Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Family Heart

Sincere thanks to all of you who have contacted me in the past 48 hours with San Diego salad suggestions. One of BW's closest friends, Jim, a dear man who reads this blog regularly, was so moved by my pitiful display that he picked me up in his SUV the next day and drove me 15 miles to a place called Salad Farm in Mira Mesa. Lo and behold, Salad Farm has a build-your-own-salad counter. And though it's no Food Emporium, it's a start.

Thank you, Jim... truly.

(Incidentally, Mira Mesa translates as "Look Table." All of San Diego's surrounding areas seem to have been named by first-year Spanish students. Another nearby town is El Cajon -- The Drawer. I'm waiting for the day when someone tells me to meet them in "Dónde Está el Baño.")


Perros? No.

###

In a twist of irony worthy of Hemingway, Carmen is now the only fully functioning automobile parked outside our happy home. BW awoke me at 6:45 this morning to tell me that Catwoman's car, a 2005 Ford Focus named Rene, wouldn't start. BW's own car, an '04 Civic named LaHonda (she's black) had been rear-ended earlier in the week by a woman who works at his base. After opening his trunk this morning to search for jumper cables -- which didn't exist -- BW discovered that LaHonda's trunk wouldn't shut.

This left only Carmen and me to save the day. While BW scotch-taped his trunk down, I drove CW to Ace Hardware to buy jumper cables. Then it was back home to jump-start Rene, who immediately began purring like a kitten. Then I followed CW and Rene down to the legendary Ron's Auto Clinic for a check-up. Ron diagnosed Rene as having a dead battery and instructed us to leave her there for the day. Drove CW home, waited for him to change into his uniform, drove him to base and then miraculously found my way home on the freeway.


Catwoman, in all her glory.

Quite a bit of drama before 9 a.m.! Fortunately, Carmen behaved like a trooper. I'm really starting to love that little piece-of-shit car.


Passat: There is no substitute.

###

I never read as much as I should, but I do an awful lot re-reading, especially when I'm in a new, unfamiliar situation. There's something very comforting about curling up and rediscovering a book I read years ago. And no book ever hits me the same way twice, so it feels like a new experience every time.

When I first got here, I re-read David Sedaris's "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim." Choosing a favorite Sedaris book is like choosing a favorite sexual position; they're all pretty great. He's still the only author who makes me laugh out loud at least once per story. And in the case of "Six to Eight Black Men," his explanation of the Dutch Christmas traditions, I actually laughed myself to the point where I was crying and breathless. Good stuff.

Then I re-read "The Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out" by Robb Forman Dew.

I have never met Stephen Dew, but we are the same age, and we both came out to our parents in 1991, while I was a student at Michigan and he at Yale. Both of us had highly progressive, northeastern parents. And both of us found that our parents reacted with uncharacteristic shock and horror at our revelation.

Stephen's mother, Robb, a noted fiction writer, wrote a book about the experience. My mother read that book the moment it came out. She then bought a copy for every member of our immediate family, inscribing mine with the words:

Dearest Adam,
From our family heart with love & respect.
Mom & Dad.

It was a major turning point in my parents' acceptance of who and what I was, and I have always been grateful to Forman Dew for writing "The Family Heart." I told her so myself when I interviewed her a year later for "Southern Voice," a gay Atlanta paper for which I freelanced my first year out of college.



Reading it now, I am struck by so many things. First, I realize how far America has come with regard to the gay thing in the past 17 years. Remember that in '91, there were no gay TV characters. Gay film characters, when they existed, were tragic, pathetic types who usually died of AIDS before the third reel. Presidential candidates never uttered the word "gay" (Clinton was the first, in '92). Gay sex was against the law in half the country, and the word "faggot" was considered perfectly acceptable in civil discourse.

It's no wonder my parents -- and those of Stephen Dew -- reacted the way they did.

And while we're hardly living in Paradise now (as we speak, the Republicans are once again out in force using the gay marriage issue to foment fear and loathing in advance of the election) we are so far beyond where we were then it boggles the mind.

Second, I'm struck by how lovably nutty Forman Dew comes across in the book. She agonizes over her every word, her every expression, mortified that she might be hurting Stephen's feelings with her internalized homophobia. Meanwhile, she's actually about as hateful as a baby chick. Her aggressive nurturing is both comical and sad. (My own mother, I dare say, was a lot less careful with her words at the time. I recall one heated conversation ending with her calling me a "bitchy queen." But then again, I am one.)

Finally, though she often goes over-the-top, Forman Dew's writing is achingly, searingly beautiful. In the book's most haunting section, she reflects on her cousin, Bobby, who had hanged himself many years ago at the age of 12. Her memory of him is triggered by another suicide attempt, that of a close friend's son, a high school senior named Scottie.

Forman Dew is suddenly hit with the certainty that both boys were driven to their self-destructive acts because of their struggles with a gay orientation. She is reminded of a poem from her youth:

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
It.
I'm not at the bottom
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
Where
I always
Stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up;
And isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run around my head:
"It isn't really
Anywhere!
It's somewhere else
Instead!"


She concludes the chapter by writing:

I believe that even one voice speaking out, one loud word to deny the enshrouding silence might have prevented Bobby and Scottie from concluding that they couldn't be anywhere, but must be somewhere else instead.

Someday I'd like to write something that good.

Homo melancholy.

Second-Best Craig's List Job Posting Ever

MALE CAREGIVER NEEDED (RANCHO BERNARDO)




Reply to:
job-815236106@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-08-27, 9:14AM PDT



Need a male caregiver to take care of a nice man living in Rancho Bernardo.

Duties consists of:

*Medication Reminders
*Running Errands/ Driving to Stores/ shopping
*Companionship
*Encouragement
*Housekeeping

Our client loves to talk about the military and planes. Also, his favorite show is Jeopardy.



This is a PART TIME position.

If you think you are compatible for this position, please give us a call right away or apply online at:

www.ultrahomecareonline.com



###



He had me at "Jeopardy."

Unemployed homo out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Desperately Seeking Salad

OK, I admit it; I'm having a bad day. And not just because I spent more than two hours this morning at the DMV waiting to hand in a form that corrects the spelling of my name on my car's title which, when it arrived Saturday, read:


ADAM SANYK


Why do people find my last name so difficult? It's four measly letters. It's spelled exactly as it sounds. It's even a word in the English language! Why do people insist on making it "Shank" or "Sanky" or "Sanka" or "Sanyk?" WHY, GODDAMMIT?!?!?!



No, it's not just that. This moving-across-the-country-and-starting-over-from-scratch thing is hard. And although I am very happy living with Boy Wonder (not to mention his roommate, Catwoman), the job search thing is starting to bum me out in a big way.



The problem is, I'm trying to follow two separate and completely unrelated career paths simultaneously. On the one hand, I'm trying to find something -- ANYTHING -- here in San Diego that will earn me some money on a regular basis. I don't really care what it is at this point; I just need to get out of this apartment and start earning. If not, one day soon Boy Wonder will return from work to find me passed out on the sofa in a house dress, a casserole burning in the oven, an empty bottle of Valium by my side.





At the same time, I'm trying to pursue this showbiz thing, which is even harder and far more nebulous. I have exhausted pretty much all my L.A. contacts at this point. In typical L.A. fashion, each one initially wrote back immediately to say, in essence, "Yes! I want to help you! Call me!" And then when I did they said, "Oh, I can't talk now -- let me call you back." And then they didn't.





Ever.





Boy Wonder keeps telling me I should just drive up to L.A. and spend a week there. But somehow showing up in an enormous city where I've never been before -- in a '97 Passat, no less -- with no predetermined plan and shouting, "Here I am, Hollywood!" seems like a less than ideal plan.





So all of this is wearing on me and stressing me out. But none of it bothers me as much as this one simple, unavoidable fact:





There are no build-your-own-salad places in San Diego.





Shocking, but true.

Regular readers of this blog know how important a ritual my daily salad is. They also know how much I hate frisse. In New York, build-your-own-salad places are a dime a dozen. Every deli, every bagel place and even most supermarkets in Manhattan have build-your-own-salad counters.

But not so in San Diego.

In fact, the very concept here seems to baffle people.

"Oh, you mean a salad bar?" they'll say when I try to explain it."We have those. You should go to Soup Plantation."


I don't know what the hell Soup Plantation is. The very name frightens me. I picture a bunch of slaves mixing giant, steaming terrines of soup under the hot sun.

But that's not the point: A salad bar is not a build-your-own-salad counter.

At a salad bar, you have to actually touch the ingredients yourself -- after everyone else has touched them. At a BYOS counter, you dictate the ingredients you want in your salad, and then the attendants toss them all together for you in a giant silver bowl.

You're given an endless number of choices, beginning with the type of lettuce -- romaine, spinach or mixed greens (often including the dreaded frisse). In the better places, like the Food Emporium on 8th Ave., the toppings are kept ice cold, and at the end you choose from a veritable cornucopia of dressings.

In San Diego? Completely unheard of.

You know what I ate for lunch today? Something called a "House Special Salad" at a greasy fast-food Chinese place called "Pick-Up Stix." It consisted of fried, breaded, sweetened chunks of chicken, candied cashews, a couple tiny smidgens of carrot and iceberg lettuce topped with honey-soy dressing. Yes, it was completely delicious, but it was also the nutritional equivalent of a Big Mac!

One more month of eating like this, and I will be as big a house.

Perfect to go with my house dress.

Sanyk out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I, Thespian

This just in:

I have landed lead roles in two different plays in the North Park Playwright Festival. Both are very funny comedies, and they are the two roles I most wanted. Woo hoo!

In "Don't Toy With Me," I play a GI Joe doll embarking on a romance with Malibu Ken, as manipulated by a gay 10-year-old boy.


Time to start hitting the gym a lot harder.

In "Means to an End," I play a repressed British museum-goer who gets hot and bothered for a woman standing next to him as the two of them discuss the meaning of an abstract painting. (I haven't actually gotten the entire script yet, so I'm not sure what else happens. But the scene I read was very funny.)

In both plays, I get to act with a woman named Karson St. John. I watched Karson read for a number of parts during auditions and confess I developed something of a talent crush on her.

This is very unusual for me. I meet talented performers all the time, so I've become somewhat jaded about it.

But this woman was just so fucking brilliant in everything she read for, I was mesmerized. And throughout the night, we kept getting called up together to audition.

"I want to see Adam and Karson..."

"Let's have Karson and Adam..."

"OK, now I want to see Adam and Karson..."

At one point, I said, "Wow. Karson and I are going to be dating after this!"

Karson looked slightly alarmed. She looked even more alarmed when, at the end of auditions, I threw my arms around her and exclaimed: "I hope we get to work together!"

In any case, she's stuck with me now.

"Means to an End" plays Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11.

"Don't Toy With Me" plays Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25.

Save the dates!

Homo with a restraining order against him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Craig's List Job Posting Ever


Book Reviewer Wanted (Internet)

Reply to: gigs-799431750@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-08-16, 10:14AM PDT

Book Reviewer Wanted

I need a reviewer for a booklet available on Amazon.com titled "Initiation into the Vampiric Arts". It's about 100 pages long. It's about vapir shamanism, which is a form of shamanism that spread from Mesopotamia to the Ukraine. The book is about returning vampirism to its vapir shamanism roots, and breaking away from both Hollywood-style and "empathic" vampirism.

I would prefer someone with knowledge of the vampire community, or an interest in the subject. Anyone with vampiric ties would be appreciated, as I do not wish to offend vampires with long standing in the community by making assumptions or referrals that are incorrect about modern vampires.

I am mainly looking for a review and honest opinion of the booklet that can be posted for others to read. Blog/message board discussions would be greatly appreciated as well.

Note: I do not need this book to be known in non-vampire circles, as it won't be accepted there anyway. What I DO want is for the vampire community to be aware of it.

If interested, please provide the following information:
(This information is all optional, but it will help me understand the feedback I get.)

1. Have you already read the book?
2. A short description of your standing, if any, in the vampire community.
3. If you have a website, where it is.
4. If you have a blog/journal, where it is.
5. If you have written any reviews, where they may be read. Payment is negotiable, depending on what services you wish to provide.

Location: Internet

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Compensation: Negotiable depending on which part of the services desired you wish to do.

PostingID: 799431750

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love Hamlet

First an update on Carmen, since many of you have asked.

She's almost good as new, thanks to Ron and his fabulous Auto Clinic. Ron replaced a number of parts, including the serpentine belt, which sounds like something one would wear to the Black Party but which is actually, according to Wikipedia, "a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, A/C compressor, air pump, etc..."

Ron also vastly improved Carmen's air conditioning system, though he wants her back tomorrow to replace an additional part -- something called a cooling module -- so that the air conditioner doesn't turn itself off whenever the car idles. (Too complicated to explain in this space.)

Passat003.jpg picture by adsank
Almost cool.

The one thing Ron couldn't do was get the radio to work. Since buying the car, I have learned more than I ever wanted to about Volkswagens and their infamous anti-theft radios. Why a factory-issue stock radio (with a cassette deck, no less) would require a security code worthy of a nuclear warhead is beyond me, but whatever the reason, until today the only thing that happened when I turned on the radio was that the word "SAFE" would appear. No music, no numbers, just "SAFE." Kris at Adams Autos had told me all I needed was a four-digit code, which I could easily get from any Volkswagen dealer.

LIES!

First of all, the VW dealer I called wanted $27 to look up the code -- with no guarantee that the radio was even functional.

Secondly, I learned after hours of Internet research that before you can even enter the code, you have to make the "SAFE" go away and turn into a blinking "1000." (Don't ask why -- there's no explanation that satisfies.)

Ron warned me that the radio was probably broken anyway, and I'd be better off just going to BestBuy and spending the $150 on a new one.

He obviously didn't know who he was dealing with.

I continued my Internet research, stumbling upon a site called justanswer.com. For a mere $9 I could get a so-called "Volkswagen Expert" to look up my code. If I were satisfied with the answer to my query, I would authorize the payment. (The catch is, if I'm not satisfied with the answer, the site keeps the $9 in my account, to be used toward a future query.)

I entered the radio's serial number and the car's VIN, and lo and behold, within 30 minutes, a VW expert named Christopher logged on and answered my question -- supplying me with what he said was my four-digit code. Of course, I had no idea whether it was the right code because I hadn't yet made the dreaded "SAFE" go away and the magic "1000" appear.

Back on the 'net, I found a consumer electronics site called forum.ecoustics.com
on which thousands of aggrieved VW owners compared notes on the best ways to get to the "1000."

My salvation came in the form of a '97 Jetta owner named Tucker Wynn, who posted thusly:


I don't know who has what but this is a picture of my stereo on my stereo.
Upload

I got it to work for now.

1. "SAFE" appears on the display.
2. Press & hold "MODE" button.
3. Press & hold "SCAN" button.
4. "1000" appears on the display.
5. Release both buttons immediately.
6. There should be a number to the left of the "1000" This should represent how many times you have tried to enter the code.
7. Enter your 3 or 4 digit code with the following. If you have a 3 digit code, assume that the first digit is a zero or blank.
8. Press button 1 until your first digit is changed to the correct number. (zero or blank)
9. Press button 2 until your 2nd digit is correct.
10. Do the same with the 3rd and 4th digit.
11. When the digits are correct, press & hold the "MODE" button.
12. Press & hold the "SCAN" }button.
13. The word "SAFE" should show up again.
14. Release the buttons immediately and your radio should work.

I followed Tucker Wynn's initial instructions to the letter. Nothing happened. Still just that fucking "SAFE" word. Then it occurred to me that unlike the radio pictured above, my radio had two scan buttons -- a scan left and a scan right. Maybe I needed to press both of them, along with the mode button. I did so.

Suddenly the following appeared:

1000

I began to weep softly. I continued with Tucker's instructions, entering the four numbers Christopher from justanswer.com had given me. Then I completed the sequence, pressing both scan buttons and the mode button once again.

At top volume, Kanye West began to sing:

N- n- now th- that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause i can't wait much longer

Sweeter words my ears have never heard.

***


Last night I auditioned for the sixth annual North Park Playwright Festival. Actually a festival of short plays (each no longer than 10 minutes), the festival is run by and presented in the North Park Vaudeville & Candy Shop. It's exactly what the name implies -- an actual candy shop connected to a tiny, 35-seat black box theater.


How cute is that?

The auditions were two-fold. First, we actors got up and delivered prepared monologues. Then, the directors present called certain people back up to read from the plays they were casting.

I was nervous as hell. I grew up doing theater, but the last time I had done a play was 1993. And though I've performed stand-up about a thousand times since then, it's not the same.

For one thing, there was the monologue. I had chosen a comic monologue from Paul Rudnick's "I Hate Hamlet." And while I was confident I could deliver it well -- the character is a neurotic actor kvetching about he bombed on-stage the night before -- memorizing it was another story.

I have a very good memory for words, especially song lyrics. But performing my own material all this time has made my mind lazy. I don't ever worry about delivering a bit the same way twice; in fact, I'm constantly changing it, adapting it.

You're not supposed to do that when you're performing someone else's words. You're supposed to "honor the work," as they say.

And try as I did, I just couldn't remember it verbatim.

I was most concerned about getting the Shakespeare soliloquy down:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.

Five lines from the most famous speech in all of literature; you'd think I could learn them. But no, each time I practiced, I said, "Or take arms" instead of "Or to take arms."

I almost considered taking the script up on-stage with me, but I discarded that idea when I saw that none of the other actors were doing so.

Taking a deep breath, I went up. "Hi, my name is Adam Sank. And I'm going to be performing a monologue that I've almost memorized..."

This got big laughs, and I relaxed.

It went well, though I did leave out entirely this section:

And I thought, okay, all my questions are answered -- I'm not Hamlet, I'm no actor, what am I doing here?

But at least I nailed the soliloquy. I was taken aback when the monologue's biggest laugh came from this line:

I just wanted to say, hey kid, I'm with you

Instead of the line immediately following it, which I had considered the punchline:

I can't stand this either!

It just goes to show you that play-acting can be as unpredictable as comedy.

Anyway, from there the night was a cake-walk. I was called up to read for virtually every director, and it was thrilling for me, after all these years, to be performing theatrical roles again. In the course of the four-hour audition, I got to play a zonked-out club kid, a British museum-goer, a diabolical spin doctor and, improbably, a lesbian named Samantha.

The feedback and energy I got from everyone was incredibly positive. One director pulled me aside and said, "I know you're going to get offered a lot of parts in this festival, but I want to tell you why mine is perfect for you..."

We find out tomorrow which play(s) we were cast in, and the festival takes place throughout the month of October.

Stay tuned.

Homo out on-stage.

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Smoking!

Partial transcript of phone conversation with my mother today:

Adam: Hey, Mom.

Phy: Adam! We were wondering when we were going to hear from you. Do you know you haven't called us once since you moved to San Diego?

Adam: That's absolutely not true. I called you last week when I bought the car.

Phy: Oh. Well, it feels like you haven't called once. So how's everything going?

Adam: Great! You know, I don't have much to do right now other than search for jobs online, but...

Phy: You know, I've been meaning to tell you something for a long time. And now that you're out in California, I feel it's very important that I do.

Adam: OK. What?

Phy: I hate that picture of you smoking on your blog. You know, people hate smokers. And I think it's really going to hurt you, especially in a place as health-conscious as California.


The Marlboro Man's Worst Nightmare.

Adam: Well, Mom, you know, I don't think most people look at the picture and think, "Oh, he's a smoker." I think they get that it's a head shot, and it's meant to be ironic...

Phy: I don't think so. And there are so many other wonderful pictures of you. I want people to look at your picture and think, "Oh, what a healthy person."

Adam: OK. Well, I'll definitely take it under advisement.

Phy: Good. Now let me tell you who's having open heart surgery...

[FADE OUT. END SCENE.]

I seriously considered substituting the smoking picture with one of me mooning, but since I am job-searching at the moment, I figured I might as well play it safe and make Mom happy, too.

Speaking of the job search, nothing to report yet. I always forget how tedious it is to look for a new job. It kind of sucks the life out of you.

This morning, desperate for a break from my computer, I decided to go roller-blading. BW and I live within walking distance of Balboa Park, and I figured it would be a great place to skate.

The first thing I discovered is that the streets of San Diego are not paved with gold. In fact, they're barely paved at all. Very very rough and bumpy -- not good for blading. I opted instead to stay on the sidewalks, which are beautifully paved -- until they're not and one goes flying ass over tea kettle.

The second thing I discovered is that I can't find Balboa Park. I mean, I can see it at times in the distance, but I can't figure out how the hell to get there on foot/skate. At one point I found myself swiftly gliding over something called "Switzer Canyon." Later I arrived at a large golf course. All of these seem to somehow be affiliated with Balboa Park, but they're not the park itself.

I kept heading back to the residential streets, hoping to find some sort of sign indicating, "Balboa Park: This Way." I didn't. But I did realize at one point that I was no longer in North Park.


I was in South Park.


Yes, Virginia, there is a South Park.

The homes in South Park, at the least the ones I passed, were absolutely beautiful. And I'm bummed now that I can't tell people I live in South Park, because that would be endlessly amusing to me.

But it mystifies me to this moment that I went from North Park to South Park without ever hitting the park itself.

Oh well; tomorrow is another day.

One of my blog readers, my childhood friend Rebecca Landwehr Olgeirson, requested the chicken parmesan recipe I mentioned recently. Incidentally, a growing percentage of my readership consists of people with whom I went to elementary school. Rebe, Keith Johnson, Mike Bultman, Kasey Anderson... they all read the blog. Yet I am not in touch with a single person I went to college with. This says something about me, but I'm not sure what.

In any case, here, per Rebe's request, is the recipe:


2 large boneless chicken breasts or 4 fillets
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 24-oz jar of Bertolli marinara sauce
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large yred, orange or yellow bell pepper
1 head of broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse chicken with cold water and shake off excess water.
Coat each chicken breast or fillet in flour.
Dip each breast in egg, then coat thoroughly in bread crumbs.
Shake salt, pepper and garlic powder over each breast to taste.
Medium-heat butter and oil in large skillet or chicken fryer.
Add chicken and let cook for three minutes on each side (for breasts) or two minutes each side (for fillets).
Remove chicken and place in center of large rectangular Pyrex dish.
Chop pepper into large pieces.
Chop the stems off the broccoli and separate the florets.
Arrange the broccoli and pepper pieces around the chicken in the Pyrex.
Pour 3/4 of the marinara sauce over the entire dish.
Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over sauce as evenly as possible.
Place in oven uncovered and cook for 35 minutes.


Enjoy!


Homo out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm a Comic Again

This just in:

I have been booked for my first San Diego comedy show.

It's called "Hillcrest Comedy," and it's a monthly show at the swank Bamboo Lounge in the city's fabulously gay district of Hillcrest.

Thank God.

Homo out of total West Coast obscurity.

Kiddie Photos

Apropos of absolutely nothing, one my best childhood friends and all-around favorite people, Keith Johnson, recently posted some Brayton School class photos to his Facebook page.

The response was overwhelming; fellow Brayon alumni came crawling out of the woodwork, facebooking one another like wildfire and reminiscing about those happy early '80s memories.

Just because I think they're really cute, I'm reposting them here. See if you can spot me in each.
(Click to enlarge.)

Third Grade, 1980

Fourth Grade, 1981.


Fifth Grade, 1982

Homo out of school.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Job Search Beginneth

Just a quick update today:


Carmen is now visiting Ron's Auto Clinic -- a gay-owned and -operated North Park shop recommended to me by Matthew, a MySpace friend. I love that it's called a "clinic." I picture Carmen getting a facial, pedicure and deep tissue massage.


In any case, I'm expecting a call from Ron's around noon today with an update on what, if anything, Carmen needs in the way of repairs, other than the obvious -- the air conditioning system (which only seems to blow air on your feet), and the inside front passenger door handle, which threatens to snap off every time one pulls on it.


Incidentally, BW and I drove Carmen to Black's Beach yesterday, about 15 miles from where we live. Carmen handled beautifully on the freeway, but I fear she's got a bit of a drinking problem: We left with a full tank of gas -- 18 gallons. By the time we got home, she was at 15. That's an MPG of 10.


Stay tuned.


In the meantime, I'm sitting here in a truly charming coffee shop about half a block from my home drinking iced green tea and marveling at the wonder that is wireless Internet. Today is dedicated to getting my resume in shape and researching any and all work opportunities, along with San Diego's admittedly meager comedy scene.


If anyone reading this has any contacts or suggestions out here, now's the time. (And by suggestions, I mean something a bit more specific than "You should start your own comedy show!")


Here are the things I'm qualified to do:


• Write and produce television news.


• Write, produce and perform comedy.


• Balance the budget of The New York Times Culture section.


• Tend Bar


• Blog


• Make an amazing Chicken Parmesan.



Recipe available upon request.



Come to think of it, I may as well post my resume here. It can't hurt.



Adam Sank

Contact: Click here to email.

EXPERIENCE

Administrative Manager, The New York Times
2004-2008

Handled all administrative functions including budget planning and maintenance, daily scheduling, freelance payroll, employee expenses and general office management for the Culture department.

Wrote and edited capsule reviews of feature films for the paper’s daily television grid.

Compiled and edited extensive weekly arts calendars for the New Jersey and Westchester sections.

Producer, WABC-TV
2002-2003

Line produced “Eyewitness News at 11” with Diana Williams and Bill Ritter.

Oversaw live primetime programming during the invasion of Iraq.

Senior Producer, Fox News Channel
1996-2002

Senior and line produced “Fox News Live” and “Fox and Friends,” as well as other daytime shows.

Wrote and produced breaking new specials and wall-to-wall programming during such events as the Sept. 11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan, the Florida recount, Columbine, and the death of Princess Diana.

Freelance Publicist, Miramax Films
1995-2003

Authored press kits for the films “Duplex,” “I’m Not Scared,” “Emma,” “Trainspotting” and “Flirting With Disaster.”

Freelance Journalist

Publications include The New York Times, Southern Voice (Atlanta), the San Francisco Sentinel , Watermark (Orlando, FL), Out in Jersey magazine and the Esquire magazine book “Things a Man Should Never Do Past 30.”

Stand-up Comic
2003-Present

Featured on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” Vh-1’s “Best Week Ever,” truTV’s “Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest,” Here-TV’s “Busted,” Sirius Satellite Radio and ClearChannel Pride Radio.

Performed in, hosted and produced shows at venues throughout the New York City area and beyond. Tape and club list available upon request.

EDUCATION

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
1996
Master of Science with Honors

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1993
Bachelor of Arts with High Honors, Psychology


Homo out of work.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Whale's Vagina, Part 2: Car Trouble

Allow me, Dear Reader, to introduce a new and very special addition to my life.

Meet Carmen.



Carmen San Diego, that is.



Carmen is a 1997 Volkswagon Passat with 112,000 miles on her. She is also my new baby.



Don't we look cute together?



I bought Carmen for $3,000 -- including tax, tag and title -- on Thursday, after a week-long car search that left me physically, emotionally and spiritually broken.

My odyssey began the day BW and I ventured to National City, a truly grim shithole five miles Southwest of San Diego and famous for its appropriately named "Mile of Cars." The entire city consists of an an endless strip of used car dealerships.


BW tried to warn me what I'd be in for:


"This is not going to be fun," he said, as we pulled into the first lot, our eyes on a shiny blue VW Beetle parked out front.


But I was undaunted. True, I hadn't owned a car in 15 years and never actually shopped for one, but how hard could it be?




Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.



"Hi," I said to that salesman as he slithered over to us under the roasting sun, a greasy trail behind him, "I'd like to see whatever you've got for under $4,000."



Without a word, he pointed to a large dumpster in the corner.


"Well, um, how about this blue Beetle here," I asked hopefully.


"Eighty-nine hundred," he grunted, picking his teeth with a rusty toothpick.


BW pulled me to the side. "That's not his final price," he said sotto voce. "Ask him for a test drive."


Ten minutes later, BW and the salesman were both holding on for dear life as I attempted to drive the Beetle -- which turned out to be a stick shift -- at 60 mph down Interstate 5. You may be surprised to learn, Dear Reader, that I'm no stranger to the stick. (Insert dirty joke here.) My first car was actually a manual Jeep Wrangler, and there was a time in my life when I was quite skilled at shifting gears.


Sadly, that time has passed.


Back at the dealership, as BW tried not to vomit, he told me I should make the salesman a low offer -- just to see if he'd bite.


"How about $5,500?" I asked.


This time, the salesman didn't even bother to point at the dumpster. He simply slithered away.


And so it went. Over the course of eight hours, we stopped at more than a dozen dealerships, test-driving some of the most decrepit automobiles I've ever seen. At one point, I was within inches of buying a 2001 White Chevy Lumina that sounded like a lawnmower and smelled like a dead body. For $6,500.


Towards the end of the day, we stopped by a dealership under a giant Saturn sign. (We had quickly learned that the signs in no way indicated the brand of cars found on the lot.) At first, a hugely overweight Mexican man named Paco was our guide, showing us, among other beauties, a shit-brown 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo with no air conditioning. For $5,999.


"Not really what I'm looking for," I told him.


Suddenly, the lot's boss stepped out from inside the dealership and, with a single motion of his hand, yanked Paco away. They disappeared for about 30 seconds, and then a new salesman walked out. This one was also Mexican, but in no way obese. In fact, he was lean and muscular with golden highlights and extremely tight jeans.


"Hello," he said, flashing us a gleaming white smile. "My name is Fernando. What can I put you in today?"


BW and I looked at each other. We knew immediately what was up: They were sending out the gay equivalent of a blonde, big-titted saleswoman to close the deal. Still, we appreciated the effort, especially because Fernando was the nicest thing we'd seen in National City all day.


Fernando really gave it his all -- at one point nearly selling me a 2005 Ford Focus which was actually in fantastic shape. For $8,999. After the day we had had, the Focus looked like a Lamborghini, and I was about ready to hand over my life savings if it meant getting the hell out of National City.


But at the last second, common sense prevailed: I can't spend $9 thousand bucks on car. I don't have a job.


Much to Fernando's chagrin, BW and I left National City Saturn without a tag or a title.


Thank God.


We ended our day as we had begun it: In a Beetle. This one was a '98 in multiple shades of yellow with 177,000 miles on it. But it ran well, and the bug-eyed salesman -- who looked a bit like cult leader Jim Jones and smelled strongly of urine -- seemed to think I could have it for under $5,000. He then got word from his manager that the car had no title and was probably stolen.


"OK," I said. "So how about "$4,000?"





Kool-Aid, anyone?


Jim Jones explained that the car was no longer, in fact, for sale. BW and I had to admit defeat and, after dining in National City's finest restaurant, Popeye's Chicken, we limped back to San Diego.


The next morning, after a healing night's sleep, I rethought my game plan. There was simply no way I could go back to National City. I'd ride around on a donkey before I'd return to the Mile of Cars. It then occurred to me that Craig's List, which had been such a valuable tool in selling my furniture, might just be the answer here.


Yes, I would find a car on Craig's List. And not just any car: I would find a Beetle -- one with automatic transmission.


BW was supportive, though he cautioned me that only women and flamingly gay men drive Beetles, and that if he were ever to borrow my car to drive into base, he'd have to tell his fellow officers that it was his girlfriend's car. Whatever -- close enough.


After 30 minutes of searching, I found a blue 2003 Beetle for $5999 (or best offer) almost identical to the one I had test-driven in National City. It belonged to a guy named Lalo in Chula Vista, and we became quick email pals. Lalo informed me that this car was fully loaded and well worth the price. He also agreed to drive it to North Park so I could test-drive it.


My Dream Car.


The next night, I did indeed drive Lalo's Beetle -- only to discover that the "check engine" light remained on at all times.


"Not a problem," said Lalo. "I'll take care of that."


After popping the hood, I also smelled burnt rubber. I don't know a lot about cars, but I know the engine isn't supposed to smell that way.


Lalo promised to have repairs made before turning the car over to me, but I was dubious. We parted ways, both of us disappointed.


The next morning, I again logged onto Craig's List. This time I refined my search, using "North Park" as one of the search terms. Instantly, I found four cars all under $5,000 and apparently in decent shape. I began copying down the phone numbers and email addresses for each. Suddenly, it hit me that they were all the same. This was a dealership. In North Park. Less than a mile from my home.




I walked. Nobody walks anywhere out here, but I figured I might as well get some exercise and explore my neighborhood a bit.



North Park is an interesting place. It reminds me of Hell's Kitchen when I first moved there 10 years ago. Parts of it are sketchy and run down; other parts are charming. A typical commercial street has a pawn shop next to a barber shop next to a thrift store next to a vegan restaurant next to a beauty supply place where hookers and trannies buy their wigs. It's up-and-coming and funky and artsy, and I kind of love it.



As I headed North on 30th Street, I spotted the dealership. In big blue letters, it read:



Adams Imports



I took this to be a good omen.



Adams Imports in no way resembled any of the places we had been to in National City. It was barely the size of a 7-11, and only two salesman were present: Kris, the owner, a paunchy 50-something Polish guy and Conrad, his long-suffering surfer-boy son. (I assumed he was long-suffering, given that he moved at a snail's pace while his father barked "Conrad!" every 30 seconds, followed by an angry Polish tirade.)



Kris and Conrad showed me two cars in the $5 thousand price range: A 2003 Hyundai Elantra, and a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant. I test-drove them both with Conrad.



"So what do you like to do for fun?," I asked him at one point.



"Get away from here," he replied, twisting a lock of bleached-blond hair.



The cars were all right, especially the Hyundai. But I didn't love them, and they still cost more than I wanted to spend.


Then I spotted Carmen. She was parked in the far rear corner and covered with bird shit.



It was love at first sight.



"How much for that one?" I asked.



"The Passat?," Kris snorted. "I give you that for $2,500, plus tax and title."



Upon closer inspection, I saw that Carmen had black leather seats. Yes, they were worn and discolored. But they looked luxurious nonetheless.



"Conrad!," I barked, jolting him from his daydream. "We're taking her out!"



She drove like a dream.



Thirty minutes later, as I waited at North Park Car Wash for a freshly scrubbed Carmen to emerge, I called my mother.



"You bought WHAT?" she screamed. "Why the hell would you spend $3,000 on an 11-year-old car with 112,000 miles on it?!" But then my mother has never understood any of my life choices.



A post-script to this seemingly interminable little story: I called Smitty's, a local garage with high marks on the Internet, yesterday. I wanted to bring Carmen in for a check-up and tune-up. "Hi," I said. "I just bought a 1997 Volkswagon Passat."



This was greeted by a slide whistle on the other end of the line. "Dude, I hope you're ready for a lifetime of throwing away money. The Passat is the single worst car there is."



Shock! Horror! How dare he speak this way about my Carmen! Surely he was lying. Still, I made arrangements to drop the car off there Sunday night.


In the meantime, I went back to the Internet. And found this.


It's a page from the Consumer Affairs web site devoted entirely to the Passat. If you have a spare five hours, I urge you to read it from beginning to end.


Here are some of my favorite highlights:



KG from New Jersey writes:



Last week I found myself in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The traffic let up momentarily and everyone zoomed ahead, only to stop suddenly. My Passat's brakes failed me, causing a 3 car accident. I am now charged with careless driving. I won't even get into the economic damage as it upsets me greatly and the matter is unresolved. Thanks a lot VW.



Not to be outdone, Sharon of Silver Springs, MD writes:



Last fall the window on my 1999 VW Passat fell into the door. A regulator needed replacing. Just this week the same thing happened on another window. After internet research it seems clear this is a problem in VWs.



OK, so the brakes OCCASIONALLY fail, and the windows OCCASIONALLY fall in. It's not like Passats are prone to explode or anything, is it?



Loretta of Kalona, IA writes:



I am the owner of a 2000 VW Passat. On Sunday, January 28, 2007, I watched my car go up in flames. I was at a friends house for lunch and we were preparing to take another friend to the airport. As we walked out to my car, which was parked in the driveway, we noticed smoke coming off of the hood and immediately knew something was wrong. In a matter of seconds, I noticed flames beginning to come out of the hood. The entire front half of my car is destroyed, as well as the interior.



Oh, Wah, Loretta! So your car is all burnt up. So what? It's not like your HOUSE burned down, or anything!



Greg of Colorado Springs writes:



Our house caught on fire. The garage was structurally damaged and the whole house incurred smoke damage and water damage. The cause of the fire, from the fire report, was the Passat. I was never compensated a dime from VW.



Oh, well. At least Carmen has a sun roof.



Homo out of $3,000.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Whale's Vagina, Part 1

So here I am in San Diego. It's been nearly a week since I landed, and I'm only just now getting a moment to blog. Boy Wonder took leave this entire week, and he and I have been moving at breakneck speed to try and get us completely moved in and settled. This has included furnishing an entire bedroom from scratch, the contents of which were bought at Ikea and painstakingly put together piece by piece.


BW in our new bed, with face and nuts strategically covered.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My last week in NYC was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. Never again, as God is my witness, will I accumulate so much stuff. After selling just about everything of value on Craig's List -- including my sofa sectionals, media cabinet, leather storage chest (that's a storage chest made of leather --not a chest made for storing leather, you kinky freaks), framed art posters, stemware and more -- and donating about 10 bags of clothing and assorted crap to the Salvation Army (and a large wooden coffee table/storage bench to Angela, my cleaning woman), I still had to make about 100 trips to the curb with countless assorted bric-a-brac, all of which which were immediately seized by hungry passers-by. Seriously, there is nothing New Yorkers won't take from the street given 10 seconds and a clean getaway.


Actual photo of the scene in front of my apartment.

Speaking of Angela, a note of clarification: She's wasn't my cleaning lady. She belongs to Rob and Robbie, a gay couple who lived three floors down from me. (Side note: At one point, there were two gay couples living across the hall from each other on that floor: Rob and Robbie, and Ron and Rodney. It was like a gay Mother Goose story.)

Anyway, I needed a professional to clear away the eight years of filth that had accumulated in my dwelling, particularly inside the refrigerator and cabinets. Angela came highly recommended, and so I put her to work the day before my departure.

I should have taken before and after photos; you'll have to do with the "afters":


So clean, you can practically eat off it!




Cue the tumbleweeds.

So thrilled was I with Angela's work that in addition to a big tip, I gave her the aforementioned wooden storage bench, which hadn't yet sold on Craig's List. She was way psyched!

By my final night, all I had left were a mattress, a reading light, a drinking glass, and my toothbrush and soap holders. It was like being in prison, but without the hot sex.

I dragged said remaining stuff to the curb at 6:30 Friday morning, along with my three giant suitcases and "carry-on" bag (which was actually just another giant suitcase). The last thing I saw as my Dial-6 Limo car drove off was my building superindentant, Rafael, smashing all my household goods to bits with a large mallet. I'm guessing he won't miss me.

During my long ride to JFK, my Sikh driver kept demanding I explain to him just how I plan to make a living in San Diego. I strongly suspect he might have been my mother in a turban.




And he was wearing the same blouse, too.

I got to the airport and grabbed a skycap. After sizing up my sizable luggage, he said: "We go to special line."

And what a special line it was! In fact, most of the people on the line seemed to have serious disabilities. There were wheelchairs and seeing eye dogs and all sorts of other freaky shit. "You wait here," instructed my skycap, after taking my driver's license from me. A few minutes later, he told me to go up to the front of the line and pay the woman $20 for my extra luggage. I still don't know how he pulled it off; all of the other disabled people had to have their bags weighed, and I didn't. And I know it costs a helluva lot more than $20 for even one extra bag these days. But not one to look a gift skycap in the mouth, I thanked him profusely, tipped him handsomely, and sped off to the gate.


The JetBlue flight was uneventful, except for the fact that my row was located on the wing, and I was therefore unable to put my seat back. Not great for a six-hour flight with a giant suitcase between my legs. Also, who knew JetBlue no longer served meals of any kind? All I got was a bag of Doritos. I had recently had a Dorito-related accident while taping a segment for Here-TV, in which I stabbed myself between the front teeth with the edge of a jagged Dorito. If you've ever done this, you know the pain is excruciating. Why must Doritos be so sharp? It seems to me they could be nice and smooth and still retain their nacho cheesy goodness.

Needless to say, I was terrified at the thought of another Dorito, but hunger got the better of me and I wound up gumming each one carefully while watching back-to-back episodes of Bravo's "Shear Genius" on my little JetBlue TV.

Upon landing and activating my cell phone, I got a strange voicemail from some delivery company, the name of which I couldn't make out. When I called back, the woman was confused: "Why are you calling us?"

"Because you called me. Something about a delivery."

"What are you expecting to be delivered?"

"Um, I don't know. Nothing, really."

"Are you sure? Are you sure you didn't order something large, like a car or a motorcycle?"

My mind raced: Could it be? Could my parents have possibly surprised me with a new car? Would that not be the most incredible, wonderful, fabulous thing EVER?

The woman interrupted my orgasmic reverie: "Oh here it is; we have your new mattress from 1-800-MATTRESS."




I'm going to look very silly driving this on the freeway.


I was so happy to see BW at the airport I nearly cried. It had been more than two months since we last saw each other, and I confess there have been moments when I've wondered, "Exactly who is it I'm dropping everything and moving across the country for?" In the instant I saw him, all doubts vanished. We just go together; it's that simple.

BW drove me back to our North Park apartment, which we are sharing with his best friend, another military guy to whom I'll refer from this point forward as Catwoman.




Meow!

Catwoman has a boyfriend whose initials, coincidentally, are AJS. They were very sweet and welcoming toward me, as were all BW's other friends, whom I met Friday night when we went out to celebrate BW's birthday. (He turned 31).
But the next morning, it was down to business, the first order of which was unpacking my clothes and trying to fit them into our single walk-in closet. Now granted, this closet is larger than many NYC bedrooms. But still, it's not a whole lot of space for two people to store their entire wardrobes, even when one of them is in the military and wears the same outfit to work every day.


And so, after shopping all over Mission Valley for storage containers, we bought six sets of plastic drawers from Lowes and spent about eight hours unpacking, folding hanging and organizing. The result was something of which Ty Pennington would have been proud.



And I hear he knows a lot about closets, if you know what I'm saying.


That afternoon we were also delighted by a visit from my dear friend Patrick, who had been in L.A. on personal business. Saturday night we all went to a birthday party in Talmadge for some German guy named Joerg. I tried to impress him by saying, "Gluklich zu sehen" ("Nice to see you"), which I remember the MC in "Cabaret" singing during the "Wilkommen" number, but apparently I said it wrong, because Joerg simply shook his head and walked away.

Jews should never attempt German.

In the next installment: Ikea insanity, and Adam goes car shopping.

Homo out West .