Quick Takes on What Autumn Has Been So Far

Life’s been full lately, so today, I’m sitting with my feet up on one of our nesting tables (IKEA Klubbo, naturally), resting my strained knee, doing my best to do nothing. It’s going pretty well so far. But I’ll deviate from poking around on the Internet to write something here, since it’s been a while and a lot has happened.

For one thing, Scott and I went on our first solo vacation in literally years. We’re not counting weekend trips to Chicago or our annual trek to Michigan for Christmas; this was a proper vacation, a seven-day cruise to Bermuda the departed from the Hudson. Scott’s always been great at planning vacations, and this was no exception. We chose Norwegian as our cruise line and splurged on a room with a balcony and a meal plan that ended up involving two trips to the same steakhouse. (We both got filet mignon on both occasions. Shut up.) At the risk of sounding like I’m being paid to say so, the trip was exactly what we were looking for, if not more. (The boat has waterslides on it! Waterslides!) There was snorkeling and shows and delicious food and high-quality drinks and sightseeing and sitting on the balcony, reading or simply looking out at the ocean. Typically, at the end of a trip, I’m ready to get back to New York. This was one time I gladly would’ve stayed gone for a few more days.

That was the first week of September, and the rest of that month’s a bit of a blur. We’re in the busiest of busy seasons at work, and Scott and I hadn’t planned anything extravagant or even close for the weeks that followed our vacation, for obvious reasons. But once October kicked off, that did change to some extent, as I finally got to cash in my Valentine’s/birthday present from Scott: tickets to one of Billy Joel’s monthly Madison Square Garden gigs.

I don’t write about music very often, but I’ll write about this concert, because it was all kinds of fantastic. He sounds the same as he always has, he plays just as bafflingly well as ever, his band is top notch, his setlists are carefully curated, and his audience engagement is way better than what you might anticipate from a famously curmudgeonly guy. Favorite moments include, but are not limited to, the lighting during “Pressure,” the oddball pick of playing “Laura,” the entire crowd losing their minds during “My Life” (of all songs), “New York State of MInd” (just all of it, OK?), his complimenting the audience on how well we sang along with “She’s Always a Woman,” and, naturally, the reaction when he started playing the harmonica for “Piano Man.”

(Oh, and he closed with “Only the Good Die Young,” which is my karaoke jam. So there’s that.)

Within days of Billy Joel Day, I turned 27, which seems like a pretty good age and sounds substantially older than 26. To celebrate, Scott and I went to the Stag’s Head then tried to see Gone Girl. It was sold out, and I dragged him to Midtown Comics instead so I could pick up Sex Criminals in preparation for the meetup with its writer and artist, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (plus Fraction’s amazing wife, Kelly Sue DeConnick, who writes Captain Marvel). Sex Criminals is far and away the most original comic I’ve ever read. It’s funny and sincere and imaginative, and so are Matt and Chip and Kelly, who were lovely to meet in a semi-crappy bar near Penn Station.

The day after the meetup, some friends and I went to Thrilling Adventure Hour live at the Bell House, a venue I love but hate getting to. This time it was more than worth it. In the past few months, TAH has become one of my favorite pieces of media, as I’ve said here. And this performance was pitch perfect. The special guests were top notch, the WorkJuice players were at peak awesome, and the segments were as entertaining as ever (more so, considering the live aspect).

So, that was last Saturday. In the week since, Scott and I did see Gone Girl. There were some things I loved about it (chiefly the acting and the sound editing), but as far as Fincher goes, I don’t think it’s his strongest, not with both Se7en and The Social Network in contention. Still, I’m glad to have seen it, if only for the performances. Other recent diversions, entertainment wise, include How to Get Away with Murder (Scott’s and my first Shonda Rhimes show, and we’re enjoying the hell out of it) and the Magicians trilogy. I have a lot to say about the latter, but I think that’s probably a story for another time. I’ve also been really into Jordan Jesse Go! It’s a MaxFun podcast that used to be an occasional listen; now, I look forward to it every week. As a consequence, I watched An Affair of the Heart, a documentary about Rick Springfield fans, after cohost Jordan Morris recommended it. If you think the idea of obsessive fandom is at all interesting, I recommend watching it. (It’s on Netflix streaming.) It drags a bit here and there, and it’s not stunningly directed or anything like that, but the content is bizarre enough to keep you interested for a while. (In sum, a certain subset of middle-aged women would follow Rick Springfield to the ends of the earth.)

Alright, I think that’s everything I had to say and then some. As you were. Halloween post to come.