Tuesday, October 30, 2007

acting class again...

It was decided that last night's acting class would not be a class at all. We were going to SEE a play. I guess the idea was to allow us to witness those doing what we'd like to be doing and to see the way what we would like to be doing was supposed to be done. Or something.
I say, or something, because that is what the play was. It was called Weightless.
I would describe for you the plot, if I knew what the plot was.
It appeared as though there was a well-off family living in a high rise apartment. They finally got their piece of the pie, if you will.
The mother of the family was a successful cosmetic surgeon with a hobbling case of agoraphobia. She did all her surgery over the INTRAweb, using tactile-feedback gloves. No one in the play ever used the terminology tactile-feedback, however. The writer could have used a quick tour around WIRED.com. The mom just referred to some gloves she wore and how she could almost feel the skin of the patient.
Using some nice geek-speak would have been a pleasant addition.
The son of the family is on chemical probation. I don't know if such a thing exists, but it sounds like a good idea. Keep a maniac whacked up on goofballs.
In order to whack the maniac up on goofballs, you need a live-in nurse or caregiver. They had one. She appeared to have some ulterior motives that were hard to follow. She kept asking the father for money. She may have been after money. Tough to say.
The father... I'll get to the father.
The maniac son whacked up on goofballs loves that caregiver and likes to gently strangle her until she stabs him with a syringe that looked suspiciously like a Sharpie.
Whatever was in this Sharpie was really strong stuff as the maniac would immediately fall on the floor in, like, a coma deal.
The maid would clean up the coma. The maid was a man dressed as a woman with an undisclosed accent. The mother experimented on the maid with different procedures. At one point, she apparently attaches large pigeon wings to her back. But, don't be afraid, they're gone in the next scene.
The maid, it seems, has had to have her memories and her adherence to the law of gravity locked in a safe deposit box to make sure she is a good worker to the family. Of course, the safe deposit box is in the basement. As the maid no longer is affected by gravity, she can't get to the basement. Like we haven't seen this plot point a thousand times.
The care giver and the mother are having an affair, but only so the caregiver can get information to the father about what's wrong with his and the mother's marriage.
I'm getting to the father.
The apartment itself is a character in this play. There is a large crack down the center of the floor which sometimes opens. I am sure when this crack opens, it means something.
Uh.. the elevators don't work. There is an army contained riot going on below the family and the maid is having sex, sort of, with the father.
The father. The father has breasts. He is growing breasts to try to get the attention of the mother, who loves breasts. His breasts get slightly larger until, toward the end of the play, he turns into a chicken.
Yes. He turns into a chicken. Builds a nest and clucks a lot.
Then the building collapses and everyone dies.

This is one of those plays that I am not smart enough to understand. I know there is a lot of subtext and allegory and implications that are beyond my reach.

The other sentence I could have written here was:

This is one of those plays that doesn't make any sense and is written by someone who wants the viewers to think there is a lot of subtext and allegory and implications that are beyond their reach.

I think, mostly, no one knows what's going on in plays like this, but they can't admit it.
I have no problem admitting it. Unless I have to speak to the people who were in the play and/or who wrote it which was what my class was supposed to do right after the play was complete.
I decided to use the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, run out of the theater before anyone notices and go home and watch Heroes."

Monday, October 29, 2007

BAA! I say! BAAAAAA!!!

Sheep. I am a sheep.
It physically hurts me to report this.
I have purchased an iPod.

To everyone who stood against the iOnslaught, I have stood alongside you and was proud to scoff at the iDrones.

I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry.

It was the touch, don't you see? The touch! How could I maintain in the face of something as cool as that!? I mean, come on!
Don't. Don't look at me that way.
I'm still me.
No. No, no. It will be okay.
We can...
We could run away and...

Who am I kidding!? No one! I'm kidding no one at all!!

I cried at a Billy Ray Cyrus song and bought an iPod ON THE SAME DAY!!!

What's next!? Capri pants and sandals!?!?

bumper stickers...

I've often said, "Never believe in anything strongly enough to want to purchase a bumper sticker proclaiming that belief."
If you have something you believe in a lot, good for you. It's good to have beliefs. But keep them to yourself. You don't need to go trumpeting them out to the world. At worst, you are going to piss someone off who doesn't believe what you believe. At best, you are boring.
I guess there is the off chance that someone with the same bumper sticker will drive up along side you on the highway and give you the high sign or the old thumbs up with cheery grin of camaraderie. I guess that would actually be the best you could hope for, but I bet it would weird you out.
An example of the worst was someone who decided to take the bumper sticker concept to a ridiculous extreme and was hauling around a trailer-sized cube of pictures of aborted fetuses behind their mini van. I assume they were not pro-abortion.
I myself don't have a strong opinion either way on abortion. If I am in a relationship where there is the possibility of an abortion happening, I would like to be involved in the decision. Beyond that...?
But, giant cubes of death pictures on the highway make me mad. It's offensive and unnecessary. I wanted to pull the person driving the mini-van out and beat them with a vacuum cleaner, just for an ironic touch.
If I had done so, I would have been labeled as a fanatical anti-pro-lifer and the point just would have been totally missed which would have pissed me off even more and I would have to find other somewhat ironic items to beat other people with. The process would become an intense time/energy drain, so I compromised by making angry faces at the idiot as I drove past them. They were duly chastised, let me tell you.
I am on this bumper sticker kick because I saw one that I just don't understand. It can't possibly be something this dope believes in, but it's not clever enough where someone says, "Oh man. I gotta share this with the world." I mean, I don't THINK so.
It said:


I mean, I get it. Scooby Doo. Right. I got that. And I know jokes so I know that's the joke. But how does this warrant a space on your limited back-bumper real estate? Is it the kind of thing you really want people to know you find humorous enough to share all over the road? I guess, if you think it is, you really don't know any better so why am I asking?
The only possibility for redemption for this waste of 1/16th of an inch of vinyl is if a small child gave it to the driver and begged them to put in on their car. Small children can get you to do a lot of things you don't want to do.
This morning, Hayley was listening to a new song by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus on Radio Disney. It's called, "Ready, Set, Don't Go". It pisses me off because if Hayley wasn't in the car I never would have heard it or if I did I wouldn't have given it a moments thought, but now I have and it makes me cry.
For God's sake what's wrong with me?
If you have a daughter, who doesn't live with you all the time, I dare you to listen to this song while you are on your way to dropping her off for the week and NOT cry. Go ahead. Give it a shot. Bastards. Shut up all of you.


There is only one bumper sticker I would buy, and I haven't seen it yet, though it could be easily made. I might tote a swarveyland.com bumper sticker around, sure, but I mean beyond that.
It would be WWSKD?
What Would Stephen King Do?

Why? Because not only is he my favorite writer (So much so that I've forgiven him for the catastrophe ending to The Gunslinger Series.), but he is also infinitely bad-ass.
He earned his infinite bad-assity when he was struck by a mini-van in 1999, flew 14 feet into a ditch and did not die. Later that year, he had the mini-van purchased for 1500 dollars with the intention of beating the thing to death with a sledgehammer. He wasn't well enough to do the sledgehammer thing, but he did have the vehicle crushed at a junkyard, which is almost as good.
I love this. Screw you, inanimate object outweighing me by thousands of pounds. You will not kill me, but I, I will crush you into a small cube and server hot dogs off you.
I made up that part about the hot dogs, but wouldn't THAT be cool?

Take a close look at my car and you will find, there is no WWSKD? bumper sticker on it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

errors and ommissions...

Man. I hate being wrong.
Went to dinner last night and Mark called me out for making an error. He was kind enough to do it in person and not in the public of my page for fear of making me look silly.
He might need to read the posts here a little more closely, but I appreciated the concern.
What was the error this time?
I referred to the below fellow as bushy mullet man. Mostly he was a funny looking dude and I really wanted to call him bushy mullet man because I like the way it sounds.
You bushy mullet man!
It's fun.

Mark, backed up by another friend Kerry, explained to me that he does not, in fact, have a mullet. His hair is not the required short in the front, long in the back. It's just long and frizzy all over the head.
They're right. I know. I really wanted to call him bushy mullet man, but in actuality he is horrible, out-of-control, everywhere-yet-thin afro man with cheesy mustache. But, that just doesn't have the same ring.
Kerry explained that in order to have a mullet, it must be short, short, like business short, in the front and long in the back. Hence, business in the front, party in the back.
However, this is only correct in the relative. What is short, is relative to what is long in the back.
So you can have long hair in the front as long as the hair in the back is much longer. Think of Bono circa Red Rocks.
I believe, if you look at the math, you must have a minimum 4:1 ratio of length in the back to the front.
Would this always work? I don't know. If you have one inch of hair in the front and four inches of hair on the back of your head, do you have a mullet?
I know if you have four inches of hair on the front of your head and sixteen down your back, you have a mullet for sure.
It may not be an absolute rule, but I think it is a good rule.
Using this rule and rudimentary GIMP-ing I attempted to create bushy mullet man from horrible, out-of-control, everywhere-yet-thin afro man with cheesy mustache.

Oh, that's one nice mullet, there, bushy mullet man!

In other news, Hayley's teeth have been fix-ed. Hopefully, we can all keep her from smashing her face into the ground some more.

Friday, October 26, 2007

short one...

Please be more specific.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

more irregardless writing...

I imagine I shouldn't be very demanding when it comes to the writing level of commercials. I imagine my level of demanding should drop when I am watching a Taco Bell commercial.
I imagine I have a serious problem for allowing the level of writing on a commercial of any kind to take up any space at all in my head.
So, okay. I have a problem. Have we met?
This Nachos Bell Grande with Chili commercial is bothering me. It encompasses about 35 different flavors of cliche'.
A younger and older brother are sitting on a couch. Cliche' number 1. A couch? Could they not have put any more imagination into their whereabouts??
Kidding. That is not the cliche'.
The cliche's start with the appearance of the younger and older brother. Young is nerdy with a nerdy striped shirt and nerdy glasses. Old is safe, pseudo-hip with some army looking jacket on and reasonable spiky hair. He is obviously the most cool of the two.
He is going to share with the younger his rules on life. This conversation itself is a cliche.
The younger, clearly more intelligent brother, speaks intelligently while the older is using hipster speak and is less intelligent.
He uses the, "I am going to tell you three things. Number 1 is blah, bleagh, blah. Number 2 is bleh, bleh, bleh and C is balh, bleh, blargh.."


There are a lot of cliches and the commercial sucks. I've run out of umbrage.


I was watching Cavemen last night. It's not the train wreck I hoped it was going to be. It is not fascinatingly horrible, it is merely mediocre and bleagh.
I would like it a lot more if it was a lot worse.
It is not well written like this here scentence is as well written, however irregardless you might think I am saying.
They are only a couple of weeks, maybe a month, into their series, and they are already using this joke.
A woman, doesn't matter who the woman is, you don't really need the backstory, is on the phone. She is talking to someone about how much of a slut that person is, what a whore they are and do they not have ANY couth? Then they finish up the call by saying, "Okay Mother. I have to go now." Or something to that effect. That lets the listener know that she has been calling her MOM a slut and a whore. Get it!?

I know I spoke about open mic comedy night in a previous post from a couple of months ago, but I don't think I made reference to the fact that this kind of joke shows up an awful lot.
Steve and I were at a show one night, and a young man went to this particular well way more many times than was reasonable.
Some of his jokes were:
I was banging this woman the other night and I attempted anal on her. She wasn't into it, so I said, "It's the 21st century for God's sake! Get with the times Mom!"


I played Little League baseball when I was a kid. I say I played Little League baseball, but I mostly just sat on the bench, because the coach wouldn't let me play. He didn't think I played good enough. So one day, I said to him, "I wish you would let me play. Come on, Dad!"

Several similar jokes later, I realized his Father was a real prick to him. But it was probably because of all the Mother/Son sex going on.

Monday, October 22, 2007

tim horton's and bike news...

On Saturday morning, I had a hankerin' for an iced coffee, which is weird. As I am not a massive ass I wanted to get Jenn a tea as well. I went looking for beverages.
The Dunkin' Donuts were crammed full of jerks looking for beverages and totally disregarding the Swarvey Is The Center Of The Universe rule.
I ran out of patience, again, weird, and decided I'd head on over to the abandoned Tim Horton's who is barely surviving in the jungle full of Double D's.
Tim Horton's is like going to a foreign country. There are a lot of things in there that are similar to what I am accustomed to, but not exactly the same.
Also, similar to a foreign country, the measurement systems is alien to me.
I ordered a large iced coffee and a large hot tea, and got this:

How can this giant vat of iced coffee and this smallish to reasonably sized cup of hot tea both be considered a "large"?
Oh that Tim Horton is a crazy guy.

In other news, I bought my daughter a nifty new bike and helmet combination as she did not have one for when she was with me and hauling her bike from her Mom's house was getting to be a drag.
I continue to be stupidly tickled by the sight of her on her bike, riding well and enjoying it. When she said, "Want to see how fast I can go?", I was even more stupidly excited.
She loves to go fast, she always has. One of my fondest memories of her is from our first trip to Disney world. We went on Space Mountain. She was sitting in the seat in front of me in our car. I could barely see the top of her head. But as the ride progressed, I could see her little fists pumping into the air and hear her screaming above the clacking noise of the ride, "FASTER!! FASTER!! WOOOOOO!!!!"
So, she went to the top of the parking lot outside our building waited for me to say, "Ready, Set Go!", then tore off down the parking lot.
Halfway through the parking lot, she lost it. Handlebars wiggled a little bit, she over-compensated, turned the handlebars way too far in the other direction, the bike stopped... and she got a lesson in inertia.
She did a total Superman over the handle bars, but then quickly followed up with a total Greatest American Hero. She landed mostly on her face. Splat-o.
There was a terrifying second when she didn't move or make any sound. It was very similar to when she was an infant and would fall and her mind and body needed a couple of seconds to line up and get their acts together before she started screaming.
She did eventually start screaming. I took me a lot longer than should have been reasonable to get to her. When I got to her, she looked up at me and parts of her teeth fell out onto her shirt...

I need a second here to settle down...

Okay. So. She's screaming and crying and parts of her teeth are falling out. But it's a scream, not a shriek and when I poke her in various places the scream does not increase in volume. She can stand, she can move her fingers and arms and she seems coherent. I have to tell her she's okay to calm her down, which is hard with the blood and the teeth pieces.
The panic and the screaming last for maybe a minute. I'm proud of her for the way she handled it. She was more concerned about having to go to the doctor than she was about the level of actual damage that was done to her.
She did give her teeth a good smashing, though.

Friday, October 19, 2007

smoking ban and urinal action...

The Oakland City Council in California has banned smoking in ATM lines, at parks, bus stops and outdoor dining areas. So, outside. They have made it illegal to smoke in areas outside now.
The news was asking people in California how they felt about it. Apparently, they only asked non-smoking NAZIs, because everyone was thrilled about it.
"It's great."
"I love it."
"Oh thank goodenss."
"It's really about time."
"To hell with them and their cigarettes. I hope they all get hit by a dumptruck anyway!"

I am a non-smoker. I don't like the smoke stink or the way it smells. I like that I will die with nice, pink, lungs.
But, banning smoking outside, seems like crossing a line to me. Feels like borderline babysitting. Can I not, as a non-smoker, just alter my path a little bit? Do I have no responsibility to my own health and need a big brother to keep me safe?
Maybe they should pass laws banning all sharp edges. Everything should be round and bouncy.
Hmm. Actually, a round and bouncy world sounds appealing to me.

In other news, I went to the bathroom the other day. There was a fellow standing at the urinal beside the one I was going to use. He was using the urinal. He had his hands on his hips while he used the urinal. This by itself is odd.
Now, I was not watching this chap at the urinal though it is about to sound like I was. However, when you are using a urinal, the other urinal is just not that far away and it's hard to not notice stuff. Especially if you have borderline ADD and tend to notice much of the world that really could go un-noticed.
So, out of the corner of my eye, I see the dude who was standing at the urinal not change his body position at all and walk away from the urinal.
Let me see if I can paint this for you.
He's standing with his hands on his hips, using the urinal.
With his hand STILL on his hips, he walks away.
I see none of the pantomime I associate with completing his use of the urinal and requisite putting away of his equipment.
He walks out of the bathroom.
I expected to hear women screaming and alarms going off, but nothing happened.
Oh, he was another guy who just jogged on past the sink without washing.
Now I gotta picture the guy jogging with his hands on his hips and his shame hanging out. His "doodle" to use a Flanders-ism.

I hate that I notice this crap, because I have to talk about it and people wonder about me.
What did he do? Is he a magician? Was one of his arms fake? Does he have incredible lower abdomen muscle control and can withdraw himself like a human tape measure? Does he have force-field pants and pulls himself in with a tractor beam?

And... if any of this is true and he can work the whole using the urinal thing without touching anything, well, I guess he doesn't need to wash his hands.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

dear woman who works at the mobil mart...

Thank you for brightening my day so! You have the pleasant demeanor and facial expression of someone who is forced to carry a softball in their butt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

some stuff...

Sorry I haven't been posting as regularly lately. I've been caught up in the trying to get a voice over thing going. It's taking up a lot of my free time.
It's not the easiest thing to get involved in. Hard to find the paths to where the jobs are and hard to get the jobs when you do.
I bought a book on the subject, hoping for some insight/answers. I will condense the contents of the book for you now. It says, more or less:
"There are 15 times more people trying to get work as voice over professionals as there are people trying to get work as stage/film/television actors. Thank you for buying my book. Give up now."
I wish I had skipped to the last page before buying the book.
I never was very good at listening to advice from people who know what they're talking about, so I've not given up.
I'm still auditioning through the voices.com website and for the most part, don't really care if I get a job or not. I'm trying to get my voice and technique down, but lately, my throat has been closing when I step in front of the microphone. It's nerves.
Working on it...
Some of the scripts that are presented through the site are downright weird, but they give an understanding of just how wide reaching is the need for voice-over talent.
Yesterday, the Jenny Craig corporation presented a script for an upcoming sales kickoff meeting. They want someone to read as though they were the voice on the tape at the beginning of the Mission Impossible television show. However, they want the voice read "with a slight Swiss or French or at the very least European accent".
No problem. I'll get right on that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

descriptions that describe nothing...

I saw an advertisement in the mail the other day for Blue Hippo computers. This is one of those companies who state that they can get a computer to everyone, regardless of credit issues or if you ever flashed a bus of grandmothers.
The description for the computer you can purchase from them is something very like the below. I apologize I don't have the ad in front of me, so this is not a direct quote, but the spirit is accurate.

Get a great, VISTA-ready computer, with a fast processor, plenty of memory, loads of storage space and a ton of software.

Fast, plenty, loads and a ton. Descriptors that describe nothing specifically.
So I went onto their site to see the actual specs on the computer they were offering.

Here are the specs:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor
512MB Memory
80GB Hard Drive

So, if you do a simple Google search for AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor, you will find reviews for it after it had been released in 2003. The steam driven Ford Model T was considered fast at one point, too.

They call the machine VISTA ready. With 512MB of memory. While I'm sure VISTA will at least start with this processor/memory combo, therefore accuratley designating the computer as "ready", it sure ain't gonna run good.

80GB is a good size for an MP3 player.

In short, this is not a good computer, but if you be a beggar, a chooser you cannot be.
Still, they want you to just give them 100 dollars to "build a credit history" with them. Then, they are asking for 52 weeks of $39.99 or about 2100 dollars.
2100 dollars? Yikes. This computer is worth, perhaps, 200 dollars. That's a nice markup. I wish I could find out if anyone was buying computers from them.
I would like to open a sandwich shop near where they live. I would offer them:
A great sandwich, with plenty of meat, loads of cheese on a ton of bread.
It would be a Chef Boyardee meatball, with a squirt of Cheez-Whiz, on a saltine cracker. It would cost 500 dollars.

I just noticed Blue Hippo wants 9 weeks of payments before they send you your crappy computer. Before they'll even send you the computer, they want twice what the computer is worth. Genius.
With some more looking around, I see the company was founded in 2003, the same year the AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor was introduced.
I wonder what they were selling then? Perhaps the digital watch that used to play the horn sound from Bo and Luke Duke's car.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

more voice over stuff...

The ongoing anxiety I am experiencing about feeling silly standing in a closet talking to myself is becoming troublesome. If I am going to attempt this voice over crap at even a casual level, I have to get over it or move on and forget about it.
Jenn informed me that she would be at her mother's house tonight, so I would have the house to myself.
Perfect, I thought. With the apartment empty, I'll dive into some auditions and just get them done. I won't even care if I get jobs from them, I'll just use the time to get used to standing in a closet talking to myself.
I get home from work tonight, pull up some scripts and go into the closet. After a while, I manage to get past the silliness and begin to forget and just focus.
I achieve a level of focus that is frighteningly difficult for me, so I am completely freaked out when I hear a light tapping on the door.
Because the house was empty.
Except it wasn't.
Jenn came home to get some stuff.
Now, this is Jenn's home. She has every right to come home whenever she wants. I understand that. She doesn't understand that I am massively weirded out by a gentle tapping on a door that my mind was convinced was not to have anyone on the other side.
She kept asking if I was mad at her, which I wasn't, though I was mad at my own stupid reaction.
I choose hobbies that manage to frustrate the hell out of me. I think I'm missing the whole hobby point.
Not that this is a hobby. This is a future career for me. It would be nice, anyway.
I went to the gym and calmed down. When I got home, Jenn was gone.
I went back into the closet and managed to focus again. This is a miracle for me.

Here's some of what I said in the closet:

"You're Listening To Music Intrend With DJ Amp And Nooker"

"Music Intrend By Your Request"

"Music Intrend"

"Music Hot! Music Hit!"

"Talk A Break With DJ Amp"

The spelling mistakes are not mine. I don't even know what the hell I was talking about. It was stuff for a Filipino, web-based, radio station.
I'm not sure dealing with a Filipino Nooker is legal.

voice over stuff...

Sometime ago, when I was miserably unemployed, I attempted to start a career as a voice-over professional. People always tell me what a great voice I have, so I figured it would be easy.
I was wrong and an impressive failure.
As I failed so completely and massively, I have decided to attempt it again.
I'm hoping I've learned the same lessons I learned after the first time I went on stage to do stand up comedy. People always told me I was funny, so I got on stage with no preparation at all and had to have my ashes swept off the stage. When I attempted it again, I did a vast quantity of pre-work and saw a lot more success.
It's interesting that the last time I did stand up was in the same span of unemployment as the last time I attempted doing voice-over work.
The last time I tried, I put a microphone on a table and talked into it and had no clear objectives or knowledge of where people are who actually need voice over services. I'm not entirely sure what I thought was going to happen, but I was still disappointed when nothing did.
I have put more preparation in this time. I have a good contact list through a verified website and there are leads coming in every day. So the business is out there. I just have to audition.
In order to audition and have any kind of a chance, I needed to build something like a studio. I say something like a studio, because we don't have unlimited space or funds. I needed to work with what I had.
It's a closet. I'm set up in the closet. I like to call it my studio to make me feel less silly, but so far, it hasn't worked. I know I am basically talking to myself, in a closet. I can't make it not silly.
Still, I have some decent hardware, a good microphone and such, and I have soundproofed the closet to a reasonable extent. So even though it's a closet, I'm getting good audio out of it.
However, the awareness of the silliness of standing in a closet keeps creeping in and making my throat tighten up.
Last night was the first night that I had all the components in place to attempt an audition. Jenn was in the living room watching television. So she was maybe 10 feet from where I was, standing in the closet, attempting to talk to myself in my voice-over voice.
Self-consciousness overtook me. I stood there for about ten minutes, unable to say anything at all.
I stepped out of the closet and asked Jenn to please go upstairs. She asked me why and I explained the whole silliness thing.
She said that attempting to do the voice-over stuff in the closet was not silly at all, but standing in the closet and NOT attempting to do voice-over stuff was.
I conceded the point but asked her to please go upstairs anyway.
Later, I was upstairs with her setting up the printer. She had the Tori Spelling reality show on. On the show, Tori's husband was in a closet attempting to do voice-over work.
So at least I am in good company.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

physical intimacy...

The scene I am doing in acting class took a turn last night. While the scene as I read it is just a conversation between two people, the teacher really feels there is a section that requires a show of physical love.
To clarify, I am not being asked to perform intercourse, not even simulated intercourse, nor to kiss the woman in my scene, nor to nuzzle her neck/ear area. The level of physical intimacy he is asking for is a genuine hug. Just a hug.
I am having a hard time with it.
I explained that I would be much more comfortable if we were punching each other in the face. I further explained that there are really only two people in my life who I feel comfortable with any level of close, human, touch. There is Jenn and there is my daughter. That's pretty much it. I'll hug my Dad once in a while, but I rarely have to worry about it as he lives in Florida. With him we're talking, maybe, 2 hugs a year. It's a little much.
As the class progressed, my comfort did not. We did an exercise where the woman would stand in the middle of the stage with me circling her. I was to attempt to pick up her energy to realize when she was giving me permission to move closer and to pick up when she was no longer comfortable and I should move away.
I think I made it within 4 feet of her at one point.
The other women in the class were laughing at how cute it was that I was uncomfortable. One of them said, "You wait. By the time we finish this course, you will be hugging everyone."
I stared at her for a little while. Then she said, "Uh... no. Maybe not."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

dog stuff...

I took my dog with me to Dunkin' Donuts this morning. I know, two days, two D/D posts. Forgive me.
I ordered me a large iced coffee and the largest tea they have for Jenn. The largest tea they have is titled the Great One. I asked for the Big One, which has a different connotation.
When I returned to the building, another guy who lives in the building was returning with his dog.
I have a Dear Chihuahua, he, Ben, has a miniature Pincer. He has his dog on a pink, flowered leash. I'm not kidding.
We had to walk by a couple of work dudes on the way in. Apparently, although we had already had this conversation, Ben thought it was prudent to ask me again, as we both walked our little dogs into the building together, how my wedding to Jenn went. He didn't quite ask how I enjoy being heterosexual, like him, but it was close.
Once we were safely in the building we made a pact to never walk our dogs together again.
I told him he really needed to do something about his leash. He agreed.

Friday, October 5, 2007

dunkin' donuts stuff...

Someone asked me this morning if I knew of the location of a Dunkin' Donuts around where our office is located.
I gave him the following directions.
Go to a street.
Drive. Doesn't matter which direction you choose.
Within 5 minutes you will find one.

When I was getting my iced coffee this morning, the person in line in front of me asked for a cinnamon/raisin bagel. He wanted it toasted. Twice.
The person behind the counter was confused. Generally when people behind counters are confused, I want to kick them in the knee, but this time, I was with her.
She asked, "You want it toasted extra dark?"
"No." he said. "I want it toasted medium, but I want it run through the toaster twice."
Then he turned and looked at me with an eye-rolling look that said, wow, this woman is a dope.
When I didn't agree with him, he turned back and asked for unsweetened jelly and a packet of sugar to put on the jelly.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

welcome to post 100...

I know some of the posts don't actually count. I don't care. 100 posts. Yay for me!

Post 100 will be about my current scene study class.
Class last night was interesting. We did some warm up games that involved active listening and improvisation as well as utilizing honest reactions.
In the first game, two people sit facing each other. One person starts with an observational comment about the other. The other person must echo the comment back, only changing the person.
For example, person 1 says, "You have blue eyes." Person 2 responds, "I have blue eyes." Then person 1 says again, "You have blue eyes." This goes back and forth until a change naturally occurs. Someone's inflection changes and the comment goes from observational to confrontational, or someone changes bodily positions. It's a bit like watching paint dry on growing grass to start with, but if you hang with it and stay open, interesting things can happen.
I was paired with a woman who opened with, "You're bald." I had to echo back, "I'm bald."
I've pretty much embraced my own lack of hair, but hearing it back and forth 15 times or so started to make me a little angry. When it was my turn to open, I had to restrain myself from saying, "You're an old hag with pancake breasts and Emo Phillips' haircut."

The next game was a favorite of mine, because I cheat. In this game, one person is seated on a park bench. They like where they are sitting and are not in a hurry to leave. The second person enters the scene and attempts to make the first person stand up. They are not allowed to touch the first person, but can do anything else.
This is an exercise in honest reactions. The problem with the game is that we are all pretty competitive and don't want to be perceived as losing, so will sit for much longer than if these situations were happening in real life.
One woman sat near the person on the bench coughing and wiping her nose and sneezing and talking about her trip to China and what the other person thought the symptoms of SARS or the avian flu were. But the first person did not get off the bench.
Come on.
I have played before and I walked around the back of the bench making ka-plonk, ka-plonk, ka-plonk noises while miming the squeezing of some container. Then I mimed lighting a match and throwing it onto the bench.
I set the bench on fire with lighter fluid. That person got off the bench.
Last night, old 100 SuperBalls in a blender was on the bench. Now, 100 Balls tried an interesting tactic when he was trying to get someone off the bench. He asked the person if they liked hairy guys. The woman said she didn't care one way or the other.
He said, "I'm really hairy." and took off his shirt.
100 Balls is a skinny, blonde dude with blue eyes. I could never have guessed that he had a Ted Nugent wig for a back. Yikes. He was not able to get the woman off the bench. Again, I don't know if that was honest or not. I think she would have run from the bench.
In any case, he was on the bench when it was my turn. I again kinda cheated. I slowly got onto the bench, standing, staring down at him. I then slowly began to crouch lower and lower, just staring at him while he tried to say some funny lines.
Eventually, he called me a creep and ran from the bench. I win.
Then, when I was on the bench, the chick who I am acting in the scene with, walked up and asked me nicely if I would help her move a table.
Damn it. I jumped right up to help. Because I am an excellent nice guy and would do so naturally.
I HATE that.

Monday, October 1, 2007

teaching my daughter how to ride her bike...

I tried to teach my daughter how to ride her bike when she was 7. She is the kind of kid where, if something doesn't come to her, if something isn't easy immediately, she wants no part of it.
Riding a bicycle doesn't come immediately to most people and she had a lot of inner ear problems as a small child, so her balance was not what it needed to be. After an hour or so of difficult trying, she asked me kindly to shove the bike up my nose.
Now it's three years later and she still has training wheels on her bike.
The other 10 year olds aren't looking upon this with favor so she wants it resolved.
Over the course of the weekend just past, she and I resolved it. I am happy to report she can now ride with no wheels of training.
Working with her as hard as I did this weekend reminded me of how I was taught to ride a bike.
My Grandfather was the kind of guy who saw that I was going to have to start with a small bike and move progressively up to a larger bike. He knew this was going to happen and he figured, since I was going to get to an adult size bike eventually anyway, I might as well start with one.
Late spring of 1975. I was 7. He came home with a battleship-gray bicycle for me. I knew the gray that it was was battleship-gray because it was made out of an actual battleship. It had three-speeds and weighed 137 pounds. If I stood up on my tiptoes, I could almost touch the seat and there were no tubes in the wheels; they were solid rubber. Maybe they were solid rubber only most of the way through. Some of the wheel might have been cast iron. The ride was neither smooth nor safe-feeling.
I know because I rode it. It was my bike for a long time. Years.
I learned to ride it, like this...
My Grandfather and my Dad put me on this massive bike at the top of a grassy hill and pushed. It was either learn how to ride the bike, or die.
Later, when I had learned to ride the bike and was proficient at it, I almost did die.
A large puddle would freeze outside of my Grandparent's house. The bigger kids in the neighborhood, on their sleek BMX-y bikes would tear ass down the street and hit their breaks just as they got onto the ice, then sliiiiiiiiiide all the way across. It was pretty neat.
Me and the leaden monster wanted a turn. I went around the block a couple of times to build up the appropriate speed, targeted the ice, connected, hit my breaks and SLAM!! The wheels instantly went out from under my ass and the back of my head came down on the ice at MACH 7.
I was out. Cold. Gone. I guess one of the kids ran and got my Grandparents. I woke up in the bathtub, fully clothed. They were speaking soothingly to me and splashing my face with warm water. If the kids had just bolted and left me there, I might have been worse off.
But I'm no doctor.