when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

the boys

A few pictures of the boys that Andrea took yesterday.

posted by todd at 12:31 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Published photographer

Not me. My brother, Tim.

Check it out.

Tim's picture.
posted by todd at 11:56 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 16, 2006

new york glam

After yesterday's walkabout, I really wasn't in the mood to do much last night. But Billy wanted to take me to a gay bar called The Townhouse. This place is upscale. And I'm in jeans, T-shirt and khaki jacket. Not that I'm there to impress anyway.

The bar is full of gay suits. I end up talking to a guy who is the CFO for some health care company. Without even looking online I'd guess he makes $1 million a year plus bonus. And he's not exactly coy about it. Oh, the waterfront property in Connecticut and the place in the Poconos.

"My friends tell me I'm crazy to drive around in my convertible with the top down. It's 40 degrees out! But you have to enjoy it while you can before the snow arrives."

And he's paranoid to boot.

"I can tell you right now where all of the fire exits are."

Later, I was talking to a guy from Buffalo in the city for a business conference. You can tell he's not from the city because he didn't mention anything that'd give away how much he's worth.

Billy said he doesn't like this bar because the clientele aren't butch enough. I don't know why he keeps going back, but it was fine. Everyone was nice.

After a few drinks we decided to head home. Billy wanted to stop by a jam-packed straight bar determined to find the one gay man who's still in he closet. I practically had to yank him away.

But as we were nearing the subway, we passed what appeared to be a hip bar full of people in $1,000 suits and dresses. I dared Billy to try to get in, figuring he wouldn't and we could go home.

Well, he didn't get in. But Billy looked through the window, caught the eye of a man inside and got him to come out. I was too far to hear the conversation, but apparently it wasn't a hip new club. It was a furniture show, and exclusive. However, the man did give Billy a small business card with the name of a bar -- Nikki Beach.

I'm tired, but curious. We arrive, show the bouncer the card and boom -- we're in. The place is nice. The drinks are expensive. There's a woman with a oversized, feather shawl and a guy who looks like Boy George (post-transvestite). It's a nice mix of people, and everyone's having fun. Billy and I are still kinda stunned that we got in.

We talk to a few people, and everything's going ok. At one point we're outside smoking with the feather-shaw woman and her boyfriend. Turns out they're from Milan. Like most everyone there, they seemed like snobs, but were nice to us. After all, we did get in so we must be somebody.

The real coup de grace, I told Billy after we went inside, would be for us to get up on stage. It's a private sitting area with a dozen people.

We go up just as they unveil the birthday cake. We're having fun and talking to people, but within a couple of minutes an employee asks us if we know the birthday girl.

Um, no. I get off the stage and wait for Billy, who wants to see how far he can press his luck. Again, I didn't hear the conversation, but it ended when the bouncer came in from watching the door and told Billy to get down.

Billy had previously befriended the bouncer, which probably kept us from getting tossed.

A long table in the middle of the room was turned into a catwalk and the birthday party starts dancing on it. A techno-mix of 80s songs plays loudly. After Billy has another drink and hits on a straight marine, we leave.

And that's about as close to New York glam as I'll ever get. Which is fine. Billy and I had fun. But once is more than enough.
posted by todd at 10:52 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

new york II

This is my last full day in New York, and I'm tired. This place is exhausting. I'll be glad to go home and relax.

It's been a busy three days. Monday I went to the Met only to find it was closed. It wasn't a waste though. I went to the Guggenheim, a few blocks up the street. It's not the Met, but it had some nice paintings -- Paul Cezanne, Robert Delauay, Picasso, Van Gogh, Manet.

Then I spent a couple of hours relaxing at a Barnes & Noble. Also dropped in on a friend of Andrea's.

On Tuesday slept in a little longer, then took the train to FAO Schwartz. That's the toy store in Big where Tom Hanks plays the giant piano. The place is huge, but not terribly impressive. It's like a Toys R Us with giant stuffed animals.

From there I walked up Fifth Avenue, strolled through Central Park, went by the zoo and finally made my way to the Met. I probably spent 2 1/2 hours there. It's amazing.

I always thought Andy Warhol just painted goofy pictures of soup cans. Turns out he painted other stuff. And it's good. And I never knew much about Georgia O'Keefe. But I saw about a dozen of her works.

And then today, I visited the New York Public Library -- as seen in the movie Ghostbusters. It's big.

From there I walked to Times Square and bought a few things. Another tiring day.

Also today, Billy wanted me to make more movies of him. I thought about slicing these together into a 2-minute documentary on Billy. But I'm too tired to figure out how the software works. So here's the raw footage.

posted by todd at 10:11 AM 0 comments

Monday, November 13, 2006

new york new york

For the first time in four years I've gotten a break from the boys. Andrea took a week-long vacation and let me fly to New York to visit a friend, Billy.

Here we are at Ground Zero. I was surprised to find it much less impressive than I had imagined it to be. Some of the pictures placed around the memorial were sad. But mostly, it felt like some cold historical marker.

Saturday we went to a few bars in Queens, where Billy lives. It's Astoria, a blue-collar neighborhood where Archie Bunker's Place and Goodfellas were set. Its rather drab and dreary, but safe.

One of the bars Billy wanted to get into had a velvet rope guarded by an older Goodfella looking gentleman and his two friends. No line, just three guys and a rope. Billy asked if we could go in.

He hesitated and looked us over, then said, "OK, but the hat (my Yankee's ballcap) has to stay in the car."

"Well, all right!" Billy said.

I took off my hat and showed him how crappy my hair looked. He changed his mind.

Yesterday, we went to Manhattan for brunch. Walked to Ground Zero. Then it started rain, so we went back to Queens.

It's fun hanging out with Billy. This is the first time we've seen each other in seven years. He's only been in New York seven months now, and he's learning the ropes. Like yesterday on our way back to Astoria we tried to catch the W train.

We waited and waited. The R train passed twice. Finally we realized the W doesn't run on the weekend.

Billy wanted me to make a video of his place for his family. Here's where I'm staying:

posted by todd at 11:23 AM 0 comments

Thursday, November 09, 2006


posted by todd at 8:11 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


posted by todd at 8:11 AM 1 comments

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

penguin speedfreak

posted by todd at 8:54 AM 0 comments

Saturday, November 04, 2006


This was Dylan's first Halloween. Last year he was trick-or-treating in the NICU.

Josh insisted on going as the Green Power Ranger, which is weird because he's never seen the show.

After hitting a dozen houses around the block, we went to a local church Halloween carnival. This isn't much of an action shot, but Josh is in the inflatable bouncy castle thing.

Josh was enraptured by the puppet show song "God is bigger than the boogie man." Now I see with a quick google that it's actually a Veggie Tales episode. What a rip off.

posted by todd at 9:29 AM