Boston & Today

So I found a public computer with Internet access in Cambridge. It cost me $12,345.67 to blog there for 37 minutes. I guess cybercafes are far and few between in Boston.

A is enjoying his Biology class at PPSI, but thinks the course is "overrated." The young PPSI students review the chapter material, give homework, and do "labs"...on paper! Here are A's observations on that:

"A science institution that can afford to pay 80 scientists to work on the Human Genome Project, and fund an entire architectural structure by Frank Gehry, should be able to afford to have us high school students use one of their lab rooms so that we can do our Biology labs for the course. Even if, and especially if, it is for a high-school course."

So there. Hear that, PPSI?

I have no idea how I did in my interview with CN. I was not "on" due to my battling this cold (emotional improvement did not help the physical end of things, and I wound up not asking a single question). Then the co-interviewer had not even looked at samples of my work, and blurted out, "DO YOU HAVE ANY SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK?" I was a little floored by that question, as they were sitting right on the head interviewer's desk. Maybe I am a little paranoid, but the situation reminded me of I.D.

Ah, well. There's always NaNoWriMo, right?


Princess Ennui, this is for you.

There is another reason why I was a bit vulnerable, emotionally, yesterday.

My Dream Job called me back for more interviews, and perhaps my elation began to show at work.

And Thursday evening, I did some exercises in Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck (I don't normally "do" self-help books but this one was recommended by a very successful friend of mine). The exercise on page 122 asked the following: List three things you plan to do tomorrow. I was supposed to be open to my somatic reaction to whatever I listed. These exercises are meant to be private, but I listed these --

1. Fill out Alex's applications for school entry.

2. Take the day off from work tomorrow?

3. Go to work tomorrow.

After No. 1, I was fine. The second option produced the most "light" feeling. No I.D. to face the next day, I was totally relaxed. The last one had my back go into terrible spasms; something I was beginning to notice was actually an everyday thing. Then I spasmed some more. Then I got a fever. And chills. And I felt like I wanted to puke.

I can't go to work tomorrow like this, can I? My innermost fear was, I was going to lose my job if I did not show up. I was so certain Insanely Disloyal would can me if I didn't.

Friday morning, I gauged how I felt. I was too sick to copy edit, too sick to copy write, too sick to go to work and sit in that chair and work for Insanely Disloyal. So, for the first time in four months, I called in sick. And I received a call back. Don't bother returning.

I knew it!

A few hours later, I received another call. "So are you coming?" My documentary film friends who were interviewing that guy asked why on Earth would I miss the interview that I helped set up? They were right. As sick as I was, I myself didn't have to do a thing but watch. So after three hours of daytime napping, I got myself over to the Bowery. I felt much better.

And while I.D. didn't allow me to return to my desk and get my stuff off my PC desktop, there does remain something to remind her of me. It is a note which a manager scribbled to me a couple of weeks ago. It reads: "YOU RULE!!!"

Tomorrow, I interview with Dream Job.


One Love.

So, if I happen to post about a certain club getting gutted (CB-somethingG-something), or that I am helping my friend the filmmaker (daughter of Seymour Stein somethingg) book an interview with a certain historian (Luc Saintly in French-something) and filmmaker (Jim-Anti-Hollywood Jarmu-schomething) to talk about said guttted club, hopefully you will know what, and who, I am talking about. I will only name names if I feel it is something worth getting picked up by Google Alerts, getting announced to the world, and have me suffer the consequences of receiving phone calls about any particular thing I've blogged about.

On the other hand, I would LOOOOVE to talk about Dalton. Yes, that private school on the Upper East Side of New York City that is ALL ABOUT CONNECTIONS. THE DALTON SCHOOL. Did you pick that up, Google Alerts? You see, today was Dalton's Open House for high-school aged students. This is how my visit to the Open House went:

[Me sitting in school theater]

At the microphone--

Eva Rado: "Oh, our school is so unique, and our students are so unique, because blah blah blah, woof, woof, woof."
[I look around, and notice that indeed, everyone looks uniquely exactly like the next person in the theater. Except me. I am wearing jeans, and lack Botox injected into my forehead, and I also lack Marc Jacobs rain boots.]

At the microphone--

Graduate of Dalton and Head of School Exhibiting Extreme Repression-Induced Palsy: "I love this school." [shakes nervously]

We break after a Math head, Foreign Languages Cute Girl, and Exceedingly Boring Science Woman, have taken the microphone and spoken. I am snoring. Thank goodness I am that relaxed, because it doesn't bother me that the parent next to me has knocked my coffee all over the beautiful Dalton carpet.

I head to the 4th Floor, the Science Floor. I notice that I am not greeted by the Science Woman, the only adult in the room who is wearing a nametag. I nevertheless begin speaking to the Dalton student with nametag. He seems to love science. He is the school uber-geek. I like him, but have a feeling that his parents come from the same cookie-cutter mold in Botoxlandia and MarcJacobsistan.

I head to the 5th Floor. The Music Room.

Again, I am ignored by the Music Woman/teacher/head/only adult in the room. It is starting to dawn on me that I am conspicuously the non-traditional parent. That's okay. I have no problem speaking up.

Me: "Um, I am sorry, what did you say about applicants auditioning? Do you recommend that?" I am actually excited at this prospect, as A is preparing for The Fame School audition. I notice a sign-in sheet. The students' names read current schools such as "Buckley" and "Brearley" and other Muffy/Biffy-type schools.

Music Woman: "Erm, yes. Sure. I'll answer your question. But not now. I have to attend to these people..."

And she promptly begins speaking to a 3-person family which has just walked in behind me. "And what do YOU like to play?" she asks their child. She then speaks to another 3-unit family that has just walked in behind the family behind me. "And what do YOU like to play?" she asks the next child.

I wait in the Music room for 10 minutes. And then I realize that I am being ignored. A is not with me, because he is sitting the SHSAT exams. I notice Music Woman's student assistant is equally giving primary attention to the young students.

Me, not loud enough to be thrown out, but loud enough to be heard: "So, neither of you is interested in what music my son likes, huh? Because I am here as his ambassador. He's taking an exam. And he wanted to know what your school's music program is like."

Music Woman still ignores me. I head downstairs in tears.

I hand the brochures, Daltonian newspaper, and other propaganda back to the school greeter in the lobby. I tell her how difficult it is to be a single parent, how hard it is to show up without my son who was testing that moment, to sacrifice my morning to help make an educated decision about their school, to ask the questions that my son wanted me to ask.

And how humiliating it is to be ignored.

"I'll talk to Eva Rado," said the lobby greeter, sadly shaking her head.

I'm sure she will. She didn't even ask what my name was.

Two hours later, I drank a Red Stripe.


Fie on Google Alerts!

I have realized that my current job, while somewhat glamorous, is causing me nightmares. My boss is a nightmare. I have found out that she is insanely disloyal ("I.D."). If a different department director thinks I have committed an editorial snafu, I.D. will side with that director instead of first talking to me about it. Just two days ago, I.D. yelled out, "YOU DIDN'T CATCH THAT URL! THE URL WAS WRONG!!! JOHN TOLD ME YOU MISSED PAUL'S MARK UPS!" Most of the time, but not all, the director in question has just not been very good or clear with marking up his own work, which was the case with the URL scenario.

I.D. is also disloyal on e-mail, and will "REPLY TO ALL" if she has a question about my work. I.D. just needs to involve everyone. Can't simply hit the "Reply" button and highlight her doubts about my work to me directly. No. I am learning that group-assisted trauma is just not my particular brand of vodka.

But the biggest problem occurred this morning, when I nearly did not get on the train to work. You've had those days, right? You just can't make it to the train platform (or can't get the keys into the ignition to start the car) to show up for work.

The copyeditor who worked in my place previously lasted two years, and there were many tears and much drama, between that copyeditor and I.D., I have been told. I don't want drama. At least, not this drama.


Free for NYC High School Students

Go here for the MoMA link.

High School Programs

Friday Night at the Movies

Fridays, 4:00–8:00 p.m.

The Celeste Bartos Theater in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, 4 West 54 Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues

Join The Museum of Modern Art for free screenings of classic and current movies. Talk with film curators, filmmakers, educators, and your peers. This free drop-in program is for high school students only. No need to sign up. Just show up! Free pizza and soda. Pizza is served from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Program starts at 4:45 p.m. For more information, please call (212) 708-9828. Admission is first come, first served.

What's So Funny?

What makes you laugh? Why is it funny when someone slips on a banana peel or when people get into sticky situations? Is a pie in the face, an unlikely case of mistaken identity, or bathroom humor always funny, or does our idea of what’s funny change over time? In this series we will watch classic and contemporary comedies and you can judge for yourself.

October 20

Classic comedy shorts, including films featuring Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, Tom and Jerry, and Lucille Ball

October 27

Mean Girls. 2004. Directed by Mark Waters

November 3

Some Like It Hot. 1959. Directed by Billy Wilder

November 10

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 1975. Directed by Terry Gilliam

November 17

Trading Places. 1983. Directed by John Landis

December 1

House Party. 1990. Directed by Reginald Hudlin

February 2

Best in Show. 2000. Directed by Christopher Guest

February 9

The Princess Bride. 1987. Directed by Rob Reiner

Students must bring a valid high school ID.

If you are interested in bringing a class to this program, you must call to make a reservation.

For more information, please call School Programs at (212) 708-9828 or e-mail highschoolprograms@moma.org.


A and Bela Lugosi

...share the same birthday. Which was yesterday.*

We have a personal joke, after having watched "Capote" (with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote). In a scene where Truman Capote stands before the small-town cop and says, "Bergdorf's" -- the small-town cop looks at him, totally perplexed, and Capote explains, pointing to the cashmere around his neck, "Bergdorf's. The scarf is from Bergdorf's." A does a wonderful imitation of PSH as Capote in that scene, and springs it on me when I least expect it, as a reference to innocent obliviousness of what is actually the matter at hand.

Me: A, you it's your turn to do the dishes today.
A: [Points to his neck] "Bergdorf's."

Me: Please take the dog outside.
A: [Points to his neck] "Bergdorf's."

So, I got A a tecchie gift that I knew he'd like, and then I headed over to Bergdorf Goodman.

Me to Bergdorf Goodman salesman: "Hi. Um, did you see 'Capote'?"
BGS: "No, I can't say I have seen that film, no."
Me: "I see. Well, um, I think I need a brown scarf. And under $300, if you have one."
BGS: "Hmmm. We have some nice ones over here..."

[I look at the scarves, and they are indeed nice. But they are not THAT much under $300. I nearly faint at the thought of a scarf supporting an entire African village for a year.]

Me: "How about something without the cashmere, but nice?"

We find one, it has a Bergdorf's label, and BGS wraps very nicely in a box, and places the tecchie gift inside, as well, under the scarf in the gift-wrapped box.

A and I headed to TriBeCa for dinner and watched a movie afterwards.

And I think we could still fund an African village with the scarf I picked out for A. Thank goodness ProductRED is in full force at stores everywhere.

*A had his baaah-m late in the year.


What sorta school can a homeschooler apply to and actually get in?

Want to follow our progress? [disclaimer: for those who are visiting here for the first time, I work full-time, A is a lone child and homeschooler, and he is ready to break into the world of the 7- to 20-student classroom].

Where are we applying?

- Stuyvesant.
- Bronx Science.
- LaGuardia HS (the "Fame" school).
- Fieldston.
- Dalton.
- Trevor (don't ask).

...among others, and we have cast a wide net here. We are requesting financial aid at all private schools.

Movies we've seen, movies we'd like to see:

- "The Departed" (not for young kids; besides the guns, violence, blood, and curse words, it was brilliant).
- "Marie Antoinette" - I saw it, liked it. Do NOT expect a history lesson. It is a character portrayal; Sofia Coppola wants you to experience courtly life and parties along with Marie Antoinette, and feel the same sort of surprise the Queen did once we find out that a Revolution was in the works at all.

- "Nightmare Before Christmas" in 3-D. Tim Burton, what can I say? - haven't seen it.
- "Flags of Our Fathers" - haven't seen it.
- "Volver" by Almodovar, with Penelope Cruz. I hear it's very good. And Ms. Cruz is a better actress in her native language.


Dear Heidi,

I received your envelope in my mailbox, but just a few days before the date I was supposed to send it back to you. I really hope you had a fabulosa birthday! You totally deserve it.

I hope it's okay if we send you the cards back in the next few days. Our lives have been hectic.


A had Physics (1 1/2 hr lesson at home, with tutor), French (at the Alliance Francaise 1 1/2 hr lesson), and a DNA class for 2 hours in which he swabbed his cheek to view his cheek cells under a microscope. "MOM I SAW A CHEEK CELL LYSE IN WATER! IT WAS AWESOME!"

We discussed his French class with his new teacher. Apparently, she looks like Isabelle Adjani. She did a lot of "memory jogging" exercises to bring out the French citizen who certainly lives in A's soul. Who was Serge Gainsbourg? What is muscadet? Bouillabaisse? Le Monde? Do you know who Jacques Chirac is? ("A stupid question," remarked A. "What was I supposed to say? Secretary of the French Treasury? Of course I know who Jacques Chirac is." Okay, smarty pants, let's get on with the memory jogging...) Do you know who was Général de Gaulle? Astérix?

Fortunately, A was sufficiently brainwashed to know the importance of Astérix and Obélix in our culture.

A studied for his Bio exam tonight which he missed last Sunday due to his sitting the BARD entrance exam that day, as well as Chapters 11 & 12 (Mitosis and Meiosis).

After dinner we discussed his upcoming LaGuardia High School (the "Fame" school) audition, the SSAT exam for private school and the SHSAT exams for Stuyvesant and Bronx Science (yes, we just LOVE that one of the exams could be pronounced "SHAT", yes sirreeee). A has sat the ISEE and BARD High School exams thus far. We are, believe me, examed out, and we're not even halfway there.


Me: Fill out school applications, send transcripts, DoE letters with transcripts. Send recommendation forms to Writing Teacher. Send A's letter for more science classes. Thank NYC Homeschooling Coordinator once again for being so fabulous with everything (for providing me information about the SHAT tickets, sending us last year's compliance letter when we never got one last year from my Region's counselor who loved to threaten us with T-R-U-A-N-C-Y), providing to us our homeschooling DoE Acceptance Letter this year, recommending LaGuardia High School as a possibility at all, etc., etc.), pick up photography leather? metal? portfolio from B&H Photo, write a bunch of checks to people and somehow fit lunch into my busy workday.

A: SSAT exam prep, Crew, Bio studies.


Yes, my life is that weird.

So, history tells us that on October 16, 1793 Marie Antoinette faced a terrible blow under a public guillotine in Paris. Yesterday also being October 16, it was a perfect day for me to cross paths with Steve Buscemi (*see "Steve Buscemi is bad luck" below).

I had received an invitation to attend "Artists Against Hunger" at a location in Brooklyn. Poetry would be read, music would be played. A being the budding art aficionado that he is, agreed to join me.

The venue was very very small. Jim Jarmusch read a poem translated from Spanish. Steve Buscemi read from The Grapes of Wrath. And when he was done, he took a spot next to me and A.

Me: "How did you like the movie on Friday?"
SB: "What movie?" [Steve Buscemi is, mind you, speaking in that Steve Buscemi voice]
Me: "Weren't you at Marie Antoinette?"
SB: "No, sorry, it wasn't me."
Me: "Oh."
SB: "So how was the movie?"

Jim Jarmusch's wife talked to A for a while and asked if we would consider moving upstate "to the country." We have a dog, I know, there's no excuse.

Matt Dillon didn't arrive, or at least, I didn't recognize him, and we soon left.

Y & T


Photography class, 2 pm - 9 pm (inclusive of A's after-class darkroom hours).


A took a specialized NYC school entry exam.
We then headed to the Clinton Street Bakery where I ordered hot buttered cider. They did not mention the quantity of rum that would take up my bowl of cider, but I did not complain. It was amazingly good.


A attended Writing and Math class in the UWS, "What is DNA?" class also in the UWS.
A went to a poetry reading with well-known artists.


Free day.


A totally random evening

To make up for my lack of Y & T this week (and last), I will divulge what me and A were up to last to last night.

We met at Bleecker Street to take some last photos of the exterior of CBGB's. The line was long. Which was great, for the sake of the photos. We stopped at Astoria Wine because I needed to find a Bordeaux, and we laughed at the sight of a bottle of "Sofia Coppola" sparkling wine wrapped in a pink wrapper. Then we headed to the subway.

Earlier in the day, I had read this review of "Marie Antoinette": http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=315883

(don't know why the linky thing isn't working). The weird thing was, it linked to a "showtime" of the film last night at 9 p.m., a full 7 days before the official nationwide opening. Weird. Should I try to get tickets? Of course I should.

So we headed to the West Side. As soon as we turned the corner to the movie theater, A and I promptly found ourselves on a red carpet, with papparazzi yelling, "JASON! JASON! JASON! KIRSTEN! KIRSTEN! KIRSTEN! LOOK HERE! HERE! TURN! OH PLEASE, JASON!" Oh, dear. Jason, a.k.a., Louis XVI, was standing right next to A. Was Sofia Coppola here, as well? Someone stepped off the red carpet line and said to me, "Do you want my tickets? We can't attend." I did not have the asking price in cash on me, although I tried to convince him to stay while I ran around to the ATM. An older lady ahead of me with wads of cash snatched the gentleman's tickets. We were not able to get cancellation tickets, either.

Want to hang out and see who leaves the theater when the film is over, A?

We headed to the Barnes and Noble across the street. We grabbed coffee, Jones Soda, and cheesecake, and found some books to read for the duration of "Marie Antoinette." I looked up and saw a familiar woman in the Current Events section of the magazines.

Me: Is that the woman who was on Bill Maher? The Trouble with Islam woman? Oh wow.
A: Um, yeah, I think it's her.
Me: She's in the Current Events section. Hmmm...should I go look for her book downstairs? Maybe she'll sign one.
A: Yeah, do it. Do it! Carpe Noctum!

Downstairs at the information desk:
Me: "Hi. Do you have a book by a Pakistani lesbian feminist writer of Islam? I think it's called The Trouble with Islam. Today. Or something. And she's here, so I am sort of hoping to find it quickly..."
Bookseller/Information dude: "Oh yeah, she comes here often. Hey, Jenny, can you take care of her?"
Jenny: "Hi. What's the book title again?"
Me: "The Trouble With Islam. Today. I think."
Jenny: "Trouble. With Islam. Irshad Manji is the author's name. Huh. Hmmm. Erm. It should be here. Somewhere."

We walk over to a political book pile. It's not there.

Jenny: "Um, it should be here somewhere. I gotta get back to the desk. Just check around this floor."

A calls me on the cellphone:

A: Did you find her?
Me: Yeah. She's on another floor but they can't find her book here.
A: Just ask her. It'll be cool.
Me: You're right.

Realizing I might lose the opportunity to finally get this woman's book, and get it signed, I walked right up to Irshad Manji. She is wearing spectacles, looks just as cool as she did on the Bill Maher show, and is now perusing another political book pile, on the floor below the magazine section. She is looking at a book about Bush. Interesting.

Me: "Um, excuse me. Sorry to disturb you? I know in New York we're not supposed to just impose. But, I'd love if you'd sign your book for me, and the bookseller downstairs has no idea where to find it!"
Irshad Manji: "Oh really? Of course I'll sign one for you. And I know exactly where it is, too. Not that I go looking for the exact section that my book might be sitting in in every bookstore, but I happen to know where it is here. Follow me."
Me: "Thank you sooooo much."
Irshad Manji: [extending her hand] "What is your name?"
Me: "LaMai."
Irshad Manji: "Huh. That's an unusual name."

We chatted two escalaters down to the first floor, where she led me to her book. And signed it. It read, "You go, girl."
She extended her hand again. I didn't know if that was a genuine, "Pleased to have met you" or "Now you can leave" but she smiled, she sold a book, and I was happy. I was honestly so jittery, that I realized that on the escalator ride to the first floor, I managed to talk about CBGB's closing, Paris Hilton (by accident), PBS (Ms. Manji is working on a documentary with them), and Ingemar Bergman, in the span of a minute. Goofy. It's a miracle I didn't tell her what shampoo I used that day.

Back at the movie theater, me and A waited. Fifteen minutes later, the audience checks out. Steve Buscemi walks out and looks straight at me. Ew. Steve Buscemi is bad luck. Last time I saw Steve Buscemi, he was walking out of the Sopranos studio parking lot, and I was heading to my bank. And when I got there, my bank account was in the negative.
S&*t. Steve Buscemi? Okay, it's Friday the 13th. Of course, I'd have to see Steve Buscemi. Okay. Bad luck over.

And then, directly across the red carpet area, totally unrelated to the moviegoing public mob exiting the theaters, walks a familiar-looking Japanese man past us, and straight down the block. He is wearing black, his hair is frosted white, and he is in a real hurry. "Um....A? That's James Iha. James Iha. THAT'S JAMES IHA."

Now realizing there was a Smashing Pumpkin walking right in front of him, A runs immediately after, turns the block, and I lose sight of my kid.

Sofia Coppola? We totally forgot to wait for a sighting of her.

I returned to the theater to buy a ticket for Marie Antoinette today. And I liked it.



Like clockwork...

Reporters and journalists have started contacting me. Indeed, Patti Smith is the last show, on Sunday.

How do I feel?

This is my answer.



But not too near the area of 72nd and York.

A bunch of instant messages on MSN messenger ensued on my computer as soon as the red headline hit CNN.com. The flurry of messages to me went like this:

I just checked CNN. It says "plane" and "building."
where r u? midtown?
Yeah. U?
I'm on 57th & Park. I hear sirens.
Oh. I don't. We have sound insulation.

What's going on? I hear sirens. News says something about a plane.
Yeah, I see smoke.
No, we're okay. Small plane. Not commercial.

My mother didn't check in. I am not surprised, but disappointed.



Would you like some Breakfast with your Biology?

On this morning's menu:

- Hair of Napoleon.
- Wing of Honeybee.
- Angiosperm of a Juniper berry.

All fixed on slides for viewing under our 1200x microscope. Not on the menu, but requested:

- Sleepy drosophila.

What I served for breakfast to the young man on the microscope at our kitchen table:

- Omelette with Portobello mushrooms, Gruyère and herbed goat cheese, doused in white pepper and sea salt. Served with Emmi Swiss yogurt (with müesli :).


Y & T and Sympathy


- Writing class. A finished expository essay on Jo'burg. I later that evening had a cow when I found out there was no conclusion in the essay. Turns out, it didn't need to have one.

- Math class. Was going to cancel A's involvement in this one altogether, changed my mind when another parent set some "issues" right with it.

- Crew cancelled.

- Read chapter 8 in Biology.

Economics film: Life and Debt.


Free day.

- A read The Lost World by Michael Crichton and played guitar.


From CNN:

An article on colleges that court home-schoolers.

And the Big News of the day (until the other ones are given out): This.

Y & T for last week.

For Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:


- Finish reading Biology chapter 5. Start chapter 6.
- Prep for Math and ISEE test prep.
- Crew.

(the Biology reading took A about three hours -- I think it took about the same for me, when I was in high school?).


- Math prep with tutor, at home.
- Lunch.
- ISEE prep with tutor, at home.

No CREW because A needs to catch up with Biology reading (Chapter 6).

Film viewing: On a Clear Day, with Peter Mullan, Billy Boyd, and Jodhi May (remember her as Alice in Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis?).


- Science class.
- Biology Chapter 6.

Film viewing: Woodstock: 3 days of Peace and Music by Michael Wadleigh.


- Head of the Harlem Regatta. But A makes a surprising decision: He does not want to row. He wants to fence. So, he fences.

- Fencing.

A fences epee against a boy who has been in training for 5 years (the kid's last name is on the back of his fencing jacket, and it reads "USA" underneath. Apparently, the kid does the big tournaments). A loses, but loses 5-4. Not bad, not bad...


- Biology class in Boston. A finishes Chapter 7 on the bus. A participates, raises his hand to answer the T/A's questions. He is starting to raise his hand a lot more. Don't know when/how this happened. A seems to like doing it. The shyness is falling away.

- A reads Michael Crichton's The Lost World on the bus ride back home.