Remains of a weekend

I haven't set up my television here in NYC, and before that I was traveling for months so I had just sporadic access to a television. I haven't missed it nearly as much as I thought. It's given me time to read and enjoy life outside my apartment. I'm sick of reality television, have no need for CSI: Minneapolis ("Hmm, I think Steve Buscemi died when his partner axed him in the head and put him through the wood chipper. Yaaaa, I do."), and any television show I really want to watch can usually found on BitTorrent. For example, the clip of Jon Stewart on Crossfire as he bitch-slapped Tucker Carlson. Deeply, deeply satisfying. I can't stand Tucker Carlson. What a buffoon. If you don't know how to use BitTorrent, you can see the clip just fine here at iFilm. Could Jon Stewart be any more golden right now? I walked by the Union Square Barnes and Noble when he was there for his book signing, and by the looks of the drooling women in line, you'd think Jude Law or Brad Pitt was there to sign a swimsuit calendar.
Of course, I must have my television set up by this Thursday, when The Office Christmas Specials (part 1, part 2) air in the U.S. on BBC America. I tried to find it on DVD in London this summer, but all I could turn up was pity from Londoners who tsk tsk'd as they revelled in recounting the rapture of humor the special had bestowed upon them. The DVDs? Release in the UK Oct. 25. If you haven't seen the show yet, I either pity or envy you. And who the hell are you and where have you been living?! The show has no laugh track, because you'll provide one. But don't take my word for it. The New Yorker calls it perfect.
Malcolm Gladwell writes about the high cost of prescription drugs with his usual (i.e., unusual) insight., of all sites, has audio clips of the Friday Night Lights soundtrack. I'm just about over my Friday Night Lights kick. After watching the movie I bought the soundtrack and inhaled the book (recommended and recommended, respectively). The music has been a nice change of pace from the usual stuff in my "Running" playlist in my iPod, all of which I've heard about eighty times by now.
The baseball stadium in Houston is a joke. People are hitting pop flies out of the stadium in left field for home runs, and that hill with the pole in it in center field is ludicrous. What an atrocious baseball playing field (I've never seen the exterior, but it seems fine). The fact that all baseball stadiums have different dimensions in the outfield used to never bother me, but if they standardize the dimensions of all playing areas of all MLB stadiums, allowing architects to customize all other aspects and dimensions of the stadium, I'd have no objections. Imagine one NBA basketball court having baskets nine feet high instead of ten, or a three point line that was shorter than in other stadiums.
Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS were brutal. Each game lasted about two days. Alan, Sharon, and I rented a movie, started watching when game 3 started, and when the two hour movie finished that game was in the fourth inning. I don't know how anyone who's not a Yankees or Red Sox fan could stay awake. I remain steadfast in my hope that MLB will speed up the games. If you adjust your batting glove and then stand there to take a pitch, why do you need to step out and adjust it again? Is the velcro defective?
I met James, Angela, some of their college friends, Alan, and Sharon for lunch at Carnegie Deli today. The Carnegie sandwiches are MASSIVE. RIDICULOUS. I had a reuben, their specialty, and it was actually just a mountain of pastrami covered by several layers of cheese. It looked like an elementary school model of Mt. St. Helens erupting cheese. I finished about a quarter of it and will nibble on the remains for the rest of the week. Carnegie Deli is a mecca for pastrami and corned beef lovers.
I didn't miss my car until I saw this promotional clip for the new BMW M5. Sweet mother of...sometimes, late at night, when the subway seems like it will never arrive, wouldn't you just like to hop into something like this and just play Pole Position with the cabs.
NYC's arts lineup is overwhelming. Everyday I find at least five things I'm dying to go see. Monday night (oh, that would be tonight) Ricky Gervais is speaking at the Museum of Television and Radio before a screening of The Office Christmas Special. I'd kill to see Julie Taymor's production of The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) at the Met. Alex Ross raves about it. What stops me is the memory of my first NYC credit card bill. Upon opening it and reading the balance, I screamed, dropped the bill, my eyes rolled up into my head, and I fainted theatrically, like a swooning movie diva.
The weekend ended with puppet entertainment. No, not the marionettes of Team America World Police, but the puppets of Avenue Q, the much acclaimed musical that won the Tony for best musical in 2003. I am not a huge musical fan, but I enjoyed this one for not taking itself so seriously. It offers quite a contrast to the melodrama of most musicals and seems a descendant of the Rent lineage of musicals, one that's sadly sparse. The show features a cast of puppets and people who live in a rundown neighborhood in Manhattan as they sing about life and its problems. But these are HBO-class puppets, not Sesame Street or Jim Henson muppets (even though some of the characters really resemble Ernie and the cookie monster), so they swear, drink, and have sex. As Phil said at intermission, it might not a musical you'd be comfortable seeing with your parents. The puppets are held by actors who stand alongside them as puppeteers, singing, with their hands clearly inserted up into the puppets or waving their arms around. It's jarring for just the first few seconds, but then, the rest of the time, as the cast sings songs like "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" or "The Internet is for Porn" or "Schadenfreude", you realize it all feels on some level like a clever deconstruction of the musical as an art form. Would Kermit and Miss Piggy have grown up to be a dysfunctional married couple? Would Bert have come out of the closet to confess his love for Ernie? Would Big Bird be surfing porn on the Internet? I'm of the generation that wouldn't find those stories surprising at all, and I'm glad some musicals have caught up.