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Dec. 20th, 2008 | 11:29 pm

First...I find it odd and mildly off-putting that there's an ad for the official Tom Cruise website on the page as I type this. But that's fine.

Took the bus past my stop, to the place for shopping, and on the way back, sat behind the most interesting head. It belonged to an older man, who was interesting in his own right, but the back of his head was fascinating to me.  He was balding, with a fairly standard tonsure-pattern, but a few thin whispy bits scattered around the dome. His skin was thick and yellow, wrinkled like sheepskin, with little splotches of pink here and there. The shape of his skull made me understand the fascination with phrenology that once gripped the intellectual elite, with a sharp slope behind and several mild hillocks across the dome. It was really oddly captivating.

Ended up at Te, talking to Parag and Barbie about books and the like. Barbie: smarter than the one you think of. Charlie Brown walked in and slapped the back of my head, and a very interesting gentleman folded cranes as P, B, and I (a letter which eventually became J) talked about erasing books from history. I didn't get any work done at all.

While shopping, iPod played Sharp Dressed Man, followed by Closer then I've Given You Everything. That's ZZ Top, Nine Inch Nails, and the Spice Girls. I love shuffle's wonderful juxtapositioning.

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Baby It's Cold Outside

Dec. 3rd, 2008 | 09:59 pm

So, I work in a place that plays a lot of "Golden" music...it's a bunch of jazz standards, things you're accustomed to hearing from Sinatra and the like, but we get to hear them done by relative unknowns.

So for the holidays, we have a lot of old Christmas standards...Holiday Inn kind of things...Burl Ives and so forth. Some of these are typical happy Christmas songs that I like..."I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "I'll be home for Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (which I enjoy even if it isn't Gene Autry).

Two of these songs, though...first up, "I'm getting Nothing for Christmas."

I'm putting this entry on hold for a moment to talk briefly about the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which is now at the half-hour mark as I type. First off, I don't fully understand the purpose of the VSFS, since it doesn't seem to feature much actual, sellable product...it's apparently only for increasing the brand recognition. Which I suppose is fine.

Usher rocks my world, because dude's got moves.

This year, the show is letting us hear some of the stage management rushing the models onto the runway...the shouts of "go, go, go! Get out there!" sound to me like a paratrooper sergeant booting troops out the side of an airplane. "Standing by on Heidi in wings?...Yes! Yes! Yes!...Go! Go! Go!"

Which brings us to the mildly macabre nature of the "quiet" Vicky's ads running during the show. These are the ones with no voiceovers, with several models traipsing over a black and white landscape wearing red lingerie. They seem like memorials to models who died in some disaster, like a train wreck or bus accident or...getting booted out of an airplane and falling 10,000 feet to their squashed, pancaky doom. Not that I have any desire to see models killed in horrible ways, but this imagined subtext makes me smile a little.

Some wings in one segment that are AWESOME and belong in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream...a great set of swallowtail butterfly wings with attending swarms of butterflies and a set of wings built out of rose bushes and adorned with some gorgeous spiderwebs...I've always been impressed with the secure-yet-unobtrusive frames Vicky's designers put together for the wings their models wear.

Some wings in one segment that are AWESOME and belong in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream...a great set of swallowtail butterfly wings with attending swarms of butterflies and a set of wings built out of rose bushes and adorned with some gorgeous spiderwebs...I've always been impressed with the secure-yet-unobtrusive frames Vicky's designers put together for the wings their models wear.

Anyhoo..."I'm Getting Nothing for Christmas."

This is not the fairly modern, covered by Smash Mouth, Sugarland and, apparently, mechanized squirrels song about breaking bats over someone's head, which is more accurately known as " I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas." No, this is from a much earlier era. I can't find this one through google, but the lyrics are something like this: "Johnny promised me a sable coat/ just for a little kiss" but the singer doesn't "want to be bad, so she says no to the kiss, then to "a little squeeze" and other such naughty things, and it comes down to the fact that she's refused to give sexual favors to a variety of men in exchange for expensive presents, so "I'm getting nothing for Christmas/ 'cause I didn't want to be bad." The moral of this story? "Take my advice/ I think you should/ it's good to be good/ but not too good/ or you'll get nothing/ for Christmas."

In other words, if a man offers money, fur coats or nice jewelry, you should absolutely let him paw at you, grope you and otherwise prostitute yourself to him. Yes, folks, welcome to the understated misogyny of the holiday season.

Next up, "Baby, it's Cold Outside." I don't think the version I'm hearing at work is Dean Martin, but his version has all the lyrics in question. In this segment of the duet, the male voice is in parentheses:

I really can't stay
(but baby it's cold outside)
I've got to go away
(but baby it's cold outside)
This evening has been
(been hoping that you'd drop in)
So very nice
(i'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)

So, translation? The woman needs to leave, and would like to keep this evening out a happy memory in her mind. At first, the man seems fairly gallant as he reminds her of the discomfort or danger of going back out, then physically comforting her. Or, in another light, he almost immediately moves to physically restrain her from leaving.

The woman then spends some time protesting, explaining that her parents will worry and invoking the protective spirit of her father in the hopes that this spectre will ward off the pawing of the man. Then the big bomb drops:

(put some records on while i pour)
the neighbors might faint
(baby it's bad out there)
say what's in this drink
(no cabs to be had out there)
i wish i knew how
(your eyes are like starlight now)
to break this spell

Man: Here, have a drink, because it's dangerous and you'd just be marooning yourself by going outside...no cabs, so you're trapped. Have I mentioned you're pretty?
Woman: this is a bad idea, and it will hurt my reputation. Why does this taste funny? Why can't this stop?

Roofies, a setup for a helpless situation so he can "save" her with his cozy abode (he mentioned a roaring fire earlier), and a pretty clear protestation. Not a pleasant situation, methinks.

And that's just the first verse. The second continues, with an explicit "The answer is no" from her along with various protestations invoking family members and her ruined reputation, and a variety of tactics from him...gallant but creepy" "gosh your lips look delicious"...romantic: "I thrill when you touch my hand"...and, more sinister yet, accusing: "how can you do this thing to me?" and threatening: "think of my lifelong sorrow/ if you got pneumonia and died"...and, finally, outright demands: "get over that old out [the "out" being the statement that she "really can't stay]."

So, yeah. Rape. Fun happy caroling time, kids!

And, on a more humorous and innocent note, I'm reminded of Calvin and Hobbes, a strip in which Calvin listens to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," specifically the lines "he sees you when you're sleeping/ and knows when you're awake," and asks his audience, "Santa Claus: jolly old elf, or CIA spook?"

I miss Calvin and Hobbes.

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(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2008 | 09:58 am

This is a list of the top 100 books ever published. Supposedly, the average person has only read 6 of these books.
This is what you have to do:

1. Copy the list on your blog.
2. Read through the list and mark the books you've read in bold.
3. Italicize any you started, but didn't finish.
4. Underline the ones you loved.
5. strikethrough the ones you couldn't stand.

and now, the list!Collapse )

Thirty-two read all the way through. And, yes, there are a lot of mysteries in this list...why is there so much Hardy, for example? And why are there so many series and their individual titles? Hmph. But there it is, for whatever it's worth.

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weird day

Oct. 1st, 2008 | 11:28 pm

The sky was alive today.

But we'll come back to that.

Curled in a lonely bed (the companion is OAA this week) and drowsing, phone rings.
Director says rehearsal is in a spare bedroom today; it's chilly outside.
As though it won't be chilly when we perform outdoors on our opening,

Stupid bink, waking me up to let me know she's wasting the cast's time.

I puttered, did house-things.
Wished I were going to work, which was called off.
Lit out to read a book and work on lines.

Sitting in the SBX at Shady and Forbes,
Or Forbes and Shady, depending,
I watched a living sky,
Wind pushing clouds like massive set pieces.
Grey, to low'ring, to downpouring
then sunny and all of it again, three times through
in as many hours.
Rain ricocheted from the outdoor tabletops
And meandered, streaked, raced, or rolled
From the upper frame to the lower of the big plate-glass walls.
I quoted Simon and Garfunkel to myself, a falling memory.

Walked to the house with the spare bedroom,
Not cool enough to be called Spar'oom
despite the piece of antique furniture in the corner.
Rehearsal actually felt productive despite the cramp--
first time everyone's off book always feels productive.
And someone made pie.
Pie makes everything better.
Even if the pie was meant to commemorate the first fight rehearsal using the real pie props,
an event put on hold because of the indoors nature
of a spare bedroom.

Three days left...and no real fight call as yet.
--and not for lack of trying!

walked home, ate at the usual place.

Overdraft notice in the mailbox
For a nonexistent overdraft.
Panicked, went online, was reassured.
The bank representative on the telephone was very nice.

And then, unrelated to the bank, I sent an email to a business
Explained their irresponsibility
Demanded a refund.
We'll see.
(Boycott Ravenswood Leather)

Soon to bed.

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adventures in a new beard

Sep. 28th, 2008 | 03:25 pm

I got two "dude, your beard is gay" comments today while walking to and from rehearsal.  Not nearly as disturbing as what happened later.

So, I'm starting to formulate a plan to submit a show to direct next year. Part of the concept for this show is that it takes place on a playground. So, the park where rehearsal takes place has a playground, and after rehearsal I walk over to the playground to take a look.

In hindsight, less than a stellar idea, but, as I was planning no mischief--and thereby not thinking criminally at all--there I went. To the playground.

And I looked at the playground, seeing what kind of platforms and cubbies and fun playing spaces there are for this play-concept I have germinating. I walked around the playground to view it from different angles. At one point I smiled a hello at one of the two kids playing there, and at another I exchanged "hi, howarya"s with a mother. Then, as I'm leaving (not just walking away, but out the gate and on the sidewalk, pretty well laready gone), a large man, presumably a parent, starts yelling at me.

"Hey, whatchoo doon, starin' at these kids like that!"

I turned, a little confused. "I'm sorry?"

"Whatchoo doon, starin at these kids like that!"

So I told him I wasn't looking at the children at all, but at the structure of the playground, and he told me to go fuck myself and stay the hell away.

And I'm sad, now. Not really concerned, because I don't really think it's going to go beyond that little incident, but sad. Sad that a guy looking at a playground for ten minutes, then walking away is reason to start yelling at him. Sad, a little, for that man's kids, since they seemed happy and playful until he started yelling at me (teaching your children wariness I understand, but this seemed to just send the message to be suspicious and paranoid).

I wear a long coat and a big hat, I have longish hair and now I have an odd beard. Maybe that means I look like a bad guy. But what I suspect is that it just makes me look different, and we're in a world where different equals dangerous.

In other stories, though, just for a bit fo fun:

The aforementioned big hat is a "cavalier" hat. Black hat with a five-inch brim turned up on the right side. Sometimes (not often, but sometimes), there are ostrich plumes in the hat...big ones, in white, burgundy, and green. A few weeks ago, I wore the hat, plumes in, to work, and was walking down a fairly busy street on my lunchbreak. Some wind happened, and a voice erupted behind me.

"Dude, you hit me in the face with your feather!"

I turned, and a skinny frat-pledge looking kid was there, about ready to tackle me. I raised an eyebrow.

"Are you allergic to ostriches?"

He looked confused. "What?"

"Ostriches. Unless you're allergic to them, I can't imagine the feather is going to hurt you."

He fish-mouthed a bit, open, close, open, not sure how to respond. "Dude."

I smiled and continued on my way.

That story makes me laugh.

But maybe the moral of this entry is that my hat is making me enemies?

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anchor-face the pirate

Sep. 27th, 2008 | 09:53 pm
mood: amusedamused
music: "You Musn't Kick it Around," Erin McKeown

In funny news, I've had to shave down the full beard for the sake of this show, and now I look like I have an anchor on my face.

A saltier sea-dog ye never shall see
a yo, ho, blow the man down.

I'll keep this in mind next time I play a pirate.

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Sep. 27th, 2008 | 08:55 pm

OK. so I wrote the stuff below the (eventually upcoming) "<><><>" break first, and rambled enough to actually come to an important point. If you're reading, you can stop at the diamond-line, or you can check out my rambles. But this is the thing it's all really about:

My parents gave me everything. They still do. And I have given them so little, and I'm tired of mooching off them because I've realized I've wasted everything they've given me. And I'm in a bit of money trouble, and my car stopped working, and I've grown indifferent to my job, and I'm afraid to tell my parents, because they will be stern, and disappointed, and they will tell me how I should be more responsible, and then they will bail me out. And as much as it will make life suck, I want to climb out of this hole myself this time.

Is it wrong to say that as much as I love and need my parents, I'm not sure I want them right now?

I'm in a show...we open next week...today was my fourth rehearsal...and I hate the director. Common enough complaint among actors, really...even when we love the director, we like to have something to bitch about, after all, since actors do tend to love the drama and all that.

But sometimes it's more than just a matter of finding an enemy for the sake of having something to kvetch about. Sometimes it's the little, but very real things, like why is she using an Oxford-edited First Folio edition when the cast was handed a gods-know-who-edited Second Quarto edition? Sure, they're the same story, but they aren't the same script! Like why are we getting yelled at for not having lines down when we were just given fresh cuts today? I'd understand that if it were a professional cast, but most of these people are inexperienced actors! Like why are we rehearsing in someone's tiny-ass spare bedroom when our actual performance space is free and available? It makes no sense to me.

So rehearsals themselves are annoying, and wasteful of my time, and I've been a negative heel during the rehearsal process because of it. And I'm sorry for that. But rehearsals still suck.

But after rehearsal today, I had a very pleasant little sit-down with another castmember, and we talked about acting and directing and theater and theatre and all number of other fun little things, and it was time enjoyably spent.

And the last week or so has led me to realize that I want more drama in my life. More genesis, more madness, more...more. So I started writing a novel, a story that's been bouncing around in my head for a few years now, and I realized how hard it will be to write that story because it has no actual bearing in my life, and I'm starting to think that I'm not as smart or experienced as I thought I was, because if I were I would have stories to tell, instead of making up fantasies.

And some of that loss of hubris is great...but it's also disconcerting.

I have a story, a personal memory, to relate for just about any situation. And when I think of any that might become the basis for writing a story, I just find them all to be irrelevant to the world at large.

I'm rambling here, it seems like this LJ thing has just become a written sounding-board for stream-of-consciousness thought-barrage...but that's ok.

I only have one or two things that feel important to me right now. And that scares me, because I used to have so many of them.

I'm trying to rediscover one, sort of...went and looked at a martial arts school around the corner last week. There are some good people there, a few professional theater contacts who work out there, and a lot of other good things to recommend the place. But it is a belt factory, and something of a McDojo (which is a term I learned recently, and I approve of the "Mc-" prefix to trivialize anything and everything). I would be very excited to work out again, and the fact that this school is right around the corner from my apartment is fantastic and wonderful, and I would get some new weapons in the deal, as well as refreshers in some of my old weapons, but they don't really train the things I want to train (either styles--JiuJitsu-- and concepts--Practical Self Defense), or in the fashion I like to train (you have to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelette). So I may, once I have some extra money, do this, but I don't know if it's actually going to help, or just give me things to bitch about.

And I need a new, better, 9-5, full-time job. That won't kill my soul. That will pay lots of money. That I can continue doing for years to come, if need be.

And I need to put my name into the hat at the casting agency.

And I need to memorize my lines for this show.

And I'm going to put something new at the top of this.

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(no subject)

Sep. 12th, 2008 | 01:54 pm

Today has tried to tell me a thing, I think.

Started with an odd juxtaposition of Dar Williams and the Dresden Dolls in my brain, after waking from an odd, half-memorable dream (a kind of supernatural stage combat workshop, if you need to know). Side note, I like the mood/music thing here on LJ.

Walked up to Sam's to eat, took The Bell Jar and my iPod along for the trek. The rain was pleasant, but then I like the rain. I passed concerned people with umbrellas, frightened people in hoods drawn tight so only their eyes sparkled through (rain, not snow...what will these folks do in a few months?) and uncaring people walking in lengthened strides without noticing.

I nearly got myself run over...I was enjoying the rain and the people out in it, and the driver was paying attention to her bank slips...her side view mirror actually clipped my coat.

I started Plath because I need a break from Genji's playboy antics. The opening of the book (Bell Jar, not Genji) just added to a sense of driftyness that's been niggling at me for the past week.

Back from Sam's, a stray drop made it's way past the brim of my hat and spattered the lens of my glasses...blurred things just enough to alert me to metaphor. I'd like to try to embrace it again, as I once did.

I'm so out of practice writing.

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Rain musings

Sep. 12th, 2008 | 01:47 pm
mood: listlesslistless
music: "Cluck Old Hen," The Waybacks

It rained in Pittsburgh today.
Watercolor air conspired with Plath and Sting
A combination unheard, read or seen of
to remind me of things I'd lost

Teal, an unused truck
replaced the bright yellow of a Beetle
leaving its space as I inhaled
the scent of a crushed and wet cicada.

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we'll see.

Aug. 13th, 2008 | 12:56 pm

How this goes, of course.

Did the open diary thing some years ago...I Don't know, but I'll give it a go. Got a boat to row, a row to hoe, grass to mow until its low. How does my garden grow? Somewhat slow.

Maybe it won't all be like this?

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