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November 4th, 2004
The Pet Poll
I was driving past my veterinarian's office over lunch, and I saw two mock-campaign signs posted outside, one that read "Vote Dogs" and the other, "Vote Cats." The jarring thing was that the Cat sign was red, and the Dog sign blue, which seemed completely opposite to the way it should have been. What do you think?
With the exception of the following breeds:
With the exception of the following breeds:
Current Music: Keane—Hopes and Fears
November 3rd, 2004
An Attempt to Be Constructive
OK, this really sucks. For some time, I have been saying that if given a choice between retaking the Senate and winning the White House, I would happily give Bush his reelection. I've also been saying that I was prepared, emotionally, for another Bush victory. But the complete monopoly that the G.O.P. has attained in our government--a system so dependent on checks and balances--is bleaker than I was prepared for. And then, there's the defeat in South Dakota. I was never a huge Daschle fan, but the symbolism of his defeat just makes the sting worse.
It's discouraging. It's more than discouraging...it's enough to make a person just give up and let the wolves feast on the corpse of our society. It's going to be more or less impossible to get anything done on a federal level for the next four years, and in the meantime, our federal courts are going to be stocked with activist judges--see how neatly I slipped that term in there?--that will continue to make things difficult for the next half century. But I take some hope in a key word in that last statement: federal
. That's a really huge deal, don't get be wrong on that, but it's not the whole pie, particularly when there's a cultural dominant party that truly seems to believe in states' rights. I'm really happy to be living in a blue state today with a more-or-less progressively democratic governor and a whole mess of Bruce Springsteen fans. It is on the state and local level that we can ever hope to effect progressive change...and that may turn out to be the silver-lined lesson that makes this whole situation bearable.
It's been a longstanding argument, particularly by third-party enthusiasts, that the Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of the same coin, and there are some factors that lend a lot of weight to this. There's just a stupidly hegemonic consensus on such things as the death penalty, corporate ownership, reliance on market forces to solve social problems, and even war in Iraq. For God's sake, even the freakin' PATRIOT act. And those are probably the sorts of things that we really should
be arguing about poltically. Instead it seems that we latch on to a party based on what we fear. We all fear that the other side is going to take something away from us, be it the right to control our bodies, or our ability to defend ourselves, or the right to be with the person we love, or the right to educate our children in the way we see fit. This year, we spoke a lot about voting for change, but I never really got that feeling; I felt as if we were voting to take desperate hold of what we already had and try to protect it from somebody else's idea of change.
And for those searching for a reason why anybody could vote for Bush/Cheney, there's your motivation right there. In a lot of ways, they're more like us than we think. Liberals fight tooth and nail--and don't get me wrong, I believe they should--against every restriction against a woman's right to control her reproductive destiny. This should allow us to empathise with the conservative who, say, fights restrictions on public prayer. Instead we trivialize the conservative's fears. And likewise, he trivializes ours. Those stupid political "talk" shows are starting to seem less sensational every year and more like the real world. Is it because we can't trust each other than we can't listen to each other? Or is it the other way around?
I wish that I could say something smarter. But that's all I've got for right now.
November 1st, 2004
Weekend in Review--Hallowe'en edition
First of all, welcome bellanotsoblu
to these pages!
It was a good Hallowe'en, although I didn't accomplish much non-Hallowe'en-related. Friday night, as planned, I went to the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
show at the Orpheum. It was disappointing. The band had car troubles and were not able to show up until 90 minutes after the show was scheduled to begin. So of course, there was no sound check and they needed to set up in a hurry. There was no problem with any of this, really, but I did resent it later when the band played a very short, lackluster set, padded with some of the worst stage patter I've ever heard. Between the rambling and the constant adjustments to the equipment, they didn't do much more than half a dozen slide shows/songs. The audience was very small (about 30), and it did cross my mind that they might have gone more all-out for a larger audience. As somebody who frequently performs for small houses, that got me a bit miffed. But perhaps I should be more empathetic to the situation with a broken-down car AND technical problems AND a small house AND a ten-year-old drummer who presumably has a bed time of some
Saturday night was fountainal
's annual Hallowe'en party, and I think that it was fountainal
himself who won the informal and unspoken costume contest as Duffman. I'm always impressed by his attention to detail in all the designish work that he does, and his costume this year was no exception. My Michael Moore costume went over pretty well, and radio_redhead
's padding was probably the most successful part of it--it was downright irresistable in the "rub the Buddha's tummy" sort of way, even irresistable to radio_redhead
herself. Second place in the costume contest goes to spanish_jackie
and Monica, who came as drag queens, and when they first walked through the door, I did not recognize either of them; I thought that they were men trying way too hard to look like women, and I was actually annoyed by the lack of creativity in those two men's costumes. Once spanish_jackie
said hello and I learned the truth, I was way
impressed. Edited to add:
Pictures of all the fine costumes can be found here
And then last night, I made it over to the Jaycee's annual haunted house with kaerligreenfire
. I was impressed. I've only been to the Jaycee's house one other year, and it was mostly just "jump out and say boo" stuff. Fun, but only on a basic level. This year, there were a lot of really good rooms, and they made a lot of virtue out of the fact that they had limited space. One of the stronger rooms had a bunch of hanged corpses, one of which (naturally) comes to life, or at least undeadness. Of course, you know
what's going to happen, and you even know which corpse it's going to be, but the room is so tiny that you have to get pretty friendly with all the corpses in order to get to the exit. And then once Mr. Corpse does
come to life, he very effectively blocks both paths that you might try to take to get to the next room. I think that at most haunted houses, the actors are specifically ordered not to touch the folks going through. Well, I literally had to brush past Mr. Corpse, and I was touched another times by a monster living in a wall, and I do not plan to sue because that is way scarier and way better
was wondering over the weekend, why I spell Hallowe'en the way I do, and I told her that It Was the Way I Was Taught. But it does seem as if the standard spelling is Halloween, with a capital h and no apostrophe. The way I understand it--and mind you, I have not bothered to consult a dictionary on this point--is that it's an abbreviation for All Hallows Even (i.e., "evening") and that the e'en part needs an apostrophe because of the missing v. So anyway, here's a poll...I don't care how you do it in 2004, I'm just wondering how you were taught.
Obviously, the author of this poll has already tipped his hand. But how were you taught to spell "Hallowe'en" in grade school?
October 28th, 2004
My Costume Takes...Shape
Just picked up my costume piece from radio_redhead
, and I'm very pleased with it. It proves that first axiom about costuming, which is: The Best Solutions Are Always the Simplest Ones That Never Even Cross My Mind. Anyway, for those who have always wanted to see me a whole bunch fatter than I naturally am, check me out on Hallowe'en night.
Thanks again, radio_redhead
Also, I picked up an Isthmus
, and now I'm tempted to blow off Lonely Planet
getting in that Hallowe'en spirit
for your daily dose of humorous cynicism, passed on to this blogger by JGM III.
Current Music: Bohemian Rhapsody
I Have a Car Again
It feels really good to put your foot on the brake and feel reistance. I can't even tell you how good that feels.
Last night, we recorded some dialogue for the radio promo for Glory of Living
, so my odd southern drawl will soon be heard non-stop on WORT
. I've been on the radio before, and I've heard tapes
of me on the radio before, but I have never been driving down the street and heard myself on the radio. I predict that it will be a somewhat surreal experience. Also a vain one, of course.
Later today, I am picking up that ever-critical costume piece from radio_redhead
, and tonight, I will try to track down the additional pieces required for my costume. I'm thinking of inviting that guy from Hallowe'en Express to fountainal
's party just so he can see how many people have heard of the person I'm portraying. Won't that show him?
Tonight I am feeling torn between Aaron's play reading, The Apologists over at High Noon, and Hiding in My Apartment from Everybody. Hiding has a really big edge at the moment. Tomorrow night I expect that I will have had enough of the hiding for the moment and that I'll go see Stephen in Lonely Planet
. Anybody else thinking about going?
Current Music: This American Life
October 26th, 2004
The News is Bad...
...but not quite as bad as it might have been. The repairs will take two days and about $1700. It hurts to realize that this amount could cover a nice new computer, a need that I have been denying to myself for several years now. Or a nice vacation. Or... But no, it is not constructive to indulge in this particular game.
Mostly, I'm happy that the brakes didn't completely fail while I was trying to avoid the path of, say, a semi truck full of cute baby duckies. Also happy that my credit is good again.
Can anybody help me out with a ride after work? I'd bite the bullet and take the bus except that I really need to take a bunch of bulky computer hardware somewhere on the west side
before I go home.Update: fountainal
is the greatest, and he's driving me on my silly errands tonight. Isn't he the greatest?
It was a good weekend
It was a good weekend. fountainal
, among others, know why. Also why it was kind of exhausting.
But now I am worried. My car behaved strangely on the the way to Minneapolis, making scary, scary grinding noises whenever it was going under 30 miles per hour. Sort of the sound that you would expect if the parking brake were on. Which it wasn't. Then it made the same scary noises going back...except that it also made them whenever I put on the brake for any reason whatsoever. The regular brake, that is, not the parking one. The soonest that the mechanic could look at it was this morning...and then on the way to the mechanic, the brake light went on and the brakes became just functional enough to keep me alive for the rest of the drive.
There's been no call from the mechanic just yet, so I don't know just what the prognosis is. But I spent some time this morning anticipating the worst and looking at bus schedules. The best-case scenario involving getting to work even remotely
on time by taking the bus requires catching a bus at about 7:40 and riding/waiting for transfers for an hour. Some of the trips take over 100 minutes. It's that stupid lake in between my office and my house, you see, and the apparent dearth of public transportation that goes anywhere near the west side of said lake.
I am hoping for the best.
Current Music: Kirsty MacColl—Tropical Brainstorm
October 20th, 2004
Yesterday after work, I stopped by the Hallowe'en Express store to look for a key piece for the costume that lady_mishegas
so brilliantly suggested for me the other night. And without revealing specifically what that costume is, I'll say that the key piece is a simple "fat suit" set of padding that I can put some other pieces over. This would seem to be a very basic piece for a variety of costumes, but I've never seen one available through any retail outfit, and indeed, I didn't find one there. There were a lot of pre-fab kits for full costumes like "Tacky Tourist" and "Fat Drag Ballerina" that had exactly the sort of heft that I was looking for, but in every case, said heft was attached to a stupid (and expensive) costume that I didn't want.
So I asked one of the clerks there if he could help me with a fat suit. He looked like a well-adjusted person in his thirties.
"Well, who do you want to be?" he asked.
I told him the name of the extremely famous character that I wanted to portray for Hallowe'en.
I repeated the name.
"Well, you'll have to excuse me, but I've never heard of him." I was incredulous...to not be familiar with this persona would be akin to thinking Britney Spears is a province in Scotland. But I let it go, hoping to get his help. But his customer service strategy was to cheerfully try to sell me the inflatable ballerina costume. "Then you could be the ballerina next
year!" Further suggestions involved costumes with even bulkier clothing, including a $100+ Fat Elvis costume. And when I wasn't excited about that idea, he started to ignore me entirely. He never actually came out and said, "I'm sorry, we don't have what you're looking for."
I was so disappointed, that I couldn't even bring myself to buy a $5 glow-in-the-dark skull.
October 19th, 2004
Ask and You Shall Receive
All of these would have been way sharper and easier to read had I a copy of photoshop...but one does what one can.
, inspired by the interest of Islam:
The text is a bit hard to read, but at the top it's "Salaam," or "peace," and at the bottom it's "Insh'Allah," which literally means "if God wills it." As a Muslim, you're not supposed to talk about things that happen in the future unless you qualify it with "Insh'Allah," so although there are less charitable readings of "Peace, if God wills it," it's meant to be a benevolent statement.
, inspired by his interest of Samuel Beckett. This was much easier than Thomas a Beckett would have been:
, combining two of his interests and using text that I've heard him express himself:
, inspired by a shared interest of her and sesamenoodles
. If he wind up liking this better than you do, let me know and I will gladly make you another.
The Icon Meme
Borrowed from king_duncanComment and I'll pick one of your LJ interests and make you an icon. You have no say in what I make an icon of! Put this in your journal so I can do the same.
I cannot place any guarantees on timeliness, of course...but this sounds like a fun little project.
October 18th, 2004
Happy birthday to bookbear
I spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend sleeping. I count this mostly as a good thing, as I'm pretty sure that my body really needed some rest. Frankly, it could use some more, and it doesn't help that the daylight has begun to diminish and triggered all of my S.A.D. stuff. Nevertheless, in between the involuntary naps, it was a nice weekend for the most parts. Here are some of the nice parts:Friday
The Richard Thompson show was wonderful, as all RT shows are. I got to the theater very early and wound up standing seventh in line, which afforded me an opportunity to sit in the front row, about four or five seats left of center (which also corresponds well enough to my political commitment, but never mind). The guy who was fifth in line had advised to sit to the left of center if possible, and this is really good advice for a great guitarist, as it affords the best view of the fretboard. And now you all know just what an enormous musical geek I really am. Anyway, Richard & his two back-up musicians came through the front of the house, the percussionist
playing a large animal-skin drum and leading Richard and Judith
into "Sumer is Icumen In." The show progressed through folk & popular music of several centuries and spent the last 45 minutes or so in the 20th. Highlights included the Italian court song "So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo," which I'd heard him do before and the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind," which really couldn't be more different. The former is on the official bootleg souvenir album (as well as Richard's latest official release); the latter, alas, is not.
I can also report that Judith Owen is far more beautiful in person than I ever imagined.
I was surprised not to see anybody I knew there, because I usually run into someone
. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't miss it.Saturday
This is when so much of the aforementioned sleep occured. At about 7:30, I finally got my head & body into the same place and set off campusward to see sesamenoodles
perform. I had forgotten, unfortunately, that Michael Moore was also on campus that same night, and traffic and parking were consequently both nightmares to deal with. I had almost given up on going at all when I cleverly found some flat-rate public parking underneath the Fluno center...rushed over to the coffeehouse only 5 minutes or so late to find that sesamenoodles
's set was about to begin. Fun as always! sesamenoodles
has a brand new CD single called "I Remember Howard Dean" that I spent much of my car time the next day listening to. I kinda like his solo version better, but hearing him backed by an energetic drummer and oversaturated guitar player is quite exhilarating. Anway, after the show, a bunch of us cruised down State Street searching for a place offering both vegetarian food and a view of the Boston Massacre...we settled on Hawk's and gave up around the top of the 8th inning.Sunday
Also between naps on Saturday, I took a good look at the latest Crate & Barrel catalogue and found myself heavily coveting two things that I do not need in any sense whatsoever: a slate cheese board
and these wonderful cheese knives
that look as if they are meant for combat by very small Klingons. On my Sunday morning errands, I stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond to see if they had anything
similar, but alas, they did not. Readers of this journal who consistently complain in December and March that I buy everything that might be a good gift idea for myself are welcome to take note. The afternoon brought Brad & Jason's playshop
, where I played improvisational games with such luminaries as Tara, littleevening
, and fountainal
. It was a good time, although I had my same old stupid headache problems through much of it, and they did not go away until I went to sleep later that night. Which was thankfully not a difficult thing to do.
nearly satisfied with my pillow time
Current Music: Easybeats in head...
October 15th, 2004
Fun and Excitement
So yesterday was my day away from the office to co-facilitate a Baldrige-based self-assessment workshop. Representatives from a variety of organizations came, but most were from a Milwaukee-area school district. I arrived at the Waukesha County Technical College campus at around 7:30, and the workshop got under way around 45 minutes later. This is an early step in what I reasonably believe will be a transition for me into more training-type events and a strengthening of that whole skill set.
The workshop was going quite well for the first hour and half or so. And then a gentleman from the college came into the training room to gently break some alarming news
It was my first bomb threat...and I was surprised at how it didn't feel much like a fire alarm, the really important difference is that about an hour after the fire alarm, they let you back into the building. Not so in this case; the campus was shut down entirely until this morning and all the rooms were locked down. I did manage to grab all of my stuff before being evacuated. The group met out in the parking lot to discuss what to do, an elementary principal from the school district volunteered the use of a large room in his school. Everybody went to their cars, many of us muttering jokes about organizational agility, jokes that nobody save the_sween
reading this journal will share a chuckle at.
Left behind, unfortunately, was my co-facilitator's laptop computer, along with the day's PowerPoint presentation. Thankfully, most of the participants--at least those who came to the new location about 20 minutes away--brought their handouts. Once we got going again at the school, things went pretty well, although what we delivered was by necessity an informal and abbreviated version of the workshop. All in all, it was a good training experience.
The bad news came this morning. When they opened up the training room over at WCTC, my co-facilitator's laptop wasn't there any more. Theoretically, nobody had access to the room except for the police, and they say that the last thing they were paying attention to was whether there was a laptop sitting in that particular room. I'm hoping that somebody benevolently grabbed it for safekeeping and we just haven't heard about that yet. Anyway.
Tonight is the Richard Thompson show. Part of me wishes I were just hiding at home all night tonight...so the other part of me is glad that I'm making myself go out. And once he starts playing, I'm sure that all of me will be into it. Let's hope that Judith Owen gets her own set tonight. I'd really like to hear some of her songs live.
Current Music: Magnetic Fields (in head)
October 13th, 2004
Yet Another Karaoke Adventure
had another busy day yesterday what with all the errands he had to run after work and then rehearsal in the evening. He felt so crappy that he almost didn't want to rehearse. But rehearsal turned out to be the activity that finally made the day-long headache go away... As part of the evening activities, we did some improved scenes of events not included in the play. I had to cross-examine Clint, which I found quite difficult to do, not actually having the requisite lawyerly skills and all. For some reason, it's really hard to get witnesses to incriminate themselves for conspiracy to commit murder. Stupid witnesses.
We wrapped up around 9:30, after which I was prepared to go home and make an early night of it. But Greg suggested stopping by Wonders for a drink, which sounded like a good idea. I should know now that when I intend to have a quick social drink with anybody involved with Untitled Farce
, it is going to turn into a much more extended evening. But it's OK that it winds up being a happy surprise each time, so it's just as well that I haven't caught on to that yet. Wonders turned out to be overcrowded with all the no-cover bluegrass fans, so we walked down Atwood until we found someplace commodious, Mr. Roberts, where I had never been.
To my surprise, there was karaoke going on in this somewhat badass bar, and there was also a pretty good dark ale on tap (Moose Drool, if you were wondering). After our first pitcher, Sarah joined us, and talk began to drift towards actually participating in the karaoke. It was clear that I was the only one of our group who was inclined to do so, but Greg & Sarah were both encouraging for my
participation. It wasn't easy to find an appropriate song...most of the singers wre favoring somewhat more hard-rock songs than I was used to, and there were a lot of strange absenses from the song list. What, no "Mama Tried"? But eventually, I settled on "Not Where It's At." It was not a good choice for me...way too low in my range...and also probably too poppy for the atmosphere...but one must try something new once in a while.
After my song, Sarah had apparently imbibed enough to start considering singing herself, and soon after that settled on "White Rabbit," which she submitted to the host. Amost as quickly, she regretted having thrown her hat in the ring. She was good, though! Way better than my first song. I also decided to do a second one, "Surrender," which was a better choice for me. I'd done it before, but not for a very long time.
Soon after that, it was 2:00 in the morning, and we were getting kicked out of the bar.
But time does fly when you're having fun. I've been really grouchy for about three days and just wishing for more sleep. Well, I didn't get a whole lot of that last night, and I am a bit on the sick side this morning, but I did get what I needed.
much better, thank you
October 12th, 2004
The Unique Meme
Swiped from radio_redhead
and lady_mishegasName a CD you own that no-one else on your friends list does
Oh, I have many that I suspect are unique. I'll choose Redhead
by Bleu. It was one of my favorite CDs last year...but it did not get much attention outside my living room and automobile. Bleu is a one-word-named guy from Boston whose debut album is a kind of song cycle about being obsessed with an ex. I'm not sure if it's autobiographical or not. Anyway, fountainal
heard it last week at poker. sueg
heard it several months ago, but she hated it because one of the songs was about an inflatable woman. But I'll bet nobody has it!Name a book you own that no-one else on your friends list does.Cards as Weapons
by Ricky Jay. The concept of thhis book is impossible to explain. The full-frontal nudity, even more difficult.Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/whatever that no-one else on your friends list does.
I'm willing to bet that nobody else owns Slave of the Cannibal God
starring Stacy Keach and Ursula Andress. And just so you know, it's not as good as it sounds. *edit* I lost this particular bet. See the comments section for details...Name a place that you have visited that no-one else on your friends list has.
This is a trickier one, since sueg
followed me to some of the more interesting places that I've gone. But I'm willing to bet that nobody else has been to the falaises
of Mali to see Dogon villages. And if you have, I'll bet it wasn't in flip flops. There's a story there, but I'm not getting into it now.
First of all, : HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO kaerligreenfire!!!
She doesn't really read this journal anymore...but I know that she would appreciate if you could send your good wishes into the ether.
This week is just not going to be an easy week. It's that time of the year when 8 gazillion nitpicky things need to be done. None of them are very interesting, and none of them seem very important, but any one of them done wrong can send the whole thing crashing down on me. And these little things are not of the nature that they can be checked off and pronounced done and unworrisome anymore. Anyway, a tiny thing did go awry yesterday and that left me feeling crappy about it all out of proportion. Even though I know it's all out of proportion, that doesn't help, and I still feel crappy. Not so much about that thing, I suppose, as waiting for the next thing. Thursday, I'm going to Milwaukee to assist with a training; perhaps what I need is to get away for a bit. So that may be a good thing.
Yesterday, I decided that I really need to see Richard Thompson's show
on Friday, and I also decided that it's OK if go to that show alone. So I bought a ticket for myself. But if anybody does
want to go with me, they'd be more than welcome. If I haven't personally invited you to the show up until now, it's probably because you don't play guitar. And for some reason, that's the most compelling reason I can think of to get you to risk 25 bones on a show mostly involving folk music. But if you're at all curious, this really is an act you must see. Think of it as one of those opportunities to get your culture and entertainment fix at the same time.
Rehearsal was good again last night. I think I'm making progress with the accent. But I am not strong with accents. I must not be horrible at them, either, because people keep asking me to do them. But there are so many cartoon Alabama accents out there, that it's difficult to isolate the genuine stuff to grab a hold of. Of course, what I really need is a dialect tape...this sort of thing is precisely
why they exist...and maybe I will actually go buy one.
Tonight, rehearsal will involve the entire cast, which should be a good bonding experience. I'm looking forward to it.
October 11th, 2004
My first rehearsal for The Glory of Living
was last night, and time flew. The only thing I don't like about this production so far is that I'm not working more directly with the rest of the cast, since I only have scenes with two other people. But what my interaction lacks in scope, it more than makes up for in intensity and quality. Eric, who's playing Steve, is going to be terrific to work with; he asked a lot of good questions last night, and I think he's going to break everybody's heart come opening night. There's going to be a lot to play with there. Tonight, I'll be working with Alina (hope I've got her name right) for the first time, and all indications so far are that she's going to be just as terrific to work with. And if all that weren't enough, the stage manager made stew
last night. Is it possible to feel more supported as an actor as when you get stew
Friday night, rob_matsushita
and I went to Flowers
; that was the fourth time I'd seen it. We went out afterwards with Phil Heckman, Greg, Sara, and the_mighty_lady
. Wonders had a wonderful new thing on tap called Rogue Dead Guy ale, which was just yeasty enough to be interesting. Very tasty.
Saturday was kaerligreenfire
's birthday party, which was nice. She bought some really good cheeses, including a very sharp and earthy swiss, a smoked cheddar, and a blueberry white cheddar. This is not as alien as it might sound; sweet and salty is a flavor combination that works very well, and it definitely did in this case. It was a potluck, so I brought my trusty vegetable crepes, which went over well. Later in the evening, there was a bonfire and many John Prine songs.
And yesterday, before rehearsal, I took a day off from the world for the most part. I could use at least three more days like that to be honest. But here I am this morning, forging ahead. Wish me luck...
Current Music: Tom Waits—Real Gone
October 6th, 2004
Another Brief Note
As of last night, I do believe that my duties as a WFA Examiner are finished. I am, if not officially, then certainly practically, a civilian again.
But I'm still so busy here!
For Those Watching Lost
Quick question: does Terry O'Quinn's make-up remind you of a particular Garth Ennis character? True, they've not made him blind, but did it make you wonder if J.J. Abrams reads the same comic books as you do?rob_matsushita
, this question is especially intended for you.
September 29th, 2004
It's a Cold World
Overcommitted, as usual. But as I keep saying, I like it that way. My plan for the weekend was to 1) completely memorize my monologue, 2) prepare for my consensus meeting on Tuesday, and 3) see the_mighty_lady
's show. None of these things happened, mostly because I was catching up on my life in general, partly because some crises came up suddenly, and partly because I kept remembering other
stuff I needed to do.
The thing I am most glad that I did remember was the artist's reception for Lou Ann Erickson Petersen over at the UW Hospital. It had been a while since I saw Lou Ann, but it is always nice, and she had a lot of appealing paintings & mixed media stuff hanging about. Her work is a bit different than I remember it, or perhaps it has changed; it's very cleanly geometric. It's representational in the sense that you can tell you're looking at a house or a child, but those representations are pieced together with simpler shapes in a lot of recurring colors and textures. Anyway, go check it out if you get the chance; I think the display's up until October 11 or so.
Monday was the first readthrough for The Glory of Living
, and I am really honored to be a part of this cast! The people that the production staff needed to turn away
would have made a great cast, and this one looks as if they'll be a joy to work with. Very keen readers of this blog will have already gathered that Greg is in the cast, in multiple roles, and Doug Holtz was cast as Clint, which should surprise absolutely nobody. Jennifer Salas is playing Jeannette and says she remembers seeing me in ComedySportz recitals; I think that I kinda remember her, too. And everybody else I haven't really "met" on a very high level yet, but it will be fun to do so.
I was late for that readthrough, however, since I discovered on coming home from work that my refrigerator had kicked the proverbial bucket and that I had some bad food to deal with. I'm pretty sure that it had actually been dead for a couple of days, but I hadn't noticed anything besdies a steadily declining chilliness with my fizzy water. (I would like to attribute this to my business rather than my obliviousness, but both factors are likely to have been involved.) I invited kaerligreenfire
over to take some food away before it went bad...but it was a bit late for that call, and a vast majority of the food went to that great convection oven in the sky. She did, however, clean out my entire refrigerator, which is one of the nicest things that anybody has done for me in quite some time. If you've ever seen my refrigerator, you are likely to agree with that. Anyway, Cathy is letting me use a large "bar" refrigerator for a couple of days while she goes out shopping for a new fridge. Hopefully that will be taken care of by, say, tomorrow.
This did not leave me a whole lot of time to prepare for yesterday's meeting, but that meeting went really well anyway. Details are, unfortunately, confidential, so you'll have to trust me on that. It did go late, however, until 8:00, which made me a full two and a half hours late for my Talking Spirits costume fitting. This year I am in sort of a boring tan suit, which needed to be altered a bit to fit me, so I sure hope that the WVM staff remembers to bring it with them on Sunday. I got out of there at around 9:15 with a hunger-based headache creeping in on me very quickly...so I was not able to join the festivities for rob_matsushita
's birthday party, and there was no way I'd have been able to stay awake for the whole of Shaun of the Dead
anyhow. Sorry, dude, hope it was a good time.
Tonight is the infamous weekly poker night. Had to skip last week, but I'm raring to go again tonight.
Current Music: All Songs Considered
September 24th, 2004
A Rolling Stone Gathers No Mosse
Finally had my first rehearsal with Callen for Talking Spirits last night. It's clear to me that I need to do a whole bunch more work on it. But fortunately, I do have some time set aside tomorrow to do just that. Memorization is finally happening. I'm pretty solid on the first page already and am making a lot of progress on the second. With some concentrated effort, I should have it all in my brain in no time.
I'm liking my guy (George Mosse) more and more as I study the monologue and listen to the audio files that I found. The thing I'm really going to concentrate on is bringing out his playfulness; there are many more opportunities to do that in the piece that I saw at first. And although I'm being careful not to do an "imitation" of Mosse, I am trying to get his speech patterns down, which in a lecture context were very big and declamatory. And being all big and declamatory reminds me of what Linda grumbled when she first heard me do my 2002 monologue. I paraphrase, of course, but it was something along the lines of "Why do all the guys who are in this thing they need to sound like Davy Crockett?"
In completely unrelated news, Soup Factory, Etc. had a most excellent Thai shrimp soup on the menu today. When I ordered it, the guy behind the counter warned me that it was very
hot. I told him that this was the best news I'd heard all day. He wasn't kidding. Neither was I.
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Lecutures on European Cultural History 1660–1870
September 23rd, 2004
I heard from Molly a bit earlier today that I have gotten the part of Carl in Mercury's upcoming production of The Glory of Living
. I haven't been this excited about a particular role in a very long time. Plays, yeah, but I've been pining for this particular role for months now, and now I'm going to spend the next
few months pining for an audience. The next few months are bound to be pretty cool, though; juding from the level of talent that I saw at the auditions, it's going to be a wonderful cast. The play's not going to be to everybody's taste, but since when have I done a play that is? First readthrough on Monday!!! This is really going to be cool.
Last night's audition process was pretty intense...I was auditioning more or less non-stop for 4 & a half hours. But at least my tryout scenes were relatively sedate and lacking in the violent, sexually icky, or just plain bleak elements that many people were playing all night. Anyway, surely more about all this to come...
Tonight is my first rehearsal with Callen for Talking Spirits VI. I'm playing historian George Mosse this year, and I've spent the last couple of days listening to his lectures in the background at work, just trying to get the speech patterns & accent by osmosis. The Univeristy of Wisconsin site has about 40 45-minute lectures, so I've got a bit of material to work with, anyway. I've really got to get busy on the memorization of that; right now, I'm still polishing the first of five pages. I think it should be more or less in my brain by Sunday. It has to be by Tuesday.
Tuesday will also be my consensus meeting, and it will POSSIBLY usher in the final stretch for my volunteer work as an Examiner. It is always possible, of course, that our team will go to site, which would extend the process by a month or so and require a lot more extra work...but also more learning. For entirely selfish reasons, one of which involves a pretty girl and an Old 97's concert, I am hoping that we don't go to site in October, but if we do, it will be a valuable professional development opportunity. For those of you who don't know what a consensus meeting or site visit is, which is probably all of you, don't worry too much about it.
Unfortunately, in all the fuss, I forgot to turn my VCR on last night, and I failed to tape the premiere episode of J.J. Abrams's latest effort
... Did anybody happen to tape it last night? Or alternatively, would anybody be willing to act out the entire episode for me? I would be happy to reward you for either with food.
Current Music: All Things Considered
September 10th, 2004
I have been making meatballs for the party tonight. I am astonished that there is NO grocery store in the whole area that carries savory leaves. I did find some rather expensive ground savory, which will have to do. My father tells me that the representative of the conglomerate that runs the local overpriced Jewel/Osco recently publicly declared that New Lenox doesn't need another grocery store.
But I think the meatballs will be tasty. There was fresh basil for the picking out back.
I was also astonished today to discover that replyhazy
is somehow acquainted with kaerligreenfire
's sister. I do love me a small world story.
And you come back to this thing after a long time gone and you realize how unwieldly your user info page is. Redesign coming one of these days...
Current Music: Cubs are ahead, I just heard
July 28th, 2004
Miss haiku Wednesday?
That is all for now, thank you.
Current Music: New Old 97's disc second time through
Everybody I know hates movie trailers that reveal too much, and it's common knowledge (at least common knowledge for entertainment geeks who read too many magazines) that American trailers are showing more shots from more scenes than ever before. Often a trailer will make you feel as if you've seen the advertised movie in question so familiar are you with the characters, all the good lines, the plot elements, the special-effects-laden climax, and what you've deduced as the likely resolution.
Well, thanks to the advent of DVDs, I've now seen a few Japanese and Hong Kong trailers, most recently for The Killer
, and it seems that Asia has had it over us all this time. The trailers are very long (like, five minutes plus) and really do serve as kind of a mini-version of the movie in question, telling essentially the entire story with nothing taken out of narrative context. This seems to be the rule rather than the exception. I was wondering why that might be, and reflecting on some of the bizarro Japanese stuff I've seen, I started to theorize that Asians experience narrative differently than we do, culturally speaking. But the Hong Kong film industry relies pretty much on an American narrative aesthetic that produces stories--albeit in different cinematic styles, moral sensibilities, and visual aesthetics--interchageable with most American thrillers. Yet a John Woo movie is still advertised in a way that spoils the unfolding of the narrative and moral threads, one of the great pleasures of Woo, for anybody who hasn't seen the movie before.
Does anybody have any insight into this?
Current Music: Old 97s—Drag It Up
Why Today Is a Wonderful, Wonderful Day
I just returned from lunch $13.70 poorer and yet more wealthy than you can possibly imagine
Current Music: Click the link and you shall see! :^D
A Lyrics Post
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly eight years since this song was written--but even though we have a very different incumbent, the message remains poignant. Like the lyrics? The entire album
is terrific, and I'd be happy to lend it to you.
This copyright-infringing post was inspired by fountainal
, and popebuck1
among others.( Read more...Collapse )
Current Music: Duh
July 25th, 2004
More on Audrey Seiler
I have heard a rumor that the opening weekend of Audrey Seiler, Where Are You
will feature an Audrey Seiler lookalike contest.
This transition from the abstract to the concrete takes away a great deal of my benefit of the doubt regarding the content of the show. I am saddened, offended and disgusted by the mere possibility.
They do make it tough for we defenders of Art these days.
July 23rd, 2004
Which is more overly serious, Dampha the Person, or Dampha the journal
Dampha seems OK in person, but his journal is too goddamn serious
Dampha's journal is amusing, but he needs to chill in real life
Dampha's journal is too goddamn serious, which would not surprise you if you knew him in person
I can tell that Dampha pretends be earnest, but he's actually laughing his ass off the whole time
Um...why did you want to know?
Current Music: Rent
The Audrey Play Rant
Joel called me last night at around 10:30 to play Broom Street's first bit of negative reaction to Audrey Seiler, Where Are You?
A gentleman left a message on Joel's machine to the gist of "I am an enthusiastic supporter of local theater, and I just wanted to let you know that I think your upcoming production is crass, tasteless and ill-conceived, and I think that it's going to put you out of business." I find it surprising that it's taken this long to get such a reaction. I myself have always been less than thrilled about the general concept of an Audrey Seiler play so soon after her public humiliation, and I've expressed my doubts as to whether the playwright in question is the best man to write it--but still, this message unlodged some defensive feelings and behalf of the theater...and on behalf of what we all aspire to as performance artists.
Anybody involved in the arts knows the uphill climb that it is publicizing your work, and one of the biggest reasons for that is that local, regional, and national media are all so stingy in regards to coverage of the arts. And what does get reported tends to involve contention
of some sort, whether it be in the form of a contest such as the Oscars, the latest movie power couple break-up, or the latest "controversal" blockbuster (whose real political issues can usually be dismissed in the time it takes tea to steep). And it's contention that gets people's attention in this town, too: just look what happened with Corpus Christi
earlier this season. I hasten to mention that Stage Q's production of that play was exceptional, but the play itself is a mediocre treatment of inflamatory material. And no matter how good the stagework was, does anybody honestly believe that CC
's sold-out houses were a result of that good work? No, people bought tickets by the bushel before the show even opened. Some of them might have done it to feel righteous in defense of freedom of expression (such as our Mayor), and some might have been slowing down to look at the evangelical car wreck they had heard about. But in any case, as soon as Stage Q began getting letters condemning the producers and cast to hell, they must have known they had a hit on their hands.
Well, it seems that Broom Street has a hit on its hands, too; Audrey Seiler, Where Area You
has seen mention in a great variety of regional press and broadcast. And Broom Street can always use a hit. But it will be a bitter accomplishment in light of the pathetic audiences that Untitled Farce
and Morality Play
saw recently, because it will have nothing to do with whether the show is any good or not. I have no idea whether it's any good because I haven't seen it
. And the thing is, neither have you. And neither has the guy who called and predicted that it would be our financial undoing. And meanwhile, most of us won't see--or perhaps even hear about--some of the best work that's going on in this town.
Must art be about controversy? And if so, who's to blame? The "public?" The "media?" George Bush? All the culprits that come to mind sound like especially lame scapegoats, even "we as artists."
So what am I saying? Do I think you should go see Audrey Seiler, Where Are You?
I don't care if you do or not. But for god's sake go see and support something
, and don't choose it on the basis of what somebody else thinks you ought to see or ought not to see. Choose it because you suspect it's going to leave you in awe. The good work is out there; now find it.
Current Music: Jimmie Dale Gilmore
July 21st, 2004
We Should Be So Lucky
A Texas-based company, based on weights being liable to fall off their handle, has announced a massive dumbbell recall
Oops, my mistake. I meant to say dumbbell recall
Current Music: Morning Edition
July 18th, 2004
The Wedding Crisis Post
It seems that I have a minor but annoying curse, and this curse is only active when I am standing up in a wedding party. It manifests itself in a sudden catastrophe that centers entirely around me but is in no way my fault. Several years ago it was the flat tire that I got while solving another groomsman's wardrobe difficulties an hour before Jim's wedding. This time around, it also centered on clothing.
This past Monday, I finally set aside some time after work to go to the mall and buy a nice pair of black dress pants. I tried on many pairs before I was able to settle on the perfect ones, and I happily purchased them. I was rushed enough that I just kinda hung them up in my closet when I got home without removing any tags or anything. John, I told myself, do not
forget to pack those new black dress pants.
No, that's not what went wrong.
I packed the black dress pants, tags still on, while rushing out the door (if 3 hours elapsing between the official end of work and my actual departure can be called "rushing") Wednesday evening. And then the black pants sat in my bag all Thursday and most of the day Friday. I needed to be at the Rialto by 4:30, which meant that I needed to leave around 4, and so by 3:15 I figured it was time to re-shower and start getting dressed.
I took my pants out of the bag and started to take tags off. Boy, I thought, this fabric certainly is on the sheer side. If I'm not careful, it's unlikely but conceivable that I could rip my new pants pulling at all these plastic things and threads.
No, that's not went wrong either.
I was almost finished taking off all the retail adornment. Then I noticed that there was one more attachment.
Flashback. Monday night. Every time dampha
walks into the dressing room at Boston Store, something beeps really annoyingly. He is so irritated by this that he has stopped paying attention to anything that may or may not be making a different beeping sound when he walks out into the mall to buy a belt. Or when he walks back through
Boston Store to leave the mall altogether, and something is beeping like crazy at the front door. For some reason--perhaps because none of the Boston Store staff seem concerned about all the beeping either--it never occurs to him that the security tag might still be fastened tightly to the left pants leg of his purchase.
And yes, that is what went wrong.
I went downstairs and announced that there was a problem, and everybody sprang into action. I wondered aloud whether it would be wise to take a screwdriver and hammer to the thing, and whether I would be rewarded by a stream of ink. Mom plotted a route to the nearest Carson's (which I gather shares the same corporate parent as Boston Store), concluded that there would be no time to get there, and started calling every local store that sold pants, only to be told that their tag-unlockers would be useless on this particular item. She prefaced several of these calls with "My son has these pants for a wedding, and he didn't shoplift them
." As I begin the tool approach, Tara and Anne Marie tried to think like shoplifters themselves and urge Mom to call around to pawnshops that may not ask any bothersome questions about the origins of sartorial acquisitions. People kept asking if I had the receipt, which I kept picturing on my kitchen table back in Madison. I started envisioning scenarios in which Tara R. was able to fax the receipt to the Joliet Carson's, and kept remembering that this would involve even more time that the other plans for which there was no time. sueg
, in the middle of her hair styling, urged me to show up to the 4:30 photo shoot with the security tag dangling from my leg, since that part of my body was unlikely to show in the photos.
I got very excited when I managed to split the security tag open with a screwdriver, finding no ink spray within, but less excited when I realized that my primary accomplishment was mangling the tag sufficiently so that Boston Store itself would be unable to take it off. A hefty circle of fabric was being held by a metal pin fastened tightly to two bits of hard plastic, and there was no way either piece was going to break. At this point, Dad more or less took over and I began asking about hacksaw availability. That turned out to be the key piece of equipment. Shoplifters, please take note: just make sure that your hacksaw's teeth are fine enough so that you can make relatively small strokes on the fastening pin. Be patient, and you will snap it in half, although, you are also likely to nick your pants ever so slightly.
Amazingly, I was only five-or-so minutes late to the theater.
It was all downhill from there. And now that I've told my
drama, you will hear about the rest of the weekend the next time I post.
I promise to get to those non-narrative topics as well. "Non-narrative" meaning having nothing to do with the "this stuff recently happened to me" nature that most of my entries, like this one, tend to have.
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July 17th, 2004
My God, it's uncanny!
Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] #000000;'>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]
<div align=center><form name="quizform" target="_new" action="http://www.kwiz.biz/showquiz.php?quizid=7557" method="post">
<table border=1 bordercolor=#000000 bgcolor="#A090D5" cellspacing=0 cellpadding=2>
<tr><td colspan=2 align=center bgcolor='2C0860'><a href='http://www.kwiz.biz/showquiz.php?quizid=7557' target='_new' style='text-decoration: none;'><font style='color : #ffffff; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;' color= '#ffffff'><b>The Wedding Quiz</b></a></font></td></tr>
<tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'>LJ Username </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><input type='text' name='in0' size='32' maxlength='64' value='dampha'></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Sibling of yours who got married yesterday:</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>sueg</b></font></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Who she married:</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>hanskishel</b></font></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Who came to the wedding:</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>fountainal</b></font></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Who else?</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>wigletwones</b></font></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Did they talk about <i>The Simpsons</i>?</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>well, duh</b></font></td></tr><tr><td><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>Will you post further details in the near future?</b> </td><td bgcolor='#D8DAF3'><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><b>yes</b></font></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor=D8DAF3 colspan=2 align=center><font style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'>Chance they'll be blissfully happy forever: - <b>100%</b></font><br><table align='center' width='250px' cellspacing='0' cellpadding='0' border='0'><tr><td height='5px' bgcolor=#006600></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#00cc00></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=Lime></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#99ff66></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ccff99></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ffff33></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ffcc00></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff9900></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff6600></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff3300></td></tr><tr><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td><td height='10px' bgcolor=black></td></tr><tr><td height='5px' bgcolor=#006600></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#00cc00></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=Lime></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#99ff66></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ccff99></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ffff33></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ffcc00></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff9900></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff6600></td><td height='5px' bgcolor=#ff3300></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td colspan=2 align=center bgcolor=#2C0860><input type="submit" name="submit" value="Try Your Answers!"></td></tr>
<tr><td colspan=2 align=center><font size=-1 style='color : #000000; font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;'><B>This <A href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/dampha/" style='color : #000000;'><font style='color : #000000;' color=black>FakeKwiz</font></a> by <a href='http://www.livejournal.com/users/dampha/><font style='color : #000000;' color='#000000'>dampha</font></a> - Taken 1 Time.<img src="http://images.kwiz.biz/kwizcount.gif" width="1" height="1" border=0>
</font></a></b></font></td></tr></table><font style='font-family : Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 9pt;'>It was a great ceremony, folks. Wish you all could have been there! </font></div>
July 13th, 2004
Sorry in regards to that correct answer, folks...
Why hasn't dampha been posting much lately?
He's had nothing to post
He's been too damn busy
He's been abducted by aliens
He hates me personally
And what non-narrative subject would you like to see him post about?
July 8th, 2004
The Midweek Post
This week is turning out more productive than the last few ones, although whether it's more postworthy is debatable. I've recommitted to my workout, which can only be good for me, and can even report that the sensation of sore muscles is somewhat appealing. I've also gotten a start on my volunteer work for WFA, which is entirely necessary. I wish I could report that the sensation of my brain hurting was appealing in the least. Maybe once I know the Criteria better, it will be more of a challenge for me and less of a chore.
I am aware that none of you probably knows what I'm talking about, and I don't care.
I've been meaning to restring the acoustic guitar, which I finally did last night, and I'll probably restring it one more time the day of sueg
's wedding. Given the fingering ease and the wonderfully bright sound that new strings give a person, I really should restring it more often. The cats agree with that statement, albeit for entirely different reasons.
Speaking of the cats, they got a belated birthday present from Becky, which I discovered in my mailbox yesterday evening. I'm pretty sure that it's homegrown catnip, most likely the feline equivalent of Thai Stick. They didn't indulge last night, but perhaps over the weekend, I can put some Jefferson Airplane on the hi-fi and let them have at it.
alive and well
Current Music: Fresh Air (interview with Rodney Dangerfield)
July 6th, 2004
Things I Learned Over the Long Weekend
- Collard greens really don't resemble swiss chard to any relevant degree.
- Fireworks are somewhat more popular than my cats. However, God hates fireworks for some reason.
- When God is expressing His disdain for fireworks, it is an excellent idea to close one's sunroof.
- The Apologists rock, even more than expected. In a related item, art punk is alive and well.
- In Broom Street productions, old hippies try to teach you about political commitment and personal responsibility. In real life, however, they try to teach you how to score.
- Missionaries are not necessarily good public speakers.
- I still dislike the work of Michael Moore, and I may be the only pinko liberal on the planet who didn't like Farenheit 9/11. I feel the isolation of the lesbian who finds the Indigo Girls cloying.
- Doing nothing is both more exhausting and less fun than working hard on something you care about.
Current Music: On the Media