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...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Coming Attractions

Ok, now that I'm about a month out from starting rehearsals for "Hauptmann", I'm going to use this blog as a laboratory of sorts. I've always wanted to "research" my own acting process and I think "Exit, pursued by a bear" will provide a satisfactory outlet.

So, beginning next week, I'll try to pull back the curtain on my acting process. I will warn you that some of what I write may not make a lick of sense to anyone but me, but such is life. You can participate in this process by leaving comments or sending me an e-mail. I will endeavor to answer any and all questions that you submit.

Should be an interesting ride! Hope you'll hop on!

Downtown with Dad

7th and E Streets, NW

Before Dad has some surgery next week (a follow-up to his adventures in April), he switched our tickets to "Lady Windermere's Fan" at the Shakespeare Theatre. So I took him downtown last night, bought tapas at Jaleo, and then settled in for a delightful evening of Oscar Wilde. Dixie Carter was positively divine as Mrs. Erlynne, a true star's turn. And while this kind of play is not my usual cup of tea, I love it when it is done as well as this.

Happy Bastille Day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

For We are Explorers...

Everyone who knows me must be aware of my unconditional love for all things space-related. So it should come as no surprise that my eyes are focused on the Kennedy Space Center in Florida today. STS-114 is scheduled for liftoff at 3:51 PM EST today. NASA is calling this launch "Return to Flight", and while that is a fitting title it doesn't seem to do this moment justice.

When Columbia was destroyed during reentry two years ago, I was driving to rehearsal for "Love! Valour! Compassion!". I listened in horror as the news came over the radio, and was depressed for the rest of the day. After I returned home, I sat in front of the TV, saddened by the pictures of the wreckage that was strewn over Texas and Louisiana. Sweetie didn't understand why I was so affected. Yes, I was mourning the loss of the crew. But I was more afraid that this accident might spell the end of manned spaceflight.

The Shuttle program is a victim of its own success. The goal was to make space travel as common and everyday as any other form of transportation. And NASA succeeded, to a point. Shuttles were seemingly going up all the time (only one network provided live coverage of the Challenger launch in 1986), but the crews were still made up of military pilots and space scientists. There was little thought given to including the public in the exploration of space. So the public stopped caring about the shuttle program and manned space flight.

More and more grumblings were heard from politicians about cutting NASA's budget. The agency responded by building cheaper unmanned probes, with varying degrees of success. And then Spaceship One won the X Prize. In the Fall of 2004, Spaceship One was launched into low-earth orbit twice in a two-week timeframe, proving that private space travel is a practical matter. There are plans afoot to start taking tourists into space within the next ten years. Now the public's imagination and yearning for space travel has been rekindled. Thus the interest in today's shuttle mission.

Once upon a time, I would take the opportunity to go into space no questions asked. Now that I am married and looking forward to having children of my own, that desire has been diminished. But I still look heavenward with fascination, wonder, and envy for those who break the confines of Earth and move through the gulf of space. For we are all explorers, and we should never cease exploring.

God speed, Discovery!


Well the launch was scrubbed for today. I'm bummed, but exploration always suffers setbacks.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Workin' for the Weekend

Ever since Sweetie graduated from GWU with her MPP, some readers of this fine blog (A Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community since April!) have wondered how she would spend her copious amounts of free time. If this past weekend is any indication, then the answer to that question is one word: exhaustion. Lemme give you a little list of our weekend's activities:

    Friday Evening

  • I took Dad to a doctor's appointment, then to dinner with my Sister here. After dinner, I felt a bit restless and wanted to celebrate surviving a very busy week. So I took myself to see this. Not too bad, but Spielberg's pathological fear of unhappy endings is grating on my last nerve.
  • I came home to find Sweetie sitting in the bathtub wearing her painter's clothes. What was she doing? Oh, just caulking the tub. We had spoken earlier in the day about her desire to do that this weekend (which would involve forgoing showers for 24 hours while the caulk dried) but I didn't expect to find her in medias caulk. I helped her clean up and then we hit the sack.


  • Continuing our long-standing Saturday morning ritual, we hit the Arlington Farmer's Market and then the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery for breakfast. After I put away the veggies and cleaned the kitchen, Sweetie went back to sleep for three hours.
  • While Sweetie slept, I snipped about two feet of basil off our plants in the front yard and made some pesto. That's when I knew she was really tired, because the food processor did not wake her up.
  • Upon her rising, I started doing the laundry and planning dinner. Sweetie donned her painter's clothes and commenced to touch up the back bedroom.
  • In between painting and laundering, we watched the Nationals lose a close game to the Phillies.
  • For dinner, I grilled some zucchini and squash, corn on the cob, a foil packet of potatoes and onions, and some chicken for myself. Another grill success story!
  • We concluded our Saturday with another long-standing ritual, watching Cops. It's the best program to fold laundry to, IMHO.


  • We slept in! (Ok, sleeping in for us is like, 9 AM, but that's another story.)
  • For breakfast, I made blueberry/raspberry muffins for Sweetie to thank her for her hard work on the bedroom and bathroom.
  • After reading the paper, we got ourselves dressed and headed downtown to the Japan Information and Cultural Center to see an exhibit of printmaking called Ukiyo-E. It was really fascinating and pretty, but the lights were kept low due to the age of some of these prints (some almost 250 years old!) and, as a result, we were both lulled into a kind of exhaustion that lasted all the way through dinner at her folks' house.

Another action-packed weekend! At this rate, we'll either be running marathons in six months or we'll be six feet under...

Friday, July 08, 2005

"Well, we hurt each other, then we do it again."

I feel sadder today than after September 11, 2001. Because unless the Western World makes some very radical changes to its culture, its policies, and its lifestyle, this shite is gonna be with us for a long, long time. Our "war on terror" seems to be as successful as our "war on drugs."

Sometimes I feel like our society fits the definition of an insane person: someone who does the same thing again and again while expecting different results.

Yes, yes, I know. Vigilance, and all that. Sorry, ain't got none to spare today. Try me next week.

UPDATE (9:45 AM)
Ok, this cheers me up a bit.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Painting, BBQ, and the ER

That's a good description of my holiday weekend. On Sunday, I spent the day with my Dad in the ER. Due to some nasty medication interaction, he took a bad tumble down the stairs. No major damage, but he strained his left hand and wrist badly and cut up his forearms. It was a long day, but I did learn a few things that may help if you have older parents:

  1. Keep a list of all the medications that your parents take and make sure it is correct and up to date.
  2. Ask lots and lots of questions. Remember, unless there is an M.D. after your name, you don't know diddly.
  3. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, even though you can't use it inside the hospital.

Dad is on the mend, and we hope to get his mediation situation straightened out this week.

But there were some nicer highlights of the weekend. Here's one:

While I was taking care of my Dad, Sweetie busied herself by painting the back bedroom. Three of the walls are "Cucumber Crush" (the color on the right) and the remaining wall is "Rockland Jade." (These are Behr paint colors, you can go to their website and look 'em up.) Sweetie is a really great painter, and she picked out some great colors for the room. I was kinda worried that these might not go together, since I am color blind in my Red-Green shift.

And here's another:

Yes, Tommy finally bbq'd some ribs this weekend! No, I haven't eaten them all yet. I'm using them for sandwiches this week. It was nice to have my smoker up and running well, something that eluded me all last summer.

Here's hoping that the rest of the summer involves more BBQ and painting, and far less ER!