Thursday, December 28, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 28, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 28, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Your sins are pretty mild, Capricorn. Still, you have from time to time violated some of your own highest standards; you have on occasion failed to live with impeccable ethical integrity. That's the bad news. The good news is that in 2007 you will have the best chance ever to atone for past mistakes. If done well, your corrective actions will win you a permanent vacation from the hell that those mistakes have sometimes trapped you in.

Monday, December 25, 2006

On the day before, I went to catch up with my
favorite foreign film director and Spanish language films of Pedro
Almodovar. Penelope Cruz is scrumptious in Volver. She and Carmen
Maura are a great pair…. But why does Almodovar have a reoccurring
theme of sexual assault in all his movies? …

I then headed through Times Square, stopping to ask touristas if they
needed help with directions, I love the ones that think they have it
down but they are holding their Maps and Compasses upside down. When
they refuse my help, over my shoulder, I remind them to turn the Map
around or to face the opposite direction for South. It amazes me how
many Tourists think I am gonna run off with their camera when I offer
to take the picture of the whole party so everyone can be in the
picture…I have to reassure them that I am not gonna steal with digital
camera… it doesn't stop me from offering.

I then headed over to the Rockerfeller Center Tree, past the Nintendo
Store, I didn't wrestle a guy for his Wii and I refused to go in. i
knew i would do damage.
I did speak to Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, Sponge Bob and Spiderman all
whom you can have your pix taken with for a small fee. I passed on the
pix and headed past the skating rink to one of my favorite stops. The
Saks windows and then pushed into St Patricks Cathedral. Wow it was
more packed than on Good Friday. I wanted to go visit my favorite
Saints, Briget, Christopher, Jude, Dorothea Day but only made it as
far as St Peter. I lit a candle - i think it was okay, that it was a
Peter candle i lit, cuz i had to bolt before the 530 mass. I knew I
would be there for hours if I didn't get out right then. St Pats was
being prepared for lockdown for midnight mass when all the politicos
and invitees show up to hear the Cardinal give mass….. it was time to
go…with no time to spare...

Down 5th ave, past the raccoon dog coats in the Sean John Window, the
stores on 5th ave where closing, the Empire state building was dressed
in Red and Green and even the Gap was closing on the corner of 34th
and 6th. Do I dare take Mrs Fields up on her buy three, get three free
cookie deal? My head screamed YES YES…my waist band….NO NO so I left
the cookies for santa and got on the train home….

That is how I spent the day before Christmas. …..Everyone has a story
on how they spend the day….we are all given a day…. Long ago, I made a
commitment to share my day in anyway I can….if it means speaking to a
new mom about her beautiful baby or a dog owner walking their dog, or
sharing what I can at the moment… candy canes, my time….a few kind
words ….or a few coins……
I guess, its about how we spend those 24 hours…its something I am
gonna think about as I head into 2007…..
i received a call from santa this week advising me that I was required
to hold class yesterday, even after i explained that the finals were
graded and grades were in and i terminated with the students of SWK
780 Advanced Practice with the Individual. (they were pretty sick of
me and i think that i was tired of Saturdays at 9am in the classroom),
but I called one more class and decided there was only way to hold
class on the saturday before Xmas. Bring Candy, Cookies and Candy
Canes... so i came armed with enough for 25 students and 6 showed
up... so i had all these left over Canes....

As i left class, i walked up Broadway from Soho and started handing
out the canes to the guys who clean the streets, to two firemen in
their truck outside of Dean and Deluca, to a German Tourist looking
for the Statue of Liberty, two Flemmish tourists who wanted to find
Urban Outfitters, the clerks at Duane Reade and coffee drinkers at
Starbucks. The only ones to refuse my candy canes were 4 reindeer
draped women heading for Armani. I saw about 9 Santas and eached
promised me an Nintendo Wii. They got no candy canes... No Wii, no

I made the rest of my deliveries and headed home....after a trip to
the Green Market and
with a ticket to Dreamgirls in my mitts...

Volver is a winner too

The Darkest of Troubles in the Brightest of Colors

Published: November 3, 2006

The action in “Volver” moves back and forth between a workaday neighborhood in Madrid and a windswept village in the Spanish countryside. Really, though, the movie takes place in a familiar, enchanted land — Almodóvaria, you might call it, or maybe Pedrostan— where every room and street corner is saturated with bright color and vivid feeling and where discordant notes of violence, jealousy and fear ultimately resolve in the deeper harmonies of art.

Pedro Almodóvar, the benevolent deity of this world, has revealed it — or, rather, created it — piece by piece from one film to the next. His two previous movies, “Talk to Her” (2002) and “Bad Education” (2004), explored previously uncharted regions of masculine melodrama, while “Volver,” whose title can be translated as “to return,” revisits the woman-centered territory of “All About My Mother” (1999) and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988). Drawing on influences ranging from Latin American telenovelas to classic Hollywood weepies and on an iconography of female endurance that includes Anna Magnani and Joan Crawford, Mr. Almodóvar has made yet another picture that moves beyond camp into a realm of wise, luxuriant humanism.

“Volver,” full of surprises and reversals, unfolds with breathtaking ease and self-confidence. It is in some ways a smaller, simpler film than either “Talk to Her” or “Bad Education,” choosing to tell its story without flashbacks or intricate parallel plots, but it is no less the work of a master. And it’s a testament to the filmmaker’s generosity of spirit that he effectively hands the movie over to its ensemble of lively and resourceful actresses, and in particular to its star, Penélope Cruz.

Ms. Cruz plays Raimunda, a hard-working woman pulled in every direction by terrible events and by the needs of the women around her. At one point in the film she answers a knock on the door from her neighbor, Emilio (Carlos Blanco), one of the tiny, mostly superfluous handful of men who appear on screen. Emilio, who clearly has a crush on Raimunda, notices a streak of blood on her neck and asks if she’s all right. “Women’s troubles,” she says with a quick smile, which is both a startlingly risqué joke and the literal truth.

Such troubles! The blood belongs to her husband, Paco (Antonio de la Torre), who has recently expired in a bright crimson pool on the kitchen floor after taking a carving knife to the belly. His killing is not exactly to be shrugged off — and he does eventually receive a proper burial of sorts — but he is not exactly mourned either. Men, for Raimunda and her circle, tend to be malevolent, irrelevant or simply absent: straying husbands, predators, dead bodies. They cause a fair amount of trouble, but the point of “Volver” is that it’s not about them.

It is about what American feminists of an earlier era called sisterhood, and also about the complicated bonds of kinship and friendship that Mr. Almodóvar observed as a child growing up among women in traditional, patriarchal, gender-separated (and fascist) Spain. Raimunda’s troubles may be extreme, but she bustles through them with passionate determination, making room for every emotion except self-pity. There are too many other people who need her sympathy, above all her teenage daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo), who was subject to Paco’s lecherous, unwelcome attention. Raimunda must also tend to Sole (the wonderful Lola Dueñas), her sister, whose face registers loneliness and disappointment even as she tries to radiate busyness and good cheer; to their elderly Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave); and to Agustina (Blanca Portillo), a neighbor whose sorrows could easily fill another movie. There is also a restaurant to run (it’s Emilio’s, but Raimunda takes over in his absence) and, on the other side of the screen, an audience to tease, charm, provoke and wrap around one of her long, expressive fingers.

With this role Ms. Cruz inscribes her name near the top of any credible list of present-day flesh-and-blood screen goddesses, in no small part because she manages to be earthy, unpretentious and a little vulgar without shedding an ounce of her natural glamour. What’s more, Mr. Almodóvar has had the sly inspiration to cast Carmen Maura, one of the stars of his early, madcap period, as Raimunda’s mother, who seems to have returned from the dead to add a touch of the gothic (and the surreal) to the proceedings. Ms. Maura’s warm good humor is a crucial element in the film’s emotional design. It is a chronicle, mostly, of tragedy and horror, rendered in bright, happy colors.

To relate the details of the narrative — death, cancer, betrayal, parental abandonment, more death — would create an impression of dreariness and woe. But nothing could be further from the spirit of “Volver,” which is buoyant without being flip, and consoling without ever becoming maudlin. Mr. Almodóvar acknowledges misfortune — and takes it seriously — from a perspective that is essentially comic. Very few filmmakers have managed to smile so convincingly in the face of misery and fatality: Jean Renoir and Billy Wilder come immediately to mind, and Mr. Almodóvar, if he is not yet their equal, surely belongs in their company. “Volver” is often dazzling in its artifice — José Luis Alcaine’s ripe cinematography, Alberto Iglesias’s suave, heart-tugging score — but it is never false. It draws you in, invites you to linger and makes you eager to return. It offers something better than realism. The real world, after all, is where we all have to live; for some of us, though, Mr. Almodóvar’s world is home.

“Volver” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has violence, obscenity and sexual references.


Written (in Spanish, with English subtitles) and directed by Pedro Almodóvar; director of photography, José Luis Alcaine; edited by José Salcedo; music by Alberto Iglesias; art director, Salvador Parra; produced by Esther García; released by Sony Pictures Classics. Running time: 121 minutes.

WITH: Penélope Cruz (Raimunda), Carmen Maura (Abuela Irene), Lola Dueñas (Sole), Blanca Portillo (Agustina), Yohana Cobo (Paula) and Chus Lampreave (Tía Paula)

Dreamgirls is a winner

FILM REVIEW; Three-Part Heartbreak In Motown

Published: December 15, 2006, Friday

The dramatic and musical peak of ''Dreamgirls'' -- the showstopper, the main reason to see the movie -- comes around midpoint, when Jennifer Hudson, playing Effie White, sings ''And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.'' That song has been this musical's calling card since the first Broadway production 25 years ago, but to see Ms. Hudson tear into it on screen nonetheless brings the goose-bumped thrill of witnessing something new, even historic. A former Disney cruise-ship entertainer with a physique to match her robust voice, Ms. Hudson was notoriously dismissed from ''American Idol.'' This sad instance of pop-cultural philistinism is echoed on the cover of the January 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, which omits her in favor of her better-known, thinner ''Dreamgirls'' co-stars Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Beyoncé Knowles.

Of course such slights are consistent with the character Ms. Hudson plays in Bill Condon's film version of the show, originally written by Henry Krieger (music) and Tom Eyen (book and lyrics). Effie is, at first, the lead singer in a Detroit vocal trio called the Dreamettes (later the Dreams), and also the lover of Curtis Taylor Jr. (Mr. Foxx), the car salesman turned musical entrepreneur who serves as the group's manager. She is replaced, both onstage and in Curtis's affections, by Deena Jones (Ms. Knowles), her skinnier, lighter-skinned and more pliable sidekick, and relegated to poverty and obscurity while the group ascends into the pop firmament (and also leaves the crumbling Motor City for Los Angeles).

''And I Am Telling You,'' for all the defiance of its lyric and the triumphal swell of its orchestration, is thus an anthem of impotence, a proud woman's protest in the face of humiliation and defeat. Like it or not, Effie is going. She has no choice in the matter. But it's not often you go to the movies and see a big-boned, sexually assertive, self-confident black woman -- not played for laughs or impersonated by a male comedian in drag -- holding the middle of the screen. And when was the last time you saw a first-time film actress upstage an Oscar winner, a pop diva and a movie star of long standing? Ms. Hudson is not going anywhere. She has arrived.

The vehicle that delivers her, however, does not always run smoothly. ''Dreamgirls'' is a souped-up, collectors'-edition replica of a model that Detroit -- I mean Hollywood -- used to turn out with ease and regularity. At the moment, and maybe only for a moment, stage musicals seem to be in reasonably good health, with solid revivals and lively new shows filling Broadway theaters. At the multiplexes, however, it's a grimmer story.

Periodic attempts to reinvigorate the form have a way of embalming it in nostalgia or tricking it out with frantic novelty. Or both. See ''Moulin Rouge.'' Audiences who go to ''Dreamgirls'' will have a good time, but they'll be going for old time's sake rather than to encounter anything vital or new.

And if ''Dreamgirls'' is disappointing, it is not for lack of effort by Mr. Condon or his cast, who do their best to combine the big, showy gestures of stage performance with the finer-grained demands of naturalistic screen acting. Like Mr. Condon's other films -- ''Gods and Monsters,'' ''Kinsey'' and ''Chicago'' (which he wrote but did not direct) -- ''Dreamgirls'' takes place at the intersection of fame and desire, where sexual longing gets mixed up with hunger for public recognition.

No one in the movie expresses this tension better than Mr. Murphy, whose character, a soul singer named James (Thunder) Early, fights addiction, obsolescence and the demands of his own ego. Resorting frequently to the shorthand of montage, Mr. Condon for the most part succeeds in sustaining a narrative and emotional flow that links one song to the next.

But the problem with ''Dreamgirls'' -- and it is not a small one -- lies in those songs, which are not just musically and lyrically pedestrian, but historically and idiomatically disastrous. This is a musical, after all, about music, about an especially vibrant and mutable strain of rhythm and blues that proclaimed itself, boastfully but not inaccurately, to be ''the sound of young America.''

Curtis is modeled -- loosely enough to escape litigation -- on Berry Gordy Jr., who turned Motown from a regional record label into a powerhouse. (The Dreams are a parallel-universe version of the Supremes.) The story of Curtis's Rainbow Records is a familiar and potent tale of Faustian show-business ambition, as his climb to the top involves betraying and hurting the people closest to him. But without the right soundtrack, only half the story is being told. The performances are gratifyingly spirited, but what this movie most obviously lacks is soul.

The great Motown songwriters -- Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the trio of geniuses known to posterity as Holland-Dozier-Holland -- turned out great pop songs by the dozen, cutting bolts of blues, gospel and rock 'n' roll into clean, trim, shiny garments. It is vain to imagine that Mr. Krieger and Mr. Eyen, who died in 1991, could replicate the Motown sound in all its variety, but as it is, the film barely acknowledges its existence.

As the cushioned blasts of overorchestrated thunder assaulted my ears, I would have given anything for a crisp horn chart, a clean drum line, a chattering rhythm guitar or even a memorably witty or catchy verse. Periodically, a character -- Curtis, James or Effie's songwriter brother C. C. (Keith Robinson) -- will announce the arrival of a ''new sound.'' But even though the chronology and the costumes march from doo-wop to disco, everything in ''Dreamgirls'' sounds more or less the same, as the splashy imperatives of show-tune composing overwhelm everything in their path.

The music has the effect of compromising one of the crucial ambitions of the film: to refract the recent history of black America (and, by implication, America itself) through the prism of popular culture. Part of Curtis's dream is to cross over and in the process permanently redefine the mainstream, and you hear a lot of talk about what kind of music will appeal to black or white ears.

You also see archival images (the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; riots in Detroit) that register the aspirations and disappointments of America in the 1960s. But the music provides no guidance through the times, and as it tries to negotiate a period of profound change, it comes to rely on the talents of its production and costume designers, John Myhre and Sharen Davis, both of whom do brilliant work. The decades are marked by the progression of hairstyles, lapels, jewelry and dresses; after a while the experience starts to feel like a long, noisy guided tour through a museum.

Except of course that the dioramas occasionally spring to life when the singers transcend the limitations of the songs. This happens, most memorably, twice: when Ms. Hudson lays claim to ''And I Am Telling You,'' and when Ms. Knowles, late in the movie, lets loose in a recording booth on ''Listen,'' one of a handful of new songs written for the film.

Until that point her character, Deena, has been something of an enigma and, for Curtis, the passive vessel of his ambitions. Ms. Knowles's performance has been static and detached. In her limited work in movies she has never seemed comfortable with acting, shying away from any emotional display that might compromise her steely, hieratic dignity. But when she sings, she is capable of warmth, vulnerability, even ferocity, all of which she demonstrates in ''Listen.'' You cannot help but obey the imperative of the song's title, even as you may wish the movie offered more that was worth listening to.

''Dreamgirls'' is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for some sexual content, profanity and drug use.

Opens today in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Directed by Bill Condon; written for the screen by Mr. Condon, based on the Broadway production, book by Tom Eyen, directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett; director of photography, Tobias Schliessler; edited by Virginia Katz; music by Henry Krieger, lyrics by Mr. Eyen; choreography by Fatima Robinson; production designer, John Myhre; produced by Laurence Mark; released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Running time: 131 minutes.

WITH: Jamie Foxx (Curtis Taylor Jr.), Beyoncé Knowles (Deena Jones), Eddie Murphy (James Early), Danny Glover (Marty Madison), Jennifer Hudson (Effie White), Anika Noni Rose (Lorrell Robinson), Keith Robinson (C. C. White), Sharon Leal (Michelle Morris) and Hinton Battle (Wayne).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

my last 9 months

HOw do i start to describe the last 9 months. It all started last April when i went into work after a job interview to find that I didnt have a job any longer. I went through the motions of cleaning out my desk and packed my car and left Queens. I went to the post office and came home in tears. My friend Dave came over and we worked on computer til i was exhausted and i went for a walk and came home to sleep.

Very Quickly, i learned to like sleeping in. Not having to wake up at 6am. I could get up whenever i wanted. I didnt start staying up to all hours of the night, unless i was out late and it take a few hours to unwind. I spent alots of the Spring and Summer walking. I would walk to the park and back and averaged 5 miles a day. I tried to keep a routine and stick to it. I maintained a weekly visit to Weight Watchers though i started going on Thursday at Noon. I didnt have a need to drive but stayed around on Tuesday to move my car at 1pm.

I saw lots of movies and lots of free music. I sprang for the big ticket artists... Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan tribute. I missed CSNY and Paul SImon in NYC. i saw Ralph Stanley with Tres Chica, Elvis Costello, Savion Glover, attended Newport FF, and Falcon ridge with Free tickets provided by FUV and Susan krauss's mom. I went to Philly to see Mary Chapin Carpenter and celebrate my friend Fays Birthday
By summers end, i was enjoying walking and hanging close to home. I really didnt want to go out at night if i didnt have to .

i used my friend's audience extras and saw some theater on sundays or saturdays at 3.00 a ticket... and i spent many many saturday and sundays and friday nights with Dar. I would drive whereever and come in rather late, then i would stay up and sleep in.

In september, i started School... not knowing when i would be working, i chose to teach saturday morning at 9am. I would get up at 6am and drive to manhattan. I had time to prepare and taught Advanced Practice with the INdividual.. i asked for two classes for this coming semester because i didnt know if i would have work.

During this time, i stopped to talk to mom and babys, pet owners and their pets and anyone who would talk to me. I met a guy named Bob, a friend of Bill W who discussed "letting go and Letting G-d" with me. I saw the same drunks on the bench daily and the elderly man and his granddaughter who sit near hte park... I saw the buds come out, turn green, grow leaves, leaves turn to brown and yellow and red and now fall off.

I didnt travel far from Here incase... It was a summer of INCASE... i cut back, incase, i bought things, incase... i didnt do things incase...lots of my time was spent thinking of INCASE...

i went up to massachusetts a few time and spent time with my family and at music events... I took one day of music and 1 day with my family...

One of the things that started to happen was i started to feel things deeply... that hard shell developed after 25 years of being a social worker started to melt away.. i find i am more compassionate and empathetic and feel deeper.. I cry more easily and care more. I shared more with the world and my attitude is more positive... i found lots of coins on the street this summer and helped neighbors, strangers and did random acts of kindness because i could. I shared whatever i had... sent Newport tickets to a stranger so she could go and gave away tickets.

IN april, i volunteered the Tribeca Film Festival and gave lots of my vouchers away.
I gave away my extra FRFF ticket and whenever i could, i helped whomever needed it.
my life slowed down and by summer end, i was getting used to doing one thing per day.. Grocery store, post office, bank.

By fall my umemployment benefits were out and i was living off my savings account. Anxiety increased and the job ads slowed down. I had been applying for any and all jobs that were appropriate and got 2-3 interview per month. by july, i was in the running for two jobs that i wanted. 1 with COFVCCA, as the Director of Training, coorinating city wide training and A trainer with the NYC training Academy. I also interviewed at the accrediation agency and was assured that there was consultant work for me. I was asked to develop trainings for web based and thought some work would come as of the interview and promise. By fall, there was still no work and no promise of work.

I would get calls from ACS periodically and by july, i had a application moving out of ACS into the MBO but with a huge pay cut. City benefits and a union job offer may be worth the cut.

i really didnt walk to talk about it much, part survival, not really sensing that anyone really understood what it was like to be out of work and having no prospects.
i rarely got depressed i just felt that no one could really empathize so i prefered not to talk about it. my WW friends and My hairdresser friends were interested and would ask how things were going. They showed a real interest in my job search and how things were going and i felt that they were cheerleaders.

people i saw alot didnt ask, i had to explain my situation alot and i just didnt want to..

before thanksgiving i answered an Ad at Tower for Xmas temporary help. I worked at minimum wage, 8 hours on my feet filing DVDs. i was sore and tired and pretty uncomfortable. I added 5 extra miles a day, and learned that tower doesnt check criminal records of the staff. I collected the stories of the staff and shared little about me. MOst worked there 20, 15, and 7 years.. no one worked there less than 5 years. They were being layed off this week.

I took a christmas job to help pay christmas bills and to keep me out of the other stores..i worked sunday, monday, wed 9-6 and tuesday 2-11 and thursday 3-12 or 4-1am
i had friday and saturday off.

right before xmas, i got a call from HRA's personnel department to start as a Trainer at ACS. i had to pick up my package and fill it out and bring in my documents to december 22 at 2pm. I went and i will be starting on december 26th. I dont know if i am working in NYC or Queens or both. the salary is way below what i was making but as many people who i ran into told me... ONCE YOU GET INTO THE CITY SYSTEM you can move around. I qualify for the union and city benefits. I will find out all about those on January 2

i am going back to work this week. I hope to savor the time i was home. THere are many things, i never go to.. cleaning closets, dusting again, pulling apart my bookcases... i never really had time but then again, i had nothing but time.

TB continued

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 21, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 21, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Happy Holy Daze, Capricorn! I've been meditating on the perfect holiday gift for you. What symbolic offering might inspire you to be in closest alignment with the cosmic currents in 2007? I've decided on Ed Anger's book Let's Pave the Stupid Rainforests & Give School Teachers Stun Guns. Not because I agree with his assertions, but simply because his outrageousness might push you to dream up wild solutions to your same old boring dilemmas; his rowdy spirit may fuel your own rebellious flights of imagination that will inspire you to fight back against the numbing insanity of the loony bin known as "reality."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Noble Lady Sharon the Disappointing of Mousehole by Sea
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 14, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 14, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Harper's Index says the U.S. government spends more than twice as much on military defense than do Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran combined. The aggregate population of those four countries, on the other hand, is five times larger than America's 300 million people. One might reasonably conclude, therefore, that while the U.S. has a right to safeguard itself, its glut of weaponry is absurdly extreme. I'm not definitively asserting, Capricorn, that you, too, are over-invested in defending and protecting your interests, but the astrological omens suggest it's a possibility. Please look into it. In any case, consider freeing up some of your contracted, fearful energy and directing it toward more pleasurable and constructive goals.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A Surprise TV Star Embraces His Geeky Side

Published: December 4, 2006

Today viewers may know Masi Oka as impish, innocent, time-traveling Hiro Nakamura on the new NBC Monday-night drama “Heroes.” But a few years ago he was in a different line of work, one in which, among other things, he drowned George Clooney.

“I virtually drowned him,” Mr. Oka corrected, referring to his work on the 2000 movie “The Perfect Storm.” As a digital-effects artist with George Lucas’s company, Industrial Light and Magic, one of his tasks was to create the computer models for what became giant waves on screen.

Over breakfast recently at the SoHo Grand Hotel, Mr. Oka tried to explain how he did it. Picking up a pepper shaker, he asked, “If I was to recreate a model of this on computers, how would I do it?” He then went on to explain various ways to model objects: polygonal, in which large numbers of straight lines describe curves; NURBS, which stands for “nonuniform rational b-spline surfaces”; and SUBD surfaces, by which time he had totally lost his audience.

“I’m sorry I’m geeking out here,” he said.

Geeking out comes naturally to Mr. Oka, 31, who made the cover of Time magazine at the age of 10 as one of a group of “Asian-American whiz kids” and graduated from Brown University as a math and computer science major, with a minor in theater.

The two pursuits were not, at least to Mr. Oka, as far apart as they seemed. “I’ve always loved using both the left and right sides of my brain,” Mr. Oka said. “Computer programming is about looking for solutions to problems. So is acting. There is a science to comedy.”

Mr. Oka has an I.Q of 180. He said he was sorry that number was ever published — as it was recently in Entertainment Weekly — and then explained the inadequacy of I.Q. as a predictor of adult intelligence. (“Its natural tendency is to find its limit and homogenize toward 100.”)

Oops. Geeking out again. Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Oka is single.

“I still haven’t found my soul mate per se,” he said. “I’ll tell you that I have some feelers out there, but it’s so hard, working in this environment.”

His friends, including the “Heroes” crew — “My makeup and hair folks, they’re looking out for me” — are pitching in as would-be matchmakers, as is his co-star Milo Ventimiglia, who, like Mr. Oka, plays a once-ordinary person who has developed extraordinary powers. Mr. Ventimiglia’s character can fly, and Mr. Oka’s can relocate from Tokyo to Times Square in a heartbeat. Off screen, the two actors hang out.

“We don’t really party-party, but we definitely go to bars,” Mr. Oka said, adding that Mr. Ventimiglia was his mentor in that setting. “Oh, definitely, I’ve learned a lot. It’s quite an art form, watching Milo work.”

With about 14 million viewers a week “Heroes” is one of the season’s few certifiable hits. And Hiro is the show’s most recognizable character, partly because, while the other heroes are tortured by their powers, Hiro revels in his.

“Hiro is a kid,” Mr. Oka said. “He’s the kid that we all once were. He has to lose his innocence and naïveté as he grows in the show.”

That may happen in January, when the show resumes after an initial 10-episode run that ends tonight. In the fall “Heroes” viewers caught a glimpse of a future version of Hiro, sporting a soul patch, a Samurai sword and a mature sensibility. But for now, when Hiro scrunches up his round face and stops time (often to win poker games), it’s a funny moment, not a dramatic one.

Mr. Oka, who moved from Tokyo to Los Angeles with his mother when he was 6, does his own translating on the show (Hiro often speaks in Japanese with subtitles) and makes sure the Japanese phrases are up to date. The danger is that in playing a comical Asian male, he is feeding an old stereotype.

“I guess it’s fact that you’ve rarely seen an Asian guy as a romantic lead,” he said. “That’s for a Brad Pitt or a John Cusack. For me, though, I just try to keep it as authentic as possible. I must say it’s a big challenge to find that fine line between realistic, grounded comedy, yet keep him growing.”

Technically, Mr. Oka, who has played a number of modest roles in television sitcoms, said he had learned from the form how to create funny characters by repeating particular gestures. “Repetition is funny because it’s a character tag,” he said.

In Hiro’s case the tag is a stiff-armed victory salute, accompanied by an exultant shout.

“Part of the comedy is he really believes in what he does, Mr. Oka said. “As long as that point of view’s in there, you’ll always have that comedy, grounded in truth.”

Another truth is that Mr. Oka is enjoying his new celebrity as much as Hiro enjoys his superpowers. After all, for an actor who still drives a 2000 Honda Accord and whose best-known role had been as Franklyn the lab technician on NBC’s “Scrubs,” stardom is a big change.

“My agent read the script and said, ‘My God, I’ve found the role,’ ” Mr. Oka said. “I mean, how many actors are fluent in Japanese, well-trained in comedy and have abundant American TV experience? I felt pretty good going in. I felt like, wow, my niche market. It was like, if this isn’t it, what is?”

hairball of show and tell

kitty of love

giving thanks

giving thanks

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 7, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 7, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
A Detroit woman became so crushed by despair that she decided to kill herself. Ethel Farbinger's husband and mother had died within the span of a month, and she felt she couldn't go on. Retreating to a bathroom with the intention of plunging a knife into her heart, she was diverted from her plan by a vision shimmering in the toilet bowl. There in the water she saw an image of Saint Padre Pio, who spoke to her. "Ending it all will cause more problems than it will solve," he said. "Let God's love help you through this ordeal." Farbinger's suicidal urges instantly departed, and she returned to her life with a renewed sense of purpose. I don't believe you're in anywhere near as bad a shape as she was, Capricorn, but I suspect there will be at least one similarity between her story and yours: You'll find redemption where once there was crap.

Jane Addams Day

Jane Addams Day
Sunday, December 10, 2006

Celebrate the holiday season and the newly legislated Illinois Jane Addams Day with us on December 10th, 2006 on the 75th anniversary of Jane Addams receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 30, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of November 30, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
As I see your situation, it's like you're acting famished even though the cupboards are stocked with goodies. You're pining and moaning to be close to a treasure that's right next to you. You've got 98 out the 100 things you need, and yet you just can't stop obsessing on the two that are missing. If I'm wrong about this, Capricorn, just ignore what I'm saying and rejoin me next week. But if you suspect I may be on to something, please act fast to purge your delusions.