Saturday, December 31, 2005

"In measured hundred-weight and penny-pound..."

Adieu, 2005.

Bonjour, 2006.

May there be peace for everyone, everywhere.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

And the Results are In!

I've decided not to audition for anything over the next couple of months, partly because of my Dad but mainly because of several timing issues. So let's run down the list:

Assassins. The big strike against this show is that it has performances over our fifth wedding anniversary. We are attempting to plan a small vacation over that time (bear with us, we're not that good at this sort of thing!), so there you go. Hugh's observation that "Assassins is timeless, and will become more popular with age" is spot on. So this won't be the only opportunity I'll have to audition for this show. It is one of my favorite shows and not just because of its subject matter.

Company. Another timing strike against this one. The early May performance dates absolutely terrify me because that's when my allergies kick into warp drive and render my voice all but useless. Unless someone's got some real good suggestions on how to sing such a difficult show while battling nasal and upper respiratory allergies, this one's out. And that's too bad because this show has got some really good music. (I did get a weird feeling when I read that audition information sheet, so that was another strike against this show.)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? So that leaves this classic. Yes, I'll probably audition for it come the spring time. And yes, Alison, I'll gladly audition for the role of Nick because I find small parts like that fascinating. I really enjoyed playing Mitch in "Streetcar" several years ago because it was a chance to do some interesting work without the pressure of being one of the leads (although I welcome that kind of pressure in the future!). I imagine that Nick will offer a similar experience, just more intense. And if I hope to play George someday, then I had better have at least one production under my belt.

Thanks for all of your comments! It was fun reading your responses to this poll. And Hugh, this'll be in the Lab Theater. Sheesh...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Four jobs you’ve had in your life: Men's Clothing Salesman, Line Cook, Actor, Data Entry Clerk.

Four movies you could watch over and over: "Pi", "The Godfather Part II", "Blade Runner", "Midnight Run".

Four places you’ve lived: Gambier, OH; Garrison, IA; Adelphi, MD; Fairfax, VA.

Four TV shows you love to watch: "CSI:", "Mythbusters", "Good Eats", "Lost".

Four places you’ve been on vacation: Ljubliana, Slovenia; Clear Lake, IA; New York, NY; Pasadena, CA.

Four websites you visit daily:, Eschaton, Salon, Crunchland.

Four of your favorite foods:
Channa Masala, Pulled Pork BBQ, Fried Chicken, Waffles.

Four places you’d rather be: New York, NY; Clear Lake, IA; Gambier, OH; Seattle, WA.

Four albums you can’t live without: "London Calling" by The Clash, "Achtung Baby" by U2, "1200 Curfews" by The Indigo Girls, "Blue" by Joni Mitchell.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

She's the Light of My Life!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Theatrical Poll Time

Tommyspoon should audition for...?



Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Leave your response in the comments.

Monday, December 19, 2005

On a Lighter Note...

Family Grouping Recently Spotted in Arlington, VA

As you can see, my Sweetie has adopted deer-like characteristics and has joined a group of like-minded "deer people." It'll be awfully lonely around the house this Christmas. Looking on the bright side, however, I can at long last cook fish in the house!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Early Christmas Present

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough...

Dad came home on Wednesday, and everything seems brighter and clearer as a result. He's still got some recuperation to do, but he's in good spirits and is in better health than he was a few weeks ago. I know that we're all happier that he is home.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Top 25

Rock Songs!

1. "What's So Funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Elvis Costello

2. "Gimme Shelter" Rolling Stones

3. "Let's Have a War" Fear

4. "indifference" Pearl Jam

5. "Hey Joe" Jimi Hendrix

6. "Highway 61 Revisited" Bob Dylan

7. "No Surrender" Bruce Springsteen

8. "Love Reign O'er Me" The Who

9. "We Are the Champions" Queen

10. "When the World is Runnin' Down You Make the Best of What's Sill Around" The Police

11. "Fame" David Bowie

12. "Mr. Self-Destruct" Nine Inch Nails

13. "Broken Wings" Mr. Mister

14. "Killing in the Name Of" Rage Against the Machine

15. "Fresh Tendrils" Soundgarden

16. "Julie's Been Workin' for the Drug Squad" The Clash

17. "Love is Blindness" U2

18. "Joy" The Sundays

19. "Still Can't" The Cranberries

20. "Dig Me Out" Sleater-Kinney

21. "Down by the River" Indigo Girls

22. "Big Yellow Taxi" Joni Mitchell

23. "Do You Wanna Touch Me?" Joan Jett

24. "Never Take the Place of Your Man" Prince

25. "San Quentin" Johnny Cash

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

1 and 40

From the small...

Good news! Dad's doctors have finally isolated the sole bacteria that is responsible for his infection. They are currently administering 1 antibiotic to kill this bacteria. This is down from 4 antibiotics they had him on last week, and that number was reduced from 12! Still no target date for coming home, but he's getting better. Feel free to applaud noisily.

More good news! I've officially lost 40 pounds according to this morning's weigh-in. That's equivalent to the rubberband ball pictured below.

... to the medium...

No applause is necessary for me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wearing a Bit Thin

Rejuvenation Through Breathing

Dad's undergoing a procedure sometime today to drain some suspected abscesses. I wish there was a procedure to drain the exhaustion from my body. I am so sick of feeling tired. These last eight months have been really tough, much tougher than the eight months before Mom died. And now that the holidays are here, I just don't know if I have the reserves to make it through.

My apologies for the self-pitying nature of this post. But writing about it seems to make me feel better. So, I promise more uplifting stuff later.


And special thanks to Hugh for the suggested edits.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Education: Making Do With What You've Got

TRP's recent blogging on the state of our public educational system has been intriguing, uplifting, and depressing. At the end of the day, I don't have much to add to this discussion of education policy. But I think at this point in the proceedings it might be helpful to remind ourselves that there are many bright spots in the educational firmament. I offer these two from the Washington, D.C. area:

The Capitol Hill Computer Corner is the brainchild of "Chad Anthony and Sam Hampton, who transformed a former liquor store and open-air drug market ... where single-beer sales and late-night shootings have been replaced by young people teaching computer skills to old folks and kids alike."

The Rocket Corps of Richard Montgomery High School, "a dynamic collection of kids from every background who, thanks to corps creator Julie Good, have proven that students achieve more themselves when they help other kids with their studies. Each year, Good attracts kids who want to learn how to be teachers, trains them and puts them to work tutoring struggling middle school students. The result is inspiring at every level."

Both of these examples were provided by WaPo columnist Marc Fisher, whose great descriptions I borrowed for this post.

Until I read this column, I had not heard of these programs. And that suggests to me that there are probably other endeavors out there that are going unnoticed amidst the light and heat of policy debates. Both of these great programs reinforce a grand idea that I learned in graduate school from an otherwise insufferable professor:

"Within structure, there is freedom."

I believe that the status quo should be challenged at every opportunity, I also firmly believe that you can use the status quo to your advantage if you apply a bit of creativity and elbow grease. The results can be just as astounding.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving 05

Turkey Comprises Most of the 'Exit, pursued by a bear' Readership Area

I heart Google Images!

It goes without saying that I'm very thankful that my family is still together. I'm also thankful for my wonderful friends and readers of this blog. So please give your loved ones an extra hug and have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm a Cut-N-Run Guy

Someone care to explain to me why we are in Iraq?

From the article (emphasis mine):

Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.

I don't know about you, but I am against using our troops as target practice. Bring them home now.

I May Convert

A friend pointed me to this speech given by Rabbi Eric Yoffie at the recent Houston Biennial of the Union of Reform Judaism. It's kinda long, but Part V really got my juices going. Particularly this passage:

We are particularly offended by the suggestion that the opposite of the Religious Right is the voice of atheism. We are appalled when “people of faith” is used in such a way that it excludes us, as well as most Jews, Catholics, and Muslims. What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God and that anyone who disagrees with you is not a person of faith?

So we ask our neighbors on the Religious Right to take note: We are religious Jews, gathered in Houston to study, pray, and commit ourselves to God. And yes, we are generally liberal in our politics. But our liberalism flows directly from our religious commitments.

And we worry that you don’t understand what this means, or what it means for anyone to be a liberal religious believer.

What it means is this: that we bring a measure of humility to our religious belief. We study religious texts day and night, but we have no direct lines to heaven and we aren’t always sure that we know God’s will.

It means believing that religion involves concern for the poor and the needy, and giving a fair shake to all. When people talk about God and yet ignore justice, it just feels downright wrong to us. When they cloak themselves in religion and forget mercy, it strikes us as blasphemy.

It means that “family values” require providing health care to every child and that God cares about the 12 million children without health insurance.

It means valuing a child with diabetes over a frozen embryo in a fertility clinic, and seeing the teaching of science as a primary social good.

And it means reserving the right for each person to prayerfully make decisions for herself about when she dies.

It also means believing in legal protection for gay couples. We understand those who believe that the Bible opposes gay marriage, even though we read that text in a very different way. But we cannot understand why any two people who make a lifelong commitment to each other should be denied legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society. We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations. And today, we cannot feel anything but rage when we hear about gay men and women, some on the front lines, being hounded out of our armed services. Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry.

Now that's one of the best statements of faith I've ever read. More, please.

Friday, November 18, 2005

In Light of Today's News...

... I'd like to make a formal request to all stadium owners/operators:


Thank you.

UPDATE -- 11/21/2005

From today's WaPo:
British glam rocker Gary Glitter was taken into custody by Vietnamese police in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday while trying to board a plane to Bangkok, the Associated Press reported. Police launched an investigation Friday into allegations that the aging rocker had participated in lewd acts with a minor. Glitter, 61, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, had been living in a rented house in southern Vietnam since March. He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail sentence. The singer, who rose to fame with a glam rock act in the 1970s, is perhaps most known for "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," which is often played at sporting events.

Do I have to get on my knees and beg? It's a terrible song! Just cut it out!

It's Just a Game, Folks

One of the brighter spots for the Redskins this year has been Running Back Clinton Portis. Even in last week's loss to Tampa Bay, he broke off 144 yards of rushing and had one TD. But that's on the field. Off the field he has provided some very lighthearted moments with his Thursday press conferences. Perhaps costume parades might be a better description of these events. Well, take a look:

Dr. I Don't Know

The first character he unveiled was "Dr. I Don't Know." You can see that the costume is somewhat rudimentary, but it is harbinger of things to come...

Jerome from D.C.

Here is my favorite incarnation, "Jerome from D.C." Notice how the cape makes a nice statement while complimenting the mask.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha

"Sheriff Gonna Getcha" is my Sweetie's favorite character. The Led Zeppelin t-shirt contrasts nicely with the oddball eyeglasses.


And yesterday, Clinton introduced "Dollarbill." Now this wig is the best of the bunch, but I'm not a big fan of the shades. Even though I do think the jacket is very cool.

Now I love football, but I'm so glad that Clinton Portis has a sense of humor about it. Too many people take these games way too seriously.

(You can probably guess what I think of the NFL fining Portis $20K for wearing different socks during a game two weeks ago.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

One Step Back

Dad's back in the hospital. He had surgery this morning to take care of an obstruction in his small intestine. Came through just fine and he's in the ICU recovering. I don't think we're back to Square 1®, but it felt like that's where we were headed last night.


Everyone's keepin' their chins up. Good mojo is always appreciated, however.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tale of the Tape

I've been talking around my weight loss for the past several months. Maybe it's about time that I actually talk about it. Oh, and my losses to date? 36.5 lbs.

The Who

Well, that would be me. Because of the wonder of genetics, I inherited broad shoulders and wide hips. And that helps when most of your weight is deposited between those two points. One of the folks who was not fooled by this anatomical illusion was my Doctor, natch. For several years now he's been on my case to lose a bit of tonnage. And like most lazy Americans I did absolutely nothing about it.

The Why

  • First and foremost, Dad got very sick. Now his sickness had nothing to do with his weight, but the fact that he went downhill so fast was very alarming. "Could that happen to me?" I wondered. "Yep," said my guilty conscience.
  • At the funeral of a dear friend and fellow actor this summer, I ran into a man who I had worked with on several shows. Ed is a retired Brigadier General of the U.S. Army. He commanded troops in Vietnam and is no stranger to telling people what to do. This makes him a very good Director, but sometimes he can come across as a bit blunt. My Sweetie had never met him before this day, and so was completely taken aback by what he said to me after we exchanged pleasantries: "Gosh Tom, you need to lose some weight!" It had been several years since I last saw Ed, so his assessment of my physique was like a bucketful of cold water in my face. He then told the story of another actor who had put on much weight and dropped dead of a heart attack as a result. "Don't end up like that, Tom," he implored. As we walked back to the car, my Sweetie was fuming. "He has a lot of nerve to say that!" "Well, he's right, Sweetie."
  • When the director called me to offer me the role of Lindbergh in "Hauptmann", she did so hesitantly. Now I'm used to being cast (or not) because of my looks, it's a fact of life in the acting biz. But the following aside still felt like a left hook: "And I wouldn't mind if you lost a few pounds."

The How

Ok, I got the message! But where to start? And what to do? All my previous attempts at weight loss were coupled with some sort of exercise program, usually a strict one. But my Dad's health situation precluded any kind of regular exercise schedule, so I made a decision: I'll work on the food first, then exercise later. So all of my weight loss has been through dieting alone.

I didn't deprive myself of any particular type of food, but I did limit my intake. And how did I do that? With a wonderful program for my Palm Treo called Diet & Exercise Assistant. It tracks your intake in a very easy way and you can customize it nine ways to Sunday. I set myself up with a 40/40/20 (protein, carbohydrates, fat) ratio and then tried to stick with that plan. Believe me, I rarely hit all the targets, but I did keep myself honest about the amounts various nutrients I was getting in my diet. And that leads to...

What I Have Learned

While the weight loss has been great, the knowledge I have gained about my body and how it processes food has been the real prize in this journey. Among the things I've learned:

  • I need a big breakfast, one that includes a nice dose of protein (eggs, soy, lean meat). The old carbo-heavy breakfast I used to have just doesn't cut it.
  • My mood greatly affects my metabolism. How much, you ask? Well, consult this snapshot of my progress I made a few weeks ago:

A Tale of the Tape

  • I've worked out a very simple ratio that I use to evaluate food items: if you can get at least 1 gram of protein per 10 calories of a serving, then it's cleared for consumption. That has saved me from making many a bad food choice.

The What's Next

Um, that would be exercise! I'm pretty sure that come Springtime I'll be pedalling around in something shiny and fast and fun, but I am examining other options. But I am encouraged by my recent losses, and look forward to a few more.

Undisclosed Location, eh?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Maybe I'll Come Down

I'm back from Boulder. And things are fine. Stable, even. Dad? He's home, and doing well. The floors? Done, and looking quite spectacular. Me? Well...

I'm cool.

I'm cool.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What GWB Has to Offer

I saw "A History of Violence" the other evening. It's a very powerful movie, probably the best that Mr. Cronenberg has made (and that's saying something from the man who brought you "Dead Ringers"). There's a simplicity to this movie that is really haunting. And yes, there is violence. But it's not gratuitous. You see the before, the during, and the after. And the after is where the film really hits you. You see how violence is nothing more than poison, pure and simple. Yes, sometimes it can be necessary when you have no other option. But it is a poison.

Yesterday, I was pondering a discussion that folks were having about our current President. Considering that is approval ratings are hitting historic lows, it may be a good time to ask why this President was so popular for so long. And, considering his popularity (particularly post-September 11), why so many people are changing their minds. And last night, the answer hit me.

First, I'd like to say that I was wrong. I suspect most people don't care about "leadership" in the same way that I do. And since most people only see the President on TV for a few minutes an evening, there is scant opportunity to evaluate those qualities.

But I do think that they care about something else: getting even.

There is a scene in "A History of Violence" that disturbed me greatly. I am going to spoil it for you, but it won't damage your experience with the film (if you choose to go see it). The protagonist's teenage son is being picked on by the school bully. And then he gets even. Explosively. Violently. In public. The ferocity that this seemingly gentle teenager exhibits is nothing short of terrifying. And it was particularly terrifying to me because I saw myself up on that screen. I was that kid once. But I never got the chance to attack my tormenters and shove them to the ground and beat on them until the blood and snot ran out of their noses in equal amounts. I never got the chance to stand over their bleeding bodies and taunt them the way they taunted me ("How do you like that you fuckin' faggot!?! C'mon motherfucker! Get up and take it like a man you pussy!!!"). I never got the chance to make them feel as bad as they made me feel.

And when the scene shifts back to home, we see the teenager trying to shrug off his suspension from school and failing. He knows, you see. He has learned that violence is poison. And now he is poisoned. Now he is changed. And he doesn't like what he has become.

I think that's what GWB sold to America: the chance to get even with the bully they never got even with in school. For a while, people bought it gladly and fervently. Because who doesn't want to get even with the bully? And now, five years later, it seems that many people don't like what they (and their country) have become.

Do I think this marks some great change in the political landscape? I dunno. But there is something in the wind, isn't there? I can almost taste the tang of buyer's remorse and regret.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What happened to the beauty I had inside of me?

Neon heart, dayglow eyes...
I'm pretty blue today. And I can't figure out why. I've got no reason, hell, I've got plenty of reasons against feeling this way:

  • Dad's coming home tomorrow. Tomorrow. There was a time not too long ago when we didn't think he'd be coming home at all.
  • My trip out here to Boulder has been both relaxing and productive. The project I'm about to embark upon may do great things for my career. And looking at the Flatirons every morning upon waking is a great way to wake up.
  • My first teleworking column was published this week. Click the "Way we Work" link.

And yet, I'm still blue. Maybe I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe seeing "A History of Violence" last night was a bad idea (although a really good movie). Maybe TRP's frustrations with education are rubbing off on me. I dunno.

Maybe I just can't wait to get home.

City lit by fireflies...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Greetings from Boulder!

Not much to report at the moment. Except an observation that the local bunny population seems to be centered around my hotel. This little guy was waiting for me by my rental car yesterday.

That's MISTER Rabbit to you, pal!

More observations later.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Everyone's Heart Doesn't Beat the Same, We're Beating Out of Time

There have been a whole slew of developments in the past ten days or so. Most of them good, but the timing of them has left me scrambling to get a million things done in about a thousand seconds. Or perhaps I'm exaggerating. Slightly. Again. Anyway! Here's the list:

  • I'm going to Boulder, Colorado next week!
  • We're getting our floors done next week!
  • Dad my be released from rehab at the end of next week!

So this weekend is going to be hectic, to say the least.

And did I forget to mention the wedding that we're attending on Saturday?

Never simple, life.

Obviously we'll get through all of this, and in fine shape I'm willing to bet. But I'm still hoping that the timing of all this gets better in the future...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Too Much

That sums it up for me these days. My life is too full. My cup runneth over. My head is both grill'd® and stuff't®. Not all bad, not all good. Just full. Very very full.

So, here's some pix from my much-needed day off yesterday. Enjoy!

Mmm mmm good!

The Scariest Bar Ever

My temporary ride

The Mall!

New Movie Theater Hallway Graphic Side 1

New Movie Theater Hallway Graphic Side 2

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

... And now Sports with Tommyspoon

This is my line of the day:

The White Sox are not your team. You wouldn't know Scott Podsednik if he knocked on your door and announced: "Wilbon, I'm Scott Podsednik. Kiss me."

-- Tony Kornheiser, from today's column

And Now, For My 100th Post...

... a Pop Quiz!

Ok, close your books and pay attention class!

Question: Name the film that Dad screened last night in hospital?

Hint: 'Oooh!  Oooh!  Daddy wants to...

Post your answer in the comments.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Krauthammer Scenario

I'm Gonna Blow!
Over the weekend, I listened to Charles Krauthammer on "Inside Washington" discuss what I have come to call "The Krauthammer Scenario." Basically, it goes like this: If you knew that a nuclear device was going to explode somewhere in Washington, D.C. in thirty minutes, and you had a person in custody who knew the location of this device, why wouldn't you torture this person to obtain the information?

Why wouldn't I torture this person to obtain the information? Well, laying aside for the moment the numerous psychological studies that suggest torture is not the most effective method to obtain information, there are several reasons why I wouldn't.

  1. Assuming for a moment that you get this person to talk, they cough up an address: the intersection of 7th and D streets. But which one? There are four such intersections in the city. Can you summon enough manpower to search those four locations thoroughly? In thirty minutes? And then defuse the bomb? Doubtful.
  2. Charles has seen "The Peacemaker" too many times. Life is not a movie, Charles. The odds of finding a nuclear device and deactivating it in the time you give are somewhere between slim and none.
  3. Piling on to my #2 reason, this article from The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is not very encouraging. From the conclusion:
    Of course, even advance warning is no guarantee of success, given the difficulty of locating a hidden nuclear device and the limited time that may be available. A comment in the Nevada Operations Office's after-action report on [a recent inter-agency exercise in locating nuclear material] is chilling, not as a criticism of NEST members, with their diverse talents and dedication, but as an acknowledgment of a harsh reality. The report notes that it would be "a drastic mistake to assume that NEST technology and procedures will always succeed, resulting in zero nuclear yield."

Charles, I'd like to ask you a favor. You can continue being a schill for the current administration, but would you please refrain from nuclear speculation. You obviously have no idea what the heck you are talking about.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Genuinely Happy

The reviews are in for "Hauptmann". Both of them are very good, which doesn't surprise me a bit. And I'm very happy for the cast and crew! It's a good show, and I'm glad to know that my departure didn't hurt the production.

So, if you're local, please go see it. I'm probably going to attend the Tuesday night show next week, since that tends to be a low-turnout affair.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Checking In/Checking Out

So, how am I doing these days?

tired of the water
tired of the wine
tired of the future
tired of time
tired of the madness
tired of the steel
tired of the violence
tired of me

-- "Tired of 'Me'", Live

That sums it up nicely, I think.

And just to reassure everyone that I haven't lost my piss and vinegar, someone's gonna have to explain this shit to me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sunday Night Decadence

I attended an orgy Sunday night.

And no, my wife was not invited.

Intrigued? No? (Ah, you know me too well, dear reader.)

No, this was an orgy of the culinary variety. Dan, the Groom, and six of us went here and ate. A lot. No, really. We. Ate. A. Lot. How much? Well, I can't give you an accurate measurement, but the T-Bone I ate was as big as my face. And I haven't even discussed how large the shrimp were. Or the Carrot Cake, or the pile of powdered sugar surrounding the Drunken Donuts. (For one brief moment, I had a flashback to the first time I ever saw a pile of cocaine being cut up! That's how large the pile was.)

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

After the three-hour repast, we waddled up the street to this place. I shot one horrendous game of 8 Ball and then retired for the evening. But not before getting this "Cue Ball View" shot.

Before the Break

Friday, September 30, 2005

Notes from All Over

Boy, my mind just keeps flitting about from thing to thing to thing...

  • Found this very interesting profile of Senator Rick Santorum, well, very interesting.
  • Dad sang some Cole Porter and Irving Berlin tunes to me yesterday. His recovery is continuing and so is mine.
  • When you have a magnetic dart board, sometimes this happens:

    How do you score that??
  • Yes, the DeLay story is big news around D.C. But another political story has caught my attention, and this one has an academic tilt to it. The embattled American University President Benjamin Ladner has endured votes of no confidence from five out of the six schools at AU, and today it is reported that a majority of the board wants him gone. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • I worked from home yesterday because our furnace was scheduled to be serviced. Well, the technician arrived 40 minutes early. That's never happened to me before. What a nice surprise!

OK, that's enough.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


This week continues to sneak up on me in interesting ways.

  • Dad continues to improve; he is getting ready to be transferred out of the ICU and into the Intermediate Care Facility (which is one floor up in the hospital -- which I take to be a good omen).
  • Even though I still have no regrets about my decision to give up "Hauptmann", I felt a chill come over me when I returned the Lindbergh biography to the library last night. This week is tech week so it is strange not to be experiencing the "half tired/half wired" feeling since I am not a part of the show any longer. I do wish them well. Perhaps I'll go see the show this weekend. Perhaps not. I'm still unsure.
  • The Nationals have reached the 80 win plateau. Yes, I know they were mathematically eliminated from wild card contention earlier this week. But I don't really care. They have been an unqualified success around these parts. I'm just sorry I could only make one game this season. Oh well, there's always next year!
  • Sweetie and I took a walk last night. Fall is creeping up on all of us these days -- even I got a bit of a chill as we were walking about the neighborhood.
I'm sorry there's no photograph accompanying this entry. There's no picture that can describe how I'm feeling these days.


Well now, I'm feeling a bit happier.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Light Peeking Through

Baby baby baby light my way...
Dad is awake at last! He's hungry and talking. For the first time in a while, I'm allowing myself to hope for the best.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Because I'm a Follower at Heart...

... here's my contribution to the Google/Images meme begun by TRP and continued by Hugh, and Joe...

Hey! You look just like Ducky from 'Pretty in Pink'!No, you don't look at thing like him.

... yeah, I know. Only two. Pretty lame, huh?

Peaks and Valleys

Just to let you know that I'm still surfing the emotional highs and lows of the week, may I offer you this picture of yesterday's conference call:

Please provide an appropriate (or inappropriate) caption in the comments.

Odds and Ends

Dad is getting better. His eyes are opening more and more and he is tracking both speech and movement. He smiled for my Sister yesterday and has squeezed both of our hands on command! His doctors are still sleuthing out the source of his infection, but his tests continue to show improvement and his breathing is much better. He is still on the ventilator, and will probably remain on minimal support for a few more days. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Some of you know how terrible I am at self-promotion, so forgive me while I attempt to rectify this situation. Click here to go to the website of the STC Washington, D.C. chapter. Look for this month's edition of the "Capital Letter", which is our chapter's magazine. You'll find a profile of yours truly under the "Member Voices" column. I have no idea why I was chosen to be profiled, but being interviewed was an interesting experience. The next issue will feature the debut of my own column about teleworking, I'll keep you posted.

As of today, I've lost 30 pounds. Most of my pants are either loose or very loose on me, which means I'll have to delve into my wardrobe soon and see what relics from figures past I can find. If nothing turns up, to the Mall I go!

I was supposed to get my hair colored today. Maybe this whole episode is God's way of telling me I'd look terrible as a blonde.

Here's some pictures of last night's dinner: zucchini cakes!

During the Fry

Before the Feast

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's OK

I know that when I'm faced with someone who has either suffered a recent loss or has a family member who is critical, my first reaction is one of dumbstruckness. I just don't know what to say. And who does, really? Whatever you say may be either too kind and optimistic or too cruel and pessimistic.

But it's OK to say anything to me right now.

You can send me an e-mail asking me about the particulars of "non-union, paid" theatrical contracts (thanks Lemming!). You can offer me tix to go see Barry Bonds visit RFK Stadium (thanks Dan!). You can even congratulate me on the 'Skins going 2-0 for the first time in forever (thanks various and sundry coworkers!).

I don't want to turn people away just because they may not know what to say to me.

Just say anything.

Really, it's OK.

Sometimes you have to quit

As you might have noticed, I have removed the "Hauptmann" graphic from the site. That's because I had to quit the show yesterday. It's the right decision to make, but there's a little part of me that is still hurting. Even though it was a nice distraction from my Dad's health, I was unable to concentrate enough to do my best.

So please don't be sad. I don't have any regrets. There'll always be another show.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sights & Sounds

Things that I have learned over the past 72 hours:

  • One of the worst sounds in the world is the sound of a CAT scanner spinning up while you are waiting in an empty hallway at 4 AM.
  • One of the best sounds in the world is a message left on your answering machine from a friend offering help even though he is getting married in less than five weeks.
  • One of the worst sights in the world is your Dad lying in an ICU bed with tubes running in and out of him.
  • One of the worst feelings in the world is helplessness.
  • One of the best feelings in the world is your Director telling you that she doesn't want to replace you because she considers you "the leader of the cast."
  • One of the best things about this week is how closer my Sister and I have become.

Dad is getting better. Slowly. I am encouraged that he can pull through this. It's just going to take a lot of time and patience. And I've got plenty of both.

Monday, September 12, 2005

My Friends Write Letters

A dear friend just sent this to Michael Brown, Director of FEMA:

Dear Brownie,

Since you didn't seem fully prepared for the last hurricane that hit our shores, I am giving you a heads up to let you know that another hurricane is headed our way.

In case you are still not watching newscasts, my local weather forecaster said that Hurricane Ophelia is predicted to hit land tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13, 2005, in South Carolina.

This would be a real good time to pre-position your people in advance of the storm's landfall. Make sure they have lots of water and food with them to help people whose homes may be destroyed. There are also lots of horses in South Carolina that may require assistance - your expertise in that area will be greatly appreciated by South Carolinians left without power and shelter.

Fortunately for you, South Carolina is much closer to Washington D.C. than the city of Louisiana. A quick glance at my United States atlas shows that you can get there by taking Interstate 95 out of D.C., south through Virginia, continuing south through North Carolina, and poof! There you are. If you need more detailed directions, Mapquest is an excellent resource. You won't even need to give your first responders two full days to get there this time.

You may also wish to call on those whose assistance you refused in the hours after Katrina hit: Venezuala, Germany, Iran and Chicago. If you feel uncomfortable accepting help from them, let me know and I will call them over my lunch hour.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. I don't expect to ever be rewarded for my efforts by hearing George W. Bush tell me I did a heck of a job, but I am still happy to help in any way that I can.

But hey, recent history shows that you're likely to receive a Medal of Honor for your performance in the Katrina disaster, so chin up!


A Concerned Citizen



Well, it's official: I'm no longer a bachelor. Yes, I've been married for over four years now, but there was a part of me that was holding onto my bachelorhood with clenched fists and straining fingertips. That part let go this weekend. I'm not sure when this occurred, but I didn't feel like indulging in the usual things I indulge in when Sweetie is out of the house. No wild parties, no beer consumption, no late night movies. None of that.

I did manage to relax a little bit, but I got a few household projects completed. The big one is pictured below.

My New Pantry

Yes, I know, shelves. What's the big deal about shelves? Well, the fact that I managed to locate a stud behind our plaster-coated walls was a huge victory in itself. (Those of you who are familiar with my technical prowess know how huge a victory!) After that, the mounting was relatively painless. It is now full of various bottles and cans that had been cluttering up my small countertop and hogging some much-needed cabinet space. The next step is actually reorganizing that reclaimed space, but there are only so many hours in a day, people.

I also cooked up a whole bunch of food of the meat-variety (hey, gotta take advantage when the vegetarian leaves the house!):

  • One rack of spare ribs (BBQ),
  • One turkey breast (BBQ), and
  • One batch of chicken and turkey sausage dish (Slow Cooker).

All this cooking was done to prepare for the coming weeks as opening night approaches, so it had some practical purpose. But, damn was it tasty! (I'm sorry that there are no pictures of the BBQ. I was too busy eating it...)

The only time my inner bachelor appeared was when watching the 'Skins home opener against Da Bears. An ugly win is still a win, but I'd like to see us put together a touchdown drive at some point during the season. I did catch the end of the Saints/Panthers game and what a finish! I was whooping and hollering louder than for the 'Skins. So both of my favorite teams are 1-0 this morning. That's a nice feeling!

You know what's an even better feeling? Sweetie comes home today! And not a moment too soon!

The Only Cool Starbucks in D.C.

Image courtesy of Ambivalent Images

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

By the Numbers

As of today:

3.5games the Nationals are behind in the NL Wild Card race
16days Dad has been in hospital
22days until "Hauptmann" opens
25.5pounds lost
30miles per gallon (no AC, combining trips, driving slower)

Go Saints!

Other than having a pretty cool logo, I had never given the New Orleans Saints much thought until recently. And I thought that receiver Joe Horn's cell phone end zone stunt two years ago was kinda lame (although the actor in me always appreciates the creative use of props). But both of these things changed for me when I read this great article in the Post. Not only does Joe Horn emerge as someone who has both his priorities and his heart in the right place, but gradually my heart and mind turned toward the New Orleans Saints. What can I, an ardent football fan, do to help this bedraggled and dispirited team?

Become a fan, of course.

And I urge you to become a Saints fan too, if only for this season.

Look, I'm still going to cheer for my 'Skins, but they're probably not headed to the playoffs this year. So I think I can spare a bit of my fandom for the Black and Gold (which is a killer color combo!). They don't play us this season, but I still may find an excuse to paint a black and gold Fleur de Lis on my face and watch them on TV. (That might startle Sweetie a bit, but she's used to me playing dress up by now.)

So, go Saints!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Just a quick programming note. Like TRP, I have enabled the "Word Verification" feature on the comments for this blog. Don't forget kids, SPAM is evil. Evil, evil, evil.

Simmering Over Leadership

I spent the whole of Labor Day Holiday Weekend at a slow simmer. I relied on the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament (the superb Srichapan/Sanguinetti match, Agassi's victory, and James Blake's phenomenal tennis in particular), the gritty play of the Nationals, and visits to my Father in the hospital to avoid getting angry at our administration. At dinner at the In-Laws Sunday evening, my levee broke. My Father-in-Law, who is a conservative in the classic Barry Goldwater mode, was still amazed that people in New Orleans didn't evacuate when told to do so. And then it hit me like bullet to the forehead: the reason I was simmering all weekend became very clear to me. And I turned to my Father-in-Law and I said something like this:

You know something, FIL? There is a difference between ordering people to evacuate and evacuating people. The former requires nothing more than wishful thinking while the latter requires something that this administration knows nothing about: leadership. I may not have voted for President Bush, and neither did the majority of people in New Orleans, but we have one thing in common: we're American citizens. And he is our President. And our President must lead all of us. Even those of us who disagree with him. Even those of us who didn't contribute to his campaigns. Even those of us who didn't vote for him. All of us. This President and his administration have proven themselves to be complete failures in the face of a disaster that may make September 11, 2001 look like a bad traffic accident in comparison. I am sick and tired of being angry at my President. Right now, more than ever, I want my President to lead me. But I'm afraid he doesn't know how.

I finished and took another bite of the amazing hamburger that my FIL made. He looked at me and slowly nodded his head in agreement.

Friday, September 02, 2005

In Their Shoes

TRP is calling for silence.

Scalzi is calling for competence.

CPF is calling for order (scroll down to the "Asshat" entry).

I'd like to call for something else: empathy.

Most of us have means to avoid a natural disaster like a hurricane. But I would like most of us to try on someone else's shoes for a moment. I'm an actor and I do this all the time, so allow me to help.

Imagine that you are poor, perhaps even disabled. All of your wordly possessions are crammed into a 2-story 750 square foot rental home that you share with your diabetic Mother who has had both legs amputated below the knee. You have no car and rely on public transportation to get from home to work to the store. You hear on the television that a hurricane is headed toward your city and is steadily gathering strength. But you've been through storms before and are not too concerned. But then the order to evacuate is issued, and you have no means to get out. You think you can get you and your Mom seats on a Greyhound bus, but you learn that Greyhound closed its doors on Saturday. Today is Sunday. You start to batten down your home as best you can: boarding up your windows and doors, gathering up what food and water that you can get your hands on, and some medicine for your Mom. You hear one of the TV people say that if you are going to ride out the storm you should have an axe so you can cut through your roof if necessary. That stops you cold, and the realization that something very bad is about to happen washes over you like a cold tide. You tell your Mom you'll be right back and not to worry, and you get on your telephone to call 911. All circuits are busy, and when you finally get through to someone they can offer you no help but strongly urge you and your Mom to get out of the city. By this time, the storm has arrived and it is more powerful and terrifying than you ever imagined. The wind. The water. The ferocity. After what seems like forever, the storm begins to abate and you and your Mom and your house have come through reasonably well. There's no TV, no telephone, and as you frantically find your radio you realize that in your rushing around to prepare for the storm you forgot to get fresh batteries. You snap the radio on. Nothing. That cold tide that began washing over you a few hours ago is now colder and darker. And then the water comes. And keeps coming. And keeps coming. Your street now looks like a swollen creek that has overflowed its banks. You move your Mom up to the second floor and start to move the food and water that you have accumulated. The water keeps coming. It's now lapping against your screen door that has somehow survived the horrific winds. It opens and closes in time with the water, banging against your front door that is groaning under the weight of the water. While the front door groans and the screen door bangs you realize that you left your axe downstairs. You arrive at the top of the staircase and look down in horror: your first floor is submerged under almost a foot of water. You charge down the stairs, trying to remember where you put the axe after the TV people told you to get one. There it is! On the kitchen counter. You grab it and slosh back upstairs, the water continuing to rise...

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Please spare a moment to empathize with the people of the Gulf Coast.

Please donate whatever you can.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another Coping Strategy

My company just had one of those "Town Hall" meeting thingies. To begin the meeting, our new President announced that our parent company is matching donations to the Salvation Army at a 50% rate. There was much positive murmuring and applause.

So while I go write out my check, you should ask your employer if they have such a program. And if they don't, then kindly suggest that this would be an excellent time to start one.

Pop Song Memories

I gacked this from Hugh at Three Bed Two Bath and thought it might be an interesting trip down memory lane.

The Rules:

...find the Top 100 songs from the year you graduated from high school, list 'em on your site, highlight the ones you like and cross out the ones you hate. You underline your favorite, and ignore the ones to which you're kind of indifferent.

1. "That's What Friends Are For", Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight

2. "Say You, Say Me", Lionel Richie

3. "I Miss You", Klymaxx

4. "On My Own", Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald

5. "Broken Wings", Mr. Mister (I am an unabashed Mr. Mister fan. And this is one of my favorite songs of all time.)

6. "How Will I Know", Whitney Houston

7. "Party All The Time", Eddie Murphy

8. "Burning Heart", Survivor

9. "Kyrie", Mr. Mister (Not as good a song as #5, but a nice tune.)

10. "Addicted To Love", Robert Palmer

11. "Greatest Love Of All", Whitney Houston

12. "Secret Lovers", Atlantic Starr 13. Friends And Lovers, Carl Anderson and Gloria Loring

14. "Glory Of Love", Peter Cetera

15. "West End Girls", Pet Shop Boys (A nice bridge between my punk/industrial sensibilities and pop music.)

16. "There'll Be Sad Songs", Billy Ocean

17. "Alive And Kicking", Simple Minds (I really love Simple Minds and this is probably my favorite song of theirs. And that love has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my HS Sweetheart thought I looked like the lead singer. No connection. None at all.)

18. "Never", Heart

19. "Kiss", Prince and The Revolution (God, this song is sooooo sexy.)

20. "Higher Love", Steve Winwood (This is not the greatest Stevie Windwood tune, but I really like the whole production of the song. It's slick, it sounds big, it's cool.)

21. Stuck With You, Huey Lewis and The News (This is quite possibly the worst song ever. I'm serious. "I'm so happy to be stuck with you"??? Real romantic, Huey.)

22. "Holding Back The Years", Simply Red (Not much of a song, but his voice just hit me like a hammer the first time I heard it! I actually pulled my car over so I could listen to it better. It still takes my breath away.)

23. "Sledgehammer", Peter Gabriel (I will forever link the album "So" with the summer of 1986. I was down in Bush Gardens Williamsburg headlining a theme park show and having the time of my life. My flatmates and I would crank this song really up on our days off.)

24. "Sara", Starship

25. "Human", Human League

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Coping Strategies Wanted

One thing in my life that I am not coping well with at all is the insufferable conference call that I am subjected to on a weekly basis. I mean, look at me! Pathetic, aren't I?

Any ideas?

Coping Strategies

Folks have been complimenting me lately about how well I'm coping with things. I'm not going to say they're right, but I do find it easier to do something rather than nothing. There was a time in my life when I was very passive and would just wait for things to sort themselves out. But, as the residents of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi are discovering, that tactic rarely works well. The trick is to do the correct thing, rather than just anything. And I fully admit to working on getting that part of the equation right.

Some of my coping strategies of the past few days:

  • Instead of choosing to remain in the dark about my Dad's condition and just waiting for news to appear over my telephone lines, I'm getting very proactive. I've got most of his doctor's numbers in my Treo and have been in the process of calling and/or seeing them to help chart a better course of recovery. Yesterday I met with one of them just to give them information on what's been going on the last week or so. He, in turn, offered to go see my Dad in hospital in a few days. Don't know if that will make a difference, but it makes me feel a tad easier.
  • Instead of using my Dad's situation as an excuse to cease my weight loss activities, I've redoubled my efforts and have broken through that plateau. Current losses total 22.5 pounds. I'm still interested in the bike, but that's gonna have to wait a bit.
  • Instead of getting angry about the usual political stuff, I've just thrown myself into "Hauptmann" a bit more. The dancing last night at rehearsal was quite fun, and the actor playing my wife is an expert choreographer. "You're a good partner, Tom," she complimented. That's nice to hear, since it's been way too long since I've taken a dance class.

I promise more theatrical stuff, really I do! I've just got more things to cope with these days.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Weekend that Was

Saw "Red Eye" and quite liked it. It's no "North by Northwest", but it's a great Saturday night date movie.

Dad continues to mend. They are weaning him off of various and sundry medications and are working on getting him up and moving around. He'll probably be released sometime this week, but we're not sure.

Attended a very nice surprise birthday party on Saturday night. But the highlight of the evening occurred after the party ended. Sweetie and I were standing outside of the restaurant with another couple and their child who's in the middle of potty training. The Father had the child up on his shoulders and was gently spinning around. All of a sudden, this look washed over his face and he took the child off of his shoulders and placed her on the ground. Before any of us had a chance to fully register what had happened, he knelt down and looked his daughter in the eye and the following conversation took place:

"Did you just pee on Daddy?"


"Well, then, it must be hotter out here than I thought."

Whereupon we all burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter. (BTW, both parents handled this situation perfectly. I hope that when I become a Father I'll be just as nonplussed.)

As we parted company, Mom was still a bit rattled by what just happened. I said to her: 'Hey, don't worry about it. Think of what a great Prom Night story that'll be."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

News of the Not So Good Variety

Dad is back in the hospital. He developed a high fever and abdominal pain over the weekend and rebuffed all requests from my Sister and I to seek medical attention. Sister took him to the ER on Tuesday morning and by Tuesday evening he was in the ICU, recovering from abdominal surgery. He is stabilizing and seems to be gettng better.

For those of you who may not know my Dad, let me fill you in a few things. He's a very smart (Yale-educated) man who has had an incredible run of good health over the course of his life. That run seems to have come to an end as of this past April, but either he doesn't realize or refuses to acknowledge this change.

So my quandary is this: how do you convince someone that their health has now changed and they need to be far more careful and proactive?

We're at our wits' end and can use any and all advice you have to offer.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More Rehearsal Notes

Cancel Red Alert. We have a replacement cast member! He read with us last week and we were able to talk him out of auditioning for "The Gin Game." I mean, come on! No contest!

All of Act 2 is now blocked.

Act 2 lines are due this week.

More later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rehearsal Notes

Just a few notes from rehearsals so far:

  • "Houston, we have a problem." A rather large one. We seem to have lost a cast member. I say "seem" because the gentleman in question has not shown up to rehearsal yet. He is new to this area, so perhaps there has been some major communications snafu. But if it isn't, he's got two problems:

    1. He's just blown off one of the more talented directors in this area.
    2. The cast he's just blown off is composed of six directors.

    It's still early in the process, so I'm not too concerned. But we need to get this guy or his replacement in here ASAP.
  • We laid down nine pages of blocking last night. At this rate, we'll have the whole show blocked by Labor Day weekend. And that's a good thing, because then we can start acting as opposed to moving around with scripts in our hands pretending to be actors.
  • There is a question about my hair. It may not be colored! But that matter is still up for debate.

More notes when they become available.

Monday, August 15, 2005

My Method (of) Acting

Part Two: Research & Script Preparation

Tonight marks the beginning of rehearsals. So I thought I'd better touch on the next phase of my process.

Since this is my first historical character I've played, research is going to be very important. I'm reading biographies of both Charles and his wife Anne,
as well as listening to popular music of the period. Some initial impressions:

  • Charles' grandfather fled Sweden because of a brewing political scandal and marital infidelities that resulted in the birth of his Father. That may explain a few things.
  • There is a great picture of Charles on the witness stand at the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann. At first glance, he appears uncomfortable. But the more I look at it, the more it seems that Charles is always wound up pretty tight.
  • Charles had no idea what would happen after he landed The Spirit of St. Louis in Paris. Maybe the kidnapping and murder of his child was a necessary sacrifice for all the adulation, fame, and money.

This process will continue through rehearsals, so I'll offer more insights as they come up.

Now, the next important thing I do is prepare my "working script". I write out all of my lines (and their cues, if necessary) by hand for two reasons:

  1. To help memorize my lines.
  2. To prepare the lines for textual analysis.

For a comprehensive explanation of the kind of textual analysis I do, please read The Actor and the Text by Cicely Berry. The process is pretty simple, yet layered. First, I look at each sentence and determine their subjects, verbs, and any important modifiers. What if a sentence contains more than one modifier? Then I try to determine which modifier is the most important. This is one of many choices that we actors have to make in the crafting of a role. What is of most importance to this character at this moment. Because this can always change later on. I also pay particular attention to slang words. From what I've been able to determine, Lucky don't use no slang. Interesting...

Then, I look for sound patterns, both consonants and vowels. Just doing this provides as much insight into your character as any biographical research. Why? Well, the prevalence of a particular sound (or sound pattern) can indicate one or more vocal choices you can make. People have different vocal habits: slurring, rate of speech, diphthongs, and accents. So you can play with these patterns to develop your character's speech.

Lastly, I divide up the text into "breaths" and "beats." What's a beat? Well, let's look at these famous lines and I'll explain.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Ok, I'll show you my beat diagram of these lines:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:

This is the first beat since it is a complete thought. As an added bonus, it can be comfortably uttered in one breath.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, |
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

This is the second beat. Now, it's longer than the first. But it is a long thought, and you are probably going to take a breath at some point. I choose to take my breath in the middle, but you could take your breath after "troubles", thereby giving the last line more vocal weight.

Shakespeare, or any other verse text, is pretty no-nonsense when it comes to determining breaths and beats. Modern blank verse or text is a bit trickier. Punctuation can help you out, but not always. Take a look at some David Mamet and you'll see what I mean.

This process is almost complete, I'll probably wrap it up this week before rehearsals really get going.

Next up: the rehearsal process.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stop Picking on D.C.!

Like all things in the blogosphere, this rant is brought to you courtesy of a blog post. Specifically, this line from this post from Catholic Packer Fan:

The biggest complaint by DC residents via radio programs and television? The complaint that DC was shunned by ESPN and the '50 States/50 Days' program, because DC is technically not a state. Of course, these are the same people who drive around with license plate border decorations and bumper stickers that read "Washington D.C., taxation without representation". Get over it, people.

(ESPN has since made D.C. the last stop on their tour. So, there you go.)

Now, I enjoy CPF's blog very much and he seems like a wonderful fellow. But I consider his feelings toward D.C. to be disrespectful at best and downright insulting at worst. I'm sure his comments were mainly meant in jest, but that doesn't make them right. As a life-long resident of the D.C. Metropolitan area, I have long considered the lack of congressional representation one of the worst hypocrisies in America. And neither political party has done squat to change this situation. I'll give the Republicans credit for being consistent in their lack of support while the Democrats have paid lip service to this issue for decades. (I couldn't find any mention of D.C. voting rights in either their 2000 or 2004 party platforms.)

Unfortunately, his feelings are shared by a majority of people who live "outside the beltway." And it's not as if they don't have some backup...

The Bone-Headed Constitution

  • Article I, Section 2 provides that the House of Representatives be "composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States."
  • Article I, Section 3 provides that "[t]he Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State".

The Framers' language and purposes make it clear that the representatives provided for in Article I would be the exclusive legislators of the federal government. A plain reading of the Constitution indicates that the Constitution limits congressional voting representation to state residents. (taken from

Now, I hope that most folks realize there are problems with falling back on the Constitution. What are they? Oh, how about this one, and this one, and this one. So, just because it's in the Constitution doesn't mean it can't be changed.

Bone-Headed Congresscritters

In an earlier post I alluded to Congressman Henry Bonilla from Texas who wanted to rename 16th Street "Ronald Reagan Boulevard". But this example is not the most egregious. How about Bob Barr withholding much needed money from Metro unless they renamed a subway stop "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport"? And what about the Congress' thwarting the D.C. Government's attempts to reroute trains carrying toxic chemicals like chlorine gas? Or their recent effort to repeal the District's strict gun laws?

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Bone-Headed Protesters

I understand that Washington, D.C. is always going to serve as a natural focal point for protest in this country. And most folks around here are ok with that. But if you're gonna come to protest, the least you can do is not trash the place. Or issue bomb threats near the White House. I mean, really!

Look, like it or not, there are people who actually live in the District of Columbia. They don't live in Maryland, even though they share a border with the Free State. And they are not part of the Commonwealth of Virginia either (we do have the Potomac River to help out). People such as my Father believe that the District of Columbia shouldn't have any kind of local population whatsoever. I jokingly asked him once if the National Guard should be called out to disperse the population into Maryland. He jokingly responded in the affirmative. So as long as we have American citizens residing there, I believe they should be afforded the same rights that all American citizens enjoy. Seems fair, right?

Well, there are politics in everything and simply asking for something just because it's the right thing to do won't get you far in this town. If you wanna get, you gotta give. So that's why Rep. Tom Davis' plan to offer full voting representation in Congress to D.C. in exchange for granting Utah an extra seat in Congress seems fair to me. Some of my more partisan Democratic friends scoff at this plan as being unfair. "Tell that to a D.C. citizen," I reply. "I think they can teach you a thing or two about what's fair and what's not."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Weighty Matters

Well, I'm down 15 pounds. Yay me. But I think I've hit a plateau that I won't be able to break without some exercise. I used to be somewhat of a gym rat, meaning that I actually liked going to the gym. But the gym has become somewhat inconvenient, so I've been looking for a new outlet.

I considered taking up rollerblading again, but there's a problem: Arlington's got hills, kids. Lots of hills. Ugly, winding hills. Now I'm not afraid of a little speed, but I was never comfortable with navigating hills on two rows of wheels. So, I've not been on my blades much since moving in with Sweetie. I'm not getting rid of my blades just yet, but they are staying in the closet.

That brings us to bicycling. This started way back in 1991 when I began training for a charity century ride (that's 100 miles). On my second morning ride, I locked my back wheel on a rain-slickened wooden bridge, fell and fractured my left hand in two places. During the time I had two pins and a cast, I was informed of my acceptance to the acting program at CUA. So, out went the cycling.

But I never lost interest. I've kept up on every TDF since the late 80s, and even watched several Moab mountain biking championships over the years. My reunion roomie, Hugh, brought his bike to Kenyon and rode the Kokosing Gap Trail one afternoon. I was really jealous because it sounded like a lot of fun. And someone said to me that you should find something fun that will get you out of the house and exercising. Hmm....

My last bike was a fairly nice Univega mountain bike, but I'm not going to go singletracking anytime soon. But Arlington does have some nice hills, so I should have something upright and stable. I think that this will fit the bill nicely. And lucky me, a bike store in Arlington rents them by the week! So, in the next few weeks I'll rent one for a week and see if I actually get out and ride. If I do, then I'll buy it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cultural Notes

Ok, I've got other content to post here, but I thought I'd keep things light for the moment.

Saw "The Devil's Rejects" over the weekend and liked it a lot. And before you reject it out of hand, let me tell you two things: this movie contains the best use of music since "Pulp Fiction", and it has one of the better "cast of unknowns" ever assembled. Rob Zombie a legitimate filmmaker? Apparently, yes.

I've been chillin' with Coke Zero. (And that is probably the most commercial statement I'll ever make on this blog.)

Some bone-headed Congressman from Texas (shocker!) wants to rename 16th Street "Ronald Reagan Avenue". I'll have more to say about this later, but I'd like to make a counter-proposal: I'd like to rename W Washington Street in Pecos "TommySpoon Way". (And, for the record, it's still National Airport. If you call it by its other name I'll just stare at you blankly.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Seattle Highlights

We returned from Seattle exhausted yet elated. Such a fun time was had! Great people, great food, and such a great town. We're definitely returning at some point, if only to do all the things we wished we had time to do this time around.

The Pike Place Market

Fish throwing and the best cherries I've ever had. Oh, and the sandwiches at Three Girls Bakery are thrilling! Yes, thrilling, I tell you!

The Seattle Art Museum

If you can, catch the exhibit on Isamu Noguchi. Very innovative sculptor and designer of furniture, theatrical sets, and large public art projects. The pieces from his collaborations with Martha Graham ("Errand Into the Maze" and "Appalachian Spring") are stunning and provocative.


My favorite funkytown! Where else can you see a Troll Under a Bridge,


a statue of Lenin (with accompanying hot chick),

Hot Chick Hanging Onto Lenin

and an abandoned gas works turned into a public park?

Do Not Climb on the Giant Flywheel

The Everett Aquasox

Yes, they were crushed by the Tri-City Dust Devils 9-3. But we had such a great time! The Bride threw out the first pitch, the Groom sang the National Anthem, and the game ended with actual fireworks!

Oooh! Ahhh!

The Choir

Considering we had only four rehearsals, and only one with the entire choir, I thought we sounded pretty good. The Bride and Groom were moved to tears, and my Sweetie said we sounded "perfect." She wished that there was a tape recorder running. Sounds like we nailed it!

The Wedding

Many laughs, many tears, and much love. The space was grand and so was the couple!

What a Window!

The Reception

The beer, food, and music flowed all night. One of the best parties I've ever attended. We were honored to be seated at the 5-Spot table, named in honor of the restaurant where the couple had their first date. Later, the Groom proposed at the very same table!

Old Friends and New Friends

One of the best things about weddings is the opportunity to meet new people and get reacquainted with folks you haven't seen in forever. The choir brought together many Kenyon folks who I haven't seen or heard from in years. The added bonus being that I got to sing with them -- something I never got the chance to do while at school. So much thanks to Rob, Shelly, and Matt for carrying me through the songs with your skill and humor.

And thanks to the new folks! The Groom's Sister and her Boyfriend were a particular joy. Also one of the readers, his wife and adorable kids were an unexpected pleasure. Gots to get their contact information!

Not bad, eh? Now if only Sweetie and I landed jobs there and we could enjoy Rainier Cherries all year 'round!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Last Exit to Seattle

Ok, it's about T-22 hours and counting until we leave for Seattle and the Wedding of Swank. Let's wrap a few things up:

  • Dad continues to get better. How do I know this? His patience is beginning to slip a bit. "If nothing changes in the next day or two I'll..." "You'll what, Dad?" "I'll continue to rest until something changes." Sigh...
  • Discovery successfully lifted off this morning. Had my fingers crossed from T-3 minutes until T+2 minutes.
  • Pounds are being dropped: 11 so far.
  • Picked up Mrs. Lindbergh bio the other day and will pick up Mr. Lindbergh's bio this evening. Should make for some good airplane reading.

I'll blog again next week when I return. Be nice to each other!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Snapped out of it!

The Lone Ginger Ale
Well, nothing like a busy weekend to snap you out of your doldrums! A list:

  • We received our new washer and dryer Saturday evening. They arrived several hours late due to some scheduling problems (like, several delivery folks quitting). But the guys who delivered were really nice and very efficient. We tipped them well, despite the delay.
  • Visited Dad in the hospital on Sunday. His healing is proceeding apace, and we're waiting on a specific discharge date. Today is his birthday, and I can't think of a bigger bummer than spending your birthday in the hospital! So, send some good thoughts his way.
  • Cleaned the kitchen top to bottom. And I do mean top to bottom! All hail the power of Goo Gone!
  • Sampled the cheese pizza from the new local joint. The picture above is from the takeout case. Thought the little guy looked lonely in there next to all those San Pellegrino and San Bernedetto bottles.
  • Mowed and trimmed the lawn. Also helped Sweetie uproot and discard the multitude of weeds that have overtaken parts of our yard.

So now we're looking forward to Seattle. For the first time in a few weeks I'm excited about the trip. Good friends, good food, and a wedding! What more could you want?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Yeah, a new look

Perhaps it will help both the Nationals and myself out of our respective slumps.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Timely Meme

Although I am neither a Catholic nor a "Cheesehead", I feel compelled to pile on to the Catholic Packer Fan's meme.

What were you doing...

...10 Years Ago

Being miserable. I was single, lonely, drinking and smoking way too much. I just began my Technical Writing career by working as a government contractor with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. Even though I did enjoy the work, I had to give up my theatrical career to take this job. I felt like I was the biggest failure in the world, hence the drinking and the smoking.

...5 Years Ago

Living with my Sweetie in a post-WWII Arlington, VA, apartment. While we were busy planning our wedding, my Mom was nearing the end of her battle with lung cancer. Despite this, I was pretty happy. I was working for a dot com company in Alexandria, VA, even had my own office with walls and everything! I was very involved with The Actors' Center, having been recently elected to the Board of Directors. I began to feel like an adult.


Spent a little under four hours at the hospital awaiting the results of my Dad's surgery. He came through just fine, and was moved up to his room to begin recovery. His room is on the top floor and the view is really nice, and the view inspired me to complete this meme.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So What's for Dinner?

Having trouble with summertime dinners? Have no idea what to do with all that squash and zucchini that threatens to overrun your local market? And what about pesto? Here's something I threw together last night that might answer all those questions for you.

1 zucchini diced medium
1 yellow squash diced medium
1/2 vidalia onion chopped roughly
1/2 pepper (red or green) diced small
2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped (you can use the stuff in the jar if pressed for time)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of penne pasta
1/4 cup of fresh pesto (or store bought with no Parmesan added)
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Set aside in colander, allowing it to thoroughly drain.
  2. Heat olive oil and add onion and garlic. Saute until most of the moisture has been driven from the onion.
  3. Add squash, zucchini, and pepper. Saute for 5-10 minutes, based on how firm you like your veggies.
  4. Add pesto and feta and stir until combined.
  5. Add pasta and stir until completely coated.

Should make four servings with crusty bread and a salad.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Eye on the Ball

I'm not a big fan of Frank Rich, but this paragraph from yesterday's column in the NYT is priceless:

Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

So, to my fellow democrats/liberals/progressives out there: keep your eye on the ball. What's the ball? Rich continues:

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

Follow the uranium, indeed.

My Method (of) Acting

Part One: Paperwork

Yep, that's the first thing I do: enter the production schedule, cast and crew information, and other relevant data into my PDA. (My Treo 650 will be very nice to have because it's an all-in-one deal.) What does this have to do with acting? Little, I suppose. But since I am an amateur at this point in my theatrical life, I have to balance the show with work and home. Most of the time, this presents few problems. But conflicts do arise, and I do occasionally put in long days at the office. So having the whole schedule entered ahead of time helps me concentrate on the artistic stuff.

A few observations from this activity:

  • This is a good production crew. I personally know the Producer, Director, Set & Costume Designer, and the Properties Designer. Their work is splendid as a whole.
  • The cast is also top notch. I personally know four out of the seven cast members, including the woman playing my wife. This sometimes makes work on intimate moments easier. The other thing I noticed is that this is an older cast, maybe one of the older ones I've worked with in a while. I'm hopeful that this means less time wasted at rehearsals.
  • The schedule is ambitious. We are rehearsing in reverse-order (to accommodate some conflicts) and we're expected to get off book pretty quickly.

Next up, gathering information!

Friday, July 15, 2005


They finally nabbed Borf.

Unless you're a denizen of the D.C. metropolitan area, that sentence probably makes no sense to you. To sum up: a graffiti artist (or "tagger" as they are sometimes called) named "Borf" has been leaving his mark all over D.C. The tags are varied, but they usually involved a phrase like "Borf writes letters to your children" (tagged on a mailbox) and a newspaper-like photograph of a young man's face (some have compared it to Jerry O'Connell). The best known tag was probably the one on a sign on the D.C. side of the Roosevelt bridge (see above).

Borf turned out to be an 18 y.o. boy from Great Falls, VA. And who is "Borf"? Borf was the nickname of a friend who committed suicide two years ago.

Predictably, the upper-middle class citizenry of D.C. have expressed joy and relief that this criminal mastermind has been caught. The tone during an online chat with Marc Fisher yesterday was one of "who does this kid think he is?"

Two words, people: chill out.

Maybe I'm not fully grown up yet, but I don't see graffiti as one of the worst problems afflicting the city. To me, graffiti is part of the urban landscape. One of my favorite websites is Satan's Laundromat, which has some great pictures of the gritty NYC landscape (including some great graffiti). I grew up eagerly wondering where Cool "Disco" Dan was going to strike next. So, to all you city dwellers out there: get used to graffiti. It's been around a long time, and it isn't disappearing anytime soon.

"Well, Tom," you say, "would you want graffiti on the side of your house?" That depends. If it's something like this, I'm cool. I'm not so cool on profanity or anything pornographic in nature. As for Borf, well, I hope he goes to a good art school and has a nice artistic career. And I also hope that he keeps a permanent marker and a can of spray paint in his Israeli Paratrooper bag...