Make the burning stop.....

Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm goin for mine and feelin fine...

start over
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
I have this odd, new-found hopeful feeling right now...

My sister called - she wanted to send me a kiss in case I didn't have someone to kiss for new year's. She put my two year old niece, Ciara, on the phone. She told me about the picnic she had in the livingroom with her brother, her mom and dad. She was really excited - telling me how cool it was that she got to have lots of treats*

Then my twelve year old niece, Cailly called from a sleep over to wish me a happy new year. My family rules.

Wishing all three of you the happiest and most creatively, spiritually and intellectually challenging year to come...

*treats= mass amounts of refined sugar

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Call me Grace

Yesterday the fam engaged in the greatest of white trash traditions. We all donned funky, already worn shoes and relished in the past time enjoyed by trailer people the world over.
It was a Whissel Holiday Bowling Fiesta.

Excuse me, I have to go wash my hands again.

More on this, I promise.... Gotta go to Grammy's

Monday, December 26, 2005

Lookin for a fix in '06.

I bought some really pretty metal star ornaments for friends this year. There were four different ones - faith, love, hope and charity. Sadly, by the time I got there they were all out of faith and love. I think that sums things up nicely.

Ya feel me?

For the new year I hope we all find a little more faith and love...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strike's Over!

Y'all in?
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
Twas five days before Christmas and all through the town;
Not a train was up running, they'd all been shut down.

The turnstiles were locked and the stations were cleared,
in hopes that Old Bloomberg would give them their share.

The workers were nestled all snug in their booths;
Where oft they're found sleeping, to tell you the truth.
Toussaint wants their pensions to be like the cops' -
you know, 'cause it's stressful announcing each stop.

Alas, from the public arose such a clatter,
Their leader seems not to have thought out the matter.

With shoppers not shopping and travel delayed,
public support dwindled, New Yorkers' nerves frayed.

You dumb, lazy morons! The people did cry.
Pensions the same as the FDNY?
It'll cost us a fortune, illiterate twits!
The people weren't happy. In fact, they threw fits.

There's strength in a union, or so they believed but not before Christmas - now everyone's peeved.
It's terrible timing for stranding the masses;
If Reagan were here he'd have fired your asses.

Anonymous author

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Longest Shortest Day

Solstice Shelf
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
Today is the Winter Solstice. Only one person wished me a happy one. Oh well. That's what happens when you're a member of a lesser known religion, I spose.

Summer Solstice has always been my favorite followed closely by the winter solstice. Perhaps it's due to the extreme between the longest and shortest day.

I'm getting ready to head up North for the holidays. Wrapping presents, packing and checking for alternate escape routes from the city.

I'm really looking forward to seeing my Mom and checking out the new home she's living in. I think it will take away some of the anxiety I've been having.

I usually have a little Charlie Brown tree but time ran away from me this year. So right before my sister and her husband and kids were due to arrive I decided I should at least put up a few decorations...

Hence, the solstice shelf.

At the top of my shelf is Homer dressed as Santa (naturally). Making our way down, there's a pretty gold star to represent the rebirth of the sun and,the trunk of our family Xmas tree in 1972 and of course, a snowman to represent my roots in Buffalo.

Finally there is my favorite Christmas decoration...

When my Mom took ceramics in the 70's, like all good housewives did, she made the "Santa house". Actually, it's not HIS house, rather, a home where he's delivering gifts and a music box inside plays "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

When I was a kid and my mom would bring the decorations down from the attic, I'd get soooo excited.

But it was the moment that I wound up the Santa House and listened to its song that I'd almost burst with the anticipation of Christmas Morning.

Last weekend I watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and right before I went to bed I felt empty - like I couldn't remember what it felt like to be excited about Christmas.

So I walked over to the solstice shelf and wound the Santa house up.

My Momma won't join me for the holidays - well, not like she was anyway... but it reminded me of how incredibly loving she always was and how much she truly embraced the spiritual part of the season.

I cried a little, for what I've lost, but I found myself feeling strangely at peace as I climbed into my bed hoping for visions of sugar plums.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

snow day

Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
The MTA officially declared a strike at 3am and I awoke to gridlock.

I can't help but think of snow days when I was a kid growing up in Buffalo. The excitement and anticipation would build as we'd sit by the radio listening to the school closing reports.

It would begin with the inevitable stream of parochial schools then move to the South towns which always got hit hardest by the lake effect. Finally there would be a seemingly endless pause before they would announce all Buffalo Public schools closed. (Sadly, this was frequently not the case as there had to be 4 foot drifts and 20 degrees below with for the public schools to close.)

A snow day was always a surprise gift of freedom - or if you were me, a reprieve from punishment for homework I most likely hadn't done the night before. The announcement brought a moment filled with so many possibilities. Should I go back to sleep? Go sledding and make snow angels? Make toast and turn on cartoons? I could do almost anything, really.

I feel that way today - although technically I'm still waiting to be the third passenger in a livery car scheduled to arrive at 8:05. It is now 9:43 and I find myself feeling lucky but anxious. I am incredibly fortunate that I am not a restaurant worker, an off-the books laborer or an hourly worker at a mom and pop establishment. I can relax with a cup of coffee in my warm house because I have an employer who will pay me even if I don't make it. (Of course they'll probably swipe a personal or vacation day)

This strike will affect people in so many ways. It is a huge inconvenience and a travesty - though I truly can identify with both sides.

I can't imagine working underground every day with no natural light, running water mixed with sewage, rats, roaches and human beings who shit on the platforms.

Yet part of me is angry. How dare the TWU hold the city hostage? They chose to work this type of job and they make a better living than a lot of New Yorkers. And I don't want to hear the argument that when food and shelter are the motivating factors, one cannot always work in the field that makes them happy. Well shit son, that's a reality.

Most people get up and go to a job they don't like/despise every day. Growing up to be a receptionist was not my goal in life. (Although I did "play secretary" alot as a kid.) True, it is a cushy job and I should be thankful... but it is all relative.

I didn't even think this strike was going to happen and I said so to anyone who would listen. D'oh! I'm just relieved that I finished my shopping on Monday and I'm gettin out of here this week.

It is now evening as I finish this entry up. I was made aware that I didn't work a "full day" today and that I really need to be on time tomorrow. Thankfully, I'm in full control of the traffic situation and can make that a reality.

Until this mess is sorted out I will do my best to see the better side of New Yorkers and ignore the examples of people without a soul. I only hope that at some point it snows - covering the city in a peaceful blanket - fluffy, bright, sparkling snowflakes.

I will lay down in the snow, no matter where I am and make my first snow angel of the season. I'll take a deep breath and stare up into the sky. And I'll remember for a brief second, that every so often, I can live in the excitement of the moment.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

All I Want For Christmas

Prospective New Toy
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.

I'm a chronic user of the snooze button and it only gets worse in the winter. I've tried putting my alarm clock across the room so that I have to get out of bed to turn it off but I just pad across the floor, smack the top of my alarm and lurch back toward my bed for another 10 minutes. If I hit snooze enough times I end up integrating whatever they're discussing on NPR with my dreams.

Yesterday I couldn't figure out who had invited Roger Toussaint into my bedroom and why we were debating the MTA strike before I'd even gotten a cup of coffee.

I can't remember where I heard (or more likely read) about this alarm clock but I knew we were destined for one another.

After a quick Google search it became all the more glaringly apparent that even if I have a 2nd generation, enormous, 3 year old iPod I am not at the forefront of a techno gadget revolution. Some of the tech junkies have been talking about this clock for almost a year.

Now before you rush right out and purchase one of these bad boys for me, Oh grateful three readers, please note it is currently just a prototype. It awaits the kindly, deliberate hands of a mind more advanced than mine in matters of electronics, engineering and logic.

I anxiously await my opportunity to use the Sfera and see if it helps me get out of bed a bit faster. I long to read by its soft green glow, as it eerily floats over my head. I anticipate the light gently fading and soothing music lulling me off to sleep. And I'm really excited to tap it in the morning watching it rise ever closer to my ceiling.

I can already see myself standing on top of my bed at 7am waving a broom stick at the damn thing so I can drift back off for ten more minutes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Carney to portray Alley in Lifetime Movie

Kirstie baby
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
I am an actress and I've been told I resemble Kirstie Alley for the past decade so it only seemed natural I should portray the zaftig thesp in her Intimate Portrait.

True. It isn't my ideal job but it is a paid acting gig.

OK. The real story is this:
Tomorrow I'll be making my sketch comedy debut in Character Dog Run at Manhattan Comedy Collective's Big Bang.

This installment is the "Celebrity Dog Run" and guess who I'll be impersonating?

The show is $10 (but only $7 if you get your tickets online through Brown Paper Tickets and use the code "Particle").

The evening includes sketch, short films, improv and puppets! How can you go wrong?
So come on down to Juvie Hall tomorrow night at 7 and leave your MTA Transit strike anxiety at the door.

Afterwards, there will be wine and conversation at my place in ASStoria.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Vampires, immolation and squirrel monkeys...

Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
He was a huge inspiration to a young, foul mouthed, white girl from Buffalo who liked to point out things you weren't supposed to say.

He was an honest and fearless comic who made an indelible mark on the world of comedy.

He was a sociologist who held a mirror up to us and made us examine our prejudices and attitudes.

Most of all, he was a funny motherfucker...

RIP Richard Pryor.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A report from the bunker...

winter formal
Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
Everyone at the Holiday Party was fussing over their hair, make up, etc. to the point where my friend Rob and I were forced to take a prom picture. He was my man in black all evening providing sparklingly hilarious sarcasm and a companion for a cigarette break.

As usual, I ate next to nothing from the fabulous menu. I was only really planning to eat bread and cheese anyway. I managed to shove down a mini turkey sandwich with a dollop of cranberries and a piece of bruschetta. There wasn’t any Pinot Noir but I made short work of at least a bottle of Cabernet. I considered going the bourbon route and quickly recalled the delicacy of my dress and my penchant for head injuries.

The various arrangements of flowers and candles were gorgeous and had to cost close to 5 times my salary. It made me feel all soft and mushy and romantic. I swiped a half dozen roses and a pomegranate on my way out.

The Harvard Club was a fiesta of dead animals. There was a second story balcony that surrounded one of the main rooms and the walls were covered with extinct mounted wildlife. Thankfully, I didn't see any of it up close and was fortunate enough to miss the elephant's head in the foyer.

Human behavior is so ridiculous and amusing. My co-workers and I see each other all day. On the eve of this shindig, we go off separately and get gussied up. We arrive, in our finest, at a different location and proceed to greet one another as if years have passed.
“Oh, Gertrude from Accounting, you look so beautiful in black” (As did 90% of the men and women there.) “Tell me what’s going on in your life and where you got that fantastic dress.”

I also noticed this behavior when I was in college. Every semester, all the theatre majors would gather for "studio hour". There'd be stories, songs, monologues and comedy. It was a free-for-all for silly theatrical people.

Prior to the start time, people would walk around in that way, greeting one another and chatting as if they'd endured a great absence. Of course, there, I'm inclined to think it was the engagement of the ego and a desire to be seen (and heard).

Hmmm. Now that I think on it - it's really the same thing. On Thursday, we were a bunch of peacocks - strutting and preening in front of one another in a room of animals that used to do the same.

It’s just now I’m in a more expensive venue with much less freedom to say what I really think.

I wonder if this means it's only a matter of time before my head graces the walls of the Harvard Club...

More likely, the lodge of the
loyal order of Elk - Local 401.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tonight's Menu

I will be eating disturbing amounts of foods in bold print as well as multiple glasses of Pinot Noir and champagne.


Honey-Ginger Baby Lamb Chops
Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomato on Grilled Foccacia
Miniature Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
Chicken Brochette with Pineapple Mango Chutney
Bruschetta with Olives & Tomato Concasse
Assorted California Rolls


Tuscan Bounty
Wild Mushrooms Marinated in a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette
Grilled Portabellos, Squashes, Red & Yellow Bell Peppers
Bocconcini & Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs & Garlic
Prosciutto & Soppressata
Bel Paese and Crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parmesan Toast, Bread Sticks & Foccacia with Tapenade & Flavored Oils
Classic Fontina Fondue with Cubed Country Breads
Baked Brie en Croute

Asian Table
Peking Duck prepared to order
Assorted Dumplings; Pork, Shrimp, Vegetable
Stir-fried Chicken & Oriental Vegetables with Peanut Sauce
Stir-fried Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
Fried Rice

Pasta to Order
Wild Mushroom Ravioli & Farfalle
Truffled Alfredo & Fresh Tomato Sauce
A selection of Vegetables and Freshly Grated Parmesan

Tenderloin of Beef with Bearnaise and Red Wine Truffle Sauces
Whole Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy, Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Dijon & Aioli

Chilled Seafood Trawler
Market Oysters on the Half Shell, Little Neck Clams, Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, Chilled Crab Claws
Cocktail & Mignonette Sauces with Wrapped Lemons

Atlantic Surf Table
House Cured Gravlax with Mustard Dill Sauce, Black Bread, Onions, Capers & Lemon
Rare Roasted Loin of Tuna, Pepper-crusted with Mango, Tomato & Avocado Salsas
Fire-Roasted Vegetables
Assorted Rolls

Sweet Endings
Long-stem Strawberry Tuxedos
Assorted Fruit Pies & Petite Pastries
Buche de Noel
Coffee & Tea

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Oh sure, like he went to Harvard..."

Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
Alas, another employer sponsered function has come along and I don't have a thing to wear :)

Tomorrow evening I shall be sipping cocktails, eating hors d'oeuvres and making my patented inappropriate remarks in, of all places, the Harvard Club.

Since I'll be in a den of old money, I think my vintage ivory beaded gown should work. Maybe I'll get lucky and come home with an investment banker who actually has a personality. Though more likely I'll get drunk and stumble off with one of my co-workers, ending up in an uncomfortable embrace in a snowdrift.

There's a twisted little satisfaction for me to be in a place like that sans panties. Is that so wrong?

I'll be sure to post a picture of me in the Harvard Club with a stick up my ass and a right wing song in my heart.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I want to wear the Emperor’s clothes!

Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
Yesterday afternoon I watched “March of The Penguins”.

I loved it - and now count the Empire Penguin among my favorite animals on the planet. The other two are the crab and the monkey.

The score was soulful and melancholy and really punctuated the strength of the harsh landscape. The photography was breathtaking and so crisp I got a chill every time the wind blew. It made me miss Buffalo!

Some of the moments I enjoyed most were: the mating of the male and female. They were so slow and deliberate about the way they caressed one another. They maintained eye contact for a really long time like they were searching each others eyes.

It was also really sad when the father passed off the chick to the mother just hours after they hatched. He seemed so torn between his need for food and his need to stay close to his young.

It was amazing when the fathers came back from the sea and found their chicks by the sound of their voice. There was a deafening noise but they were able to identify their baby from the memory of its song heard weeks ago.

It also got me to thinking about my similarities to this creature – as well as some of their qualities I’d like to possess…

They are monogamous (at least through the breeding cycle), they are graceful yet capable of hilarious clumsiness. They endure hardships to protect their families, are tender and affectionate. They also possess a studied slouch, handle the extreme harshness of Antarctica and need the sea.

I think I’d be ok with the walk back and forth, 70 miles each time, from the breeding grounds to the sea. I’m not sure how well I’d hold up (as a male) starving through an Antarctic winter to ensure the safety of the little hatchling. The idea of no food for four months is unfathomable even if I arrived with a belly filled with food.

I really like the idea of having an extra fold of skin in which to hide things. I’d keep a change of clothes, snacks, lip gloss, a board game and a bottle of water. My own little disaster kit at hand all the time without the bulky annoyance of a purse.

But most of all, I loved watching them swim and play. There was such limitless joy in the way they flew through the air, swam in quick circles or slid along on their bellies.

I may have to wait for my next incarnation to be an Emperor Penguin but I can do my best to be graceful as I slip-slide on my ass all winter.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How many bags does it take...?

Originally uploaded by AB Carney.
I just returned from my dreaded every third Saturday ritual of dry cleaning, groceries and liquor store. (In actuality laundry is usually in place of the liquor store but I'd rather drink than have clean underwear so there you have it.) I'd been considering giving up panties for advent anyway.

I'm beginning to think they actually give the cashiers at Pathmark cash incentives for every plastic bag they use. My Drano for the bathroom sink and shower was double bagged. The little jade plant I bought to replace the one I annihlated was double bagged. My eggs were triple bagged.

What else could it be besides some sort of bonus system they have for whoever uses the most bags in one day? Maybe it's a promotion with the US Council on Plastics or some sort of plan to see who in my area code recycles most.

I'm inclined to think that my cashier has a gerbil at home and has found that shredded plastic bags make cushy bedding for all domestic rodents.

Yeah, that must be it...