Monday, March 31, 2003

Since I'm turning 33 today, will I be receiving Rolling Rock by the case? Because I'm not opposed to that.
Posted @ 4:28 PM

Friday, March 28, 2003

As promised earlier today, you'll see some changes to the sidebars. I won't go into the details of why this time, as I'm sure they're of interest only to me and... well, me. I will say that the links added represent both new players on the scene and some old friends that I've shamefully left off for far too long.

If you're an old friend with a Web site and you're still not listed, drop me a line with an appropriate chastisement and your URL.
Posted @ 9:37 PM

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but one of the perks of my job is the option to work a compressed work schedule, an option I started exercising late last year. What it means is this: I work nine hours a day, Mondays through Thursdays. One Friday I work an eight-hour day, the next I have off. So I've got a three-day weekend every other week, which is an extremely agreeable arrangement.

Today is one of my Fridays off, and I've decided to take a break from the world. It's the first one I've had since I began this schedule where I haven't had some massive, time-consuming chore to do. I have no agenda, nothing that must be done. The lack of direction feels glorious.

I want to put in a little time with my script so I can be off-book next week. However, since line memorization is, perversely, one of the parts of the rehearsal process that I always enjoy, that counts as fun in my book. I might do my taxes, too, but only if I get bored lounging around doing nothing. I'll check how the war is going, but just enough to stay relatively informed and make an educated guess as to where my friend the sarge is today.

It's overcast and still slightly on the chilly side here in the Washington suburbs, and since I'm well-provisioned with food and coffee, there's no impetus for me to venture out of doors. Had I a fireplace, I'd probably light it one last time for the season.

I may be back here later in the day with some new stuff for the sidebars. Or I might not. This true, unfettered day off arrived just in time, and I'm going to take full advantage of it.
Posted @ 2:47 PM

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I've entered that point in the rehearsal process where the demands of this hobby begin to take their toll. My energy is down and I've been dragging around like this for more than a week. That's a large part of the reason for the six day lag between this post and the last.

Other things have contributed, like foolishly staying up to watch the whole Oscar telecast despite the fact that I had a pre-work errand to run Monday morning, and a whirlwind trip to Chicago by car the weekend before that. The psychological effect of the war is also chipping in, I'm sure. Mostly it's the show, though.

I'm a bit worried that I'm hitting this point so early. Music Man opens a month from yesterday. In the past, things haven't gotten rough for me until three weeks out from opening night, so history says I should have another week and a half before the slogging begins. Yet here I am, and I've been here for some time already.

Part of the reason is that I've got a role that requires me to be at rehearsal every night. I'm not complaining about that, because Harold Hill is one of a handful of parts that I've wanted to play for years. The nightly grind just can't be ignored as a factor.

The main contributor is most likely that Music Man is the first show I've done since autumn 2001 where I've also had a job to go to each weekday. The last three shows I did happened during my unemployment, and with no clock to punch and the job search as my only other activity, the shows were my main focus.

Of course, prior to the eleven month period of joy and puppies that was my employment interregnum I'd always had either work or school to attend to, and the three-week rule of thumb was generally correct. The difference now, I think, is that I'm out of practice. I'm like a long-distance runner who broke training for a year and is trying to get his stride back.

I have no doubt that I'll make it to the end of this race, but I'll probably forgo a victory lap at the end.
Posted @ 10:13 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2003

With the start of the war my objections, while unchanged, move to the back of my mind and the practicalities of the situation take the fore. In particular, I'm worried about a friend of mine, an Army staff sergeant who's part of the 3rd Infantry Division. I've known the guy for twenty-five years, and he's been in the Army for about half that time.

He was out of the army and in college with me during the first war with Iraq. I vividly remember the night that war began. Paula Poundstone was performing on campus, and we went to see her together. It was a pleasant, welcome diversion. As the two of us sat there and laughed, in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "Thank God he's here beside me and not in the middle of the desert waiting to fight."

I don't have that comfort today. This time, he is in the middle of the desert. This time, he has a wife and son. This time, I haven't seen him in years.

He's doing what he chose to do, and I know he wants to be there. He is a soldier for all the right and just and honorable reasons. I support him, and I'm proud of him.

But what I wouldn't give to have him sitting next to me right now, laughing.
Posted @ 9:12 AM

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

*pant* *pant* *pant* ...whew, what a weekend! Just got back from Chicago, where I spent Saturday visiting friends and Sunday taking in the sites. Friday and Monday were spent on the road. While I had a blast, I'm now quite wiped out. This is a perfect example of a vacation which takes so much out of the traveller that he needs another vacation after it to recover.

Once I get my bearings, it's back to business as usual here at the HoC. Until then, talk amongst yourselves. Here's a topic: why is it that I always hear the Huey Lewis and the News tune "Do You Believe In Love?" when I take a long car trip, but never when I'm at home?
Posted @ 8:54 AM

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Seems another performer may be about to throw his hat into the political ring, following the trail blazed by such luminaries as The Gipper, TV's Gopher, Cher's late ex-husband, "The Body", Dirty Harry, and the funny-label-lacking Fred Thompson.

Jerry Doyle, who played Michael Garibaldi on the mid-90's "sci-fi novel for television" Babylon 5, is rumored to be mulling a run for the US House of Representatives from the Florida 16th. (scroll down to the second item)

Fred Grandy, call your campaign manager.
Posted @ 10:46 AM

Some food for thought to start the day:
"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering, quoted in Gustave Gilbert's Nuremburg Diary
(Got this one from Caterina via Eric by way of Zach who first saw it posted by Jason. Whew!)

A weather observation from my dad:

"I was reading your blog just now and ran across your message of last Friday about being more than ready for springtime. A few minutes earlier, I ran across an anonymous saying that seems to fit this morning's weather (it's snowing here at [work]): 'The principle function of the month of March is to use up the winter weather that wouldn't fit in February.'"

It should not be inferred from the identical formatting of the above two thoughts that I in any way equate my father with Hermann Goering. Dad's obviously an infinitely more honorable guy. Plus, I think Goering was a snappier dresser.
Posted @ 8:55 AM

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Most weekend mornings when I find myself without any plans, I make a full pot of coffee. The first cup goes straight into one of my three extra large mugs, and the rest fits perfectly into this great carafe I've got that keeps it piping hot for hours. Thus provisioned, I take to the 'Net and cruise some blogs, read the news, and otherwise while away the late morning to mid afternoon hours.

Invariably, when I pour my third cuppa, there's some coffee left over. It's too much to waste, but not enough for even a skimpy half-mug. Even though I know I'll never use these last few gulps of rich black nectar, I can't bring myself to pour them down the drain. This drives me crazy.

I'm almost done with mug #3 right now. The meager portion left in the carafe calls to me like an orphan in the snow, small and sickly and insistent. If this is the worst thing to happen to me today, I'm an inexcusably lucky man. Nonetheless, for the moment I'm vexed.

John Scalzi's explanation of why nice and wrong are not mutually exclusive is an excellent follow-up on and expansion of his dead-on assessment of George W. Bush.
Posted @ 1:26 PM

Friday, March 07, 2003

Feels like it's time for a Friday Brain Buffer Clearing. Let's see what's in there:

In the latest edition of his "Whatever" column, John Scalzi comes through with some of the most cogent analysis of the Bush administration, and Dubya himself, that I've seen to date. I couldn't have said it better myself.

In a tangentially related story, Movie Poop Shoot is reporting that Timothy Bottoms, who played the president in Comedy Central's short-lived sitcom That's My Bush!, may reprise the role in the much more serious Showtime film DC 9/11, about the terrorist attacks of 2001.

If the film's producers want to make their effort a parody of itself from the get-go, I can think of no better way for them to do it.

New addition to the Films I Never Want to See Under Any Circumstances list: the remake of Willard. It goes right up there next to the original Willard.

Sean Shesgreen, a professor of English at my alma mater, brings us a history of winespeak in the second half of 20th century, and briefly ruminates on where this ridiculously descriptive sub-genre of culinary criticism is headed in the 21st. As an amateur dabbler in winespeak myself, I found the article to be an excellent, accessible primer on the subject. (link via The Morning News)

Christopher Reeve was absolutely riveting last week on Smallville. His powerful, nuanced, pitch-perfect performance as reclusive genius Dr. Virgil Swann was the high water mark of what has already been an outstanding season. I fervently hope he agrees to return to the role from time to time.

I am now well and truly ready for spring. I may need to convince our choreographer that tomorrow's dance rehearsal should be held outside, so that we might enjoy the life-affirming 60 degree high we're being promised.

"When the wretched winter drags on forever and the cold rain turns the dirty snow into dirty slush and the news is all bad and war looms and severe depression begins to seem like the only sensible lifestyle -- at times like this, it's refreshing to know that somewhere out there a squirrel is water-skiing." - Peter Carlson, Washington Post
Posted @ 10:35 AM

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Bill Clinton and Bob Dole have agreed to make ten joint appearances on 60 Minutes, (NYT story if you're registered there, Washington Post version if you're not), debating the issues of the day. The 1996 presidential rivals begin their stint this Sunday.

I've never been a 60 Minutes viewer, but I will be tuning in for these discussions. The former president and the former senator are in a unique position to speak authoritatively on the problems and challenges that lay before us in this most unsettled time, and I wholeheartedly welcome the prospect of a civil debate between these two intelligent, experienced public servants.
Posted @ 10:06 AM

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

The shower pressure is much weaker than I'd like it to be, the previously-working phone line is unexpectedly out of commission, and I'm going to be surrounded by boxes for a few weeks while I figure out where to put everything, but I finally got to sleep in my new apartment last night.

Snow storms, minor flooding, and the loss of my bed to said flooding (graciously replaced without the slightest hesitation by my wonderful new landlord) meant I couldn't take up residence for about half a month. After those unavoidable delays, I'm just glad to be home.

Home. There's a reason they call it sweet.

Is this the end of spongeworthy?: the Today contraceptive returns to the market after an eight-year absence.

Glance to your left and you'll see another addition to the HoC hit parade: Chicago Uncommon, a Second City-centric photoblog. While the updates are intermittent during any given month, the recent average is over two pics a day, which earns it daily status in my book.

I've also got two sites in the evaluation hopper at the moment. They are a straight-up blog from Sweet Home Chicago, Greasy Skillet, and the unabashedly liberal opinion site Dave and "Tom", let's see what you've got.
Posted @ 12:21 PM


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