March 15, 2008

Catch Up Part 2...

Longtime readers may remember my Austrian ladyfriend from just about this time last year. Well, this past February she returned to visit America with her choral group, and then stayed to visit with me for a week in NYC. It was an active week, with me doing my best to play host. I fear I’m not nearly the New York City host I once was, not only have I lost the enthusiasm for "exciting" New York, I was also constrained by the work I needed to do to prep for that HR conference.

Daniella and I had a nice week, visiting Princeton, NJ and checking out the campus and surrounding area (more on that later...). We went salsa dancing again with some of our B'nai B'rith group, and we went to see a new Broadway show, and of course we went to dinner quite a bit. The sudden and constant company after months of being single was a bit of a shock, and it was a challenge to maintain the schedule while also managing the need for high output at work that week. But we had fun, and it was great to see her again.

The show we saw, In the Heights, was also great. It was in previews then though it’s now officially opened, and it’s a fun, lively musical full of Latino flavored singing and dancing. Though it has a thin and wholly predictable storyline, it's thoroughly entertaining. I suspect it’ll be a medium to large size hit, primarily because it has the potential to tap into a large market of current and potential Latino theatergoers.

One thing I did like about it was that it didn't attempt to pander to non-Spanish speakers. It's a show about Spanish speakers, in a Spanish neighborhood, and if some of the lines and jokes are over your head, so be it. The lead guy started writing the show many years ago in college and his friends and family put up the initial cash for the first few iterations in workshop downtown, and now he's opening on Broadway and it's the best kind of success story. With so many revivals and movie-to-theater adaptations cluttering Broadway for so many seasons now, an actual original musical was exciting in and of itself. And the lead guy will be a big deal shortly. No surprise to see him get his own sitcom or something... he'll be the flavor of the month before too long, and perhaps a keeper.

Other recent activities: my new best friend in NY is a lapsed Mormon / current lesbian who loves hockey, and though my opinion of hockey resides somewhere between indifference and mild disdain, when terrific tickets to a Ranger game fell into my lap I knew Amber was the perfect non-date date. I still think hockey’s closer to stupid than not, but going to the game was fun – the Garden, the fans and everything. We had a great time, much better than the Rangers who totally lost.

Amber and I enjoy a number of things in common, not the least of which is our attraction to women. We never run out of things to talk about...

Following a difficult breakup last fall, I stayed intentionally single through the holidays, and then extended my moratorium through Valentine’s Day. Since then however, I’ve begun socializing once again, though I remain true to my recently instituted offline-only rule. A good friend wants to set me up with someone who has a blog wherein I could learn all about her, and I was adamant that all I want is a phone number. I have no intention of conducting any part of the relationship via electronic proxy, even email is to be kept to an absolute minimum at the outset. 2008 is the year of doing it the way our grandparents did it (though not great-grandparents, because that gets into the arranged marriage era, and I'm not entirely ready for that just yet...).

Another friend of mine, someone whom I briefly dated last summer, introduced me to one of her friends and the friend and I had our first date just last night. My sister will be pleased because Karen is a lawyer - and my sister has assured me that I need to date a professional woman who's busier than I am. Karen and I had a nice time, though no instant fireworks. I'm interested in seeing her again though, and giving it another chance to develop, though not yet sure if she is.

Karen is a foodie, and knows a great deal about cocktails. I'm a fan of food and drink, but never delved into the cocktails world, and was very impressed with the subtle distinctions and whole underground of what to drink, where, and how. Learning that I liked gin, she ordered me two drinks - a Gin-Gin Mule, and a Ramos Gin Fizz. Apparently the Ramos Gin Fizz is a very fancy drink because it must be shaken vigorously for at least five minutes. It's made with vanilla syrup and gin and lime, which are three of my favorite tastes, and it has egg whites in it - which initially freaked me out, but I was bold. The shaking aerates the egg whites giving it a fluffy, meringue taste and consistency. It was delicious, though I felt bad for Artemio our bartender, and I tipped him very generously.

Shaking a drink for five minutes is no joke; he offered to make one of these for me, I would never have asked for it. Apparently, it's bad form to ask unless the bar is practically empty, due to the time and effort this one takes to prepare.

Like I said, a whole cocktail subculture going on...

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