Monthly Archives: February 2011

But it’s cold!

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Ice cream is widely regarded to be for a warmer time. Summer perhaps. I rarely ate ice cream in the UK (which is not at all due to the climate). Mainly because I could not justify the calorific guilt of buying a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs so inevitably the naughty pleasure would be ruined. Strangely I would much prefer to consume a glorious melt in the middle chocolate pudding. Or make brownies or mars bar krispie cakes with latherings of butter. Or even just munch on a cheeky chocolate bar, milk not white (crucial). Are you sensing a theme?

Yes I am a true chocophile and I would satisfy my cravings with all of the above but not so much with the iced cream variety. Yet here in the United States of America, here in the city where all I have known since January 4th is snowfall and icy winds, that stab my ears so cruelly, all I seem to do is eat ice cream. Every flavour I can get my hands on. Chocolate peanut butter, pistachio, brownie batter, chocolate fudge brownie so far. I even tried Chocolate brownie FRO YO (Frozen Yoghurt) to curb the calorie overload that was filling my freezer AND my tummy. To no avail. I discovered you unfortunately need more FRO YO per serving to quench my desire.

So as I write this I am simultaneously finishing off my Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter pint. I have now eliminated the annoyance of dirty dishes and just prefer to indulge straight from the carton. Quicker that way. I would pray for this frosty urge to vanish if I believed it would do any good but I don’t. The weather is improving every day. Today as I stood waiting for my ride home I was dazzled by the brilliant sunlight and I thought, and maybe I jinxed it, that Spring must be finally on its way. I worry now that a time will arrive when ice cream is required for a light relief from the stiffling heat of the city and yet I will have already consumed my yearly allowance by March! What can I do?

A Perfect Day…

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…. for a monster to TEAR through Manhattan squishing harmless pedestrians and ripping through the traffic on 5th Avenue.

I woke up this morning with the sky heavy with rain. In fact when the rain clouds lie over the city I can understand why so many monster movies have been set here. Godzilla, King Kong (arguably the daddy of all monsters?), The Ghostbusters Mr Stay Puft (must admit I had to look that one up), The Shredder to name a few classics.

Today, on the 25th February 2011, there are NO special effects needed. The dark grey cumulonimbus clouds hide the tips of the skyscapers creating a perfect backdrop to the “bit where Godzilla crushes the little fishing guy on the pier as he reaches Manhattan eager to reak havoc on its inhabitants”. These clouds are not for the faint hearted. Sunlight is strictly forbidden. The tall looming buildings look depressed in the shadow of this thick mist. Although I have not discussed this with anyone at work, there has been an atmosphere of doom all day. One minute I think a huge mutant dinosaur is going to march past the window, human legs dangling from its tightly clenched fist, the next I fear the clouds will part as a colossal alien spacecraft lowers itself in a position to attack.

I have already decided that anything can happen in New York City. The weather so far has been variable to say the least. Snow follows rain follows bright sunlight (and that was only this morning). It is completely within reason that a huge ice storm could cripple the city as the world steps into an unpredicted ice age. I can however be thankful that Dennis Quaid is on this continent and not Europe as who else could save me from the frozen abyss if the only mode of transport was a sledge!?

Through the gloom I can clearly see the iconic Chrysler Building from my laboratory.

It is not lit up for the night yet as we are in that dangerous half light of dusk and that makes me all the more apprehensive. If King Kong gets the wrong building, surely it is possible he would scale the Chrysler? If I saw a ginormous gorilla swinging from the spire I would definitely try my luck uptown in Harlem. You never know how hungry these giant maneating gorillas can get on a Friday evening.

I need to calm down. Bill Pullman is not the President, Will Smith is sunning it up in L.A. and Bill Murray is probably getting a bit old for busting monsters. But come to think of it I bet Matthew Broderick is around as SJP is filming on Central Park. Maybe all is not lost.

For a graph of monster sizes please refer to the diagram below. Good job I have not seen Cloverfield or I might just have panicked!

published by GeekStir July 29th 2009

Who would have thought the Ghostbusters monster was so huge??? Hey and T Rex was prolific!

30 Rocks

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A little word about my current biggest crush. Mr Alec Baldwin. Now the Baldwins are all in the business of show business but when it comes down to it the eldest has always been at the top of his game. Of course in my biased eyes the others will never get a look in. In the fifth year of its running this comedy TV series, created by the comedienne Liz Lemon…. oh no I mean Tina Fey, has me crying with joy and almost entirely because of the lines of one man. Mr Jack.. I mean Alec Baldwin.

30 Rock is set in the NBC studios where Liz Lemon, played by Tina Fey herself, is the head writer of a TV comedy sketch show, TGS, built around the “talents” of one huge celebrity: Tracy Jordan. Tracy Jordan is as unpredictable as he is ridiculous. As the star of this live sketch show he competes for the attention on screen with Jenna Maroney, a self-professed comedy actress, singer and celebrity superstar. Tracy inevitably wins, despite his lack of any artistry and so tantrums ensue, which must be carefully managed by Lemon and her team. Jack Donaghy enters the show as the Network Executive who becomes known for his witty putdowns of Lemon and controlling/successful management of the entire corporation. He is not only a genius in the art of management, business success, wit, microwave oven design and the television industry but he is also able to display a loving side as he actively takes on the mentorship of comedy writer Liz Lemon who attracts chaos to all her personal and sometimes professional endeavours.

As a late starter in the world of 30 Rock (the name referring to its location in Manhattan: 30 Rockefeller Place) I was advised to whip through the first 4 and a half series in order to get up to date with the show currently midway through it’s fifth year. I began without fear and plowed eagerly through 5, 6 and even 7 episodes a night. Thus, I was rapidly sucked into the world of Jack, Liz(ard), Tracy, Jenna and Kenneth (the rural page boy who is at everyone’s beck and call) without the safety buffer of a weekly break between shows. Now I was free falling into the world of 30 Rock’s NBC and as their references to the city, in which I now live, became more and more frequent, the boundaries between my reality and the reality of the fictional show TGS began to blur. And as always with me the show’s family became my Manhattan family and I look forward to getting home and curling up for more jokes with Jack Donaghy.

 

A note to the reader (if you are out there) don’t look TOO closely at this image as it is technically not accurate i.e. where is my left shoulder? why am I the same size as the actors/my family since all actors, and in this case my family, are all really quite short and I am obviously so tall in real life? and why is Alec Baldwin’s hand so large and Welsh (really Rhod Gilbert’s hand- sorry Rhod)? All of these questions can be answered. Powerpoint.

In it to win it!

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Am I not in the city of entertainment? Am I not in the home of film and theatrical performance? Didn’t I just see a sign for Broadway yesterday?

I am and I did.

This IS the land where the Biggest Superstar Actors wander freely to get their Starbucks or to walk their miniature dogs, dressed better than me I have noticed. And so if the dreamers who want to make it on the big screen or the silver stage come here to audition then I must be in the right place?

I went to my first audition today. I know I’ve had a crazy week; what with joining a knitting circle, a book club with some real life Sex and the City girls, keeping on top of the Black History Month events with none other than Lonnie “the minister saxophonist” Youngblood and his tribute to gospel and someone in conversation with Whitney Houston’s aunt Dionne Warwick. I am just exhausted reading that last sentence back, but I am not one to turn down a potential story. So when the opportunity arose to audition to play Rosalind Franklin, the X-ray crystallographer cheated out of the recognition she deserved for her contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA, I jumped at it. After all I have acted successfully before. Aged 9 I was reportedly convincing as an elderly woman charged with taking in evacuees during the war. Allegedly I even sang my solos well. Although I have never replicated such a feat – singing well that is. Despite being less convincing as an extra in the Universal Studios Earthquake remake I have spent the next decade or so simply reflecting on my past performances and acquiring valuable experience through living mostly. Taking a break from my obvious career on stage and screen, but never relinquishing that burning desire to be stood on any stage or even a slightly raised platform with an adoring crowd. I yearn to be the centre of attention for a feature length of time. This was my chance. Regardless of the fact that this was an amateur production of the unravelling of DNA, and it would probably not be seen by Spike Lee or Darren Aronofsky, I dared to hope that due to sheer proximity to the established film glitterati I had a distinct advantage over most. After all you have to be “in it to win it”. However, by that catchword, you have to first be IN IT.

I am waiting to hear back. But I am confident. Every inch of me.

The Gym Membership

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I should update you and indeed myself on what I have been getting up to this week. Having dragged myself through a weekend of back-to-back classes at the Equinox gym I was convinced that this was the gym for me. This was my vehicle to transition into adulthood… finally? But just then, I was informed of so-far-elusive-to-me squash courts on the Big Apple Island and I had to start all over again. The Sports Club/LA. No need for a profound slogan to make fitness sound like more than just profuse sweating. A forward slash was all it took to link the club to the city of image. The subconscious relationship between the apparent beauty of those who inhabit the Californian star spot and this Upper East Side establishment successfully forged.

Anyway as I stepped over the threshold into Posh Gym Number 2, I was transported into a parallel universe where space was in abundance. How they managed to secure 8 floors, a roof terrace (complete with grill-would I expect anything less? I wouldn’t of course), swimming pool and room to swing a cat when drying oneself off after a spacious shower is beyond me: on the Upper East Side no less. Complimentary to your membership one can also enjoy craning your neck, squinting upwards at the double ceiling-climbing wall resting comfortably between two full sized basketball courts and overlooking 5 international squash courts. I won’t go in to the other room particulars. But bear in mind that I totally could.

So not to be beaten by their biggest rivals, The Sports Club/LA wanted me to experience what they had to offer in the same number of days. 3 to be precise. So as I prepared myself on the Friday night for what would be another epic athletic attempt, I hoped that noone would reveal to me another gym, a “Gym of the Gods”, offering free chocolate and tennis courts as an incentive before I sign a contract this time round.

Before I trialed the standard spin class, which was sufficiently exhausting, it was recommended to me by the management and this month’s issue of Marie Claire to indulge in a new yoga class combining yoga with cardio fitness. Verdict. Not for me. The painful stretching on top of endless kneeling on squidgy mats did nothing for my joints and I think until I get more flexible and more accustomed to the yoga way I will have to avoid this faster paced version. This weekend could prove to be too much for my body’s capabilities. Following a rather camp Zumba aerobics class and a villainous thighs workout I was left to hobble down to the changing rooms, prepare myself for the ride home and lie comatose for the rest of the day. Not all that raring to go back to work on Monday morning. Sometimes I really do wonder if I came here to work or just to exploit the city’s offerings. However, as detailed earlier I was entitled to 3 days of free workout and so not one to miss out on an opportunity I packed up my squash paraphernalia and toddled back to 60th and 2nd Avenue-ish to compete in the weekly Advanced Round Robin complimentary to all members. Being the only female I was able to gain an initial advantage by always serving first. Lacking a Y chromosome does afford its distinct advantages. One being the “ladies first” rule (just in case you couldnt think of any off the top of your head). However, being in the US and having to play by their rules meant that all points count thus dissolving my brief advantage. I put up a good fight I must admit. I chased every ball, lost most of the points but did manage to beat a couple of the guys, which secured my invitation to this weekly session. There was also a little to a lot of competitive bite to the proceedings. My willingness to prove my worth combined with a male ego desperate not to lose points to a warring British girl made for a long session and I was left to crawl home only able to climb limply into bed and……… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz