Camus and apples. We ate luscious Cortlands and parted ways.

WaterFire does a full lighting for the last time this year on October 9. If you can make it, do. But remember to spend a few hours and be patient. This is an experience that washes over you.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I just know someone reading me is looking for an excellent place to live.

Just so happens, [ profile] ert has bought a house in Somerville, on Spring Hill, and has a big-ol' 4 bedroom apartment available. It looks like this:

Pictures here!

Come on, now, you know you want it...
kitchen_kink: (thinking)
Overheard on the loudspeakers in Park St. station today (and oddly enough, for once I could understand what they were saying):

"Attention ladies and gentlemen: For the safety and sanity of your fellow passengers, no smiling is permitted on MBTA platforms or trains at any time. No smiling, please!"
kitchen_kink: (Default)
It's (mostly) official: [ profile] imlad and I are hitting New York this weekend.

Anyone down there wanna hang out?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
It is a miracle of a first day of spring in Boston, and I'm wearing a short skirt. The world is stretching and coming awake; on my lunchtime walk the ground in the Public Garden gives beneath my boots, and willow bark sings under my hand.

And of course, everyone's looking up and feeling frisky.

On a ten minute walk, I must have received three honked horns, four direct and mildly offensive addresses, and who-knows how many stares. "Nice legs," said one. "I like your skirt," put in another. Does this ever actually work for people, I wonder? I mean, do they pick people up this way? I wonder to myself, also, why I find a stare (not a bold or lecherous stare, just a kind of "stopped" one) flattering, but a remark degrading.

Just when my light mood was about to change, a man came up beside me at the intersection of Boylston and Arlington Streets, waiting to cross. He's clearly homeless, with a ratty jacket and cap, long white hair and unkempt beard. He carries an empty, dirty coffee cup. He looks at me and says, somehow completely non-sexually, "If nobody's told you today, I will: you're beautiful." He smiles, without threat or malice.

I actually said, "Thank you."

"Happy spring!" he exclaimed, turning and seeming to indicate all that meant "spring" that he could find in the span of his arms. "FINally!"

"Damn right," I said, and the light changed.

"How about that," he said with some wonder. "That taxi actually didn't run the red light."

I started to cross, smiling. He wandered into traffic holding his cup, saying, to nobody I could see, "It happens that I've just run out of excuses..."
kitchen_kink: (Default)
The muting, crushing snow that fell so insistently yesterday upset me somewhat; I am ready for spring to be here, and the warm day before the storm tricked me into longing.

But beneath the blizzard I could feel its tenuousness; it was still too warm for this, it would melt, and this would be the last of it.

I went out with my love last night to the scene of the crime to celebrate a year together. Seeing him sit across from me at that restaurant brought back everything I fell in love with him for. I stared into his eyes and vistas opened before me.

This morning I awoke refreshed despite the wine and the later evenings activities. Sun was streaming in, and I made the 8:10 bus for once. At Kendall, I waited 15 minutes for the bus that I ordinarily miss. But the waiting was sweet: the sun positively beamed, not just with light, but heat; the snow piled atop the greenhouse-style glass enclosure at the station slowly slid down and plopped, bit by bit, onto the brick below. A cute boy at the stop and I watched it, curiously, and each other, surreptitiously.

Springishness does strange things. I asked someone if she was waiting for the CT2, and rather than the curt grunts of January I received an affirmative, a wry smile, and a brief conversation. I stood again and watched the shadows the snow on the glass made on the walls and floor beneath, and suggested we place bets on which clump would fall next. Behind the clock tower in the square, white smoke arose and plumed in all directions, dancing apart in the sky, impossible just-washed blue.

And I thought of my novel, the one I haven't worked on since '99, the one I promised I'd write but had abandoned for a new, memoirish project, which is getting nowhere.

I got to work and opened the novel on my desktop. I read a chapter: it's good. It's quite good. A few missteps in language, some overly literary self-indulgence, but it's intriguing, linguistically rhythmic, haunting, strange.

And I think I'm ready to work on it again.


kitchen_kink: (Default)

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