Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day One-Hundred Forty: Last Train

Finally got to see our company's production of Last Train to Nibroc last night. I usually see every show during the first week of the run, on opening night when possible, but I really wanted to see this one with Kim, so I waited for a night we could both get away. This time around, it just happened to fall on the next-to-last show of the run.

The show was pretty good; it was definitely better than I'd expected it to be. I was on the script selection team last season that chose this show, and I wasn't really thrilled about the script when I read it. (Admittedly, I also said I do see what others found enjoyable about it; it just wasn't the kind of show that suited my fancy, but that the right cast with a talented director would be able to make it work well) Having seen it, I'm still not crazy about the script--though admittedly it is one of those scripts that is far better when heard than when read, and of course I've no problem with that, since theatre is a performance-based art form--but the cast did a bang-up job, especially considering they had to do most of their own work, with very little help from an acting coach/direction standpoint.

So, the purpose of today's post is basically to give a holler out to Duder and Hatcher for their outstanding work on the show. I hope y'all enjoyed the process, because I thoroughly enjoyed the product. This may be the "in" to that Spotlighter you've both been dreaming about all your lives...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Nine: Game plan

Hi kids.

Starting this Monday, expect updates to start coming in the afternoon (instead of late night or, in most of your cases, first thing the following morning). I'm reclaiming late night as my "real" writing night and my self-imposed deadline is to have a first draft of a new play (or a new draft of an old play) done by the end of June.

Write it down, folks. New play, end of June.

That is all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Eight: I Hate It When That Happens


I thought of something awesome to blog about this afternoon while I was driving. Now? No clue what it was. I am exceedingly tired, especially for 8:12 p.m., and that's probably a factor, but I've got nothin' for ya.

Stanley Cup Final starts tomorrow. It's going to be a crazy-good series. One of those that, quite honestly, could go either way, depending on who's healthy and who gets some key bounces. I'd do a long preview, but let's face it, I've said just about everything I have to say about these two teams when previewing the last three rounds. My best guess: Penguins in six. Go Pens.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll try to come up with something entertaining tomorrow, tho Kim and I are actually going out on a date tomorrow night (GASP!) thanks to my parents being in town to watch the baby, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Seven: Legislation Fail (Also, Overactive Response Fail!)

Well this has become amusing.

Quick recap: Remember a month or so ago when a Dallas Cowboys (that's a football team) practice facility collapsed and injured a bunch of people? Apparently, that's because either the architect or engineer or lighting person for that facility didn't know what they were doing. The Texas State Legislature has decided to take action to try to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, so they're trying to find a way to require their designers of lighting to show understanding of structural engineering before letting them hang really big, heavy lighting equipment where people will be doing important things (like playing football).

However, once the bill went from the House to the Senate, the language was changed a bit to say that no Lighting Designer would be allowed to practice in the state of Texas without a degree in engineering, or some such thing. Needless to say, this would be tragic to all sorts of performance-based institutions such as theatre, dance, sports, modeling, etc., that all have a person called a lighting designer so that people will be able to see the play, game, show, recital, etc. The way this law is currently worded, it would be illegal for those folks to do their thing without an engineering degree.


So, some well-intentioned theatre folks like the folks at set out the alert, asking people to contact Texas lawmakers to make sure this is taken care of. And apparently, people have responded. In droves. Occasionally very, very angry droves. Droves of people who are villainizing Texas lawmakers, saying they have an anti-arts bias, right-wing bigots that they are. Accusing the Texas senate of having a vendetta against theatrical lighting designers. Angry Facebook statuses pop up all over, bashing the entire state of Texas, what idiots run the place, how nothing good ever comes from here, how BUSH came from Texas, how the state just needs to go ahead and secede into its own irrelevance, blah, blah, blah.


First off, yes, the generality used in the new wording of the legislation is overly-simplified and dumb. It is, however, nothing more than an OVERSIGHT. I don't know what it is about we artists that we constantly think someone is out to get us. Especially conservative someones.

Second, yes, I definitely advocate contacting lawmakers about legislation that you disagree with. In fact, I plan on sending a note to my representative to make sure this oversight is examined and taken care of. Aside from theatre lighting designers potentially being thrown under the bus, there's the fact that this requires a bunch of people who already have jobs to suddenly get an entire second degree if they're to continue their livelihood. I hope there's some provision that would give current "lighting designers" assistance in order to comply with the new demand. However, if I'm a Texas lawmaker and I get a bunch of hate-mail from some wackos in New Hampshire and Oregon calling me a right-wing fundamentalist hate-mongerer (or anything along those lines) and find my inbox lined with seventy or so emails about the same topic, I'm going to tend to stop reading them after about three or four. Hopefully someone didn't have a well-reasoned statement in there anywhere, because it got lost in the overreactive furor.

Yes, the law is bone-headed. Clearly, the senators were uneducated in the various meanings of the term "lighting designer." Why, then, do we have to villify instead of educate? Why do we assume someone has to be out to get us and must be beaten down at all costs? Why can't we take a deep breath and think for a minute and a half before reacting?

Technology is great, but we have to realize that it has also amplified mankind's natural ability to make its problems worse instead of better. People are always going to overreact; email has just given us a way to overreact in a way that actually does some damage. ;-)

Anyway, I'm not too sure what my point is. Earlier today I was going to write more about the ignorance of the legislation, then I sat down to write and saw the note on backstagejobs asking people to be more respectful and less paranoid when contacting Texas state officials. And then all the Facebook comments of people who've never been to Texas ragging on Texans, and...

Yeah. There's stupid on both sides of this one. Go figure. Stupid really is as stupid does. (I don't care what today's critics say, Forrest Gump is still a great film)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Six: Family Fun

Going to go ahead and blog while I've got a slow moment in the work day so that I can possibly get to bed early tonight. (Why must Internet keep me awake and night yet lull me to sleep during the day? How does that work???)

I've had some really fun time with my family over the past few days. It feels like it's been quite a while since the three of us were able to go out and do anything, so Kim and I made a concerted effort to get that done with the extra-long weekend. We went to the library and to Target on Saturday. Robbie absolutely loves the library, which is kind of funny to me because he doesn't want to sit still long enough to actually read any of the books while we're there. He likes to look at the different book covers, turn the rotating book shelves, and run around the aisles searching for Mommy. We usually try to get a book for him while we're there (this week we got Corduroy and A Button for Corduroy, and he really loves to sit and read them with us, despite the fact that they're recommended for ages 3-8), and the entire concept of the library is mind-blowing to the child (as he once said "Go library, get a book, bringin home...awesome!"), he just seems more excited about being there than about any particular thing or activity that is actually there. Either way, with both of us there we got to take turns looking for something to read while the other chased him around the fiction section.

Our library wing is closing down for the summer for renovations, so this may be our last family library trip for awhile, but it was nice.

Monday we went to a little playground near our apartment for our Memorial Day picnic. Kim packed some sandwiches, chips, and fruit, though neither of our fruits were very good. Robbie ate a couple of chips, but sitting down to eat when there was a large grassy field and a playground full of slides, a wonky bridge, and random steering wheels nearby was clearly not his idea of the best way to spend the lunch hour. We ventured briefly into some of the more exotic elements of the playground--an attempt on the see-saw, a moment in one of the swings--but as soon as his feet left the ground in each instance, Robbie's face took on a very adult and concerned look, and he said simply, "No." It appears the roller coaster days are far, far, FAR in the future.

Last night, we went to the Chik-Fil-A by our old apartment for a KSBJ Brown Bag concert. I can't tell you who was there. Some girl. The new really popular for-teen-girls girl. She wasn't bad. We had to stand in a crowded Chik-Fil-A for half an hour (when I say "crowded," think "fire hazard") beforehand, but that was nice because at least it was air conditioned. Robbie doesn't usually like crowds, but there were two very loud undergrad youth ministry students (my guess, anyway) singing church camp praise choruses at the top of their lungs for nearly fifteen minutes. "GIVE ME OIL IN MY LAMP, KEEP ME BURNIN BURNIN BURNING, GIVE ME OIL IN MY LAMP, I PRAY, HALLELUJAH!" Et cetera. It made it very hard to hear what the poor girl at the counter was trying to convey to those of us who were waiting so very patiently for our orders. However, the singing DID lead to enough distraction that Robbie didn't start fussing until it was almost time to go back outside anyway. He was actually clapping along for the most part, which also led to all the young women around Kim to comment on how cute it was, and how good his rhythm was, and all that. So, the obnoxious loud singing guys really did end up making it a better experience through their joyful noise.

During the concert, Kim sat and ate as I went around and watched Robbie play in the rock pit beside the bank parking lot. It was interesting how he'd grab two hands full of rocks and throw them on the pavement then go back and pick them all up, one by one, and place them back in the rock pit. The only time he'd stop would be at the end of each song, when he's stand up straight, clap his hands, and shout "YAY"!

Lots of great time over the past four days with the wife and child. You honestly don't even realize you're missing game four between the Canes and Pens ;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Five: Post Mortem


I promise, tomorrow we will have a COMPLETE change of topic. Tonight, I'm going to officially put the 2008-09 Houston Aeros to rest, WBW-style.

Dave and I attended the first game of the season. Man, that seems like a long time ago, but I've got a very vivid memory of the game. We were playing the defending AHL champion Chicago Wolves. Nolan Schaefer in goal for the Aeros, hotshot NHL prospect Ondrej Pavalec in net for the Wolves. We sat in about the fourth row in the Aeros' defending zone (in "Cal's Corner", incidentally). Despite the off-season addition of proven AHL firepower in the likes of Krys Kolanos, Corey Locke, and Jesse Schultz, the first goal of the year was scored by a rookie defenseman who only played eight games with the team all year, Dane Crowley. Crowley dumped the puck into the zone from the blue line to go off for a line change. The puck hit one of the metal dividers between the boards at just the right angle to suddenly ricochet toward the Chicago net, temporarily vacated by Pavalec, who (rightfully) expected the puck to roll around the boards and behind the goal. Just like that, 1-0 Aeros. It turned out it was the only goal we'd score in regulation, but it was just enough as the team won 2-1 in overtime.

I was also at the second game of the year, I think it was against the Rivermen. This game was notable for two reasons: first, it was Tarvis' first ever AHL game; second, it was one of my all-time favorite Aeros, Cal Clutterbuck's, last game with the team before earning a part-time callup to the NHL Wild that turned into a full-time job (as well as an NHL record for hits in one season. Go figure) We won that one, too.

In fact, we started the season red hot, won four straight, won our first five at home...and then we sucked. Hard. It was embarrassing. And then we were hot-and-cold. On one night, we could beat anybody in the league. The next night, we could lose a four-goal cushion and fall in the shootout. (We weren't that good at shootouts this year) By the All-Star break, we were pretty middle-of-the-pack.

We also had some personnel changes, as is the case with minor-league sports. Benny Pouliot failed to live up to his potential (again) in Minnesota and came back down to play in Houston, where he still hasn't lived up to his potential but has become a pretty good penalty killer. Tomas Mojzis also came down from the Wild pretty early on. GM Tom Lynn made a trade and got rid of Ryan Hamilton, our leading goal scorer of 2007-08 (who wasn't producing as well this year) for speedy Robbie Earl from Toronto, a move I hated for a very long time as Earl didn't do much for us (until the playoffs, that is).

Then we hit this turning point. Some of the players pointed to the rehab stint former-Aero Kurtis Foster spent with the team as the time when we really started to turn it around. We were hot again. We were scoring. We were hitting. We were fighting. We were winning. It was starting to look like, when we made the playoffs, we would have a good shot to beat just about anybody.

And then, Kolanos got called up to the parent Wild (for the third time in the season, I think) along with Big John Scott (of WBW notoriety) and veteran all-around useful guy Petr Olvecky. Those latter two may have hurt us a bit (I really didn't notice us missing Scott on the blue line, though, to be honest), but without Kolanos the offense just sizzled. Our huge lead for the 2nd seed in the playoffs started to shrink, and suddenly we were fighting with Peoria, Rockford, Quad City, and Chicago just to make it in! Meanwhile, Krys wasn't playing much with Minnesota, and when he did play he wasn't doing much. And then things got worse! Not only Schaefer, but backup (and AHL All-Star) Barry Brust BOTH got injured, and in comes ECHL stopper Anton Khudobin, who wins three of ten games as the Aeros lose the second seed to the Rivermen and limp into the playoffs.

My, how long ago that seems.

That Peoria series was something. Anton Khudobin became the Little Goalie that Could. Admittedly, I thought we were a better team than Peoria all season, even if they had taken the second seed away from us in our late-season spiral. Things were set right for the playoffs, however: Kolanos and Olvecky were returned, and we played well enough to earn a split in our first two games in Illinois. Games three and five I've already blogged about, I believe, but it's worth reminding you that both were incredible. In the middle of all this madness, we lose Olvecky (again) and Morten Madsen to Slovakia and Denmark for the World Championships (So, thanks for nothing, Slovakia and Denmark!) We went back to Peoria with a three-to-two games lead and had to win one of the last two to advance and pull off the "upset." So naturally, we lost game six.

Here's the thing about this Aeros team: they only seemed to play their best hockey when absolutely necessary. It felt like we won more games coming from behind than we did from getting an early lead. We blew SO many leads. We came back to win SO many games in the third. It was Bizarro-world logic. (Or Looking Glass world, if you prefer; it comes down to about the same thing)

So, here we go into game seven, on the road, in a building we've had trouble winning in all year, with our third-string goalie, and even the universe and the laws of physics conspiring against us, and we pull out a 5-2 win. And we move on to play *gulp* the Milwaukee Admirals, who finished twenty points ahead of us in the standings.

However, I actually felt pretty good going into the Milwaukee series. I knew they were better than we were, but I also knew that we had played them well all year long. We'd actually won the season series against them, just barely, and I knew our guys were on a high after the heroic game seven in Peoria, so off we went to take on a rested Admirals team.

In this case, rest = rust as once again we jumped out to a 1 game to 0 lead in the best of seven. Milwaukee bounced back with game two (as well they should have) and we returned to Houston tied at one game apiece.

Suddenly, Khodobin goes ape nuts on these guys. He holds them to one goal in two games, including a shutout on his twenty-third (I think) birthday that ends with 3,000 Aeros fans singing happy birthday to the kid on what Anton calls his best birthday ever.

Now pay attention, kids, cuz this part is important: The Aeros led the series 3 games to 1. One more win to clinch, three more tries. Meanwhile, the Manitoba Moose had already swept past their second round opponents and were resting up, waiting for the winner. The Aeros' problem all season had been closing out opponents in games when they had the chance; the same problem manifested itself once again, as we let Milwaukee back into the series, failing to close the door on home ice in game five and getting blown out on the road in game six. We win a tense game seven to move on, but as far as I'm concerned, our failure to shut down the Ads earlier and get our injured players some rest cost us the conference finals.

After playing two physically grueling seven-game series', the Aeros spent a whole day traveling to Winnipeg the day before playing games on back-to-back nights against the team with the best record in the AHL, a team that had been resting and preparing for this series for a FULL WEEK. After dropping both games, we hopped a plane back to Houston on a travel day and then had to play them again. We were tired, they weren't. We were banged up, they were fine. We were a rugged team that needed to be at our best to have a shot against a skilled team like Manitoba, but we had simply worn ourselves down in the Milwaukee series. You don't fall down three games to zero to a team like the Moose and come back to win the series. Period.

Credit our boys, though. They never did quit. All year long, they never quit. I said they played their best hockey when they absolutely needed to, and with their backs against the wall they played two spectacular games at home, winning one in overtime and one in double-overtime, giving us the fans one last hurrah with our boys. But once we got back on enemy ice, well, it was just clear who the better team was. And it wasn't us this year.

So there's my take on things, anyway. I enjoyed this season. It's probably been the most fun team to follow, even with all the frustration throughout the year, since I've been in Houston. Major kudos and props to The Third Intermission, one of the best hockey blogs I've found. Four passionate bloggers who love the game and this team and are constantly looking for ideas they can use to make the blog more interesting and/or informative. I look forward to following that site for years to come.

Of the current Aeros, the following guys are under contract to the Aeros/Wild next year: Brust, Khudobin, Madsen, Falk, Noreau, Kassian, and Rogers. Guys whose contracts are up include Schaefer, Kolanos, Olvecky, Schultz, Albers, Pouliot, Locke, Lundbohm, Mojzis, Earl, and Stoner. I think we'll see Earl and Stoner back, hopefully a couple of the other guys, but I expect most of them will be gone. That's the way the AHL works. Some guys who were mostly Wild property this year but may see time in Houston could be Colton Gilles, Craig Weller, and Scott. Potential prospect I want to see in Houston full time: Testwuide, Almond, McMillan, and TYLER CUMA! Plus, you never know what the summer will bring in in terms of free agents. (And Hrkac said he's going back to coach, but may be interested in coming back for the playoffs again)

So there you have it. You'll have no more Aeros blogging on this site till the fall (unless something MAJOR happens at some point this summer, which I doubt). As Robbie would say, "All done Aeros."

Time to turn our attention fully to the Penguins in their second straight Stanley Cup Final after sweeping the Canes right out of the Eastern Conference Finals. (Sorry, cute kids with your stinky Penguins video)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Four: The golfing post

You know, you just can't fall behind three-games-to-none in a best-of-seven to the best team in the league and expect to come all the way back. It just doesn't happen.

So ends the 2008-09 Houston Aeros season. It was a fun ride, often frustrating, often exhilarating, constantly inconsistent, and wildly unpredictable. As with any team, especially in the minor leagues, this team will look different come next season. Schaefer is almost definitely gone; I don't see any way all of Kolanos, Locke, and Schultz stay, and my honest guess is that at least two of them move on. Irmen will probably be let go. A couple of guys will get a shot with the big club next year, and so we could possibly be without Stoner, Noreau, Earl, or even Pouliot depending on how the off-season goes. Some of the guys we only got to see in the playoffs will become regulars, like Scandella, Khudobin, and Testwuide. The 2009-10 Aeros will still be "my" team, they just won't be THIS team, so it's time to say goodbye forever to this group of guys.

Here, friends, is the truth of being a sports fan: your year almost always ends with frustration. No matter who your team is, the odds are they will NOT win the championship. Even when a team wins, say, three or four in a row, it always evens out, and they'll be on the outside looking in again sooner than you realize. Fact is, your team will not win FAR more times than they will win over the course of your fandom. It's something we go into every season knowing, and whether we miss the playoffs, are knocked out in a seven-game heartbreaker, get upset in the first round by an eighth seed, or are out of contention before the year is half over, at some point we all deal with the fact that we didn't get it done, and we go into the off-season as losers.

So, since it's a trait we all share, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of there ;-)

I've been uncannily blessed with the teams I've followed throughout my career as a fan. One of my favorite NFL teams (Rams) have won a Super Bowl (1999) and are currently cellar-dwellars; my baseball team (Angels) captured a World Series (2003, I think) after years of frustratingly falling short; all three of my NHL teams have won the Cup (Pens in 1991 and 1992, tho I barely remember those days at all; Avs in 1996 and 2001, and Lightning in 2004), and they have all been lottery pick teams (Avs and Bolts currently are...grrr!). Nevertheless, it still stings when you say goodbye to your team for the rest of the year. In hockey terms, the Aeros are hitting the golf course tomorrow. (Apparently, ALL hockey players love to golf. I guess it's like hockey, only without getting killed every thirty seconds) Hitting the links. Setting up their tee times. Etc, etc.

Fine. I'm frustrated, but the pain's already ebbing a bit. After twenty or so years of fandom, you have your own way of dealing with the disappointment.

But you know what's beautiful about it? Despite our maturity, despite our coping mechanisms, despite the abilities we've developed to put a more casual, less frantic face on in the face of the good-natured drubbings our friends will give us, there is some part deep down within every sports fan that is reacting just like this three-year-old Canucks fan.

Take it away, Canucks kid! And, see you next year, Aeros.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Three: Not prime

One-hundred thirty-three is NOT a prime number, in case you were curious. When you consider that one-hundred forty is divisible by seven, and it's also seven more than one thirty-three, then it should be obvious.

Speaking of not-prime, I am not in prime physical condition, nor have I been for several days. It's been really weird, because my symptoms change daily, sometimes even twice a day. The one consistent thing has been that I haven't had a temperature. (Well, not one over normal, that is) Extra sleep hasn't shaken it yet, extra vitamins haven't done it yet, and my stress level is pretty low.

It's bizarre.

Happy Memorial Day, folks. Go Aeros, win Game Six. I'm thinking about hosting a listening party at my place. Eh. Or go to someone else's place and let them host a listening party. ;-)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-Two: No really, do it.

I know this reads like one of those sappy Dove chocolate wrappers, some rejected catch phrase from Chicken Soup for the Soul, or something you'd hear at a Point of Grace concert, but it's none of those things. It's probably the best suggestion you'll hear today.

Think of someone you love. Parent, spouse, sibling, friend, mentor, Tony Hrkac, I don't care, just somebody important. Now, go out of your way today to do something to make them feel awesome.

I guarantee you, they could use the affirmation. And you could probably use the affirming, too.

Seriously. Go do it. What have you got to lose? Man, the world would be a better place if we all went out of our way a little more each day to love on the people we should be loving on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty-One: Magic Pizza

Dave Barry would file this under "Why We Love Guys".

Have I told you the story behind the magic shirt? Basically, during the first round of the AHL Playoffs, Dave and I were at that awesome game where the Aeros came back from down 2-0 with five minutes to go before winning it in overtime. After the second intermission, Dave asked if it was time for the Magic Shirt. I slowly turned my head and asked, "Do you...have...a magic shirt?" Then, without another word, Dave starts to take off his work polo and reveals the black and silver Superman shirt underneath. (Which then began an entertaining conversation on whether or not Dave always wears Superman shirts to work underneath his regular work shirts...he doesn't, by the way)

Then, of course, Aeros score twice, win in overtime, and the Legend of the Magic Shirt begins.

You gotta be careful with these things, however. During the Milwaukee series, Dave bought me a Aeros/Admirals shirt as a late birthday present, and he and Tarvis decided it could be a second magic shirt in case the first needed some help. Well, in the third period that night, the Aeros blew their lead and suddenly found themselves tied. Tarvis turned and asked if it were time for the OTHER magic shirt. I, however, wanted to give the Superman shirt a chance to redeem itself. If we fell behind, I told myself, then my magic shirt would come out as well.

The Aeros didn't need my magic, though, and won that game by a 2-1 score.

A few nights later, I listened to a road game while wearing my Aeros/Ads shirt. We got killed! Imagine what may have happened had I tried it on at the game I was watching live!!! (Needless to say, I haven't worn that shirt on a game day since)

This brings us to tonight. Dave went to the game with his dad while Tarvis and I (noticing a trend in personnel in these magic stories?) worked at the theater. I got off work when the show started, and as I drove home I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Aeros led 2-0 after the first period. As I drove, the home team took a 3-0 lead that carried them into the third. Even the third was going our way, despite an early Moose goal to cut the lead to two. Then, with about 21 seconds to go, everything fell apart, and suddenly we were going to overtime. I listened to the entire first overtime at my place while I waited on Tarvis to get off work so we could do some of our weekly junk food/Mario Kart adult-type mature socializing. As the first OT drove to a close, I drove to Casa de A. D. Players Interns while Tarvis cooked a pizza that we had been saving occasion, really. The first OT ended as I pulled up to his door.

"You're right on time," he said as he opened the door, "the pizza is almost ready."

"All right," I said as I purposefully strode through the doorway, all business. "We are going to dub this the magic double-overtime pizza, and see what that does." So we did. Our frozen DiGiorno triple-meat goodness became the magic double overtime pizza as I pulled up the broadcast on his computer. Mario Kart was going to have to wait.

Sounded like the second OT was really fast-paced and back-and-forth, as the first had been. However, the league-leading Manitoba Moose were no match for the combined power of Dave's Magic Shirt, the Magic Double-Overtime Pizza, and Tony Hrkac.

I frickin' love Tony Hrkac right now, by the way.

Aeros win, 4-3. Series is headed BACK to Winnipeg, where there will hopefully be no more double-overtime games, because we finished off our magic pizza stock.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirty: Dump and chase

I'm sick today. It's a real bummer, especially following last night's AHL awesomeness. I still went in and worked a full day today, so it's not horrible, but I'm pretty miserable. It's been doing wacky things to my appetite. (For example, today for my lunch break I took a nap on my office floor rather than actually, I don't know, eating lunch, and my body didn't hate me for that decision until about 5:30 p.m.) My guess is that I just need to get a lot of sleep tonight, and then I'll be fine tomorrow. Which will be good, cuz tomorrow is a whopper of a day!


I'm so sick of people I've never heard of wanting to follow me on Twitter simply so that I'll check out their blog or their web site or subscribe to their service or contribute to their parenting forum so that their web traffic will impress their sponsors. Friends only, peeps.


Several of my friends are down right now. And, you know, that's all right, because as I said earlier this year, sometimes things just suck, and you deal with them and get on with life, and it's really not a big deal.

Nevertheless, it kills me to see people I love (or even people I like) go through a tough time. I want so badly to be able to do something to make it better for them, or to shoulder some of their burden for them. Of course you can't do that, ever, and it's often a bad idea anyway, as crappy circumstances successfully navigated generally lead someone to being a better, stronger, or happier person, and it would be wrong of me to deprive a friend of that. Still. I tend to feel terrible and do anything I possibly can to try to make things better. (I wonder if people have ever taken advantage of this? Acting depressed/pissed off around me = special treatment or gifts or candy more often then not. Hm...)

Bottom line, it's harder for me to see someone I care about go through something rough than it usually is for me to go through something lousy myself. (My super power = empathy?)


Saw Small Steps' kindergarten graduation today (Where Not-So-Super Heroes got its world premiere). They had a slide show montage of all the kids who were graduating. Of course, big old sap that I am, I couldn't help but think, "Just a few more years, and that'll be Robbie...sniff...sniff..."

I actually didn't think "sniff...sniff..." I also didn't actually cry, tho my eyes were quite watery because I was yawning so much. Man, I was tired this morning.

The cake was good, though.


Great game between the Pens and Canes tonight.


On second thought, I'll probably end up skipping Transformers and Terminator at the theater this summer. However, I do know where I'll be this Vets' Day! (Warning: uncanny silliness!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Nine: Matt Beaudoin Is My Hero Tonight

And Tarvis' hero is Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Milkshake. ;-)

Long day today, but good. Up at 4:30 to leave for work at 5:00 for a 5:30 call time for a 9:30 performance at Liberty Elementary. Liberty books us every year, and it's one of my favorite events. I wasn't actually in the show, but I did write and direct it, so I wanted to lend my support. Actually met someone who knows someone I know. Second time that's happened since I moved to Houston! (!) And the world continues to get smaller.

Also had a Riddle rehearsal that can only be described as "loopy" before the awesome, awesome Aeros game tonight. I've been up for awhile! Fortunately, I did manage to get to bed at around 10:30 last night, so although I woke up every couple of hours, I'm not too far behind where I usually am at this point in the week in terms of sleep. Long day, though. Need to go to bed soon.

Tomorrow morning is the world premiere of Not-So-Super Heroes. I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Eight: Is it really only Tuesday?

Seems like it's been a long week. Which is odd, because I had yesterday off.

Regardless, today was productive. Hooray! Tomorrow is full, again. Thursday and Friday should be fairly crazy, too.

I'm blogging while Kim is putting Robbie to sleep for the night and during the second period of the Blackhawks/Red Wings game. We're both hoping to get to bed around nine tonight so we can both wake up at 4:30 for work tomorrow morning.


Today, work ended somewhat discouragingly. Most of the day was good, but the capper was a bit of a confidence killer. Fortunately, coming home to wife and child was fantastic.

Nevertheless, in honor of some late-day frustration, I'm going to leave you all with some fun and pointless pics/vids tonight.


First, meet the oldest hockey fan in existence.

If you're a fan of superheroes, or of the newest Star Trek movie, or of fun, check out this.

Next, the people who brought you 100 Million B.C., Snakes on a Train (no link, and you're welcome), and War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave now offer us this gem (originally pointed out to me by Hannah, so thanks, Hannah!).

Speaking of Hannah, I'm very looking forward to the day sometime next year when she and Deb will play this live for me. (Deb said you guys could do it, Hannah)

And while we're on the subject of youtube music selections that ALWAYS make me smile...

Aaaaaaaaaand finally, if you're having a crappy day, watch this. Adorable. And some of the best Pens/Canes analysis you're likely to get. Well, on the Internet, anyway.

All righty, Hawks and Wings tied at 2. I'm going to try to go to bed. Aeros will attempt to avoid getting swept tomorrow night, and I plan to be there. Here is hoping for the best!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Seven: Off

Today was a nice day off. I got in late last night from Dave's, then woke up relatively early to read Robbie's Tiny Bear Bible (to him, that is, not just for fun) while Kim finished getting ready for work. They left, and I went back to bed to finish up a decent night of sleep. (So I should be good for the next two weeks, right?) Then, a leisurely check-of-the-email and lunch before running a couple of errands. Not really sure what I did until Kim and Robbie got home, then took Robbie outside for about half an hour to play while Kim made a fantastic, simple, good-old-boy type of dinner. I love those. I love her, actually. Though not in the same way I love the dinners.


Got to watch the Pens win game one and listen to the Aeros lose game three. (Desperately hoping for a non-sweep; going to try to go into Wednesday's game and just enjoy it for what it is rather than view it as an attempt to delay the inevitable)

So yes, a nice day off. I think I'm close to starting work on my next play. It's been rolling around in my head since I started writing plays four years ago, and I think enough things have fallen together that it would be okay to take a stab at it. I don't know that we'd ever do it at the Players, which has probably been my biggest hurdle in the past, but now I think I'm probably okay with that. If it's good, somebody someday might produce it somewhere, and for now that's good enough.

Looking forward to a busy work week! Rehearsals for Riddle, rehearsal for Secret Identity, booking for Secret Identity, a few shifts at our children's theater, catching the world premiere of Not-So-Super Heroes at Small Steps, a final showcase for my 2nd-3rd grade class, and whatever hijinks may occur between those events. Should be a good week!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Six: Important stuff first

I'd like to open tonight by saying that tonight I had one of the most delicious lemonberry slushes from Sonic I have ever had in my life. Probably THE best, actually.

Now that that's out of the way... ;-)

Hey, here's some news that'll make my wife happy.

Monday is my day off. You know what that means: chores, errands, and work-related tasks! Plus, a little bit of sleeping in. That'll be good.

I'm contemplating getting a web site to self-distribute some of my scripts that don't get published/aren't published yet. I've seen several playwrights do this; I'm not sure it ever works, though. I've got one published play with Eldridge, and another is currently under consideration with the folks at Baker's Plays (I think). If Baker's turns it down, I'll send out manuscripts to Dramatic, Dramatists, and Anchorage Press. Still undecided on Playscripts, Inc. If I do get this second play published, I may look pretty seriously into a website.

Or maybe an agent. I'm pretty leery of getting an agent, but it's really stinking hard to get anyone in children's theatre to read an unsolicited script unless they're contacted directly by a literary agent.

Once again, I suppose I need to do some more research to figure out how well this strategy actually works.

I dunno. Why can't I just tell stories and get paid lots of money for it to send my kid through college? I mean seriously, world, is that too much to ask???

I kid, of course.

I've got a play project I'd like to get started on, but I've been at "I'd like to get started" for about a month and it isn't happening yet, so maybe this is the ideal time to rewrite my little NaNo. Four people have read the manuscript now, so I'm growing more confident that it could sprout wings and fly somewhere. And make me rich, so that I can put my kid through college. And then come the movie deals.

Again, I kid. I really never considered writing as a possible occupation, so all of these ideas are quite new and strange to me. Agents. Web sites. Publications. These are words for "real" artists, not generally for me. I'm the guy staying up till 2 a.m. with a word document in one window and the Fuzzy Fuzzy Cute Cute song in the other. (You keep on dancing on that cell phone, you crazy little chicken!)

Nevertheless, I'm learning to accept myself as a playwright, possibly even a writer someday, even if I don't match up to my own preconceived notions of either thing.

I would, however, love to put my kid through college one day. So if, miraculously, there is a way to marry these different ideas together, well, that would just be fantastic. I don't have to be rich of famous; just get my family through college someday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Five: The people have spoken!

The world wants less hockey, more Robbie out of this blog!

Okay, okay. You win.

Starting tomorrow. ;-)

Sorry, folks, but you know this is the playoffs. And they've been hecka AWESOME playoffs. Plus, tomorrow starts the conference finals, and if I don't post my preview before game one of Chicago/Detroit, people will think I'm a poser. Or something like that.

Anywho, this won't take too long. There are only two series left to talk about. (Oh, you want my preview for the Aeros? Um...they're already down 2-0 to the best team in the league, a team that is healthier and better rested than we are. I don't expect it to go more than five games. Here's hoping the one Aeros win is Wednesday, when I'm there!)

Now, I was only 2-2 in the second round, correctly picking Pittsburgh and Detroit, but wrongly choosing Vancouver and Boston. Still, I'm 9-3 overall, so I'm feeling pretty good at this point. For the conference final, I'ma start in the east.

This is an awesome matchup. Don't let the seedings fool you; these were probably the two best teams down the stretch. Plus, they've knocked off the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively, to get here, and those wins weren't no fluke, folks. In both cases, experience won out, as both former Cup-finalists (winners, in Carolina's case) had to win a game seven on the road to move on. Tight. Both teams have a spectacular-yet-unsung defensive corps patrolling the blueline. (Scuderi, Letang, Eaton, Corvo, Gleason, Babchuk--these are not really household names in many places) Both teams are riding young goalies who have "been there before" and are playing like it. It's like nothing rattles either of these teams. The Penguins obviously have more top-end talent, but the Hurricanes are getting big contributions from guys you might not expect. (I'm looking at YOU, Jussi Jokkinen!) Both teams have one of the famous Staal brothers, and they're probably going to be matched up against each other quite a bit, with Eric being Carolina's best offensive center and Jordan being Pittsburgh's best defensive center. Awesome. It's hard to believe Carolina was eighty seconds away from elimination against New Jersey couple of weeks ago. It's hard to believe Pittsburgh was down two games to zero to Washington ten days ago. That shows the strength of character these two teams have.

I have to give the edge to Pittsburgh in this series--and that's no slight to Carolina, I promise. The Pens have more goal-scoring depth among their forwards, and when you stack the Penguins top-end talent up against that of the Canes, well, Pittsburgh comes out on top there, too. I'm going to call defense and goaltending a wash. This series comes down to the forward depth of the Penguins, and the unbelievably consistent Sidney Crosby. I know, I know, Mr. Hype. Thing is, the Kid is delivering this playoffs. He's not a human highlight reel like #8 for the Caps is, but he does whatever it takes to win. And the team has totally been following his lead. It'll take everything the Canes can muster to contain Sid, and if they do...hello, Evegni Malkin! I'm not taking anything away from the star power of Eric Staal, but he's not Alex Ovechkin, and the Pens have seen that. Nor do I mean to imply that the Canes' top two lines can't take over a game, but they're not as tough to defend as Philly's were.

One bright spot for Carolina: if Pittsburgh's Sergei Gonchar is more hurt than the team is letting on, then Pitt's powerplay could really stumble. Special teams are the difference in a lot of series, especially the further you go into the post-season. And, the Hurricanes have a knack for beating teams that are supposed to be much better than they are, so you really can not ever count them out. Nevertheless, my pick is Pittsburgh in six.

Okay, this is really a flip of a coin to me. Chicago shouldn't have gotten by Vancouver, at least I didn't think they should have, but not only DID they, but they were also the only team to close out their opponent in less than seven games last round(it took them six). So that's worth noting. A lot of people expected the Blackhawks to be "Scary good," but I don't think anyone expected them to be THIS good, THIS soon. Next year, sure, but not yet. Credit the kids, though. And by "the kids," of course I mean Kane, Toews, Versteeg, Keith, Seabrook--heck, even Byfuglien (which I generally hear pronounced BUFF-glen. Really? BUFF-glen?) Throw Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin behind them, and you've got a team with the talent to win it all. BUT...once again, the road to the Cup leads through Detroit. The Wings have won four cups in twelve years, and there's a reason for it. They're a machine. They're consistently good. Every man does his job to a "T". It's absolutely sickening if you're a fan of any of the other 29 teams in the league. And it doesn't appear that it'll be changing anytime too soon, either. The Wings had one question mark headed into the post-season, and that was in goal. Well, Chris Osgood HAS won two Cups as a starter; turns out a mediocre (okay, bad) regular season doesn't mean squat to him. No questions there. There's really not a glaring weakness to this team. And yet...didn't eight-seed Anaheim just take these guys to seven games and bang them around quite a bit? Might that have some lingering effect as the series drags on?

As I said, this one is a flip of the coin. I think one of two things will happen. Both involve Detroit jumping out in the lead. Either Detroit will take control early and polish off the Hawks in five games, or else the Hawks will manage to hang close, possibly winning one of the first two games in Detroit (though not necessarily), come out flying at home, and wear the Octopus-slayers down as the series goes to six or seven games. I think the lack of experience only hurts Chicago in this case if they fall too far behind and start to scramble. That said, I have no clue which of the above scenarios will happen, but I have to make a choice, so....Chicago in six.

Pittsburgh-Chicago final. Awesome. Hope I'm right, won't be shocked if I'm wrong. ;-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Four: Abbotsford, B.C.

Welcome to Abbotsford, British Columbia, population just over 123,000. It's the fifth largest municipality in British Columbia and the 37th largest in Canada. It's located directly adjacent to Vancouver, which is one of those world cities I really hope to visit before either I die, or World War Three levels every city with a population of one million or more.

The average low in Abbotsford is 40.7 degrees (F), bottoming out at 30.2 in January and peaking at 51.6 in July and August. The average high is 58 degrees, ranging from 41.7 (January) to a balmy 74.5 in July.

Abbotsford has one of the most diverse economies in Canada. It's got one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. It was the home of Gladys Powers, believed to be the last surviving female World War One veteran. It also directly borders the U.S. state of Washington. Sixty-one-point-four percent of the population is Christian.

The city is also going to have their own American Hockey League team next season, the new minor-league affiliate to the Calgary Flames. (It seems British Columbia is closer to Calgary than Illinois is. Who'd have thought?) The team recently held a "name the team" contest...sort of. See, they said they'd already decided on the team name, but they gave the good people of Abbotsford the four finalists to see how many people would vote for the name that had already been chosen.

Curiosity, I guess.

The name for the team that will represent this fine city to the rest of North America?

The Abbotsford Heat.

Because, when I think British Columbia, I definitely think "Heat."


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Three: Parent-of-the-Year Quote (May 14th edition)

Yes, I actually said this to my almost-two-year-old son last night.

And yes, in context, it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds here:

"If you want to eat anything, it has to be french fries."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-Two: Awesomeness tonight

I had tonight's blog post all worked out in my mind.

I knew what youtube video I was going to link to, I knew what childhood memory I was going to evoke, I knew what I wanted to say, and I knew how to tie it all together.

It was going to be a farewell post to whichever of my (still active) teams, the Penguins or the Aeros, lost their deciding game seven on the road tonight.

Pittsburgh 6, Washington 2
Houston 5, Milwaukee 2

Well, crap. Guess we'll have to hold off on that post for at least another week. ;-)

(Look for the last Lest I Forget to come up soon; I still want to do our own 'create-your-own-poetry-style' joint effort, but the response to the octopus poetry was slightly less than I'd imagined, so I may want to tinker with the idea a bit first. Also, toying with the idea of posting some fiction on here at some point.

What do y'all think?)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty-One: Brace Yourself for the Mediocre

So, you'll notice I didn't actually updated yesterday's post later at night.

That's because I went to bed at 9:30...and I actually FELL ASLEEP! And I stayed that way until seven this morning! It was a miracle! I have felt so good all day, it's ridiculous.


Summary of last night's happenings:

Don't use UPS. Ever. Do not give them your money ever again. Tell your friends, tell your family. Don't. Use. UPS.

Last night was a night for incredible hockey games (barring the Aeros' 7-0 drubbing, forcing a game seven tomorrow night in Milwaukee). Caps and Pens going 7 after Washington's 5-4 OT win, and Chicago takes out Luongo's Canucks with an amazing 7-5 win.

Now, for the meat of today's post: It was announced this morning at company meeting (and we already have the kids' brochure out), so I suppose it's safe to announce our season for 2009-10:

On the mainstage:

Myrtle: A Melodrama, by Jeannette Clift-George
O Little Town of Bagels, Teacakes, and Hamburger Buns, by Jeannette Clift-George
Ret., by Jeannette Clift-George
The Little Foxes, by Lillian Hellman
Leaving Iowa, by Tim Clue and Spike Manton

Note: Spike Manton? Anything written by a Spike Manton has GOT to be awesome.

On the children's stage:
The Secret Garden, based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, adapted by Marion Arthur Kirby
Do You Hear What I Hear?, by yours truly
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie, by Kathryn Schultz Miller
Alice Now!, adapted from the book by Lewis Carroll, book and lyrics by Jeannette Clift-George

So, there's that.

As Robbie says, "GO PENWINNNN!"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twenty: Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That (I'm gonna update this later tonite)

Tomorrow, I start work on a new show. Hooray!

It's a script that makes Biff, Bang, Kapowie! look like Pulitzer material. Hm....

We begin rehearsal for The Riddle of the Rainbow tomorrow afternoon. The children's musical opens June 5th and runs through June 24th, if anybody wants to catch it. At least, that's what I was told at one point, but looking at my calendar on the wall, that makes no sense. Hold on, I'm going to the web site to check.

*Awesome "on hold" music plays*

According to our web site, the show closes on June 20th. That makes so much more sense. I wonder why I originally had June 24th written down?

So, not a whole lot of time to rehearse, followed by not a whole lot of time to perform. However, I'm excited. I'm generally never as happy as I am when working on a show, especially a kids' show. (This is no surprise to anyone, I'm sure) I'm kinda-sorta what might be considered somewhat of the protagonist, if this show has a protagonist.

CRAP! I just remembered I have to go pick up my package from UPS TODAY!!! Or they'll ship it back!


*post abruptly ends!*

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day One-Hundred Nineteen: Long Days and Unpleasant Nights

Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

It's very warm and muggy and uncomfortable outside.

It is 1:31 a.m.

It is going to be another long, hot, miserable summer in Houston to be driving around a car with no air conditioner.

You should come visit, if you don't live here already! ;-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eighteen: Octopus

You know what would be fun? It would be fun if we invented our own form of poetry.

Creating new forms of poetry is fun and easy! Here, I'll show you how it's done, and then later this week, we'll do one where anybody who wants to drop a comment can add a new rule, and we'll see what we come up with.

My creation: Octopus poetry.

The poem will have eight lines with eight syllables per line.
The first seven lines will begin with a letter from the word "Octopus," forming acrostic poem for lines one through seven.
The last line can begin with any letter the poet desires, given that the chosen letter does NOT appear in the word "octopus."
The poem may have any subject matter the poet desires, so long as there is a logical consistency to it.

And voila! I've created a new poetic form!

Now I suppose I'd better write me an Octopus poem to prove it can be done.

"Silver Lining"
an Octopus poem

Onward they march t'ward their wat'ry
Cars, spurred on not by dread, but by
The ping of hope that comes with each
Outstanding survival story
Pertaining to one more day of
Unrelenting rain dumped on the
Streets of Houston. Cars abandoned,
Insurance claims are forthcoming.

See? How easy was that??? Here, I'll write another:

"Geno Shoots, Pens Win"
an octopus poem

Overtime victory for the
Captain, Sid the Kid, as his friends,
The mighty arctic birds, o'ercome
Ovechkin, (Russian for "T.O."),
Placing the good guys with the true
Upper-hand. A three-games-to-two
Series advantage. Steel City
Hopes for a game-six win Monday.

Now you try! Write your own octopus poetry to share with everyone! Whoever comes up with the best poem wins a real live octopus!

All right, so that last sentence isn't true at all. So sue me. Actually, don't sue me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day One-Hundred Seventeen: It all depends on your definition of "win"...

A young man outside (who I'd never seen before, but apparently lives in this complex) just told me it was his birthday. I congratulated him. He asked if I wanted a drink. I said no thanks. He assured me he meant it. I told him I didn't drink. He said that was cool. Then he told me the Rockets won tonight, and I asked if it was close. This question seemed to confuse him, so then he said the Lakers were up ten, but the Rockets had sort of come back a little. He then gives me his apartment number and tells me to come up if I want a beer. I tell him to have a happy birthday and head to my apartment.

The Rockets didn't win. I don't know what this guy was talking about.

The Penguins won, though, and tied their series at 2. Carolina with a massive win to take a 3-1 lead over Boston. I have to say that I have never heard an arena as loud for as long as the Canes' rink was during that third period. It was insane. I had to really focus to be able to hear the TV play-by-play guys, and the goal horn was very faint over the crowd noise. Unbelievable.

I got a fantastic video on my phone today of Robbie saying "GO PENWINNN!" It's pretty amazing and cute. He actually ran across the room to say Go Penwin after the Pens scored their fifth goal of the night and I jumped up and shouted "Yes!" or some such thing. Without being prompted.

Anyway, I actually had something to post about that was quite different from the story above, but I have to sort those thoughts out a bit further before posting them publicly. More "growing up" and/or "becoming a responsible adult" stuff. Always fun.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day One-Hundred Sixteen: Vacation...ish

So today start my three-day "vacation" from work.

I'll probably get bored and go in some time today.

See, I had two different sets of potential plans that both required this weekend, and both looked pretty probable, so I went ahead and asked off and got it approved. Then, you guessed it, both fell through. So I have the time off work, but no real reason to BE off work.

So I think I'll sleep in, then probably take a nap. I'll do some work on Hannah's birthday present. I'll get a couple of household chores done. That should pretty much take us to the point in the day when Kim and Robbie get home, and then it's business as usual.

Tonight at home was very nice, by the way. We got pizza for dinner, so Robbie was in a great mood all night. Meanwhile, at the Yo, the Aeros won another game they probably shouldn't have and suddenly sit 3 games to 1 over the Ads, with game five set for Saturday night in Houston. I'm severely tempted, folks.

Other playoff updates: Wings/Ducks at 2-2, Hawks/Canucks at 2-2, Washington leads Pittsburgh 2-1, and Carolina leads Boston 2-1.

My predictions = not looking so good right now.

Let's see, what else...oh yes, thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek. (I've never been a Trekkie, in case anyone's curious) It's a bit of a stretch in places (WHAT????) but overall it is a fun adventure film, and it's great to see Zachary Quinto do something that isn't Sylar.

Creepy Sylar.

All right, goodnight, folks! I'm on VACATION!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day One-Hundred Fifteen: True statement; create your own story!

It's late, and I'm giving the longer posts a rest for a little while, so I'll leave you with this interesting nugget of my life today:

I thought for a moment I might actually be a ghost, but it turns out the guy at McDonald's was just being a jerk.

Ready? Now, write a short story with that as the opener!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day One-Hundred Fourteen: The Thing About England (Updated!)

Okay, so the thing about England is that you really can't trust anybody.

I mean, even Spider-man could snap at any moment.

This is deeply troubling.

Meanwhile, I'll be at the Aeros/Admirals game tonight. Here's hoping it's awesome!

Wholly unrelated update!

Here's today's nominee for Worst Idea Ever. (I personally don't think it'll win; it's got some stiff competition from World War I, the fall of man, Killing Time, the XFL, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but you never know)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day One-Hundred Thirteen: What Can Brown NOT Do For You? (updated)

UPS, you are on notice.

Faithful readers, if you plan to send me any packages, please do not send them via UPS.

UPS comes to my front door three work days in a row just before lunch time. Sometimes, they leave a note to say they've been there. Occasionally (like today), they just leave a sticker that says "This was our third attempt, we're shipping it back."

Fortunately, last time and this time I've managed to get online fast enough to stop them from shipping it back; however, I do have to drive about thirty minutes out of the way to pick it up from their storehouse. And this can't wait for the weekend, either. I've got 48 hours to make the pickup, or else--say it with me, kids!--they're going to ship it back!

Really? You can't leave something at the office? You can't hold something for a week so I can come pick it up the one day I'm not working? I have to miss time at work so you don't send my birthday present back to California? You can't leave something at the regular post office for pickup?

We're so done professionally, UPS.


It turns out, I can NOT change my delivery option "at this time." Well, maybe I'll get this package, and maybe I won't! Awesome!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day One-Hundred Twelve: Happy Monday

Happy Monday, everybody.

Do yourself a favor: do something you absolutely love today.

That's all :-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day One-Hundred Eleven: Fish Sticks and Corn

A day or two ago, my wife asked if I wanted anything special for my birthday dinner. My standard answer to this question is usually "chicken and dumplings," but we just recently had that, so I actually had to think this year. (I wonder if she did that on purpose?) I thought for a bit and remembered a conversation I'd had with some friends at work recently about a good "weekend food" that none of us had had for awhile.

"Fish sticks, corn, and a tall glass of milk," I answered. I think Kim was amused that she offered a nice fancy meal of my choosing, and here I was requesting something I could very easily make myself (if we had it, and that was just the point. We don't ever have those items because Kim can't eat them due to an allergy to corn). Eventually, I convinced her that I was serious, and that a meal of fish sticks, corn, and milk would make me very happy.

So tonight for dinner, I had fish sticks, corn, and milk--a meal I prepared for myself--while she had something that better agreed with her slightly-more-sensitive system.

That, I think, sums up my birthday very well. It's been a very nice couple of days. Lots of small, kind things have been done for or said to or shared with me over the past forty-eight or so hours. Some have been birthday-related, some have not. Hand-made cards, kind words through a timely voicemail, thoughtful and/or innovative gifts, lunch with friends, late-night movie, free pizza coupon in the mail, an afternoon and evening with my wife and son, etc.

The funny thing about it is, this should have been a terrible birthday. I had to work this morning, and Robbie was throwing up last night--a lot--and was hungry and fussy this morning, and I was tired for most of the day, and the Red Wings won yesterday, and the Pens and Aeros both lost today (Blackhakws did win--woohoo!), and there were just plenty of circumstances to make today be one of those sucky birthdays you read so much about, but...I have great friends (and family, too!). And I know that there are many times when I don't appreciate them (you) for all they're (you're) really worth, so if they (you) are reading this, I want to thank you for everything you do for me. I appreciate it, and I appreciate and love you all.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day One-Hundred Ten: Robbie's Sick

Robbie came home sick from day school today. I'm pretty sure it's just a stomach bug, because he's been perfectly happy and playful and cheerful and adorable all day/night long with the only unpleasantness being his propensity for vomiting almost everything he eats or drinks. We'd appreciate your prayer, first for his health, and second that we can stay healthy, too.

(And please, no swine flu jokes. Remember that the first U.S. death was an infant Robbie's age in Houston. I think a swine flu joke would be pretty tasteless just now)

One day, when Robbie's won his first Stanley Cup, somebody will dig out this old blog post and try to use it to embarrass him. Well, I suppose once you've won the Cup, you're in such a great mood that it doesn't who's trying to embarrass you.

Speaking of, Wings beat the Ducks and the Bruins beat the Canes tonight. Both lead 1 game to 0.