Scenes from a Modern Marriage – A Klout Battle

Lately Craig and I have been having discussions that I think are specific to our time and to our fields with Craig being a developer and my recent forays into social media within my arts publicity work.

-About a month ago Craig noted that his Klout score was 42, so I checked mine and it was 44. I was sort of perturbed that our scores were so close considering that Craig doesn’t often use social media. He tweets now and then. Albeit he has written some zingers such as: “I care about 100% of the 53% of the American people that I care about.” – Mittens. On the other hand, I am gung-ho, recently beginning to use instagram, pinterest, tumblr with verve.

-So we became friendly competitors. I added all my new social media streams to Klout and my score soared to 57 in a few days. I would call Craig at work and just say “48 here”. I was happy.

-A day or two ago Craig happened to think of Klout again and looked up his scored (and mine). He was at 57! and I was at 55! Yikes. Craig is a very low key person and it’s hard to get a rise out of him. But that evening I have never seen him happier; he was aglow and looked like a cat with a canary in its mouth. I was aghast and loudly proclaimed Klout must be broken, because It Made No Sense! Craig thought his rise was due to retweets from his well-connected friends. That’s when I told him I would now refrain from all further marital support on the social media front — that meant No More @craigcoded mentions. And I tweeted “Modern relationship problem: I’m on a one-way retweet street.”, noting that Craig had been remiss in his partner twitter duties!

-Up to this point we have successfully navigated the rocky shoals of social media, privacy, and partnership. I never posted a photo of Craig without asking him first and I show him any posts that contain information about him. He is a much more private person than I am. And I guess I will continue to do so. He is asleep now, but I will wait for him to wake up and read this before I post it. Because, for the most part (especially when I am winning), our online competition is fun.

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Hugh Seidman and Ed Smith

Love this interview with the poet Hugh Seidman. My Dad just met Seidman under the sad circumstances of sitting shiva for a their mutual close friend and one of my Dad’s oldest colleagues and friends Edward “Eddie” Smith. Here is more on Ed’s impact in his fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience and beyond.

since feeling is first

During a big clean up of my creative space in our apartment, I uncovered an article about learning how to memorize a poem. In it the writer emphasized the importance of this task. It was like reading an advice column about the importance of taking vitamin D or exercising and I thought I should try it (I do take vitamin D and I try to dance around living room now and then).

I found a poem that I love and I didn’t it think would be too hard to memorize. That said, I don’t remember the last time I tried to memorize anything. It is hard or, like with exercise, I’m out of practice (or was never in practice). I’m still working on this and am now looking into tips on memorizing. I’m guessing repetition is key, but maybe there are some tricks too.

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

-e.e. cummings

I just researched memorizing a poem and found this good round up of methods; it also has the article that originally inspired me by Jim Holt.

Lovely Book Group

My wonderful book group decided to step away from New York City and meet at one of our member’s  upstate home (thanks Lisa) to cool off and to have a sleep over. We had delicious eats (thanks again Lisa for the yummy pesto and more) and a great discussion of Octavia Butler‘s Lilith’s Brood.

Here’s big shout out to all these lovely women, some of whom have websites giving details about their creative and work pursuits: Lisa Delillo (artists), Dena Mermelstein (film and video editor), Allyson Smith (jewelry designer), Anne Lilly (teacher, drama gal), Caroline Gartner (writer and video producer), and Nnenna Ogwo (pianist and teacher).

Getting Married in 2010

It was interesting to think about how Craig and I wanted to announce our marriage with so many methods of communication available. And this was especially the case as we wanted it to be a surprise with a small ceremony at the Manhattan City Hall in May then celebrate with friends and family in September. We decided to get in touch with folks via an old-fashioned postcard to be received as we went on our honeymoon in Paris. While in Paris we wanted to further spread the news, so we posted a key photo on Facebook + updated our status to “married”. It was a wonderful way to hear from friends and family while being far away.

Photos from left to right: me with my pops Alan Gross,  with my husband Craig Howarth, husband and wife on the Brooklyn Bridge,  with pal Deb Magosci, and with pal Drew Pisarra.

The Joy of Side Projects

My best pal Drew and I have been chatting about the joy and importance of work that’s not related to paid work. We both take our jobs very seriously, but often talk about how it’s key not to think and talk about work all the time.

Recently he’s been working on a great project: producing a night of Gertrude Stein that he named “Now Repeat in Steinese”. He’s having four directors (or directorial teams) work on the same Stein piece “White Wine”. So during the evening the audience will see their four versions with white wine also being served. I was proud when Drew asked me to design the postcard announcing the show. I couldn’t have done with without Craig’s advice and photoshop skills. Here’s the piece below. As it states here the project will run every Tuesday in June at Under St. Marks Theatre. Here’s the facebook event page “Now Repeat in Steinese“,

And last year together we created a creative group that we named Saint Flashlight. Our first project was a video piece called Metal Rings that we made for the wonderful Crest Hardware Art Show. For this show one must offer pieces related to hardware. This year we are writing haikus in electrical tape that we’ll place on the Crest Hardware’s ceiling. The show opens June 19.

Spa Castle-A Journey to Flushing Queens

As a special treat my pal Drew and I decided to take a journey to discover the Korean wonderland that is Spa Castle. I had heard about it from a book club pal. We thought we’d see how to reach Flushing, Queens via public transportation knowing it would be quite a journey from Brooklyn.

Our first roadblock was the F. At the moment on the weekends one needs to take a bus to Jay Street-a very slow bus. Then when we finally reached the F train we road it into Queens where it meets up with the 7. Taking the 7 to the end of the line we made it, or so we thought. Spa Castle’s web site mentions a shuttle bus from the train. But coming out of the station to what might be one of the busiest corners of NY, there was no sign of the shuttle. Luckily I knew that bus Q25 also would take us within walking distance of the Spa.

Once we arrived, prepared with our swimming suits, we were given the uniform, which reminded us of Logan’s Run or as Drew said we might be in rehab! Then we entered the spa wonderland with its many many saunas. Two of our favorites were the huge one that was like a sweat lodge and a chilly one with ice walls. When we return, we thought it would be a bit better to go during the week because although it wasn’t too busy that Saturday, there were many school-age teens who liked to chat a lot, a whole lot.

We also reserved massage ahead, as recommended, and we both walked out on air feels like our minds had been massaged too! Upstairs in the two heated pools had blasts of water were hilariously strong and served as a second massage.

Our final conclusion was that it’s well worth a repeat visit, but we’ll need to find a car and take a day off during the week.

Odds and Ends: Shoes and A Film

I’m posting on two disparate topics that were on my mind this week: pretty shoes for a new dress and a film I want to see–Alain Cavalier’s Le Combat Dan Lile (1962) playing at Film Forum.

I bought a very special dress at Girl Cat on Atlantic Avenue (which carries dresses by Anya Ponorovskaya) with the wonderful aid of my friend Fatima a few weeks ago. Ever since I’ve been trying to find shoes to match, which is especially difficult because I’m not up for wearing high heels. After many trials and tribulations, ok just trials of trying on shoes of all sorts, I think I’ve found them! Fatima suggested red would be good to go with the blue and white dress. She also said to think Jackie O., but all the pumps that I tried on just felt too uncomfortable and not me. I remembered a shoe store called Sacco near Union Square that I thought would have classic, pretty, and comfy shoes. And there I think I found my cute red sandles! (But I haven’t run them by Fatima yet…)

This weekend Craig and I are heading to Film Forum to see Alain Cavalier‘s Le Combat Dan Lile. (This Alain Cavalier link from the Pacific Film Archive gives more info on his life and work.) I noted it in FF’s weekly email and I saw that it stars the wonderful actor Jean-Louis Trintignant. I especially love Trintignant in Romer’s My Night at Maud’s (1969). Then I noted that my former colleague Jake Perlin’s company The Film Desk was the distributor and that added to my desire to see what Jake had picked.

Creative Kick-Start

I keep thinking and talking to family and friends about carving out time for my own creative projects. Even my new year’s resolution was about this topic. I told everyone that my resolution was to live my life with a peace symbol in mind–or pie chart cut into three parts: friends/family, work, and my creative projects.  The most difficult piece of the pie is creative projects. If I had to go to work at 1pm on Sunday I’d be there, but it is much harder to set aside the same time for a personal project. Or at least at the start. I’m guessing that once you have a framework, it’s easier to move forward. I managed to do this with my last chapbook. Setting a deadline, I worked backwards from that date to figure out when all the parts needed to be completed–drafts, copy editing, and printing.

Now I have a vague idea for a video project. I’m not sure if it will end up being a traditional short film or footage to use in an installation or maybe sometime to post on the web. That makes it a bit more difficult to start. But I think the first step is to try some of the ideas bouncing around in my head. I chatted with my brother Matthew today and he recommended two books that he thought could be helpful even for a non-traditional short film project. He suggested I read Writing Short Films by Linda Cowgill and Grammar of the Shot by Roy Thompson and Christopher J. Bowen. I like the idea of reading about the structure of short films as that might kick-start my getting out and getting started!