Friday, May 29, 2009

Blew A Tire

I went in for a scheduled dental cleaning last month and mentioned I was experiencing a bit of sensitivity in my teeth, especially when I drank cold water or breathed in cold air. My dentist took some x-rays, said I had no cavities at all, and did a scheduled cleaning. I was on may way.

Fast forward to this week and now I was no longer sensitive but in real pain. Hot coffee, cold water, anything acidic. By the end of the next day I couldn't eat or drink anything without a wave of pain radiating through my jaw. I made my way to the dentist yesterday hoping to get in but the best I could get was an appointment first thing this morning.

I was saying a little prayer that I didn't need another root canal, not that my first one was even a little painful, it just took so damn long. Weeks and weeks of return visits. Turns out, one of the fillings I had done last year had chipped loose and because I am missing some of the enamel on my teeth at the gums, a nerve was exposed. This was confirmed when the dentist poked at my tooth and I practically jumped out of the chair.

A little anesthetic and some drilling followed by a little tire patch epoxy, and I was pronounced good as new. I'm enjoying a cup of coffee while I type away, but it doesn't count because I still can't feel that part of my face. Hopefully, I'm all repaired.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dodged A Bullet

EV Grieve, being a braver soul than I, takes in the sights during the opening weekend at the South Street Seaport Water Taxi Beach. From the description of the crowd to the observations of the working conditions, I can only feel a certain sense of relief that, although they acted like complete assholes during my "hiring" process, at least I'm not stuck managing this salute to white trash.

They obviously didn't finish installing or hooking up the beer tents or the storage coolers, as the only beer available is in bottles and you have to board a nearby boat that has been anchored to the pier until they get around to it. I'm willing to bet you they didn't get the POS system installed and they are using carbon paper dupe pads from Staples and their cash management consists of cigar boxes and portable metal lock boxes.

"Anyway, I ask the bartender if they will sell beer elsewhere on the Beach. Like under the tent. Absolutely! Give them a few weeks. They are just getting up and running. Speaking of running, where are the bathrooms? Oh, you have to go up to the second level inside Pier 17. They'll have bathrooms eventually, too.

During this late-afternoon hour, it's mostly families on the beach. And tourists. Tourist families? Kids are playing in the sand. Having fun. Being kids. A mother changes her son's diaper on the picnic table."

I can also thank my lucky stars I'm not stuck managing a broken down Skee Ball machine (Mister! Mister! I lost my quarters!) or resolving some sort of "I got next" potential knife fight over who has the available ping-pong table.

Mostly I'm not stuck handling the (admittedly hilarious) task of explaining why someone's Fish Taco (gah) tastes uncannily like some third world poo-filled baby diaper.

And check out the high-tech sound system:

-(photos via EV Grieve)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shake Ya Poak Chops

Just in time for the close of the first holiday weekend. This here song has summer hit all over it. And I disagree with Sean from The Show, I don't think the video is so bad it's genius, I think it's a pretty righteous video all on it's own. Brilliant!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

High Tech Restaurant

Back in October I wrote about the new Asian-fusion London restaurant Inamo and their touch screen table ordering system. CBS news ran a piece about the place and included lots of great video so you can see it in action. Chow also engaged in a bit of speculation about whether this heralds the end of waiter service. MMMMM Don't think so. Quite frankly there are millions of people far too lazy and/or dumb in the world that practically need to be led by the hand to the bathroom, let alone be able to read, order and independently use a touch screen computer. "Just bring me my Mac n' Cheese!"

Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Dad Called Me Gay

So I'm on the phone, commiserating with Mom and Dad about my lack of gainful employment. This was a couple of weeks ago, before I found out that I was getting hosed with a bad reference from one of my former employers. At one point, as we were speculating about what might be going wrong or what I might be saying wrong or how I might re-write my cover letter or my resume, my Dad interjected with a surprising question.

"Do you think it might be because you're gay?"

This was not a surprising question as in "Hey, I never thought of that". This was a surprising question because it was the first time since the night I came out to my father, about 25 years ago, that the words "you are gay" came out of his mouth. And as I recall, that particular conversation on that particular night ended with my father and I on the front porch, me yelling something hateful at him and him slapping me in the face.

Back to now. I tried to play it off and answered the question. "No, I seriously doubt that's an issue here in New York City. I do try and not apply for jobs where I think it could be an issue. I tend to steer clear of sports bars, beer gardens and anything with a country western theme. I have heard that gay guys do quite well as bartenders in titty bars but I've never put that one to the test. Otherwise, I seriously doubt being gay has much to do with it."

That was my verbal response. But in actuality, I almost dropped the phone. Did my Dad just acknowledge my sexuality? All casual and in conversation-like? We finished the phone call and I continued about my day. But it took me about an hour or two to process the enormity of the situation.

Nice to know at their age and mine they can still surprise me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crimes And Misdemeanors

The Post is reporting a huge jump in violent crime all over lower Manhattan. As anyone who reads the paper religiously has noticed, Greenwich Village leads the way with a 43% increase in violent crime over 2008. I pray I never become one of those old people that thinks "they" are lurking around every street corner out to "get me". However I had noticed more and more reports of people getting beaten and mugged around the Village that fall outside of typical. Relatively young 30-50 year olds as well as other teens have been victims and often in broad daylight, or during the "safer" evening hours when the streets are still busy.

My beloved Gramercy Park has seen a 24% increase in assaults. Someone was mugged just two blocks away a couple of weeks ago. It makes me glad Mr. Riley is often with me as I go about my business (although you could buy him off with a handful of ham), and I've taken to looking askance at the halfway house parolees that are always lurking about on the front porch next door.

Monday, May 18, 2009


date: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 2:49 AM
subject: my interview experience

Dear Mr. Rosenbloom,

To say that I was disappointed in the execution as well as the outcome of my recent experience as a management candidate for your latest Water Taxi Beach venture would be a massive understatement. While I in no way hold out any expectation that contacting you will result in my being re-considered for a position in your company, I do hope that perhaps my effort will at least make you think twice before a similar situation causes any of you to behave so reprehensibly in the future.

After an initial productive and very pleasant first interview, I had high hopes that my job search might be coming to an end. Everyone I met during that encounter was easy to talk to, responsive and able to create a level of excitement in me which, quite frankly came as a bit of a surprise. After all the positive press I have read the last two summers in all the coverage of the LIC Water Taxi Beach, I was surprised to find it rather unimpressive. Pretty much a dingy and slightly run-down parking lot covered in a truckload of sand. The obvious selling point being a spectacular view.

In spite of this I approached the opportunity to report for computer training with the rest of the management team as a very hopeful sign. Indeed, in one of the conversations I had with Mr. Gallego before the morning of training, he stated that I would be filling out paperwork that day. Of course I took this to mean (as anyone with similar experience would) that I was all but hired.

So I was shocked and more than a little dismayed to find my self confronted first by Mr. Gallego and later by Mr. Rosenbloom and Mr. Davidoff, over allegations that my job history was checked for references and "B.B. King's had told us not to hire you." To say that I was taken aback by such a statement would be putting it mildly.

As I stated at the time, I had left my position at B.B. King's of my own volition. At the time, I had what I believed was an opportunity to open and run as a General Manager a new bar/nightclub/cabaret venture downtown on the Bowery. And while the lack of funding and budget for this venue ultimately resulted in this opportunity to not come to fruition, my time at B.B. King's was up. Again, let me reiterate that I have no doubt that we parted ways legitimately, amicably and without incident. I gave two weeks notice to my General Manager, and fulfilled that responsibility to the day. I did nothing during those two weeks to cast my tenure or departure in a negative light. I took the time to ask for and receive a letter of recommendation from the only General Manager I worked with during my employment. This is the letter of recommendation I described to Mr. Gallego, Mr. Rosenbloom and Mr. Davidoff during our conversations. I was completely puzzled as to why Mr. Rosenbloom would express no interest in seeing it when I offered to produce it as soon as possible, but I have attached a copy of this letter from October of 2005.

Without rehashing my entire resume, what I find most unsettling, besides being accused of being a "bad hire" without anyone being able to substantiate it, is the fact that I repeatedly offered to clear up whatever misgivings or misconceptions were being characterized regarding my employability. I was told alternately that "it wasn't necessary", I wasn't "being pre-judged" you were "keeping an open mind" and despite my attempts to end the day right there if necessary I was told on several occasions by Mr. Gallegos and Mr. Rosenbloom to remain in the training facility and finish the day. Which I did, despite being fairly humiliated and wildly uncomfortable. I had no idea who in the room was aware of these false accusations and what was discussed before I had arrived or whenever I left the room.

Despite having to endure "the cold shoulder" from Mr. Gallego and a series of blatantly snide and dismissive remarks courtesy of Mr. Rosenbloom I still finished the afternoon and came away demoralized but convinced that my services would prove invaluable. It was very clear to me that I was far and away best qualified to utilize the Micros POS system we were training on. I have used that system extensively and it was obvious that the learning curve for everyone in that room would be steep without some assistance. I find it unfathomable that anyone I worked with that day would be in a position to train a new staff, read and run the reports that would be generated and troubleshoot all the unfinished data management and input that will without question take place when computer technicians install a restaurant and bar POS. I dare say I actually have far more experience with the hand-held devices, their pluses and minuses and practical capabilities than even the Micros technician that was doing our training did.

In addition, I was very concerned that no one in the room seemed to have a plan in place for the kind of volume in terms of people,
cash management and security that a location such as the South St. Seaport will entail. I am confident my 5 years as a bartender in two locations at the Seaport would have come in handy, as well as my management experiences both at B.B. King's and many other large scale television, concert and private events. My impressions after the day I spent with the team you have assembled thus far are that you are woefully unprepared for the task at hand on the timetable you seem to be confidently stating.

In the last two years I have managed concert events for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Natasha Bendingfield, Kanye West, Hot 97 as well as multiple events for the cast of Hairspray, Legally Blond, The Tony Awards, The NY Film Critic Awards and MTV. And while I failed to hold up under your no-doubt thorough reference check, I did manage to withstand the scrutiny of security teams from Mayor Giuliani, Mayor Bloomberg and former President Clinton. Be that as it may, I am completely aware that New York State is an "at will" employment state, and you are free to offer me a position or terminate the offer or my position at any time.

What I would like you to be aware of is how unprofessionally and immaturely I felt I was treated in the course of my dealings with all of you that day. If, at any time, someone would have taken the initiative to "man up" and tell me that you had reconsidered or it wasn't going to work out, I would have been just as disappointed but I would have packed up and left without incident. I am hardly physically intimidating. Instead you opted to make vague references, hold out hope that this could be resolved, and otherwise obfuscate what seems to be the truth, that you had no intention of hiring me after all. And all of this was based on someone's (nameless) opinion, not supported by any truth or facts, because there are none.

You should know that I intend to forward a copy of this e-mail to Tom Fox at Harbor Experience Companies. In addition, I will be contacting Tsion Bensusan at B.B. King's. It is my intention to remind him that New York State Labor laws allow for former employers to confirm employment dates and history, and in broadest terms recommend or not recommend someone for future employment. In my specific case, since I am confident that neither Mr. Bensusan nor anyone still connected with B.B. King's four years past my employment can offer even a single shred of disciplinary, legal or employment difficulties related to me, I will also not hesitate to point out that to continue to do so will be exposing himself (or whoever is to blame) and his company to charges of libel, slander and interfering with my ability to seek gainful employment.

I hope that this clears up a rather unpleasant and regrettable experience between your company and my self. I sincerely hope that in the future, everyone at your company takes the time to consider the consequences before leveling unsubstantiated accusations at an individual you barely know, and that you think twice before treating someone like an unwelcome suspect without any kind of recourse for defense.



Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yum And Cariocas - Weekend Eye Candy

Here's a trailer from a Brazilian television series about to hit the airwaves. It seems to be about gay men in Rio and showers. Good enough for me! Enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

No News Is Bad News

Haven't heard from my prospective employers, and I've turned so bitter over the whole ordeal I would most likely flat out turn them down now even if they still got around to offering me a job. Just for spite.

They have to open a new bar/restaurant/music venue in a week and they just put an ad out for staff hiring as of this weekend. They have to hire and train a staff, finish building the damn thing, and come up with all of the daily operating systems that will make it work.

I got an earful at my all day training session (which they probably will never pay me for, and I'm keenly aware that's illegal), and they have no idea how to use the computer system they are installing and planning to use. They barely know how to ring up a sale, let alone be able to adjust a menu or prices, input employee data or use the time clock. They have no idea how to run reports, how to read the reports that are run, or what to do if the reports don't match the cash or credit sales. They don't have a clue how to ring up or set up a system to account for parties and events. And they definitely don't have any idea how to implement cash handling or security measures in the middle of a busy tourist neighborhood.

They are planning on doing concerts and events but have no system in place, beyond the use of a few very slow hand held scanners, for quickly and efficiently checking ID's and getting people in to the venue. And not even the POS trainer has more than a couple of days experience using the hand held scanners or the software that they use. But I do.

I could have helped them with all of this and much more. Not so much now.

Here's a few more pictures from the Botanic Gardens:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

I've been meaning to post some photos from my sunny Sunday in Brooklyn, but there are so many images to edit and I keep seeing different things whenever I try to get started that I end up closing them up and moving on. But I think I may have to create a whole Flickr page just for this series and post a bunch all at once.

Here's a few I finally figured out what to do with: (you can, as always, large 'em up by clicking)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Movies And Another (Sort Of) Job

I swear.

We'll start with the movies. I was invited to go see Star Trek with some Gay-A friends and decided that it would be wise to keep trying to make some connections, friendships, what-have-you. My impulse in the face of feeling fed up with the Gay-A's is to just write them all off and walk away, but giving in to my impulses made the last 20 of my first 40 years not very enjoyable at all, so I am trying to not necessarily do whatever my reflex reactions compel me to.

The theater was all the way down in Battery Park City, right next to the former World Trade Center (maddeningly, still just a giant hole in the ground 8 years later). The retail complex the theater is located in is also under construction so there is no visible signage from the street, And even when you do find it the entrance to the theater is two unmarked floors above where you buy the tickets. In short, it's next to impossible to find. I literally needed someone to guide me by phone right up to the front door of the building. Madness, I tell you!

Star Trek was much better than Wolverine. That's my capsule review. Specifically the special FX were better, the acting was superior and the story was way more involved. Almost too convoluted. Also, for the Star Trek purists, they totally fucked with some major continuity threads in the Trek canon. Nothing that can't be resolved in a (sure to be) coming sequel or three but I'm sure there will be many arguments over cans of Red Bull in between World of Warcraft sessions for weeks to come. Oh, and the new Captain Kirk is one sexy motherfuckin' meat stick.

So I got sort of hired as a manager at a new bar that is scheduled to open in time for the Memorial Day weekend. As in a week and a half from now. Although it's not built (under a tent) yet. And the staff hasn't been hired. But that's not the interesting part.

I showed up at 8 AM this morning in New Jersey( again!) for a computer training session, only to be pulled aside and informed that one of my former employers, that I absolutely left on great terms (resigned not fired, two weeks notice, fulfilled all my obligations, didn't swipe random booze or steaks on my way out the door), didn't give me a good recommendation and in fact advised my prospective new employers not to hire me.

What. The. Fuck? I actually have a written letter of recommendation from the GM of that job saying just the opposite. That I was the greatest thing since mold on sliced bread, and what a fantastic manager/employee/good egg I was. The only reason I didn't give them that written letter was because I wasn't sure they even wanted to check references and also at least one other time when that job was contacted for a reference by phone, I was told that they couldn't have been more effusive about my abilities.

So why the turn around? And who is bad-mouthing little old me six years after the fact? And more importantly, how long has this been going on? Could this be the reason I've been getting first and second interviews all over town these last few months, only to have offers withdrawn or phone calls to stop? Is somebody sabotaging my job prospects?

As the alcoholics are fond of saying, "more will be revealed". As for the new job, I should find out if they are willing to "take a chance" on me, within the next day or two.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New HIV Infections In UK Highest In Western Europe

Charity Unicef has warned that Britain now has the highest number of new HIV infections in western Europe, with gay and bisexual men and black Africans most at risk.

In 2007, there were more than 7,700 new HIV diagnoses in the UK and the organization has also said infection rates in young people are rising, with ten per cent of new infections occurring in those aged between 16 and 24.

The second highest figure for new infections was in France, with 4,075.
Read more ...

Once again, France brings up the rear.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Call Your Mom

Three pretty solid interviews in three days. I got past the 1st interview on two of them and already met the owner on one. I have another meeting with the owners of the second job tomorrow afternoon. The third interview may or may not call me in for another interview or they may just hire me. They are really under the gun time-wise and need a management team in place this week sometime. But I'm not counting on any of it at this point. First one who offers me a steady paycheck gets me.

Went to the Design On A Dime benefit late Saturday afternoon. Most of it had been picked through but by the time I got there all the remaining housewares had been reduced to 50% off. That included all the bed linen and I ended up spending money I shouldn't have to get two complete sheet sets for all of $40. Best of all they are interchangeable color-wise so it's almost like getting three different sets. Many of my sheets didn't make it through Riley's terrible 2's, so it will be nice to have sheets without giant doggie claw marks in them for a change.

I've been absolutely hating going to Gay-A meetings lately, and this Saturday was the worst ever. I have no idea who is booking the speakers, but if I have to listen to one more morose, suicidal lesbian heroin addict talk about how shitty her life is and the girlfriend she just broke up with I will just go ahead and open up one of my own arteries right there in the church basement. And then these East Village hypocrites validate everything she endlessly whines about by saying how much they identify with her and how courageous she is. Of course they feel like that, they're all lesbian heroin addicts. Or East Village fags, which is the same thing. Then to top it off yesterday I had my personal space invaded by a guy who was channeling Mr. Bean. He pulled a chair up to the front row practically on top of me and ended up rambling on for a good five minutes of his own saying nothing that was remotely helpful. In fact, it seems he advocated taking the occasional drink before an AA meeting. Which just seems counter-productive if you ask me.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Design On A Dime

I always try to make it to the Design On A Dime event, and even though today is out of the question for me, you can still pop over. It runs all day tomorrow as well.

"More than 40 of the world’s top interior designers will create unforgettable room vignettes with new merchandise, donated and then sold for 60 to 80 percent off retail pricing. Shop spectacular rooms by the country’s top designers. Featuring brand new housewares, furniture, and linens, all available at charitable prices."

It's all to benefit Housing Works, a wonderful organization that provides housing and other services to people with HIV/AIDS. Go here for hours and address.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Still Kickin'

Sorry I have been maintaining radio silence this week, I got crazy-busy. Still am, but I found a hot second to say hey. I've been spending an inordinate amount of time breathing new life into my old desktop. As I mentioned last week, I thought the power supply was fragged, and it was. But somehow in the process of adding a new hard drive, replacing the power supply, re-installing the old hard drive to try and collect some saved pictures and programs, I ended up super fragging the old hard drive and not having a working OS to boot, to boot. Without getting even more techno-gobbledy-sprocket on you, I finally downloaded and installed a clean new OS (XP), installed a new hard drive and a new power supply and my desktop now has the innards of a young buck again. And after all that, it has still taken me the last few days to re-install old programs and try and gather together a ton of pictures I had spread out on various CD's.

Yes, I do back-up. I think I only lost a few picture files in the process, nothing that feels too critical, and I think I may have even discovered a few picture files I forgot I had. Lemons to lemonade.

I had to sit through a horrific "training class" for my new catering side job. I will describe what a colossal joke that was in an upcoming post. Worth it, I guess as I'm working a wedding or some event tomorrow (again in New Jersey, have I mentioned it smells really bad there?). I also had a couple of promising job interviews this morning that may or may not turn in to something. They both have advanced me beyond the second interview, but I'm not getting my hopes too high as I have been left at the altar a few too many times as of late. Developing, though.

It was a bloodbath on reality television this week as my little Allison Iraheta got kicked to the curb on American Idol, despite the fact that Danny Dead-wife screeched the most heinous high note ever heard on AI past an audition week. I swear, if that Christian Dough-boy and his Sally Jesse Raphael eye wear ends up winning this season I will personally hunt down Paula Abdul's Oxycontin dealer and slap him across the face.

And Lil' Kim also got the "heave, you Ho" on Dancing With The Stars. Not that I am a fan of the foul-mouthed prison skank, but there was no doubt she was a far better dancer than Cowboy Stick-Up-The-Butt that has made it in to the semi-finals. I call Shenanigans!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monday Mayhem - Couple Charged With Charcoal-Grilling Baby

A Michigan couple is facing a host of charges including murder, manslaughter and welfare fraud after police discovered the remains of their 2 year old child in the basement ceiling.

While the cause of death was inconclusive, the child's body showed suffering from malnutrition and broken bones.

The couple apparently attempted an at-home cremation and tried to dispose of the body by grilling it on a home barbecue. After unsuccessfully spit-roasting their dead child, the couple stuffed it in a bag (I assume to lock in freshness) and stashed it in the ceiling.

This horror was all uncovered during the police investigation into abuse allegations for the couple's younger, 1 year old child.

The "mother" continued collecting welfare assistance for her Extra-Crispy recipe baby.

And still there are people who insist a mother and father are the best, and only, parents a child in this country should have.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I Bettah Work

I hooked up with a catering company late last week. On the same day as my interview they offered me a booking for this Saturday which I gleefully accepted. So after leaving the house just after 1:00 I arrived at the booking office before 2:00. We were checked in and assigned various car-pools. Four of us drove off to a town in New Jersey, where we worked for a hotel that was hosting several events. Ours was a high school reunion. And I have become a cater-waiter.

And why not? It's a skill I'm actually quite good at. You would think that serving hors d'oeuvres and running a buffet line would be a pretty easy way to make a buck but it's physically pretty demanding, and to accomplish it well and remain unobtrusive takes a certain amount of expertise and experience. Plus you get pretty dirty.

I worked 8 full hours and spent almost four hours traveling. I didn't get home until 3am. That's the longest I've been away from home in months, and it made Riley greet me as if I'd been gone for days. It was nice to have made some money, and I'm hoping this company can provide me three or four days of work every week. That will be more than enough money to replace what I am currently making in unemployment checks.

And while I haven't spoken in a while about my plans to become a foster parent, that's certainly still my intent. But I think it's important for me to get my finances back in order before I take on the responsibility of providing for another mouth to feed. Not that I think you need to be rich to have a family, I just don't want to be preoccupied (as I have been) with making sure the bills are paid and I have a place to live. Maybe it's just me (I doubt it), but I've found that when you are in survival mode, it's really all you can think about. And that's not how I want it to be when I finally take this big step. I want to be able to enjoy it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

*SNIKT*, Bub

Hey all,
Just got back from a midnight premier of the new Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie. My capsule review:


And if my read of the first night audience is correct, expect to see much wailing, gnashing of teeth and general consternation from the Geek Chorus after the opening weekend. The hardcore faithful were none to pleased.

In other news...

I shaved my beard off. And I got a little job. A job-let, if you will.