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May 30, 2006
tv eye

As I was coming out of a doze on the ride back from the beach last night (Memorial Day weekend was indulgently slow and restful), I started thinking about television.

I watched a lot of television when I was young, and I don't regret it. I watch almost no television now and feel a little guilty about whatever it is I don't know I'm missing. Watching TV makes me feel like I'm wasting my time, and even though looking at shoes and furniture on the internet is a much more reprehensible time-waster, it feels at least a little bit active. I've always thought, since I started thinking about it, that the serial nature of television makes it an exciting medium for telling stories, for developing characters, for connecting with an audience. This Newton Minow quote has stuck with me, and I sometimes think about whether it's true: "When television is good, nothing--not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers--nothing is better." It's quite a statement, and occasionally I believe it.

The above is just a shabby, weird lead-in for sharing with you the personalities, mostly encountered first on television, I wanted to be when I was a kid. These people I used to want to be is specifically what I thought about on the bus yesterday. There are probably more out there than I'm remembering right now, but I feel like I did a fairly thorough review of the TV shows/movies/music videos I watched at the time. If you don't know who any of these people are, well, at least there are photos. So, from earliest I can recall to latest:

Rainbow Brite
I wanted to be Rainbow Brite, even though I didn't like that Rainbow Brite was obviously the most popular one in her group. Maybe I'm just transferring memories of my friends at the time onto this character. Anyway, if I were Rainbow Brite I would have instilled more of a sense of equality among my friends.
Cyndi Lauper
Her half-long, half-short hair both bothered and intrigued me. I thought her outfits were great and I thought the way she sneered was cool. In first grade, we had to sit for silhouette profile drawings done by our teacher, and I stuck out my lips the way Cyndi did because I thought it would make my silhouette looker cooler than everyone else's. The teacher asked me why I was doing it and I was too embarrassed to tell her, but I also didn't want to stop. I think I stopped for a few seconds to placate her and then went back to doing it. The resulting drawing was upsetting; my profile looked very bumpy.
Crystal, It's a Living
She just seemed so pretty and nice. Was she also kind of a flake? Was she clumsy? I can't remember.
Either Renee (left) or Stacy, Kids Incorporated
I very much wanted to be a performer when I was a kid. I seriously envied these two, and went back and forth between which one I would be if I had to choose. Stacy was cuter, but Renee seemed smarter. I was somewhat aghast to learn last night that Stacy is now known as Fergie and fronts the Black Eyed Peas. What happened to you, Stacy?
Denise Huxtable, The Cosby Show
I'm sure a lot of people wanted to be Denise. She seemed real and different and confident. Thinking about this makes me realize how different TV writing is from how it was in the eighties.
Cleo, Riff Raff's girlfriend, The Catillac Cats
If you were a cat and lived in a garbage dump, wouldn't you want to look like this? I think maybe I still want to look like this. I'm not sure I would go out with Riff Raff, but the Catillac Cats dating pool is pretty small.
Tish, Space Camp
Yes, that's Kelly Preston as most tolerable member of the cast of Space Camp. There's a scene where she's eating, I think, string cheese in her bunk bed (I own this movie now and I still can't tell what she's eating), and she and Lea Thompson (who I've never wanted to be) are talking, and Tish demostrates how smart she is by remembering some facts about spacecraft. I used to take slices of cheese from the fridge up to my room and get in bed and tear off little strips and pretend I was Tish.

File under DAILY. Posted at 09:55 PM | Comments (3727)

May 09, 2006
obtaining the prize

On Sunday I woke up at 4:45 a.m., even though my alarm was set for 5:15. I wished my new bike would magically appear in my hallway so that I wouldn't have to get up and go downtown to collect it. 4:45 is super early, as you know, and I'm sorry that anyone (transportation operators, news anchors, film crews, customer service representatives, hospital workers, etc.) ever has to be awake for the 4 o'clock hour. But maybe they enjoy the peacefulness of the world at that time of day. And they probably have a different sleep schedule, so it doesn't seem as ridiculous.

I stumbled out of bed, though, then showered, checked the weather forecast, and drowsily chastised myself for not doing laundry days ago. What if I were going to appear in televised interviews later? I ended up going with something simple and not warm enough for the 45-degree morning. I wore sneakers I'd bought in college, Converse All-Stars swiped from my parents' house when I was there the day before. Wearing Chucks makes me feel a little boyish and high-schooly at the same time. I almost never wear sneakers now, except for some ostentatious green ones when I jog, and donning something so bright seemed offensive at five in the morning. But I thought I should wear some sort of sneakers in case I had to do any pedaling for the cameras. So now you know all about my sneaker decision-making process. You will get to see both pairs of sneakers momentarily.

At six, I met up with Chris and we walked to the L train. The quality of the light seemed eerily like sunset rather than sunrise; it felt as though something had wiped out Williamsburg's population, which normally crowds the sidewalks at that time of night.

Most of the other riders on the subway were people and their bikes. We were all heading for the Five Boro Bike Tour, but they were going to ride 43 miles and Chris and I were just going to stand in the cold for a while and come home.

Okay, this is getting boring. And being at the award ceremony was boring. There were fifty winners (though not all of them were able to get out of bed, apparently), and no one wanted me to tell my award-winning story of how having my bike will enable me to get outdoors more and spend more time with my brother on television. So let's jump to pictures of me getting my bike:

A staff member of Bicycling Magazine helps me size my bike.

The photographer there took a bunch of pictures of me with the bike. I didn't see her doing this with any other winners, so I wonder if this means I'll appear in some kind of promotional something (I just have no idea where to look for it). Notice the guy with the baseball cap approaching in the background.

I just included this because I thought it was funny that the baseball hat guy decided to stand and watch the rest of the photo shoot.

So after I collected all my gear -- sunglasses, helmet, bike lock, water bottle, biking shirt and shorts -- we headed back to Brooklyn. I took my first ride on the bike, and my first ride in about ten years, the half-mile or so from the subway stop to my apartment. Then Andy, Chris, and I went out to breakfast. When we got back, Chris made me put on all of the gear (here's where the green sneakers make their appearance; they just seemed to match the spirit of it better) and pose for some photos:

Don't say this to Beth or anything, but she looks kind of chubby in this picture.

Ta da! The shorts were way too big, so I gave them to Chris, who gave them to his coworker's wife.

There are also a couple of movies Chris took of me riding the bike up and down the sidewalk, but you are just going to have to imagine how awesome those are for yourself.

Anyway, the bike is very nice, huh? I'm a little nervous about losing control of it and getting run over by a truck, but my brother assures me this is unlikely.

File under DAILY. Posted at 04:45 PM | Comments (3)