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