Thursday, December 28, 2006


President Gerald Ford passed away this week and that's very sad for his family and admirers. I don't hold any bad feelings toward the former president, but I find the laudatory overload in the media a bit much. By most accounts, President Ford was an affable and intelligent man who served his country when his country needed him. But I got two rather large problems with this man's legacy:

  1. The pardoning of President Nixon was not the best thing for the country, despite what the great wise men of Washington (Broder, Woodward, et. al.) say. It may have calmed things down inside the Beltway, but it brought no closure for the rest of the country. Over thirty years after Nixon left the White House, we are still debating Nixon's conduct. By contrast, consider the OJ trial: other than the occasional celebrity sighting of OJ in some bar or shopping mall, we don't talk about that mess anymore. Why? Because there was a trial and a verdict. No matter how you felt about the outcome of that trial, our legal process was allowed to operate as intended. This allowed the country to move on. President Ford circumvented this process and set one man above the law. That's as un-american as it gets, IMHO. In this light, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Nixon's pardon encouraged and enabled the conduct of the current occupant of the White House.

  2. In 1975, Indonesia occupied East Timor and killed over 200,000 people in the process. What did President Ford have to do with that? Well, he gave the government of Indonesia permission. You can read the high-level details here. You could argue that Kissinger had more to do with this tragedy than Ford, but Ford was president, not Kissinger. Ford could have persuaded the Indonesian government to go a different way, but he did not. The reasons don't matter much to me; those 200,000 dead people do. That blood stains President Ford's hands; I hope that his God is a forgiving one.

So, how will I remember President Ford? Fair to middlin', I guess. He may have been kind and intelligent and civil, but he made some large mistakes that still reverberate today. I guess you can say that about most presidents.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

can't believe [they] got so far with a head so empty

I shouldn't care about this story at all, but since I attended an Episcopal college and have a number of friends who are members of the Episcopal church, I find myself drawn to it nonetheless. My feelings are those of sadness and resignation: it seems like bigotry and intolerance are not going to go away as quickly as some of us might like.

And to those Episcopalians who bristle at my use of the word bigot, let me ask you a question: What would you call discrimination against women and homosexuals?

Gotta Work on This...

I'm not a well-travelled fellow. Bad fellow, no biscuit!

The World:

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

The Country:

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Teaser!

Coming in 2007...

"Bride and Doom"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Check Out These Speculations

  • Pinochet is dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish. He brought terrorism to my hometown in 1976 with the assassination of Orlando Letelier and his aide by a car bomb in downtown D.C.

  • Big Box Stores scare me. I accompanied my Dad to Costco yesterday to pick up a new microwave and assorted other household items. I hadn't been in one of those kinds of stores in several years. Wow. Scary. Too many people. Too many juxtaposed items (meat not more than thirty feet away from garden hoses). Just too much. Call me old fashioned, but I'll gladly go to the grocery store, the hardware store, and the liquor store separately.

  • Baking is upon us in earnest. This weekend, Sweetie mixed together about 5 batches of cookie dough which is now chilling nicely in the fridge. I experimented with my Mom's cranberry cake recipe by baking it in smaller sizes. After two batches, we figured out how to make "mini-cakes" successfully. Look for these in a holiday gift basket near you.

Monday, December 04, 2006

30 Questions!

It's like 20 questions, with a bonus!

1. In two words, explain what ended your last relationship? Distance & Longing

2. When was the last time you shaved your legs? The last time I performed in drag... um, over ten years ago, I think.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8am? Hard at work.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago? See #3.

5. Are you any good at math? Nope.

6. Your prom night? Which one? I had 4...

7. Do you have any famous relatives? I'm pretty sure that Reese Witherspoon is a distant cousin. But I'm still trying to verify that.

8. Have you ever taken out a loan to pay for school? Hell yes. Undergrad is paid off; working on the grad.

9. Do you know the words to your MySpace song? I have no MySpace page.

10. Last thing received in the mail? Shoes from Zappos!

11. How many different beverages have you drank today? Coffee and water.

12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machines? Sometimes, but I try to keep them brief.

13. First concert? Billy Idol

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? Yes, right next to the sand castle.

18. Do you like the ocean? Yes

19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different kinds of popcorn for Christmas? Not for a while.

20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yes

22. Something you are excited about? Acting and Theater, Politics, History, Cooking

23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? Peach. It was my Mom's favorite during her chemotherapy.

24. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive? No

25. Describe your keychain? A brass fob with the word "STAR" on it. A gift from my Mom years ago.

26. Where do you keep your change? My pocket and then our piggie at home.

27. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? I gave a presentation at the TAG Conference in Baltimore.

28. What kind of winter coat do you have? A surplus Navy pea coat.

29. What do you think of the person you copied this from? Goddess of grammar and wine.

30. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Open

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"How's your boy?"

Yet another piece of evidence that our current Commander-in-Chief doesn't deserve the title.

"How's your boy?"

Mr. President, with all due respect, stop playing the folksy card. You should know how Mr. Webb's boy is doing -- you sent him over there!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tommy versus Kramer

At my new place of employment, people have been asking my opinion about Michael Richard's implosion at the Laugh Factory in L.A. I'm not going to comment about his choice of language (which was appalling), but here are some of my thoughts about this incident:

  • Mr. Richards violated the cardinal rule of performing: NEVER INSULT YOUR AUDIENCE. EVER. Once you do that, you've lost the battle and the war. Audiences behave collectively: even if some audience members disapprove of the behavior of other audience members, they will all react together. Whether that reaction entails walking out en masse or joining the heckling, pretty soon the performer will be one against many. And any military strategist will tell you that's a losing proposition. A microphone is not an adequate weapon against a mob.

  • The audience members who were either heckling or simply talking amongst themselves (reports vary) should be ashamed of themselves. I'm not saying they deserved to be insulted, but they behaved rudely before Richards did. If you pay money to see a show, you should take your seat and keep quiet so the people around you (who also paid to see this show) can enjoy themselves.

  • This incident illustrates why I can't do stand up comedy. I've tried it once or twice and failed miserably because I can't tell a joke to save my life. But I've been heckled several times over the years and I'm here to tell you that I've never experienced the kind of rage that heckling triggers inside of me. I don't want to go to their offices and make fun of them while they are on the job (a la "Seinfeld"). I want to kill them, plain and simple. So I completely understand where Mr. Richard's rage came from that night.

Once again, let me state that I am not apologizing for his use of a racial epithet. That was only one of the stupid things he did that night on that stage. As a seasoned performer, he should have known better than to insult the people who signed his paycheck.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Stupid or Gullible?

Sweetie and I watched last night's "60 Minutes" piece on the new book, "Tempting Faith" (segment and recap can be reached here).
As I listened to Mr. Kuo's comments, two thoughts went through my mind:

  1. Well, duh.
  2. Nice to see that gullibility is alive and well.

As a long-time secularist (but not a fundie secularist) I have been long-offended by the notion that people of my ilk were busy trashing the Christian religion. I hope this book puts that silly notion to rest. I am certain that some of us secularists view the activities of various organized religions with a measure of disdain and/or humor, but at least we haven't been conning religious folks out of their dollars and votes.

I am certain that many of my fellow secularists may think that these evangelical Christians must be dumber than a sack of hair. I disagree. What you are seeing here is gullibility on a massive scale. And I have to doff my derby to the GOP for carrying this charade on for so long. And, if there is a heaven/hell, I do hope that Ralph Reed has his own personal rack reserved.

I am also certain that some of my fellow secularists may laugh heartily at Mr. Kuo's surprise that the GOP was taking advantage of he and his fellow evangelicals. Mr. Kuo, why do you think so many of us become secularists in the first place? Whenever evangelicals raise the roof about gay marriage, abortion, or the loss of God in the schools, all I ever think about is this: What about the poor? I thought that Jesus spoke often about the poor. What happened to the notion of helping the least among us?

I once told an evangelical Christian who was busy trying to convert me that I would gladly join his congregation if they would stop talking about gay marriage and abortion and instead discuss the poor and the downtrodden. He got kind of a curious look on his face as if he had never considered those issues until that moment. I've never forgotten that encounter.

Now perhaps some of you evangelical Christians may fully understand why church and state should be separated. I think Mr. Kuo's gotten the message, at least for now.

Friday, September 29, 2006

On the Death of America

I guess I should be thankful that my Mom isn't around to see this.

My heart is broken.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

God, am I in a Mood

It started on Tuesday. I'll let Arlington County Government tell you all about it:

Around 2:00 pm yesterday afternoon in the East Falls Church area of Arlington, a contractor for Dominion Virginia Power was replacing a high voltage cross arm when it fell on another high voltage cross arm, creating a large power surge in that area. Customers experienced a power surge and an 8 minute power outage.

So I spent Tuesday night and most of yesterday in a low state of panic about the electrical system of our home. The house was built in 1941 and the electrical system is probably not much younger. We still use fuses in our home, not those fancy shmancey breaker boxes that most of y'all have. Long story short, our home is fine. We replaced a few fuses and tested the outlets and such and everything is ok. We did suffer a few casualties: 3 blown surge protectors and the wireless network booster module (which was protected by one of those blown surge protectors). But our PCs and TV and various other electronics are just fine. So let that be a small lesson to y'all: invest in surge protectors.

Several posts from my friends made me begin to question my faith in my fellow man.

Most importantly, the House said it's ok for the President to torture people. I can't tell you how sad and depressed this makes me. Does anyone else care about this besides me? I'd appreciate any evidence that can be offered.

A ray of consolation was offered by my Sweetie a few days ago. She gave me this as a small present celebrating my new job. It's now stuck to my flap of my bag. Hey, it's something to lift my spirits.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Forceful Plea

It's not often that I use this platform to ask for anything from its readership. But I am going to ask each of you to do one thing: Contact your elected representatives in congress and ask them not to pass this ridiculous "compromise" on torture. You can do it by e-mail or phone or both.

If you live in the United States of America and you love this nation as much as I do, please do this. Thank you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

When Worlds Collide...

I love it when football and my career come head to head. Norman Chad from today's column in WaPo:

Q . Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders has a 700-page playbook. Wouldn't you think some of those plays are designed to produce touchdowns? (Ken Alexander; Seattle)

A . The problem with Saunders's 700-page playbook is that it's not indexed. So it takes a really, really long time to find the right play.

Let that be a lesson for y'all: don't forget to index. Maybe that's why our QB stank up the joint until yesterday...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

While on the subject...

Ms. Lohan's recent antics have sparked a few thoughts from yours truly. Having just spent several days under lights and camera I understand that making movies is not all peaches and cream. (I much prefer the theatrical process to the cinematic one, but no matter.) And I can only imagine what it must be like to be hung over (or "dehydrated") while on set. But if the demands of being a highly paid film actor are too demanding, then please step aside and open up some opportunities for other actors to fill your "exhausted" shoes. There are several young women that were extras for "Bride and Doom" that would be more than happy to swap places with you, Ms. Lohan. And I can almost guarantee that they will show up for work, on time, sober, and prepared.

More Shooting

Spent the weekend in a funeral home shooting the final scenes of "Bride and Doom." That's me looking ever so creepy and somber in the chapel.

Tommy at the altar.

The work went very well; I even cracked up the cameraman during my sermon. These people have been much fun to work with, and that made my eerie discovery easier to handle.

We shared the building with two "clients", each tucked away in their own viewing room. One was a woman in her 80's who seemed perfectly at home in her satin-lined eternal bed. The other was a young man killed in Iraq. 22 or 23 years old, I think. I stumbled into his room purely by accident wile searching for a quiet place to warm up. (I don't think he would have minded a bit if I conducted my usual physical and vocal routines, but I was sufficiently spooked that I excused myself. Yes, I said "Excuse me" to a corpse. Guess my manners are lodged firmly in place.)

As the day wore on, I couldn't get his cherubic face out of my mind. I've been to funerals of young people, but there's always something disturbing about seeing such a young person lying in a casket. The mortician's touch on a young person seems to beatify them in a way that has always creeped me to the bone. And the more I thought about this poor young man and his family, the more it got under my skin. I warned several people not to go into that room, so they would be spared the awful sight.

I shared my feelings with one of the cast and she told me how one of her relatives was injured in some military training and would not be returning for his third tour. She said he is feeling despondent because he is looking forward to a career in law enforcement and this back injury might prevent him from realizing that dream. I told her about my experience at the ATF and said that there are more ways to catch bad guys than jumping out of squad cars and kicking down doors. She said that she was happy that her relative had been injured so that he has been spared that third tour of duty. "Looking at the poor young man in there," she gestured to the viewing room, "really brings it home, doesn't it?" "It makes me really angry," I responded. "Angry and sad. There's no good reason for him to be lying in there." She nodded sadly.

And then we were called for our next scene. Art, like life and war, always goes on.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Behind the Scenes

<br />Snapped at the end of a very long shooting day...

Snapped at the end of a very long shooting day...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More Pictures From The Home Front

Offered with no comment or context...

An Evening with Beethoven

Great Falls After Rain


Shoes While Shopping

Ice Cube's Tour Bus

Friday, June 23, 2006

Munchy Movie Meme

Ok, by now you must know the drill...

A. Pick 11 of your favorite movies.
B. Then pick one of your favorite quotes from each movie.
C. Post the quotes on your blog.
D. Have commenters guess what the movie is.
E. Either strike out the quote once it has been correctly identified or place the guesser'’s user name directly after the quote.
F. Extra points for knowing the actor or character√É‚’s name.

1. "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true..." (from "2001: A Space Odyssey", Joe with the correct answer)

2. "Do you know the way to Shell Beach?" (from "Dark City", toporific with the correct answer. And yes, it is a very underrated movie.)

3. "The Champ is here! The Champ is here!" (from "Ali", Joe with the correct answer)

4. "I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid."

5. "No, don't speak. Don't speak. Silence. Silence. Don't speak!" (from "Bullets Over Broadway", Joe with the correct answer)

6. "Let's go get sushi and not pay." (from "Repo Man", Dan with the correct answer)

7. "I don't know that stuff. I just do eyes." (from "Blade Runner", Mick with the correct answer)

8. "Get away from me you shitter!"

9. "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamned right." (from "Apocalypse Now", Mick with the correct answer)

10. "Well, I'll give him another twenty minutes; but that's it!" (from "Airplane!", TRP with the correct answer)

11. "It was real greaseball stuff." (from "Goodfellas", Oddangel with the correct answer)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Several Thousand Words

Here's a few snaps of my recent days. More words later, I promise!

The Threepenny Opera at Studio 54

"The Threepenny Opera" at Studio 54

STC Conference in Las Vegas

STC Conference in Las Vegas

The Scrim for Blue Man Group

The Scrim for Blue Man Group

Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

The Strip from the Stratosphere

The Strip from the Stratosphere

Dad Dances

Dad Dances!

Needless to say, the last one's my favorite.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tale of 2

I've had two auditions in the past two days. They were very different, and yet each of them left me with a similar taste in my mouth.

Audition #1
Genre: Independent Film
Location: Waldorf, MD

This was actually my second audition for this project. I won't divulge the title, but based on the sides I've read so far I would categorize this film as a very campy murder mystery. Think John Waters meets "CSI:" or "Cold Case". I've read for a forensic lab technician and a hot and bothered preacher. I get the sense that they are interested in working with me, but they have obviously not made up their minds about how they want to use me. Indecisiveness is not a quality that you run across often in this business. So half of me is amused. The other half is thoroughly irritated about driving the hour and twenty minutes from my house to the audition site. I'm hoping that they make up their minds soon so I don't have to beg off another trip.

Audition #2
Genre: Theatre
Location: Herndon, VA

This was the second night of auditions for "The Bible: The Complete Word of God Abridged". It's an improv-style show penned by the same folks who wrote "Shakespeare Abridged". Unfortunately for the company, the weather system that produced those horrible tornadoes in the Midwest over the weekend arrived in our area yesterday. There were high winds, lots of lightning, and a bit of rain and hail. (All in all, we fared much better than our Midwestern counterparts. I'm sending my good karma and thoughts to those affected.)

So I wasn't surprised that I was only the second person to show up last night. But I was surprised that I was only the seventh person to audition overall. Basically, I walked into the theater last night to find the producer, director and stage manager loitering in the lobby hoping and praying that people would show up. I dutifully filled out my audition form (that was when I noticed that I was lucky number 7), had my picture taken, and was asked if I could return on Thursday evening for callbacks (they were originally scheduled for tonight). I hope that there was a mad rush of folks after I left and the weather improved.

I'm not sure what to do about this. I'm going to the callbacks on Thursday because I never turn down an opportunity to audition. But I'm concerned that this show attracted so few people. Since I wouldn't be getting paid for this, the quality of the people involved means a lot to me. I guess we'll see what happens on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Weekend Reviews

Reviews from our Fifth Wedding Anniversary Weekend:

Willow Restaurant. Two thumbs up. One of the best filets I've ever had on the East Coast, and Sweetie's lentil and wilted green entree was to die for. One of my yardsticks for a good meal out is if I want to make the meal at home. Yeah, I think I'll try to recreate this soon.

"Forever Plaid" at RCP. Mixed thumbage. We enjoyed the performance of our friend, Troy Miller, very much. He's got such a great presence on stage. The show itself is very cliche and cheesy, but that's the point. (I am afraid that in 10-15 years or so the entire "Ed Sullivan Show" parody will have to be removed because the people who get those jokes may not be around anymore.) The best moment of the evening involved a ketchup bottle that had been struck one two many times.

National Museum of the American Indian. Mixed thumbage. Two of the exhibits we enjoyed very much, but the rest of the museum feels very scattered. Artifacts are displayed with very little context (although with plenty of interactivity!). The building itself is gorgeous, particularly the interior. As a bonus, we actually drove down and found parking right next to the museum! Gotta pay back the parking karma...

Alton Brown's "The Chewy" Chocolate Chip Cookie. Two thumbs up. Sweetie now has another baking assignment: these cookies. Like meth, these cookies are...

"Thank You For Smoking"
. Two thumbs up. The ensemble is terrific! With the exception of Katie Holmes. She. Can. Not. Act. At. All. We left trying to figure out why she gets parts. But JK Simmons and William H. Macy more than make up for her. It's very funny and even-handed in its sarcasm. Check it out!

Our Waiter at Tutto Benne. Two thumbs down. I'm gonna submit this episode to Tom Sietsema's chat this week because it really flabbergasted us. Sweetie (a vegetarian) orders the cheese ravioli and it arrives dressed in a meat sauce. She didn't realize that she had to choose between marinara and meat sauce and so asked the waiter to make the change. Not only did he express profound reluctance to make the switch, but implied that he would be charged for the "extra dish." We were both a bit flummoxed, but Sweetie pointed out that he hadn't asked her if she had a preference. The dish was fixed and everything ended up ok, but it left a pretty bad taste in our mouths.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Breaking Radio Silence

So. I haven't been around here for a while. Sorry about that. I've been in a bit of a funk, the sources of which are various and sundry. I'm not getting into the actual reasons for the funk, but here's a list of things that are not causing me pain:

  • The tattered state of my NCAA brackets. My two final teams (Duke and Villanova) are still alive, but there is a big X where my Washington, D.C. bracket used to be.

  • The tattered state of Barry Manilow's face. It's so sad to see one of my childhood idols fall prey to the plastic surgeon's blade.

  • The tattered state of Alfonso Soriano and the Nats. Sure, he took Left Field yesterday. So how 'bout tomorrow?

I'm feeling a bit better today than I have in a few days. So don't worry, the only way to go is still up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Swooning a Bit

I'm getting over a really nasty head cold, so much of my life right now appears to be swaying from port to starboard.

But this is an interesting piece of news:

You Are 40% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

As I was going to St. Ives...

... I met a man with seven wives.
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kittens.
Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?

Gakked from TRP:

"Scar Tissue" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Most of the RHCP lyrics are utter nonsense and thus should be ignored. But I can't get the following line out of my head these days: "I'll make it to the Moon if I have to crawl." The interplay between Flea and John Frusciante is simply beautiful.

"American Car" by Mike Doughty. I love Soul Coughing. I love Mike Doughty's solo work even more. His lyrics are some of the best poetry I've heard in a very long time. This track from his recent album "Haughty Melodic" is one of the best.

"Jesus of Suburbia" by Green Day. Good to know that punk isn't dead. And just to underscore that point, I saw a gaggle of kids outside my neighborhood high school wearing mohawks (each a different color), Misfits t-shirts, and Doc Martens.

"Back in Black" by AC/DC. One of the few things that get me going these days. Nothing like a main line shot of angry guitars!

"Sour Girl" by Stone Temple Pilots. My current ear worm. I seem to hear this melody everywhere I go...

"The Mark Has Been Made" by Nine Inch Nails. This is the music playing on the teaser ad for the upcoming season of HBO's "The Sopranos". It's one of my favorites from Mr. Reznor and company. Ever since Katrina, I've had a little NIN in my mental airplay since he's usually not mentioned in the conversation about New Orleans music. Even though you'd never put him on the bill of a zydeco show, I always hear a bit of the spirit of the Crescent City in his music. Yes, this is a dirge. But it's a dirge with a message: Do something!

"Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison. Just because.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Light and Shadow

The Chrysler Building

Yesterday, Sweetie and I traipsed down to the Mall and entered the Hirshorn Museum. There we saw an exhibition of the work of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Wicked awesome!, as the Southies might say. If you are local or plan on being in the Washington area between now and May 14, I strongly urge you to go see this exhibit. I really loved his photographs of the wax figures of Henry VIII and his six wives.

It's been a while since a gallery exhibit has really excited me. And I didn't even mention that this opened on Sunday. Yippee!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Johari Window

I usually don't go for these online personality things, but I think Johari Windows are cool. A friend at Kenyon did one of these things on me for some pysch project and it was very interesting. Anyway, I invite you to participate in mine.

Just pick five or six words that you think best describe me. Feel free to remain anonymous.

Monday, February 13, 2006

2006 Snowfall

The View Out Our Front Door

Well, Winter finally decided to show up this weekend. The official snowfall total for our neck of the woods was 8", but I think we got closer to a foot. It appeared on Sunday morning having done absolutely nothing all day Saturday. After digging ourselves out and a nap, Sweetie wanted to take some pictures. A good time was had by all!

Sweetie in Her Element

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Noises Off Review

A nice review of the show courtesy of the WaPo.

I Heart D.C.!

This is one of the reasons I absolutely love living here in our Nation's Capital:

"Oh, no," said a woman with a Minuteman sticker on her coat. "Not the Nazis."

Because nothing spoils an anti-immigrant rally faster than a bunch of actual Nazis showing up.

Tee hee!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

oh i could give a straight-up goddamn

Things that the rest of the world is hewing and crying about that I could not give a fig about:

  • The whole Islam v. Denmark cartoon dustup. Here are the cartoons in case you haven't seen them. Call me vulgar, but I even find the seventh one down kinda funny. I guess this is Islam's "Piss Christ" moment. (Please don't click that last link if you are easily offended. You have been warned.) Do I think that the publication of these cartoons was a bad idea? Yeah, I do. Do I think that the protests against Denmark are also bad ideas? Yep. So, I score this 0-0 so far. Wake me when either side makes a bold move.

  • The flap over the officiating in the Super Bowl. My friend, Blogging Ref, has a good breakdown of the particulars, if you're interested. I'm not. The only comment I have is that the NFL had better do something to address the public's lack of confidence in NFL officiating. Making the refs full time is not a bad idea, and yes, BR, they can ref in Europe if the NFL will pay them to do so.

  • The new Majority Leader in Congress, John Boehner (whose last name I will deliberately mispronounce because it makes me laugh). Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tom/Tom Go to the Symphony

As a Kennedy Center Volunteer, Dad scored some free tickets to the world premiere of Roberto Sierra's "Missa Latina" performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and two soloists. I had not been to a symphony performance in quite some time, and this was a wonderful evening to ease back into the orchestral milieu. Yes, it was a traditional orchestral mass. But it was peppered throughout with timbales, maracas, and bongos. The "Kyrie" was set to a rhumba beat! My favorite line from the review: "Indeed, the 'Sanctus' could almost be turned into a pop song."

As enjoyable as the performance was, it was even nicer to see Dad out and about. He bumped into the woman who trained him as a Volunteer, who was overjoyed to see him. For a while, it was as if all the events of last year hadn't taken place. Aleluia!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Coulda Woulda

I wrapped up a bit of stage combat work with The Arlington Players' production of "Noises Off" last night. I was brought in to help choreograph a fall down a split flight of stairs, a tumble over the back of a couch, and assorted other bits of melee. Now I myself have choreographed my own fall down a similar flight of stairs several years ago, but I had never taught this to anyone else. I consulted with several stage combat folks I know and they all said that this was a very dangerous stunt to pull off well. But I lucked out big time with the actor who has to execute the fall. He's very active in Tae Kwon Do so he really knows how to use his body. So all we had to do was map out a few logistics and break the fall up into several parts:

  1. He "trips" over a box placed at the top of the first course of stairs. He can control his path down these stairs.

  2. He executes a headbutt on the railing and then staggers on the landing.

  3. He slips off the top step of the second course of stairs onto the butt cheek of his choice and then slides down the stairs on his back, just like at the water park.

Sounds complicated, but the whole thing takes about 8 seconds to execute.

But as I watched the latter half of the show, I realized that there was so much more I could have done to help the production. I'm not suggesting that I have the "magic touch" or anything, but there were several moments where the slapstick business looked, well, amateurish. I could have helped polish that stuff up a bit. Ah well. There's always another show!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Notes and a Theory

A few observations and clarifications:

  • Note to Oddangel: Yes, the picture is from the Portland Japanese Gardens. Sweetie will never admit to being a good photographer, so allow me to state for the record that my wife rocks.

  • Dad saw his primary care physician last week who pronounced him in very good health considering all that he has been through in the past year. Needless to say, he has relaxed a bit as a result of that diagnosis. Dad has resumed his Saturday volunteering at the Kennedy Center, where he has been welcomed back with open arms and baked goods. And you know how we are on the baked goods!

  • We are averaging higher than normal temperatures this month (scroll down a bit). If you are reading this in the continental United States, then you can probably say the same thing. I'm going to ask a favor of anybody who doesn't believe in global warming: fill your automobile up with snow and/or ice and drive it to the D.C. area. Specifically to the sledding hill by my house on the grounds of Nottingham Elementary School. The kids are champing at the bit to sled and have been bitterly disappointed.

  • Every once in a while I get depressed about my job. Technical Writers are often at the caboose end of the IT train; this has been true for as long as I've been in the industry. Most days it doesn't bother me, but last week was such a dismal week that I seriously began rethinking my career options. I still harbor a burning desire to teach drama, but unless I hit the lottery that ain't happenin'. But I did stumble across this job listing. I sent a cover letter and a resume to them today. I'll keep you updated.

  • The Hirsute Quarterback Theory: Yesterday's NFL conference championship games were disappointing to say the least. I was hoping for some good defensive struggles and low-scoring games. No such luck. But it did remind me of an old theory I had about hirsute quarterbacks not performing well in big games. The Seahawks/Panthers game is an open and shut case:

    Shiny Happy HasselbackSad Hairy DelHomme

    Now the Broncos/Steelers game is a bit trickier, but still falls within the parameters:

    Scruffy Big BenJake the Snake eh?

    Someone really ought to tell Jake the Snake that the "mountain man" look is really bringing his team down (never mind that he appears to be chanelling the ghost of John Holmes!). Cleanshaven is definitely the way to go, just ask Matt Hasselback.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And the only way to beat it is to bat it down...

I feel as if I'm looking at the world from the bottom of a well...

Ugh. Bad week at work. More later.

Hope you're having a better one.


Something must be in the air this week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Announcements! Announcements! Announcements!

Or, what a terrible way to die, as the camp song goes.

  • I've joined up with another blog, We Are Out of Focus. (Be sure to check the domain name!) Not sure what I'll be posting there, but I'll try to take a different tone than I do here.

  • This blog may move! Yes, it may. I'm still debating where it will move, but I'm outgrowing blogger. And that's not a criticism of blogger, it's a fine platform. But I want to do other things with this forum, and that means I'll move.

  • Can't wait to watch the Redskins battle Seattle this weekend! I've got a friendly wager with a left-coaster for beverages at a Nats Game To Be Named Later. I'm excited because the 'Skins are back in the playoffs and playing reasonably well. (Yes, I know the offense stunk on toast last weekend. Apparently, that stinky offense was enough to beat the vaunted Buccaneers. Just a thought for all you Seahawks fans...) Sweetie is also excited: she picked out snacks for the game at the grocery store last night.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Great Kidnapping of 1986

Light a little candle...

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the greatest birthday I've ever had.

It was my senior year of high school (yes, my wife has already established that I am The Oldest Person Ever®), and 1985 had featured three different hijackings: TWA flight 133 by two Shi'ite Muslims, an Egyptian airliner that was stormed by Egyptian troops in Malta, and the passenger ship Achille Lauro by the PLO. My friends and I were sitting around our lockers one morning before Christmas break and someone was reading an end-of-year wrapup in the paper that mentioned these incidents. I then made the following remark: "You know, I've always wanted to be kidnapped." According to lore, my best friend Dave looked at my girlfriend who, in turn, looked at our friend Gail who, in turn, looked at another friend Karen...

And thus, a plan was born.

So, fast forward a few weeks. It's the weekend before my birthday, and I've got a TheaterSports tournament to go to that Friday evening. The minute I get home I get a frantic call from my Mom who asks me to pick up a friend of the family at some address I didn't recognize. This friend cannot drive, so I get back in the car and go to the address. For some reason, the fact that a classmate answers the door doesn't tip me off at all. She shows me in and says that her Mom and this friend had stepped out for a moment and would be right back. So we begin to talk about the English class that we share when all of sudden two tall masked men dressed in black explode out of a closet, push me against a counter, pull my arms behind my back, slap handcuffs on my wrists, and finally blindfold and gag me. They then proceed to lead me out of the house and into the backseat of a big rumbling car. They push me down on the seat, and then proceed to drive me around for almost an hour, thoroughly disorienting me. (Did I mention that "Aida" was playing over the speakers and no one said a word to me?)

At long last, the car stops, the engine dies, and the front doors open. My captors get out and then pull me out of the back seat by my feet. They stand me up and then lead me down a grassy hill and into a building of some kind. The threw me into a chair and then removed the handcuffs. "DON'T MOVE," one of them yells at me, and they both back away. At this point, I begin to feel the presence of other people in the room. A LOT of other people. Someone laughs. Then someone else. "ALL RIGHT," the same guy says, "TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDFOLD." So I do. "SURPRISE!!!" cheers the crowd. I looked around the room and saw everyone I knew. I'm not stretching the truth that much: there were over 50 people there and then I was told the following things:

  • EVERYONE I knew was in on this. Even my parents and teachers.
  • They had to improvise that day because one person had to bow out for some reason.
  • I was the easiest person to fool in the world.

After the party, I was bustled off to the TheaterSports tournament that evening (we came in 2nd place!), and then some quiet time with my girlfriend. All in all, a pretty bodacious day!

I don't suspect that today's events will be quite so dramatic, but I did make a bunch of pulled pork "BBQ" for my birthday lunch. I'll be sharing that with some coworkers along with chocolate cream pie.

So, have a great day today! That's the best present you can give me.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Looking Back 2005

Gakked from TRP. (I just love that word, don't you?)

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
Actively plan for a parent's demise.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make any next year?

I never make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
More money and more responsibility at work.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 13, the day my Dad crashed and wound up in the ICU for over two weeks.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The loss of 40 pounds of body weight.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not speaking to my Sister for over a month because of a simple misunderstanding.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably the Diet and Exercise Assistant I purchased for my Palm.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My beloved Wife, who supported me throughout this trying year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President George W. Bush, et al.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and other assorted debt.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Baseball's return to D.C.!

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
"The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly, with family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Yes. With my Wife. Every day.

23. How many one-night stands?

See #22.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
"Good Eats"

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
"Funeral" a great album by The Arcade Fire.

28. What did you want and get?

My Dad's recovery from a near-fatal infection.

29. What did you want and not get?
The opportunity to dye my hair blonde.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
"Good Night and Good Luck"

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 last year and I honestly can't remember what I did.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Dad being healthy!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Biz cash Fri.

34. What kept you sane?
My wife, bbq, and quiet time.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
George Clooney.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The appalling reaction of our government to the catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Truly shameful.

37. Who did you miss?
My Mom.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Although not a new person (we hired her in 2004), I got to know my coworker Susan* much better this year. I've found her to be quiet, yet thoughtful and very very funny. Not to mention wicked smart.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.

Your health is nothing to be taken for granted.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Well Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things
And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son
And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61."

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.