When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Television's Best Kept Secret ...

... well to me anyway. I mean, did anyone know that Mandy Moore played herself as the girlfriend of Entourage's Vincent Chase back in the early days of the show? I had watched some of the latest season before I took My Night Job and found it to be a fun romp through LA and the Hollywood scene. I liked the boys and the natural way they acted. But last night they were rerunning the early season shows and I watched because -- well, I get to sleep at 2 AM these days on the regular. So cable TV is my friend at times. And at other times, bitter enemy. And I had no idea that little miss cutsie had a slice of the adult pie that is Entourage.

That bit of trivia was brought to you by the letter M and V, and by the number 1, as in the loneliest number that you'll ever do.

That last bit was for effect. I had a very satisfying New York Saturday even though I was alone. I went to follow the BBQ suggestion of my new acquaintance (downgraded from friend because I tried to solicit an invite to go to this BBQ place with him and he did not respond. I'm not offended, truly, because hey -- I'm just a listener to his podcast who lives in the same city that he does. Why should that make us dinner buddies?) The place is called Hill Country. I instantly thought of Pinknest when I paid. It was a $27.19 combo platter of smoky meats. Chicken, Pork, and Beef, plus two sides and a good-sized drink. I took the food to Madison Square Park, which I believe is going to be prominently featured in the upcoming movie "I Am Legend" with Will Smith. The squirrels in that little park and not aptly named. They don't "squirrel" at all. They are more like aggressive cats. One ran right up the back of my bench and snatched my coat shoulder with its forepaws, about to walk across me to get to my food. I cussed him or her out real good and that seemed to discourage it. Then an old man came by to feed them walnuts. I'm happy to say we didn't get devoured in the feeding frenzy that ensued.

I ate half my food (that'd make it a $13 lunch), traveled south for about 15 blocks, and successfully entered Sing Sing Karaoke on St. Mark's Place -- FINALLY! Except, I took a booth and was alone. It was 4:30 and the bar scene didn't start until 9, but at 7 they would start charging $20 an hour for the booth, so there was no way I was staying that long and paying that much. But it did revitalize me in all sorts of ways. It reminded me that I love to sing and that I'm good at it. When I'm alone. :)

According to the start of the lyrics screen, which displays the key in which the song expects you to sing in, I'm capable of sustaining the key of F and A. Those are songs like "Love" by Musiq, "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles, "True Colors" ala Phil Collins, and womens songs like "No One" by Alicia Keys and "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield (although that was QUITE a stretch. Its' like opera as far as my throat was concerned).

I sang for two hours, and then took it to the streets with 4 songs from Keyshia Cole's new album on my .mp3 player as I journeyed across avenues 4th and 5th. I felt confident and content enough to sing as I walked. But of course, the songs I saved on my player are her ballads, not her R&B rappy pop tunes. This one, "I Remember" is currently my favorite. Sad songs are still my favorite types. It's what I know -- what can I say?

Then I reached the B&N in Chelsea on 6th to finish my Hill Country (making it a lukewarm, $14 dinner) and read this amazingly gorgeous graphic novel.

This is just one page out of a 12-issue series which took 3 graphic novels to contain. Every page is painted like this. It's called "Justice" by Alex Ross, and he is a comics' god. What I love most about Ross is that he paints superheroes to look they way they would if people really wore superhero outfits. He paints textures and fabric wrinkles and lighting highlights. So his projects are a dream to read. They are second only to looking at the superhero maquettes, such as this little gem;
See how colorful and realistic it looks? Would it have killed Bryan Singer to bring that to life on Hugh Jackman's back?

But that's okay, because I'm a friend of this guy, and he's real!

So that's alright then!

So, Grizz, you see, this is the kind of guy I am when I'm not in an active search for Mrs. Redeemable. Given my hobbies and my work, I have no other idea on what more there is to do. Even my hobbies keep me introverted. Reading, booth-singing, even Dungeons & Dragons, where I'm not myself at all, but a character from a fantasy world. It's so much fun when I'm doing it, then I stop and I turn around, and here I am.

So we'll see how it goes, Karma. Me and fate have a love/hate relationship. I don't tend to believe in it because I can't quantify what it actually is supposed to be. What conspires to create circumstances? Is it an intelligence? And if so, isn't it God? And if God, does He still even like me anymore? I'm way off the beaten path of faith, as MyFriendTheDoctor pointed out a few days ago. Which is why I too relate to Thomas Convenant. My first reaction so often feels like "Leper! Outcast! Unclean!" whenever a social situation opens up. I've done real good in the last month avoiding that reaction --but if I stop trying, that's what I'll go back to.

Sunshine, I'll take more than just a word of prayer. If you could, ask some of your fellow parishoners to send up some anonymous mentions for me. Just a simple "and oh by the way, there's this guy that Sunshine reads who wants to get back to You -- would you give him a helping hand?" God knows how to fill in the rest of the details. :-)

Meanwhile, I thought of Match.com too, Mike. Tried them out maybe a half a year back. Took a nibble or two but was not reeled in, although now I have a much better picture to use. It's amazing how much you guys have in common -- doesn't seem like you even needed Match! Now that I'm in NYC, and not living in a guy's basement, I think I'd have a better shot. So yeah, I'll revisit that. Thanks.

Meanwhile, on I go! Thanks for hanging in there with me, everybody! Seriously. You help me feel still attached to the human race. And that too is alright then. :-)


GrizzBabe said...

I'm confused. Did you actually get up on a stage and sing Karaoke or did you sing with fervor from your booth? If you were on stage -- you totally rock! If not, I would so have been with you in that booth singing my heart out too.

Alan said...

Sorry, booth = small room down the hall off the bar area. Totally enclosed and private.

There's no stage there. At 9 is when the bar area fills up and there's a karaoke machine there. Patrons get hold of the remote and program a song. The number of the song appears on the top of the screen in that area, and then the songs cycle down, playing one by one. There's a cordless mic there too. So when your song comes up, you get the mic and sing there in the bar area, in the crowd. So it's kind of safe that way, although it is public. It's also not very big, so the crowd, maybe twenty at most, either will just listen, but mostly sing along.

That's what I witnessed a few years ago when I went out to this place with a bunch of fellow D&Dragoners for one of their birthdays. We had gone into a larger booth and took turns singing songs we had programmed. They were all getting sloshed on overpriced beer so I took the opportunity to sing, hoping they would not remember what I sounded like the next day. None of us were ready for Motown, but some were decent singers so I threw down too.

When we were done, we had to settle the bill in the bar area, and that's how I learned the way the public karaoke worked.

So, if "fate" ever brings you up NYC way, you can count on at least one hotspot to visit, one tour guide, and one singing partner. :-)

GrizzBabe said...

It's a date!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lara Croft said...

Hey Alan, just a quickie to let you know i am home safe sound and broke LOL.

Lara Croft said...

Alan god loves everyone no matter what, and there is nothing wrong being introverted if thats who you are. I may appear social but I am equally happy sitting in my room playing on my computer too. I think the reason I love Vegas is due to its stimuli, neon lights, crowds of people, rides, exploring, taking pictures etc.
Have you ever considered doing a tour in the usa? For me having a vacation out of the norm seems to invigorate my thirst for life.
I think ya alright! so should You :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey there Alan. I just wanted to stop by to wish you a well Black Friday - may the shoppers don't get you down too much!


Sunshine said...

LOL, I would but they don't know I blog! Its my little secret ;)
However I will be glad to pray for you buddy. Hope you're having a good day.... whoever you are today :). Nothing wrong with introverts, they are the deep thinkers and most thoughtful people I know. I on the other hand am a blend of extrovert introvert and tend to be a little shallow (shrugs the shoulders) we are who we are and thank god we're all different. We here in blogland appreciate you.

Alan said...

Thank you Steven! Hope you had fun!

Sunshine, thank you. I really appreciate you too. :-)