Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm in love with a Sucklord

Has anyone been watching this season of Work of Art on Bravo?  There’s just…something about one of the contestants that makes my heart flutter. He calls himself, “The Sucklord.” This is hilarious on so many levels, most of all because the very serious gallery owners/art critics/industry luminaries that judge on the show have to refer to him as such. As in, “It’s time for your crit, Sucklord,” and, “Let’s talk about The Sucklord’s piece.” 


It was probably entirely intentional on Bravo’s part to begin the first episode with him looking like a bit of a douche. He works within the idiom of youth pop culture: action figures, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings references. It was kind of hard to get a read on him. He came across as a street-tough with an attitude problem, but we’re only a few shows into the season and already he’s melting into a big sugary puddle of awesome. At 42, he’s on the older side of the spectrum among the other contestants, but let me tell you: between his baby face and his ability to (literally) charm the tops off of the ladies on the show, you’d never guess it. 

This week the artists were paired up with children and The Sucklord was instantly taken with his little charge. He actually got choked up talking about her and how he wanted to make her proud of him. This is not The Sucklord I assumed he would be! It just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a sucklord by his cover. An important life lesson.

Unfortunately, my money is not on The Sucklord getting too far in the competition* unless he takes the judges' advice and gets out of his comfort zone, which seems to be the realm of the extremely literal. There are a lot of talented artists in this cast; a much more intriguing batch than last year, so he has his work cut out for him. But I’m pulling for The Sucklord personally, if not stylistically. I may not “get” what he’s trying to do, but he’s so darn cute while he does it that I don’t want him to go home. 

*My faves thus far are Michelle, Kymia and Sara.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wedding Singing!

This is super duper old news, but I keep forgetting to post it.

Here's a video of my first foray into wedding singing! It was one of the loveliest wedding venues I've ever seen (The Saratoga Museum of Dance) and Chelsea and Nick are the sweetest. A delight all around.

Leigh from Clark+Walker Studio on Vimeo

(Mori)Bus Philosophorum: Two Morals

A few days ago I was on the shuttle by myself and struck up a conversation with one of the regular drivers. We chatted about colony collapse disorder, the plight of small farmers and ecological sustainability. Then he told me a story from a documentary he’d seen. I don’t know the title or how faithful the story is to the film, but it made me smile so I’m going to tell you:

There was a man who was bogged down by the emotional weight of the world. He was troubled by crime and poverty, violence and despair. So he went on a spiritual journey to a remote monastery in search of some answers. At this monastery, the monks used a psychedelic substance because they thought it connected them with a“higher power.” They invited him to partake and he did, with the intention of trying to figure out how to fix the world’s problems. When he came down off of the drug, they asked him if he had uncovered a solution. He smiled and said, “There’s nothing to solve. Everything’s perfect just the way it is.”

I love that. Everything might seem doomed and out of control, but it’s not. It’s perfect. So, that’s the moral of the story. That and...listen to your bus driver. He might drop some crazy philosophy on you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Nation Under Gaudiness

I've been sick as a dog for the past few days and have spent an embarrassing amount of time channel-surfing. Apparently there are allllll sorts of crazy digital cable channels I didn't even know I had, like Fear Net which is all horror movies, all the time. Awesome. While wrapped up in a Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman marathon (don't judge me) I kept seeing infomercials for a piece of "art" called 'One Nation Under God.' At first I thought it was a joke, but sadly it is not. I'm not going to post a picture of it because this guy seems a little off his rocker, but you can check it out here:

The painting, itself, is as pedestrian as it gets, but I love the artist's response to criticisms. He seems awfully bitter and maybe not thick-skinned enough to be hawking his art on television

For example (and this isn't even the best of it:)

"Great art causes one to feel. To feel deeply. I knew this painting would evoke emotion on both sides. (...) I don't care if the composition is outdated or whether some other artist may have painted their composition better than me."

Well aren't we defensive? Great art? I scoff, sir. Great art isn't set up by, "But wait...THERE'S MORE!" Great art isn't $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Try again. 

I'm not even going to get into the fact that Satan is over there hanging out with the liberals.  That's obviously true.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Albany used to be WAY more fun, apparently

This was forwarded to me by one of my bosses. I present it to you without comment. Click to enlarge:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Must be...ALIVE

My friend Tricia passed along this hilarious retro job posting.* I love these things. Can you imagine seeing this in a newspaper and thinking, "I'd be perfect for this job! 16 years old...alive...DELECTABLE. Point me towards your HR department, sirs." One of the many reasons I'm thankful for having been born in the 80s. (Click on the image to see a larger, readable version.)

*Is it real? Don't ask me. It looks pretty real. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Too Long for Twitter...Too Lazy to Abbreviate

This is a non-story. Forewarned.

So last night I was in the mood for a take-out dinner of some sort. I just didn't feel like venturing into the kitchen (probably because of the leaning tower of dishes in the sink) and the first thing that popped into my head was Bombers. I've recently become ob-freaking-sessed with their tequila wings. Extra extra crispy. That sounded delicious to me, but then I started mentally adding up my bill.

'I'll get the wings and, since I'm going there, I have to get barbeque tofu fries, too. And I haven't tried the chicken taco yet, so I'll get one of those. But then the veggie chicken nuggets will feel jealous...and lord knows I love me a veggie chicken nugget.'

It just became too much. I figured I'd be spending at least $15 on dinner for myself which, while not that crazy, it's a pinch to the wallet.

I don't know what possessed me to go to Brueggers. Maybe a powerful hunger (I hadn't eaten all day?) Maybe it had just been a while since I had my classic: an everything bagel with olive pimento cream cheese. Three sandwiches later (the aforementioned everything/olive, plus an Herby turkey to combat the munchies later on that night, and a ham with provolone on sesame for Josh) I was out...I couldn't even believe it...$15 and change. For three itty bitty sandwiches.

Am I getting cheap in my old age? Perhaps. But in my day, a bagel with cream cheese cost, like, two dollars. I think they charged $1.90 at Bagel Tyme in Kinderhook back in the gay nineties. Come to think of it, that's where I developed my love for the masterpiece that is the everything bagel. They understand (as does Brueggers) that, "everything," includes big chunks of pretzel salt.

Lesser bagel purveyors, take note.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Exciting News

I'm super excited to share that I'll be contributing to All Over Albany's Sunday Soapbox series. My first piece will run this weekend, so get ready! Since I started blogging a few years ago, Mary and Greg have been unflaggingly kind and supportive, which I appreciate more than I can say. I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to work with them, and look forward to a long and happy collaboration!

Be sure to read this weekend (and every day, because, I mean, c'mon. There's always something entertaining going on at AOA.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Mori)Bus Philosophorum: Desactivar la Perra de Radio

My new self-improvement goal is to stop bitching about stuff that I can’t change. I’m trying really really hard to adjust my own reaction to things when people are impolite or the world doesn’t do exactly what I’d like it to. Last week when I saw someone throw some trash on the ground at the bus stop, instead of giving them an earful, I just picked up the wrapper and tossed it into the trash can. Minimal stress, maximum results. And because I didn’t confront the person, she had no reason to be offended, and even looked slightly guilty when I glanced back at her. Results.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ballad of Big Daddy, the Anatomically Correct Bull

It’s probably been fifteen years (at least) since I’ve set foot into a Ponderosa Steakhouse. Growing up, my mother, grandmother, and one of my aunts all worked as servers in the East Greenbush restaurant, so we spent a lot of time there. Many many bowls of ice milk were greedily spooned into our teenaged maws, and we always went back for more dinner after dessert. I remember being in love with their mozzarella sticks and, most importantly, their chicken wings. Those glorious, delicately spicy, crispy wings. My mother once witnessed someone try to sneakily fill a pillowcase with the things. They certainly had the right idea.

So when some of my Twitter buddies expressed the desire to make a pilgrimage to the only remaining Ponderosa in the area (it’s in Amsterdam. So, you know, now you have one reason to go to Amsterdam) I was embarrassingly jazzed. I could still taste and smell the place in my mind’s eye, and since I just recently started eating chicken again, it seemed like a great idea. Oh, was it ever.

Everything was exactly as I remembered it, right down to the assortment of gloopy, brightly colored ambrosia salads. I avoided those as diligently as I would have back in 1993. Just about everything I sampled fell somewhere between perfectly workable and pure heaven. The salad mix and baby spinach were actually quite fresh (only one shriveled leaf among them, and you know how quickly baby spinach can turn.) The macaroni salad and coleslaw were both over-mayonnaised, but I dealt with it, preferring too much to not enough. I couldn’t entirely tell if the mashed potatoes were reconstituted potato flakes, but they were fluffy and mixed well with the buttered peas. The chicken wings were phenomenal. I stopped at four of them, but probably could have eaten about twenty.

The highlight of the meal, for me, was the fruit cobbler, which I thought was blueberry but turned out to be cherry (or something.) I maintain that it tasted very, “blueberry-y,” and it was, like, stupid good. It may have been the best cobbler I’ve ever had. Topped with a little soft-serve ice milk that melted around it, everyone at the table agreed that it was damn good.

Overall, I kind of expected to be disappointed by how nostalgia doesn’t always jive with reality, but in this case it totally did. Everything was as good or better than I remembered. It’s nowhere near gourmet but it’s inexpensive and casual and there are actually some relatively healthy options. Topped off with a manager who cracked us up (“Those teenagers are always moving my magnets!”) and a few shots at the Skill Crane, it was a delightful evening. And, remember, all the cholesterol at Ponderosa is GOOD cholesterol, because it’s delicious and it means well. It’s science.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good God!

I’ve been thinking a lot about God lately. We grew up in a pretty religious house. My mom was heavily involved with the Catholic church, and we were raised to be devout little versions of her. We prayed a lot. I remember praying for all sorts of things: clear skin, more confidence, for my parents to finally give in and let me go to the MC Hammer concert with my fourth grade best friend.  It was delightful, in retrospect, to sing in the choir and to go on the annual retreats to the Powell House (a Quaker meeting house at the bird sanctuary in Chatham. Have you ever been there? It’s one of my favorite places on earth. They have a sunken library. ‘Nuf said.)  

Even when I went away to college I continued going to mass, every so often. My very first boyfriend once said to me, “I’ve never met anyone as into Catholicism as you are.” It was right at that moment that I realized I’d only been going through the motions; standing, kneeling, singing on command. I thought back to all of the things I’d prayed for (which I saw as being mostly superficial, honestly) and never received and it upset me. I recognized that, for all the ways I was being a good little Catholic, I didn’t actually have faith. I didn’t believe any of it.

It’s interesting to me how, as society develops and evolves, we move from the polytheistic beliefs of ancient cultures, to modern monotheism and the (inevitable?) next step, atheism. I can’t call myself a true atheist, because all possibilities are equally likely, so I suppose now I’m agnostic. I’ve been re-reading Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where Pirsig explores the concepts of quality and goodness (or, “godness,” if you look at the original root of the word) and he acknowledges that as the, higher power. See, that rings true with me. It makes more sense that there isn’t so much a human-shaped all-powerful god-person hanging out up in heaven, but more an overarching force of good and love. We personify that because it is comfortable to us, but as we as a species learn more about the world around us, we need that crutch less and less.

These days, instead of praying and asking for things, I meditate and wait for what I truly need to come to me. Prayer and meditation may seem cultures apart but they are really just different ways of connecting with something larger than oneself, whether that’s, “God,” or the Universe or nature or whatever. Is there a Biblical God like the one I grew up with? I don’t know. All I know is that, twenty years later, I still have bad skin, I’m still hopelessly self-conscious, and I’ve still never seen MC Hammer in concert.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2011. One time, years ago, I actually made a New Year's resolution and stuck with it for six whole months. It was exercise-related and was the only time in my adult life I was under 150 pounds. This year, for some reason, I feel like I can conquer the world. It may have something to do with a successful professional leap I took over the weekend (beginning my sure-to-be illustrious career as a part-time wedding singer) but, whatever it stems from, I'm seizing the moment, daggummit, and making a whole slew of resolutions. Hopefully one will stick.

I resolve to:
  • Actually start exercising again. I bought a new yoga mat, pulled my sneaks out of storage and am looking into buying a Wii Fit Plus (because I'm realistic and know that it may be my best motivation. "Ooo, I feel like playing Wii. Might as well do a workout!" <-- That's what I hope will happen in my head.)
  • Take more creative risks. 'Nuff said.
  • Be more social. Most days I am a quivering mass of social anxiety. Each and every get-together, appointment, party and potluck makes me stress out from the moment it's planned. Obviously not healthy, and sometimes I think people get the wrong impression, like I don't want to be hanging out when in reality I'm crippled by my nerves. I have to get over this!
  • Learn some serenity. There is so little in this life that we have total control over, and just going with the flow is a great way to stay happy. I look back at every stage of my life and how I just wanted to move on, to grow up, to get out. Now I want to sit back and enjoy without trying to get on to the next.
  • Be more organic, more green, and leave less of a footprint. I make this resolution every year and am actually pretty proud of how much I've accomplished along these lines. But there's so much room for improvement. Always.