Saturday, May 28, 2005

Just Talk

Was up 'til 2 AM last night discussing religion, sex, theater and copyright law with Joe, Alison and Hugh.

This is what reunions should be all about!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

You've Got to be Carefully Taught (or not)

Just because I love theater doesn't mean I can't find a few things wrong with it.

Read this. I'll wait.

My problems are as follows:

  • These are high school kids. This is a high school production. Nobody's making any money off of this. The integrity of "Big River" has not been compromised. Leave them alone!
  • "To ignore the racial component of Huck Finn does a disservice to the story." Um, no it doesn't. Actually, the reverse-casting helps make Mark Twain's points: that Jim and Huck are equals and that racism is crap.
Theater, unlike literature, TV or film, is not a static art form. It is a living, breathing enterprise that must adapt to its surroundings and conditions. If you follow the logic of R&H's argument there would be no black actors in any production of a Chekhov play. That's a disgusting thought.

Now This is More Like It

We need more of these, please.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back from the Heartland

Yes, I'm back from the Metroplex. I enjoyed my time in Chicago despite the fact that I missed seeing my Uncle (he had some family business to take care of). Some observations:
  • Downtown Chicago is really pretty. Much prettier than most downtown areas, and that includes Manhattan.
  • Q101 has turned into a very nice alternative rock station. The last time I listened (at least 15 years ago) it was a constant hair metal fest. I heard a whole lotta music that I hadn't heard in some time, including "Unsung" by Helmet and the original album cuts of "Lips Like Sugar" by Echo and the Bunnymen and "Everything Counts" by Depeche Mode. I heard this last song while I was going through a unmanned tollbooth that only accepted change. Me, I only had bills, so I threw in what little change I had and drove through. The intense light of the camera flashed perfectly in time with the line "The grabbing hands grab all they can..."
  • The toll roads around O'Hare airport need better signage regarding two things: 1. How much the toll is, and 2. Whether or not the toll accepts coins or bills.
  • The BBQ at Hecky's was good. Not quite worth the hour-long drive it took to get there, but it was good.
  • I also found good seafood! Parker's Ocean Grill in Downer's Grove is quite nice. A bit pricey, but definitely worth the money.

So there you have it. I hope to go back there again soon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Five Things I Don't Get

Since I'm going to be rooming with him soon at our alma mater reunion, I'll take this meme from Hugh and run with it...

List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over.

  1. SUVs. I live in one of the most urban environments on the East Coast. There is no practical reason why anyone should own and operate an SUV. Really. No reason. Yes, the D.C. area gets a big snowfall every 7-10 years, but in that case the rest of the area is all but shut down so there's nowhere to go. Besides, they're rude. Yes, rude. I drive a compact sedan that's easily 2-3 feet shorter than the average SUV. I can't see around them in traffic or even in a parking lot. How much space do you think you need?

  2. McMansions. Again, how much space do you think you need? I live in a very small house in Arlington, VA that was built in 1941. It has two floors, each comprising an area just under 850 square feet. We do most of our living on the main floor and we have plenty of space. (Would I like a larger kitchen? Sure, but we can swing that remodel easily without substantially increasing the overall footprint of the house.) Recently, some rather large houses were completed and went on the market for $1.6 million. The square footage is somewhere over the 5000 mark. Um, why? Do you have a cleaning staff to take care of all that space? And I haven't even touched the heating and cooling issues. The last thing that annoys me about these TajMaHouses is that they are invariably built on tiny plots of land (at least around these parts). The result is that you have no back yard to speak of. That's lame. Besides, I need my nice-sized back yard to practice my croquet game so I can one day beat my wife!

  3. Golf. The only part of my Scottish heritage that I don't understand. It's a silly game, people. Silly. And I don't care how cool it looks when Tiger pumps his fist in victory, hitting a little white ball into a little tin cup is nowhere near as impressive to me as a long pass for a touchdown, a grand slam homerun or a 15-round KO. You gotta wonder about a game where people brag about their "handicaps"...

  4. Nostalgia for the Recent Past. Just stop watching "I (Heart) the 70s" and "I (Heart) the 80s", ok? You look pathetic. You're on your way to becoming those assholes in the 1980s who were busy pining for the 1950s (and some of those same folks are still pining). Look, this is a great time to be alive. Really! The internet alone blows away anything that we considered cool in the 80s. I love my life now: I'm married to a fabulously smart and sexy woman who is my best friend, I drive a safe and stylish car that gets great gas mileage even though it's approaching the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer and I'm all finished with school forever. Ok, I'll gladly admit that I still enjoy the music of my youth, but that hasn't stopped me from becoming a huge fan of The Chemical Brothers, Franz Ferdinand, Pearl Jam, Sleater-Kinney and The Crystal Method. Look around, folks: the twenty-first century is a pretty cool place.

  5. Sports Video Games. (This is to tweak my roomie, who took the opposite POV.) You've got sports on television 24 hours a day. No matter where you live in this country, you can watch some kind of sporting event live. Heck, you can even play in any number of organized leagues. So why are you wasting your time on your couch pretending you're Kobe Bryant? When I play a video game, I want to be immersed in a strange landscape. I want to be taken away to another world, or view my world through a slightly different prism. I'd rather be scared out of my wits playing Doom than pretend that I'm a digitized Jason Giambi. Unless digital steroids come in the game box...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My Kind of Town

I'm gonna be in Chicago for three days next week on business. I need suggestions for the following:
  • BBQ
  • Theater
  • Live Music
Obviously I'm only able to take in two out of the three, but I need something to do Monday night! Hopefully I'll have time to blog from the Metroplex.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Question

The recent goings-on in Kansas have compelled me to ask the following question of religious conservative folks:

Would you mind if I stopped by your Sunday School class to instruct your children on the finer points of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution?

Oh, you wouldn't like that? Why not?

[insert Charlie Brown "teacher's voice" here]

It's not appropriate, you say?


"Great" Weather

I spent the day at home yesterday, felled by my allergy to Oak tree pollen. While I was attempting to catch up on some much needed sleep (since I only got two hours the night before due to excessive coughing and sneezing), the weather outside was gorgeous: temps in the 80s, not a cloud in the sky and very low humidity. The radio folks were extolling the virtues of the great weather we were having lately.

Lemme 'splain something to y'all: this ain't "great" weather. It is tortuous weather. It is weather that mocks me with its beautiful skies and pollen-filled air. While most of you are out there doing whatever it is that you people do in weather like this, I'm stuck inside like a prisoner in solitary confinement. I hate it! I really really hate it!

(Tommyspoon will return to posting happier things as soon as the Oak trees decide to stop spreading their seed around.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

On Mother's Day

Mom never really got into Mother's Day, she felt it was just another manufactured holiday with very little meaning. She always said you should try to make everyone's life a little special every day, and I think we did a pretty good job of that. Every day at ten AM, I called her on the phone and chatted with her briefly. Sometimes, I'd tell her a stupid joke and hang up, whereupon she'd call me right back with an even worse joke and hang up on me. (This might go on for as long as ten minutes until one of us pointed out that this behavior was a gratuitous waste of company time. And then we kept talking.) I lived for those chats, especially after I moved in with Sweetie and was out of the house.

I still called her even when the chemo got really bad. Those were great chats, despite the fact that they were short. I still remember one of our last conversations:

Mom: Knock knock, Tommy.

Me: Who's there, Mom?

Mom: Orange.

Me: Orange who, Mom?

Mom: Orange ya glad I called you today?

Happy (belated) Mother's Day Mom. It's now ten AM, and I still miss our phone calls.

Friday, May 06, 2005

John Scalzi is my Hero

And today's post is one of the many reasons why. Go read. Now.

The post reminds me of my favorite Bill Hicks joke: He tells the story of how he's exiting a club in Alabama where he just finished performing. He's cornered by a couple of good ole boys who say "We're Christian and we don't like the things that you say." Bill pauses and says "Then forgive me."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Difference Between Us and Them, Chapter One

From an interview with Paris Hilton:

AP: What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

Hilton: A veterinarian, but then I realized I could just buy a bunch of animals.

-- from's "The Fix"


48 Hour Film Project

Last year, I was fortunate enough to land a featured role in an entry for the Washington, D.C. 48 Hour Film Project. The premise is simple: your group has 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a short film, no longer than 8 minutes in length. I answered an ad placed through The Actors' Center and "auditioned" with the director over the phone. I met him at Atomic Billiards one afternoon for another conversation and he welcomed me aboard.

The group of folks I worked with on this film were not only fun and very talented, but were real team players too. We joked that the common refrain of the weekend was "How can I help?" As a result, we pulled together something pretty good. Good enough, in fact, to be considered for one of the local awards! We didn't end up winning anything, but it was nice to be nominated.

This past weekend, many of the same folks from last year's project got together and did it all again. I was unable to join them due to my Dad's health (and my allergies!), but I would love the chance to do it again! It was the most fun I've had with an acting project since my college days.

I bring all this up because now you can see the films from this year and last year online! Just click here. This link will take you to this year's film, click "I, Hubby" to view yours truly in a rather unique role...

(I suppose I should take this time to warn you that the film contains dirty language, alcohol abuse and adult situations. But I also suppose that you already suspected me of involvement in all those things.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mom's Spinning For Certain

I heard this on the radio the other day and my jaw nearly hit my knees (I was driving at the time): Ted Nugent is opening his summer tour in my Mom's hometown.

At the Surf Ballroom, too! The very thought of that man performing in the same place where I took my Grandma dancing to some local big band makes my head hurt.


Yes, I am a sucker for our web-footed friends. (The video is really cute, but I could do without the D.C. bashing comment at the end.)