the awesome/terrifying freedom

out here, somewhere, figuring it all out.

another one

the attempts to create a new culture of fear on the streets of the city have been quite successful. bloomberg should hire christo to cover every major landmark in order to prevent it from being photographed.

my short detention left me feeling more annoyed than violated, even though they went through my pictures and asked me to justify each of them. i just wanted out of there, and i guess i should be thankful that i wasn't in a more volatile setting. check out this photographer's story.

selling shoes

my commmercial is up!


ah, i think to myself yesterday, i have an hour to kill, and what a beautiful afternoon it is, i think i'll walk around town and take some photos of cool stuff. i take my usual path down lexington avenue and decide that i will take more pictures of the very cool new building under construction. neato. snap snap snap.

i take some okay pics, but nothing really drastically different from what i'd already captured. i move on. there's a cool church across from the citicorp building. snap snap snap.

the citicorp building is very cool, total concrete, characterless monolith. i try to capture the perfect, most interesting angle to shoot this grand bland slab of steel and concrete.

a tap on my shoulder.

officer 1: sir. what are you doing.

me: taking a picture of this building.

officer 2: why do you need a picture of this building.

me: it looks cool.

1: you think you can just take a picture of a building?

me: i'm a photographer.

2: what makes you think you can just walk up here and take a picture of this building?

me: i'm interested in architecture. i've been doing this all up and down the street.

3: you've been what.

2:(into his walkie talkie) suspicious person here. taking photos.

3: do you even know what's going on? how the hell are you gonna take a picture of this building when there are terror alerts on it?

me: i didn't know that.

1: do you have id on you sir.

2: do you live in new york city?

3: you didn't know that?

1: sir i need to see your identification. do you have id on you.

me: yeah i live here, i've worked at rockefeller university for three years.

1: id sir, i need to see your id immediately.

3: well, you're gonna know it now, aren't you.

i take out my wallet and fish for my employee id and my driver's license, which are snatched from my hand.

3: are you from here? how can you not know what's going on?

1: sir, we are detaining you. we need to run these through. if you're on any of our lists, or if you pop up on any of our scans, we'll know what's up.

me: (pause) ..okay.

3: how are you gonna just walk up here and take a picture with all these cops standing around? huh? did you not see that there's all these police here?

me: dude! i live here, there's cops on every street, how am i gonna notice anything!? everything looks exactly the same! this block looks just like the next one!

1: take his camera. you're not going anywhere buddy. we're detaining you. you just hold tight right there.

and i am surrounded by six police officers, one of whom has a machine gun. my camera is taken from me and handled like it could explode at any moment. and the grilling begins. it's quite a sight for passers by to see. it would have been awesome if someone tried to take a picture of the scene, and then got 'detained' themselves.

1: i need you to open your bag for me.

2: do you have anything on you?

me: what?

2: sir, do you have anything in your bag we need to know about before we open it?

3: any sharpened knives?

me: i don't think so..

1: you don't think so?

3: you need to tell us now before we find something and you regret it.

2: sir, do - you - have - any - thing - in - your - bag - we - need - to - know - about?

me: not that i can think of!

2: open it up for me sir. step back. one pocket at a time. what's this?

me: pair of glasses.

2: and in here. open that up. okay close it. just have a seat right there.

1: stupid move man, stupid move. takin' pictures. what an idiot.

i wait for several minutes. officer 4 holds my camera.

3: we're running you through now. once that's done, and if everything is okay on your check, then you'll be free to go.

me: i'm an actor. i'm in a play that starts at 8:00. am i going to make it?

3: i'm not even going to answer that sir. it will take as long as it takes. i'm not gonna lie to you. i'm not gonna say something to you and then have it be a lie. it'll take as long as it takes.

me: i just need to know if i should make a phone call and let them know.

3: i think you'd better make that phone call.

me: great.

i still have plenty of time to get to the theatre, so i decide to hold off making the call. 3 goes away. several minutes pass.

4: sorry about the captain. he gets a little overzealous sometimes.

i think to myself - ohmygod. they're doing good cop bad cop on me.

4: hey, you'll have a good story to tell your friends.

me: yeah, guess so.

4: this is a nice camera.

me: thanks.

4: you like it?

me: yeah. i take headshots of actors. it's made me some money.

4: how long have you had it?

me: about 2 years.

4: has the quality gone down at all?

me: no, it's been good. though i did notice that in the highest resolution there are two pixels that don't register. but i can fix it easily in photoshop.

4: nice.

time passes.

me: (to officer 4) so, um, how are you realistically enforcing this photo ban? i mean, everyone on the street has a cell phone camera. how do you even know what's a camera and what's not?

4: it's tough man. we gotta try. we're not even usually out here, we got called in from queens.

tick tock.

4: hey, can we get a look at the pictures you took?

2: um, do you know how to use that camera?

4: no..

me: i can do it.

2: sorry sir, we can't risk you deleting evidence.

4: yeah, not a good idea. i don't want to accidentally erase anything either.

3 returns

3: did you make your phone call.

me: no, i thought i'd wait.

3: you better do it.

4: (to 3) let's see what's on the camera?

3: you know how to work it?

4: not really.

3: better not.

me: i can talk you through it.


3: okay.

and so i instruct him on turning it on, and accessing the picture files. once the pictures appear, i find myself in the awkward, but also kind of fun position of having to explain the artistic merit of each image. four cops are crowded around the tiny screen on my camera.

3: where is this?

me: just up the street.

3: why would anyone take a picture of that.

me: because, um, well.. gee. i thought the windows looked cool? i thought that the colors were interesting, and um, well, something about the grid of the windows broken up by the reflections.. i thought it was neat.

3: hm.

3: what's this.

me: it's the top of that church over there.

3: why are you taking pictures of that church.

me: well.. because. um. well, the design of the crown is ornate. and it caught my eye, and i wanted to see how well the digital zoom would work and um how much detail i'd be able to pick up, and i was trying to capture the sunlight coming from behind but i wasn't able to find the right shutter speed for that.

3: hm.

then we come to my scaffolding pictures. they seem to make everyone uncomfortable. like i'm surveying for the best place to put the bombs.

3: where is this.

me: up the street. it's that building that's been under construction for awhile. you can see the top of it, there. i've taken a lot of pictures of it before.

3: why.

me: i think the design is neat. and the scaffolding, um the scaffolding is really detailed, has a cool repetition, and the blue masking on the borders - well that also looks neat, plus i just like the intersection of the lines.

3: you've taken pictures of this building before?

me: yeah. plenty of times.

he shakes his head as he flips through, and then past the scaffolding pics.

me: that's bryant park. on wednesday.

3: who's this. (pause) friend? (pause) roommate?

me: um. well. he's uh. a.. a friend. an actor.

3: why do you have pictures of him?

me: well, i uh, i uh, take pictures of actors. there's about um 100 pictures of him on there.


3: uh huh.

and he flips through, looking at the pictures, which thankfully, are not scandalous, though they easily could have been. then i sort of find myself wishing they -had- been scandalous, just to make him queasy for having violated my privacy. he goes through about 30 pictures.

3: rest of this guy?


me: pardon?

3: rest of this guy?

me: the rest of him?

3: the rest of the pictures, are they of this guy?

me: oh. haha. most of them yeah. there's some pictures of my roommate's cat. you wanna see those?

3: no. i don't want to see your cats. here.

he hands me back the camera.

3: he's just gotta take down some information. here's your id's. once he's done with the paperwork, you're free to go.

3 leaves.

4: you're not in any trouble, nothing is going on your record. we just need to make note of who we stop and question for legal purposes. there've been a bunch of lawsuits.

me: ah.

i really wanted, at that point to ask all six of the cops if i could take their picture. i should have asked. 4 probably would have let me. 4 probably would have gone on a date with me. ah well. i was just glad to get the hell out of there.


my friend emily (yes, the horny hillbilly emily) sends me this link regarding the infamous details magazine 'gay or asian' scandal.. i thought i'd written on it.. i'd been meaning to for some time now but it slipped by me.

the article is interesting because it's one of the few that actually looks at the perspective of the editors of details, which i think is important. i have much enjoyed 'gay or cowboy?' 'gay or jesus?' 'gay or trucker?' 'gay or professional wrestler?' and others.. and i found myself quite amused by 'gay or italian,' so why did 'gay or asian?' rub me the wrong way? is it because i'm gay and asian? ..or is it because the jokes in the 'gay or asian' piece are particularly lame?

i think what happened is that all the previous 'gay or..?' pieces in details focused on ultra-masculine targets. for the italian piece, the man pictured was dressed like a sopranos goomba, and he was rightfully compared to a chelsea gym queen. nice juxtaposition. had the 'gay or asian' piece skewered a built, chiseled asian guy in a judo outfit, mid-kick, i'm willing to bet there would not have been the firestorm of complaints. the big mis-step with the asian piece is that it uses tired, feminine cliches about asian men to make its gay parallels, rather than masculine ones. the purpose is lost when it seems to be making fun of femininity (and gay asian men) rather than putting machismo on the chopping block.

which taps into the deeper problem - that other than martial arts, there are so few masculine associations with asian men, which is really what the protests are about: the article furthers the immasculization of asian men, whereas previous targets were in no danger.

so ultimately i think details has the right idea - just very poorly executed in this case. usually i turn to the 'gay or..?' page and feel that the magazine is cleverly winking at their gay audience, but this misfire is easily taken as racist and homophobic, especially viewed out of context and with no prior knowledge of the feature's history. it shows just how fine a line racial and stereotype-based humor draws, and how easily it can backfire.

buddy, thanks for making an already great august even better. have fun on tour.


august for the record books

another perfect morning, preceeded by a perfect afternoon and evening.

bryant park is one of my favorite places in the city. there's something regal about the way the trees arch over the walkways - like cathedral walls. took this pic yesterday. really must be seen in full resolution. when i first started temping, my agency was right near the park, so every tuesday after picking up my check i would drop my bag down in that square of grass and lie there writing in my journal until the sun went down. i think i like it because it feels old, there's a sense of history - a climactic moment of 'house of mirth' happens in bryant park, and i imagine it looks almost exactly the same as it did when edith wharton sat here.


is it me or has it been the most beautiful week in the history of new york augusts?

but really i've been having such a great week that it could be storming and the city could drop into the ocean and i wouldn't notice.

the show i'm in opened on monday, and though it was a sold out crowd and was well received, i left feeling very depressed. i have the horrible responsibility of telling the first jokes of the play. essentially, after i speak, it is immediately determined whether or not the other actors in the play will have to rescue the show, or ride the wave. monday night i was covered in flop sweat, each successive joke plopping atop the other, my face shining, dark wet sweat stains spreading from my armpits - and everyone else on stage having a gay old time, dry as an arizona desert. and the whole time i'm repeating to myself 'stay calm. have fun dammit! have fun! it's easy, see? it's funny, right? HAVE FUN!' and all the effort only makes it worse, like trying to yank out of a chinese finger trap.

the next night my co-star and i worked on the opening scene some more and found inherent problems in our initial approach. in addition to that, the failure of the night before had cauterized me - it could never be that bad again, and i was actually able to have fun with it. what a relief. the show went great, and equilibrium was restored to the universe (i like that phrase).

the fountain at city hall park last night..

the culture of fear

my dear friend sunny, (who i'm going to be seeing in a couple weeks at my ten year high school reunion!) sent me a link about checkit. the whole thing is so disgusting. it amounts to rape, really. and it floors me that people buy it. i bet that site has raked in the dough.

the high school reunion is an interesting thing to be faced with. i'm actually quite excited to go, to see the aging process take its first merciless grip on the faces of those i despised. there are also so many friends i would not get to see otherwise, and many people who i've lost contact with that i'd love to see again. i also want to know who's gay and who got sexy and who's still bitchy and who's cool.

tag team me

i need to very belatedly welcome mr. dolan back into the blog-o-tron. you have been greatly missed. i would post comments, but your blog is set to only accept comments from team members. put me on your team!

yes yes yes

so exciting
look in his eyes
feel your brain
make connections
unleash invisible tendrils
arms with fingers outstretched
yearning to intertwine
synapses shout
with every atom
every last bit of stored
'yes! yes! yes!'

is there anything more gratifying
than to peer in his eyes?
to see twin backward telescopes
become microscopes revealing
parallel events
deep in his mind?
somewhere in his basements
happy molecules
race up stairwells
burst onto the rooftops
of every neuron
jump as high as they can
arms outstretched
shouting with every atom
with every last bit of stored
'yes! yes! yes!'

lament of terry souther

this was in the comments today:

hello, iwould like to see the sexual preditors in my area but your websight won't let me . where do you put zip code to do this? i have tried can me at thank you terry souther
hi terry.

as my friend rob asks: are you interested to find out if you're on the list?

if you'd like to find a sexual predator, please scroll down and see the 'horny hillbilly.'

sexual predators: shoot terry an email and let him know where you are. thanks.

woman 1: did you hear about mcgreevey?

woman 2: yeah i heard he resigned.

1: and he came out of the closet.

2: what?

1: yeah, he said 'i'm gay,' and he quit because he had an affair. with a man.

2: i didn't hear about that part. he's gay?

1: yeah, he said it just this afternoon.

2: and he had a gay affair?

1: that's what he said.

2: doesn't he have kids?

1: yeah, he does.

2: that's crazy.

1: i know. i mean, if you're going to be gay fine, but get out of the relationship you're in first.

2: with a man? that's just sick. i mean i probably shouldn't say that. (laughing)

1: (laughing)

2: but it is, isn't it? it's disgusting! i know, we're supposed to be open minded and all, and i have nothing against gay people, but the thought just makes me ill, i'm sorry.

1: don't apologize to me! it repulses me too. who could ever do that? with a man?

a comment

wow, check out the comments! post one! this gets really fun when people play along. apparently there are a bunch of people out there who think that -I- am the person who is making the phone calls. yes, that's what i do from my cubicle all day. i sit here with a phone book and i speak in a creepy friendly woman's voice trying to scare the shit out of you by inferring that your kids may be threatened.

what's even funnier is the number of people who don't understand how to use their internet browsers. they get the creepy phone call telling them 'your kids are going to be raped! raped! get online now! go to! go now! go for your kids!' and so aunt june puts down the cross-stitch and saunters over to the computerizer-thingy and thinks 'i think i'll give this here intranet thing a go-round.' and she types into yahoo search '' guess what. i'm the only link. she clicks on it and is inundated with trashy gay smut! smut! pictures of cats! pictures of giant plastic dongs!

and aunt june can't figure it out. 'why would this homosexualist call me up, pretend to use a woman's voice, and tell me to go to this website?'

roommate's cat. (not a sexual predator. okay maybe)

hit me again

i seem to be one of the only people to have written about - since over 300 people viewed my site yesterday through yahoo searches. quite amazing. who would guess that commenting on a sexual predator service would be my new 'clay aiken is gay'?

'sexual predator service.' hmm. sounds like a dating service, really. in fact, the voice on the recording sounded like a dating service. she was so happy to inform me of rapists that she may as well have been informing me about single, chiseled doctors in my area.

sexual predators at your fingertips

i picked up the phone at work today and was greeted by the genteel, neighborly recorded voice of 'melissa.' she said:

hi! my name is melissa, and i'm calling from! i'm calling to inform you that there are sexual predators in your area! if you would like to know how many sexual predators are in your area, please press 1 now!
so i pressed 1.

please enter your zip code!
zip code entered.

pause pause pause.

there are _3_ sexual predators in your area! if you would like more information on these predators, including profile and pictures, please go to!
and of course her voice changes when she says '3' because of the electronic system, and you can tell that she's been coached to make her voice as friendly as possible to try and counteract the totally impersonal, exploitation-by-fear nature of the whole conceit.

then you go to the website and of course, they are so totally concerned for your safety, or the safety of your kids that you have to pay for what is actually public domain information. and to pile on this sugary sweet voice that tells you
'good morning! i bet you didn't know that there are three people in your neighborhood just dying to rape your kids! coffee? tea?'
it was like a saturday night live sketch.

sasha baron cohen is a fearless man. he revels in the discomfort of others, sometimes making the ali g show hard to watch, but it's also what makes it riveting. by pretending to be stupid, he's able to coerce statements out of people that they would never otherwise utter. last week he got james broadwater, a congressional candidate in mississippi to state in black and white terms that all jews will go to hell. read his 'defense', which basically says 'oh, sorry, i didn't mean to say all jews will go to hell. i meant to say all jews will go to hell unless they accept jesus. see? i'm a friend of israel! vote for me!'

lovely day

today was straight out of may. amazing. thank you thank you thank you. can't wait to get out of this office.

hit me

over the weekend the blog passed 25,000 hits which is pretty amazing. thanks to clay aiken, that homo.

been getting a lot of hits searching for information on that billboard in l.a. for 'the brown bunny' that features chloe sevigny blowing vincent gallo. i've written on this previously. i saw a very scary looking homeless man in the east village a few weeks ago. then i realized it was vincent gallo. poor chloe. i hope he at least took a shower first.

i've booked my ticket home for my high school reunion. i can't wait. i need these things that make me feel old, that kick my ass, that say 'what the hell have you done with your life?', that say 'what do you have to show?', that say 'what are you proud of?,' that say 'what are you going to do next?'

i find myself in love with the maroon 5 lead singer, especially in their latest video. he reminds me so much of an old boyfriend, the one who doesn't speak to me anymore, the one i turn over in my mind again and again, the one that fills me with regret and guilt and shame, the one i could not apologize enough to if i ever had the chance, the one who saw directly through me and called me out on my laundry list of character flaws, the one i google a few times a year, hoping a new link has sprouted, maybe a picture, hoping i might find a new email address, hoping i might be able to restore equilibrium to the universe.

on 'six feet under' sarah says to ruth 'i guess it's true what they say. we all pick the same person over and over again.' it's a weird comfort. i hope it's true. and i hope that i've become someone more equipped to give that guy what he needs when he shows up again.

now i'm feeling contemplative. i want to go back to the beach. my little movie will have to suffice. turn up the sound.

ima killa

i googled myself and found out that i raped and killed donna pentecost in 1989, and that i'm pretty scary lookin.

i also found out that i'm a speed eating champion, and that i'll eat anything except rocky mountain oysters. insert snarky comment here.

this piece of brilliance garnered cheers from the crowd when i saw it this weekend.

and thanks to my favorite new yorker cartoonist, bruce eric kaplan, six feet under is back in its stride, and has most certainly not jumped the shark. another brilliant episode.

central park on friday. felt a desperate need to roll around in the grass after work. time gets shorter. it's august already. where is summer. no wonder old people move to florida - it's the only way to make the summer to feel as lengthy as it did when you were a kid.

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  • 5: the man of genius

  • 4: blunders & absurdities

  • 3: conservative after dinner

  • 2: what lies below

  • 1: where there is no path

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