The Search for Love in Manhattan
A gay odyssey of neurosis


Thursday, October 30, 2003

Tomorrow I am going to go buy smaller knitting needles.

Then I'm going to watch Let's Scare Jessica to Death with this man and his boyfriend.

Then I'm going to London.

It's not often that I feel like a glamorous jet-setter.

But every once in a while I do.

Like now.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:37 PM |


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Well, I started knitting the gloves I posted about two days ago. I figured the best thing to do would be to knit them for hands slightly larger than mine in diameter, so that at least I could start knitting right away, and then do the turkey thing next time I saw him.

But, looking at how the work is coming, I'm confident that the gloves I'm knitting will fit him extraordinarily well.

If he happens to have become a sasquatch by the time I give them to him.

Really, it's just too tragic. The glove is so damn big you could fit a family of four inside it. I'm going tomorrow to buy smaller needles.

I will triumph in this endeavor, or die trying.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:43 PM |


Monday, October 27, 2003

There is nothing I hate in the world more than hurting people.

So why is that all I've seemed to do this month?

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:34 PM |


Sunday, October 26, 2003

I am knitting a pair of gloves as an early Christmas present for somebody I want to date.

I find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I

a) ask to measure his hands, thereby ruining the surprise, or
b) guess at his hand size, thereby preserving the surprise but greatly increasing the risk of giving him gloves that don't fit?

The suggestion that I should knit the gloves to fit my own hands, since his hands probably aren't that much bigger than mine, so that in the incomprehensible event he chooses not to date me I won't have gone to all that trouble for nothing, is beneath contempt.

posted by Faustus, MD | 10:37 PM |


Friday, October 24, 2003

I spent all day today in the studio, editing, mixing, and mastering the demo CD of the Holocaust musical I'm working on.

After nine and a half hours of saying things like, "Okay, can we take it from 'We're dead even though we're still breathing' to the end?" and "No, the other take of 'and if the sun should blacken, that would seem like justice' was better," I'm not really in any shape to form complete sentences, much less write coherently and amusingly.

Check back in tomorrow.

Unless, of course, the sun has blackened, in which case we'll all have more important things to worry about.

posted by Faustus, MD | 10:39 PM |


Thursday, October 23, 2003

Actually, the timing of my birthday on the one hand and yearbook deadlines on the other makes me realize that the dichotomy was fixed by seventeen.

Probably it was fixed by five.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:00 PM |


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Every year, in my high school yearbook, the seniors each got half a page to themselves; this was filled with their responses to a questionnaire that asked things like "Likes Most" and "Favorite Sayings." In my senior year, of course I spent hours and hours honing my answers—this presaged the amount of time it takes me now to write a personals ad—and I remember particularly clearly the torture I went through trying to decide what my answer to "What I Have Learned in the Past Twelve Years" would be.

I am horrified and ashamed to admit that what I came up with in the end was "that people are inherently good."

I feel slightly redeemed, though, by the fact that the instant the deadline for making any changes had passed, it occurred to me that it would have been much better to quote Ovid:

What I Have Learned in the Past Twelve Years: Rident stolidi verba Latina.

This translates as "fools laugh at the Latin language."

What this makes me realize is that even at eighteen the central dichotomy of my character was already fixed: I believe in people deeply but I hate them anyway.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:19 PM |


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Today my acupuncturist had an open house. I foolishly ate lunch before going, and, because I was unable to resist the delicious spread of cheese and crackers and crudités she had put out, ate lunch again when I got there, which means that my goal of getting below 135 pounds before I go to a costume party Saturday for which my costume requires that I be shirtless is even less likely to happen than it was before and yet another opportunity for self-loathing is about to be opened to me.

In any case, at the open house, I had my antioxidant level tested. Apparently the average American has an antioxidant level of about 19,000. Since one in four Americans develops some form of cancer, one can conclude that 19,000 is an unacceptably low level. The people doing the testing (who were there as guests of my acupuncturist) told me what a better level to reach was; I think they said 50,000, but I have lost all certainty in my horror at having an antioxidant level of 13,000, which means I am going to get cancer and die next week.

I got extra veggies on the Subway sandwich I ate for dinner and I just ate two cucumbers for a nighttime snack, but I suspect it's too little too late.

It's been lovely knowing all of you.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:24 PM |


Monday, October 20, 2003

At cheerleading practice tonight we learned a new cheer. It went like this (I can't reproduce the accompanying arm motions on this blog, but rest assured that they were there):

S-P-I-R-I-T!
Spirit!
Let's hear it!


The thing is, no matter how hard I tried, what kept on coming out of my mouth was S-P-I-T-E!

You can take the cheerleader out of the bile . . .

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:26 PM |


Sunday, October 19, 2003

Today I attended the gay cheerleading squad's first annual awards dinner.

I must admit to approaching the event with some trepidation; the last time I encountered the combination of gay cheerleaders and alcohol, the effect on my psyche was spectacularly disastrous. However, I figured since we'd be in a restaurant rather than a bar, chances were that it wouldn't get too out of hand, and I screwed my courage to the sticking place and went to the dinner.

Where I won an award.

There were two kinds of awards given: those awarded by the coach and co-directors, and those voted by the squad as a whole. The coach's and directors' awards were things like "Most Improved Flyer" and "Cheerleader of the Year." The squad awards were things like "Jailbait Award (Most Likely to Land in Jail)" and "Boca Award (Biggest Mouth)."

I received the squad Personality Award.

I must confess to being utterly baffled by this. Thrilled, but baffled.

It would have been no surprise to me four years ago, in the halcyon days before my medication stopped working, or ten years ago, in the even more halcyon days before I needed medication; I used to be the life of any party, full of joie de vivre.

Now that I'm no longer in denial, however, I am small and quiet and filled with rage and confusion.

And put me in the middle of a squad of 25 gay men, many of whom are divas and many of whom are so flamboyant they make me look like Sly Stallone, I am practically microscopic. Certainly not the first person I'd think of—or the second, or the third—when asked who on the squad should get the Personality Award.

So, as I said, I was utterly baffled when the director announced the winner. I went up to accept the award, on which my name was written in beautiful calligraphy, and tried to sit down, but people started demanding a speech. (All of the other recipients of awards had been required to give speeches too, so this wasn't out of the ordinary.) The poise and suavity of which I am usually the master, especially when called upon to speak impromptu in a public setting, deserted me utterly; I was too confused and surprised to improvise well.

So I stood in silence for a moment and then shouted, "HA! I'VE FOOLED YOU ALL!"

I thought this was hysterically funny but it did not go over as I'd hoped it would.

Then I tried again. "Gee," I said, "I've thought for so long that I didn't have any personality at all. I feel so validated."

This was met with a half-hearted chuckle on the part of the audience.

I sat down and wished to God that I drank.

posted by Faustus, MD | 9:48 PM |


Saturday, October 18, 2003

Thank you, everybody, for your suggestions for naming my hard drive. I'll make sure to post my eventual decision.

The question for the day is: do the bags under my eyes come from

a) lack of sleep;
b) an outward manifestation of the rot that pervades my moral core; or
c) the fact that I'm getting older?

If the answer is a), I can always manage to get a little more sleep.

If the answer is b) I can probably find a way to have somebody paint a portrait of me that I store in my closet; this portrait, like that of Dorian Grey, will display all outward manifestations of moral rot, while I remain eternally young and beautiful.

And if the answer is c) then I should just kill myself now.

I'm kind of hoping for b) but I'm at something of a loss as to how to figure it out.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:39 PM |


Friday, October 17, 2003

Just under a year ago, I renamed my hard drive Elizabeth Bennett so it would serve as a reminder and an aid in my quest for clarity of thought.

Now that I have a new computer, it seems appropriate to give my new hard drive a name that will again serve as a reminder and an aid. The thing is that, these days, I feel I have perhaps too much clarity of thought, and that what I need in my life is something else entirely.

I'm thinking of calling my hard drive Auntie Mame, but I'm not completely convinced that that's right.

I would appreciate any suggestions.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:23 PM |


Thursday, October 16, 2003

If my sitemeter statistics are to be trusted, then it's quite likely that at some point over the weekend this blog will pass the 100,000 visitors mark.

At one point this would have filled me with ineffable joy.

Now it just makes me feel exhausted.

But there's a site redesign in the works. This will either rejuvenate me and fill me with hope again, or send me over the edge.

I know which option I'm betting on.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:02 PM |


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

It turns out that not taking the new computer out of the box was a bad idea, as the gods saw fit to punish the cowardice thereby displayed by causing my old computer to crash in a spectacular and, without the outlay of a sum of money not currently in my bank account, irredeemable way.

That's why I didn't post yesterday.

But the new computer is all set up now, at least the basics, and my friend D.R. is coming over on Friday to help me get the data off the old one as well as to install software goodies on this one.

In other news, tonight I went to my first urban rebounding class at the gym. This consisted of getting on a little trampoline and jumping up and down in ways the novelty of which began to pale long before class was over. Nonetheless, I did derive a certain amount of glee from this attenuated return to one of childhood's great pleasures.

Perhaps I'll go to Central Park and climb trees this weekend.

posted by Faustus, MD | 9:41 PM |


Monday, October 13, 2003

My new computer arrived today.

I haven't opened the box yet, because I'm worried that the resulting surfeit of bliss might actually kill me.

But oh, what a way to go!

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:19 PM |


Sunday, October 12, 2003

When I was in college, my friend A.N. asked me one day, "If you were the god of something, what would you be the god of?"

To stall for time while I came up with something suitable, I asked her what her answer to the same question would be.

"I would be Convivia, the goddess of cultural fêtes," she said. "My worshipers would raise my image in ice at cocktail parties and gallery openings."

Inspiration struck in a flash. "I would be the god of postmodernism," I said. "At my annual festival, which would take place on a different day every year, and sometimes twice a year, and sometimes not at all, my followers would present French absurdist plays staged with action figures—Barbie and Princess Leia do The Maids, Skeletor does Krapp's Last Tape, and so on. They would follow these with celebratory exegetical readings from T.V. Guide."

"What would your name be?" she asked.

"Deconstructio."

This suited me quite well for years, but this morning I started thinking again about the whole thing and realized that my character and value systems have changed in the last ten years. I still find Deconstructio an amusing and compelling character, but I feel he's no longer the most appropriate answer to my friend's question.

So: if I were a god, what would I be the god of?

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:38 PM |


Saturday, October 11, 2003

Today I went to my first yoga class.

Technically it wasn't my first yoga class—that was about five years ago, when I was visiting relatives in Los Angeles, and was memorable primarily for the fact that it was the first time I'd ever written "composer" in answer to the question "occupation" when signing in; this gave me a thrill, but the yoga itself was completely forgettable, as is evidenced by the fact that I have completely forgotten it. So I think it's fair to call what I went to today my first yoga class.

It may, however, be my last.

It was absolutely baffling. Every other word out of the teacher's mouth sounded like either a disease or a monster from a Tolkien novel. At one point, for example, I was ordered to move slowly into trikonasana while maintaining the focus on the ujjayi at the end of my nose.

I seemed to be the only person in class disturbed by the thought that there was ujjayi at the end of my nose. I desperately wanted to rush to the mirror in the men's locker room and rub it off, but I intuited from the attitudes of those around me that this would have been the wrong choice to make.

By the end of class, I was so full of despair at not having become spiritually enlightened that I almost vowed never to go back.

Except the teacher was really hot, so I guess I can try again next week.

posted by Faustus, MD | 3:11 PM |


Friday, October 10, 2003

On Wednesday, I got certified to perform CPR. This is the next-to-last step in my becoming an aerobics instructor (the last step being actually auditioning at gyms and getting a job).

There are two ways of clearing a possibly blocked airway when somebody isn't breathing: the regular way (head tilt-chin lift), which you use most of the time, and the jaw thrust, which you use when you suspect the victim may have a head injury. When you've used the head tilt-chin lift method of clearing the airway, mouth-to-mouth is pretty simple: you pinch the person's nose and blow air into his or her mouth. When you're using the jaw thrust method, however, it's much trickier, because you're using both hands to keep the airway open and so you can't pinch the nose shut. So you end up having to contort your head so that you can block the nostrils with your cheek while blowing air into the person's mouth.

Anyway, if this all sounds very complicated, it is. Our teacher said that some students never get the hang of it, and that nobody ever gets it right on the first try.

Then I got it right on the first try.

I am a CPR genius.

Now I just have to arrange for Guy Pearce to collapse in front of me with a possible head injury.

posted by Faustus, MD | 10:52 PM |


Thursday, October 09, 2003

I was going to post about how well the reading went, but I am so filled with joy at having found my knitting (which I'd left at NYU and which no one could find and so which I assumed had inexplicably been stolen) that I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on the Holocaust.

The one thing I'll say is that I was doing totally fine until I looked over and saw my father in tears, at which point I melted, thawed, and resolved myself into a dew.

Luckily, I seem to have resolidified enough by now to knit and purl. I should have a sweater finished just in time for winter.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:39 PM |


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

It is I, Faustus. I have returned.

Monday was the Jewish Day of Atonement, on which I both fasted and had a long conversation with someone I'd hurt in a pretty spectacular way. I don't believe I've atoned yet, but I understand some things about myself a lot better now than I did three days ago.

Then yesterday was the reading of my Holocaust musical, which is full of songs with names like "Hell Is Another Name For Man."

Jesus Christ, I'm pooped.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:35 PM |


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Rats! I'm just beginning to get the hang of this and it's time to end. You know, and it's too bad too, because I was just going to spill a lot of secrets and tell inappropriate stories about everyone.

Thank you all, the Followers of Faustus, for your kind attention. And thank you too Faustus for this initiation into the world of blogging.




All right. I guess it's time.


Oh, did I remember to tell you about what my ...


oh right it's time. Could I get some phone time over the weekend?



What do you mean I'm being clingy? Don't make me go. No please.
I DON'T WANT TO GO!!!!

ok, BYE!


Bye! Thank you.


No really, I mean it. Thank you. It's really meant a lot to me. Thanks.


Bye. I'll see you next week.


Oh. Right. I won't see you, this is our last session.



Well ok then.



Bye.



Thanks. Can I call you?




OK then. Bye.


Bye.



bye.....

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 9:16 PM |

To go with the new couch Herr Doktor (who has been excitedly guest blogging for Faustus) cleaned a closet today, and into the night.

This was the closet with the interesting stuff. The photo trunk. The scrap-book trunk. Presents bought but never given.

Evidence of lives long gone. My lives. The lives of friends and family. Papers from birthdays and papers with obituaries.

Circus capes, revolutionary war jackets, ceremonial swords, saxophones, trumpets, judo gis, dry suits, bells, a big box of audio cassettes, extra wine glasses, drums, ribbons, bows and wrapping paper.

Here's to the ghosts!

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 12:42 AM |


Sunday, October 05, 2003

Herr Doktor has got a new couch. To be delivered in 4 to 6 weeks of course. But for himself to lie on.

If I talk to myself on the couch does that make me crazy? If I do it long enough do I get sane?

Herr Doktor: So, self, what made you wait so long to replace the old couch?

Self: It was still good!

HD: That's ridiculous. It was threadbare and smelly.

Self: Don't say that! I liked that couch. It went through a lot with me.

HD: A lot of you went through it. A lot of a lot of things went through it. It was old and smelly.

Self: Yeah! That's right. I got laid on that couch, it has good proportions. I recovered from surgery on that couch, I watched hundreds of movies on that couch. I feel attached to it, leave me alone.

HD: Some magic will go out of your life when it goes?

Self: Fuck you. Why do you have to have some lesson for everything? Why do you have to take everything so seriously?

HD: This work is about you, not me.

Self: WHAT?!?

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 11:40 PM |


Saturday, October 04, 2003

Today, this is my mood:

To a frog that's never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he's giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. "I can't really explain what it's like where I live, but someday I'll take you there."

If you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.

If you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.

Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being.

If not, leave
this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty. You set out
to find God, but you keep
stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

Rumi

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 9:11 PM |


Friday, October 03, 2003

Well, well, well. What an interesting world this is. Old hair, as my friends call me, is learning alot. At least they tell me they are my friends. Hmmmm...

I am so grateful to Faustus for his hospitality.

And in the end I am who, what I am and you are free to react.

And, I admit Herr Doktor doesn't like being called tiresome or turning off Faustus' readers. It makes my tummy feel funny.

So: my first entry was more true than it (but not I, I think) admitted. My second was something of a cop-out (not much risk) but the food is good.

I think this is fun.

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 11:15 PM |


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Ahem, Ahem. The good Herr Doktor (me, not Faustus who is away) is feeling alot better after a nice glass of warm milk and solace from someone claiming to be his mommy. Anyway I want to reveal a more nurturing side and share with you my two favorite Pumpkin Soup recipes. One is a traditional French farm recipe the other is the my own variation on Japanese miso soup.

Soupe de courge
for 6-8

1 6-8 pound pumpkin
1 cup toasted croutons (make these from day old baguette)
4 ounces grated gruyere cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 to 3 quarts milk (or cream if you want)

Cooking Method:
preheat the oven to 425F
Cut a lid in the top of the pumpkin that will not fall in while cooking. Do this by cutting the lid at an agnle, large at the top and narrower at the bottom. Scoop out all the seeds and goop. Put alternating layers of croutons and cheese in the pumpkin. Add the salt and pepper and fill to 3/4 full with the milk. Place on a baking pan and bake until the pumpkin is just tender, about 2 hours.
To serve, present the pumpkin tureen at table. With a big spoon, scoop out the pumpkin meat into the soup. Serve with a green salad and red or white wine.


Pumpkin Miso Soup
serves 4

3 1/2 cups Dashi (stock) (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons yellow or white miso
1 block silken tofu
1 small pumpkin (about 2 or 3 pounds)
1/2 cup rehydrated wakame
2 small scallions, sliced into thin rounds

Cooking Method:

Using a melon baller, make the tofu into balls and set aside. Again, make about one cup of pumpkin balls. Steam these for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Set aside

Heat the Dashi over medium low heat. Place the miso in a small bowl and dilute with some of the stock. Stir the diluted miso into the stock. DO NOT BOIL as this will ruin the flavor of the miso. Add the tofu, wakame, scallions and the steamed pumpkin balls. Simmer until hot.
Serve with hot sake.

Dashi

1 piece of dried kelp
4 cups spring water
1/2 cup dried bonito flakes.

Wipe the kelp with a damp towel, make three slits in it. Place the water and the kelp in a saucepan and heat over medium low. Bring the water slowly to a simmer allowing 8 to 10 minutes. Just when the water begins to bubble remove the kelp. Allow the water to come to a boil. Take off the heat and add the bonito flakes. Let sit for 3 or 4 minutes and strain through a fine strainer.

posted by Eric Wolff and Kristen Armstrong | 5:44 AM |
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