I Love to Fly:I took the red eye to New York City last Wednesday. I had to go to work that day, but I didn't want to miss a moment of precious daylight in the city, so I slept on the plane for about 3 hours and resolved to hit the ground running. I awoke as the pilot was announcing that we were approaching our destination and looked out the window to see that the eastern horizon was only a narrow band of gold and blue between the darkness of the earth and the night sky above and behind us, still inky black and dotted with stars. On the way back, there was the usual blanket of clouds, but heading west, we flew into the night, level with a bright moon, not quite full. I rested my cheek against the cool of the window. The sky was black, and sparkling with all the stars you can't see in the city, and I realized that I really love flying: that feeling of being between places, just carried along ("Fallin' asleep against the window pane..."). It's scary to be suspended so high above the earth, but it's beautiful, too, and I love the feeling of traveling between almost more than anything else.
Those Bike Monkeys are so Heart-Warming: My trip to New York was to cover a bike race that takes place in downtown Manhattan at the intersection of Wall and Water Streets. As usual, it was loads of big fun, and also like usual, it was a pure pleasure to see all those good creatures. Here's a picture of the big winners of the day, each one of them a HUGE champ. This picture cracks me up, because here they are submitting to the cameras and questions from the press, having just ridden 100kms in the boiling heat; they're tired and unwashed, but still so good-natured. Just look at them all, their hands in their laps. Such good behavior! This is a bunch of great kids right here, and I feel lucky to know them.
Ivan, Greg, Freddie & Gord on their best behavior
Things I Overheard in New York City: In front of the entrance to the underground parking structure at the Red Cross in the Upper West Side: "You don't know what you're talking about. You're going to have no teeth, and no fucking eyes." At St. Mark's Ale House: Black college kid in basketball clothes and a 'fro tied back with the footballer-style rubberband-y thingy: "I was on the internet, yo." Slatternly barmaid in very short skirt, shakin' it to Buckcherry, one finger pointed skyward: "I love the cocaine, I love the cocaine..." Betty, banging her head against the bar: "Just one. good. bar. Please!" Kid: "I got 1160 on my S.A.T.'s!" Barmaid, singing: "More than a feeeeling..." Kid: "Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo." Danny Sullivan: "I work construction at Giant's Stadium." On C Street, heading to meet Mr. RCJohnso at Neue Blue: Young blonde hipster kid: "When I got off the boat, I realized that he had probably been sleeping with a different guy every night!"
I LOVE The Italians!
Italians! Denis & Marco in NYC
While in NYC, I had drinks with two of the Italians in town for the bike race. They went to the Upper East Side to a restaurant where a friend of theirs from Italy was working, and we met them in time for a nice glass of Chianti and some espresso. Denis was a bike racer, and Marco is a masseuse for his team, and both of them were absolutely charming, with hilariously done hair, sculpted eyebrows, incredibly fancy get-ups such as no straight American man would ever wear, and silver shoes. They were spun in circles by the girls of New York - effusively animated, way too honest, and approaching the entire universe with a generosity of spirit that just charms me half to death. When I go to a bike race, and the Italians have come to town, I always know that the fun will be multiplied by 300%. Best of all: very little English, so it's impossible to accidentally gather too much information! I've simply GOT to visit Italy. I have a feeling it's a very nice country. Marco tells me that if we arrive before December, he'll still be single! Just the kind of thing a girl loves to hear... er...
Betty and I Were Sometimes Drunk:
Drunk girls waiting to board the Night Train
Another Photo, While We're at It: Betty and I had lunch with the inimitable Mr. RCJohnso in the Upper West Side. He met us on the street corner just outside of the 76th Street subway station, and it was brilliant to see him out of context like that. Moreover, he was especially fetching, enduring the humidity in a thin sheen of sweat and excellent, shaggy, leonine hair. Is anyone more charming? I think not.
Rian begs to differ.
The Village: I'm going out on a limb to say that I really liked it. It's true that Suge Night Shamalamadingdong's obssession with plot twists is a bit played out, and also, that his films often ultimately fail to hang together in some essential way; but like many of his other films, it had some really lovely moments, and I liked the things it made me think about. For instance: the way our imagination of what things could be is often out of step with the way they are - you know - the notion of a utopian dream, and the fact that it's essentially inarticulate, and at odds with human nature. That theme was (perhaps inadvertantly) especially well illustrated in Adrien Brody's turn as the drooling village idiot. It's always a pleasure to consider how excellent an actor Joaquin Phoenix is, and he gave me ample opportunity. I also really enjoyed the romance in the film, and the fact the most innocent one of them commits the crime, and that the entire community had to take a blind chance on love not only to survive, but also to redeem the bloodlessness of their society. So, in short, far from perfect and in many ways a bit ham-handed, but I still liked it.
Also, it was pretty. Pretty pictures are always nice.