Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Ninety-Three: NaNoWriMo

Time for National Novel Writing Month, everybody!

For those who aren't in the know (which should be none of you, because I know I've mentioned this before, and if you haven't been reading since day one SURELY you went back and read everything until you were caught up ;-), NaNoWriMo is an Internet-based writing project in which participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word narrative from midnight, November 1st till midnight, November 30th. Last year was the first time I seriously participated, and I ended up writing a story that I not only liked, but that I also got published, turned into a series, and made into a movie*! Plus, it was all kinds of fun, and since I work so well with deadlines, it was also a sort of creative catalyst for me. So, I'm doing it again this year. This year's novel is not one I plan to seriously consider doing anything with, but fans of the Hero Squad franchise (particularly the Princess Mystic Starfish corner of the universe) will likely get a kick out of it.

So what does that mean for you, my faithful little blog of two-hundred ninety-three days?

Most likely, nothing. There are already nights when I post nothing beyond "I'm tired. Going to bed now." Hopefully those entries won't become more frequent over the next month. Maybe I'll start posting at lunch again to my nights can be NaNo time. But, who can say for sure? You may just get links to more Aquaman cartoons for the next who-knows-how-long. All I know for certain is that 50,000 words is probably at least three weeks away (that's how long it took me last year). I'm sure I'll post NaNoWriMo updates as we go.

Here's your first one--Current Word Count: 0!

*These things have not actually happened.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Ninety-Two: 1st-8th

I got a chance today to really put my work to the test.

We had a booking this afternoon at a school that usually brings us out every year to perform whatever our anti-drug or peer pressure play that year is. We always give back-to-back performances. Usually, the first show is for kindergarten through second grade and the second show is for third through fifth. It's been that way every year I've ever been out to this school. So, when we arrived today for our two shows, I expected more of the same. As soon as I met with our contact, however, I discovered things were slightly different this time around.

"The first audience will be 1st through 4th," she told me, "and the second will be 5th grade through 8th."

Fifth through eighth???

Okay. See, we have age recommendations for each of our shows. The recommended ages for Teammates are 2nd through 5th grade. Usually, some school brings in their youngest kids, and that's fine. They just get a little fidgety. (Though maybe sometime I'll tell you about the time I performed Bartholomew's Reading Adventure for an entire audience that was too young to read. Oy) But 7th-8th grade? The too-cool-for-school crowd? I was not particularly looking forward to that crowd.

Anyway, we did the first show (for the ideal target audience), and it was nothing short of awesome. The kids laughed everywhere I wanted them to, they responded to the serious scenes the way I'd hoped they would, and after the big basketball game at the end, they were cheering so wildly that I had to quiet them down so I could finish up the show. Once the first show was over, it was time to try out this little piece of theater on a whole new demographic.

We talked a little before the show about a few changes we'd planned to make. We kept the story and script in tact, but we aged the protagonists from 4th grade to 6th grade and similarly upgraded the older bullies from 6th grade to 8th grade. We also talked about playing our characters a little bit more mature. Again, we left the script in tact, we just modified the ages a bit. Otherwise, we played the same show.

The older kids totally dug it. I mean, naturally, you had that section of kids who just sit and talk and make fun of everything; that's only natural with this age group. But the majority of the kids were engaged and active and responsive. They laughed at some of the more sophisticated humor than the younger kids had, and after the big climactic b-ball showdown--miracle of miracles!--they cheered almost as hard as the young kids had!

It was a fantastic experience as a performer, as the unit manager, and as the playwright. I was really proud of everyone's character adjustments with no forewarning or rehearsals, I was grateful for the kids for giving us a chance, and really I was glad we were able to give them a chance as an audience. And of course, it was overwhelmingly reassuring to see the story I wrote for grade school students translate just as well for a middle school crowd. It was fun; everything about it was fun. It was one of those days when I really got to love my job.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Ninety-One: HOLY CRAP!


I know, I know, I get too geeked out about comic book movie news, but this...this is...this...

Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Odin in the upcoming Thor movie, directed by Kenneth Branaugh and starring Chris Hemsworth, Todd Hiddleston, and Natalie Portman.

I mean, I got nothin' to say about this but WOW.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Ninety: So they say...

So they say, "Bad dress rehearsal, good opening night."

Apparently, the inverse is also true.

Bat Boy was a little rough tonight. The band did pretty good, but the kids...I think they were crazy nervous. We found lots ourselves trying to figure out how to get back to where they were. After the show, we discussed that we need to fine places where we can just jump back on the train in each song in case that happens again.

And usually, we were pretty good about it. One song, though, they completely lost us, and it just sorta never recovered...

I predict a much better showing tomorrow, though. The kids have got a show under their belt, and they know they can do it well because they did a great job on Tuesday, so Thursday we should be rocking the house pretty righteously.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Nine: I'm not joking

If you didn't watch this video yesterday, go do it now. It's like, if you combined an alligator with a ninja, this is what you get.

Even the box office gals though it was cool.

Though I'm kinda sorry I didn't post this one first. I mean come on, that just looks like something I'd have made.

Though I wouldn't have gone so far as to sell T-shirts.

Second, adding further to the madness of Onomatopoeia day, this link from Sherri. For those who are lazy and/or uninterested and don't want to read, it's basically saying there's something out there big/vicious enough to bite a great white shark in half.

Yes, there's a picture.

Oh, the look of shock on that poor fish's face...

Apparently, some environmentalists are looking to reduce the anti-shark measures in Australia's beaches because they're hurting whales, fish, and turtles. However, I'm pretty sure I'd want every layer of anything you can possibly throw between me and that creature. Clearly, this was just a warning. We have no idea what these gigantor beasts are planning. But I promise you it's not good.

There is but one hope left for us all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Eight: Onomatopoeia

Sometimes, the most eloquent means of expression is to use words that aren't actually words at all.


First: RAR!!!!

Second: CRUSH!!!

Then of course, there's always the classic Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom.

And nothing beats a gratuitous URKK!! (Or a Ker-Sploosh! by the way)

SLAM! (He's okay, folks!)

A little bit SPLASH, a whole lotta CHOMP!


And finally: QUAAA??

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Seven: Buy Me Some Peanuts And Cracker Jacks. I Don't Care, Period.

Okay, so I almost blogged about the awesomeness of Cal Clutterbuck's game last night, but Russo's already done it much better than I could, complete with a link to a goal that should make it into the end-of-the-year highlight reel, so go check that out here.

Watching the end of the Angels season. Ugh. Bitterness descends upon the WBW.

Well, hey, the Pens still won the Cup, and really, if only one of my teams can win a trophy, I want it to be the Cup.

I've noticed something in most of my friends who are big baseball fans: once their team is out of it, they seem to stop caring. Whether I'm talking to my Astros fan friends, my Cubs fan friends, or my Cardinals fan friends, no one seems to care once their own season is over. And I don't believe it's limited to my small sample, either, because I see a lot of message boards or facebook statuses that say something roughly akin to "I don't care anymore, I just hate the Yankees."

As a hockey fan first, football fan second, baseball fan third, this is really, really strange to me. The hockey communities I visit, the fans are passionate about the Cup from opening faceoff until Gary Bettman hands the big silver trophy off to Sidney Crosby. (Er, or whoever wins it, of course) The big-time NFL fans I know can dissect the Super Bowl from just about any angle a week before the big game, and even if they don't care one way or another they all watch the game, saying "I'm just hoping for a good game."

My baseball fan's just not the same. Admittedly, I can think of two people in my circle I know will be watching the Fall Classic. But that's about it. Everybody else is just as happy, if not happier, with reruns of The Office.

This isn't a dog on baseball fans, not at all. Just an observation. It may just be that it's difficult to maintain interest in a full 162-game season, and then a three-round post-season. It may be frustration at a system in which there are essentially three to five legitimate contenders by the time there is still a half season to play. I can't say for sure, because I don't really consider myself to be a serious baseball fan. And I really don't know who I want to win, the Yankees or the Phillies. I'm not terribly keen on either of them.

Oh, well. I'll have Bat Boy the next two weeks and won't have to worry about it.

That said, kudos to the Angels for putting out such a great season. When you consider the team started the year with two of their best starting pitchers on the injured list, and then you had Nick Adenhart's death on the third day of the season and all the emotional issues the team battled through for the first half of the year, they really came together and had a great year. Just a couple of errors in horrible places put an end to their pennant hopes, which was uncharacteristic of this squad all year, but hey, that's the playoffs!

Oh, one final observation: the guys who called the game tonight on Fox were really, really bad. By the sixth inning, they weren't even saying anything between pitches. It would go like this:

Color: High and inside, ball two.
*forty or so seconds of crowd noise, followed by another pitch*
Color: Two and one.
*forty seconds of crowd noise, followed by another pitch*
Color: Fouled high to the first base side, two and two.
*twenty seconds of crowd noise, followed by a shot of Torii Hunter in the on-deck circle*
Color: Torii Hunter on deck.
Color: Ball three.

Et cetera.

Come on, dude. You're getting paid for this.

I know Harry Carey said some out-there stuff, but at least he kept us all entertained!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Six: Welcome to my High School Dance

Yeah, the football team beat Circle High, 36-6! Time to have some nice, clean fun!

(WBW staff note: We never realized how horrible the following song actually is. Proceed with caution, and only for purely nostalgic purposes)

I never liked that the final dance of the evening had to be a slow song, so goodnight, kids! Drive safely!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Five: I Can Totally Do This

So here's what I was really going to blog about last night.

Had our second band rehearsal for Bat Boy last night. (Actually the third, but I missed last Tuesday, so it was my second) Going into the first rehearsal, I was majorly concerned that I wasn't going to be able to play to the same standard as the rest of the band. After that first afternoon, I was sure I'd at least be okay. Last night, the band consisted of myself, the new guitarist, and the guy playing three keyboards at once. (Bass player out all this week) In addition, most of the kids who played principals in the cast were there so they could sing through the music with something other than the CD before dress rehearsals start next week.

It. Was. Awesome.

I realized I'm not playing everything quite how it's written on the sheet music (I personally think percussion sheet music for a rock show should be taken with a grain of salt anyway) because I've only actually been reading percussion sheet music for a little over a week, but the music director is perfectly fine with that. (Besides, neither cast recording I've found plays everything by the book, either) I've realized there's a lot less pressure on the drummer in this show, because it's primarily a guitar-and-keys show, so that's helped me really relax into it and pretty much go with the flow for the most part. The kids' reactions to singing with live musicians was fantastic. They were so jazzed to be rocking out with a real band. They were actually convinced we were pretty good, too. And to be fair, with all of us playing, we generally did sound pretty good.

Now, I'm still a little ways away from being show-ready. (I actually did pretty well up until we got to Three Bedroom House. You get behind in that number, and it's all over) We've also got two more rehearsals before we open, though, so I think that, if I haven't quite nailed down those last few numbers, I'll at least have perfected a believable way to fake them.

All this to say that last night was fun, and I'm finally convinced that I'm not horribly out of place in this thing. And that's a good feeling.

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Four: Totally Not My Fault

Just a quick note to say that it wasn't my fault that I couldn't blog last night. I was up and at my computer and all ready to type at 2 this morning, but blogger couldn't find my site. Or something like that. I'm not sure, web sites are so mysterious and finicky when it come to telling you how exactly they've messed up.

Also: today is my lovely wife's birthday! And since she doesn't have her own facebook/twitter/anything, and since I'm pretty sure she checks my blog more frequently than hers, feel free to drop your well wishes in the comments section for this post.

Off to rehearsal!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Three: Batman vs. Dr. Horrible...sort of...

There's a newer animated Batman series called The Brave and the Bold. This show is pretty much everything the legendary Batman: The Animated Series was not: goofy, gimmicky, all about the guest-starts, and specifically targeted for younger children. Now personally, I loved Batman: The Animated Series. I still do, actually, an if I stumble across and episode on TV I'll generally stop to watch it. That said, I think there's a place for this type of program, too. It seems to be fairly similar to the old Adam West Batman series I grew up on. It's also the equivalent to Marvel's Super Hero Squad series. And I think it's important to give young kids super heroes to cheer for, since mainstream Marvel and DC stuff is clearly not kid-friendly these days. (And don't even get me started on the thousands of parents who brought their five-year-olds to see The Dark Knight at the theaters!)

Anyway, this Friday, Batman and co-hero-of-the-week Black Canary will be taking on The Music Meister (imagine the Pied Piper for grown-ups). MM will be voiced by none other than Neil Patrick Harris, a.k.a. (among many other things) Dr. Horrible from Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog. The guy's got a corner on the singing super-villain market currently. (Note to self: find a way to get into the singing super-villain market at some point) Now, honestly, twenty-seven-year-old Bat-fan that I am, I admit I'm a little embarrassed for the Caped Crusader with this particular venture.

Nevertheless, that is an oddly catchy little diddy. (Side bonus: Aquaman solo!)

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-Two: Blog Fail

Well, I failed.

I didn't post anything yesterday.

I fully intended to, mind you, but I accidentally fell asleep at about 8 p.m. This basically never happens, or when it does happen I always wake up again at 1 a.m. and am then awake until 4-ish, so I post then. Last night, however, I slept pretty much from 8 until 7 this morning. I was so tired, my body seemed to forget its usual war against my sleeping habits and just crashed.

Now, it's 7:30 a.m. as I write this, and most of you won't bother to check this blog to see if I posted anything last night for at least another hour, so I could just lie and say "Hey, I'm posting after you went to bed!" After all, it wouldn't be the first time that had happened. But really, you deserve better than lies and deceit. So, I apologize and admit my shortcoming.

So starting tonight, we start back over at Day One!!!

No, no we won't.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty-One: A.D.D.

The tireder I get, the harder it is for me to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. And I generally have trouble with focus anyway (which is part of the reason I fear my 4th-6th grade "Observation and Concentration" class has been so miserable). Thus, when I get a cool idea for something fun to post that may take upward of 25 or 30 minutes, I get a few sentences into it and then get distracted by something shiny, so I end up telling my old lion-crocodile-snake story instead.

It's a good one.

What this means for you, tonight, is that you will not get any Herculoids commentary, which is kinda sad because I'm really looking forward to doing some Herculoids commentary. There's just so much that warrants commenting!

Today was the first Secret Identity booking of the year. In a lot of ways, it felt like THE first booking of the year, even though we've had three Lion bookings already. Probably because this was the first time all four of us went out together and the first time we went into a school. The kids didn't clear out of the cafetorium until ten minutes before curtain. Fastest sound check ever. Also didn't meet our contact until just before the show. Unusual. Decent show, though. Had fun.

Don't like the hair-graying stuff I have to use for this show, though.

Ugh. About to fall asleep at the computer. That's not good. G'nite, kids!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Eighty: ZooBoo!

Once again: seriously? "ZooBoo"??

Supposedly, if you say it in a high-pitched "excited voice" while doing some sort of sparkly fingers, it's not so bad. I remain skeptical.

All righty, so I missed church this morning to work at Houston's ZooBoo. It was, on the whole, a very fun and well-organized event, and a highly advantageous one for our organization to be a part of, so it was a good/productive way to spend the morning, a decent excuse for an extremely rare case of churchgemissen.* Some highlights/observations:

--I'd estimate at least 65% of all the kids who were dressed up for the event were either superheroes or princesses. Nothing else even came close to these two genres. A very distant third was Star Wars characters. Fourth, I think, was dinosaurs. Which was odd, because every kid who was dressed as a dinosaur was one of two costumes. When I saw the first two, I thought they were homemade, but I kept seeing them the rest of the day, so maybe not. Among superheroes, Marvel characters were far more popular than DC, with Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, and (believe it or not) the Hulk getting considerable representation. As usual, DC seemed to be banking all of its chances on the cast of Gotham City as Batman, Robin, and Batgirl were fairly abundant. Also a few Supergirls and a Wonder Woman or two, but overall I'd say Wolverine was enough to outnumber all DC characters not named Batman put together. As for the princesses, most of them were pretty generic. I don't know if I should count the mermaid princesses as mermaids or princesses. Thoughts?

--Interesting that almost every Robin I saw was female, save for one one-year-old boy who's older brother was Batman. I have to admit, the she-Robin costume looked pretty cool, even though it was neither Stephanie Brown's nor Carrie Kelly's, the two female Robins. (Only Stephanie is from the main continuity, in case anyone cares) Sorry, Dick and Tim (and, to a lesser extent, Jason and Damien). Apparently red and yellow look better on a girl than a boy. Though admittedly, the she-Robins I saw today were wearing pretty sparkly Robin costumes, and I doubt Batman would have ever allowed his sidekick to wear glitter.

--Very few traditional Halloweenish things, costume-wise. No ghosts. A few skeletons. A couple of witches. Not a single Frankenstein's monster. There was one boy who had a creepy demon baby clawing its way out of his shoulder, and there was one bloody mummy, but otherwise it seems Halloween has largely been taken over by books, movies, celebrities, and more friendly archetypes (like princesses and dinosaurs). I'm actually okay with this. I appreciate Halloween more as a celebration of fantasy and imagination than of ghosts and goblins. Ghosts and goblins are very much a part of fantasy and imagination, but so are heroes and fables. Of course, I'm in a line of work that is all about pretending to be someone you're not (debatable: Most people are in a line of work that is all about pretending to be someone you're not), so I may be biased. All said, however, I don't think the shift from vampires to more modern fantasies like superheroes and Harry Potter characters is a bad thing at all.

--And yes, there were more than a couple Hermiones running around the zoo this morning.

--One of the worst ideas ever: the "make a scary noise!" contest. Basically, after the costume parade, you line all of the kids up and pass a microphone down the line, asking them all to make the scariest boo or scream they can. Then, the guy handing out color sheets and trying to share information about his children's theatre company to parents while their kids are coloring can listen for almost fifteen minutes as children scream, one after another, at the top of their lungs, into a microphone. Brilliant, ZooBoo. Simply brilliant.

--I got to watch a lion, an alligator, a few monkeys, and a couple of giraffes teach a bunch of kids (and one acting bug) how to do the entire Thriller dance. The zoo brought in a dance squad and dressed them up as animals--one of the giraffes was on stilts!--and they spent half an hour teaching a large group of children to do the dance. Thus, Thriller survives to the next generation. My friend Hannah, whom I now officially suspect has super powers (though exactly which powers remain uncertain), stayed in the "bug suit" for the full time, then took nearly half an hour to get back to the break room due to the swarming of small children wanting hugs and pictures. It was epic. I've been in the bug suit for 30 minutes before, but never a full hour, and never while doing Thriller. Outdoors. Epic.

--Not ZooBoo at all, but awesome day to be a Texans fan. We play our first solid game against a good team of the season, and the Titans suffer one of the most embarrassing losses in recent history. Looks like the whole season will be this up-and-down type of nausea-inducing theme park ride. Good thing I like theme park rides.

*not actually German for "missing church"--the WBW editorial staff.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Nine: In The Office

Do you see what I did there?

I'm blogging from work tonight. That's something I haven't done in awhile. I've got quite a bit to get done when I get home, and I don't actually have anything to be doing at the moment but on nights where I have to work I try to stay there until I'm sure Robbie is asleep so I don't wake him up/rile him up just when Kim's finally getting him to settle down. So, I'll be here another couple of minutes.

Myrtle: a melodrama closes tomorrow. Hope you saw it, if you wanted to see it. Hope you missed it, if you wanted to miss it.

The Avs are 5-1-1 this year. That's uncanny. Rookie/third overall pick/teenager/Avs fan Matt Duchene has been trying extra hard to get that first goal of the year. He's had a lot of great chances that just haven't gone in. Frustrating. Well, tonight the kid got it. On the road. A third-period game-tying goal, actually. In Detroit. Yep, you can tell the kid was an Avs fan growing up.

I'm going to the zoo tomorrow to work something called ZooBoo. What upsets me most about this is that the event is named "ZooBoo." I mean seriously. ZooBoo? Fine, schedule me to work during church. In fact, go ahead and schedule me on Thursday to work on a Sunday. Take away my only day off. Quite honestly, I understand. Sometimes, that sort of thing just happens.

But "Zooboo"?

Word on the street is the zoo would like us to come back to work their holiday event. I've already said that, if it's called "ZooHoHo", we need to decline.

Aw. Avs now trail the Wings 3-2. Come on, Duchene, get your head in the game!

Speaking of musical theater, I guess I can say on here that I'm playing drums for Bat Boy: The Musical. It's a really, really, really, really sad show. The music is pretty awesome, though. The lyrics...could use a little help. The show itself is a little grisly and, at times, a since this is a high school production, and a former Player directing, a lot of that stuff has been trimmed/toned down/cut completely. I think it's going to be fun. Definitely a challenge. Definitely not something I've done before.

Definitely a lot of listening to Bat Boy this past week.

Cody Mac ties it up for the Avs. Ah, boxscore-updating hockey. Is better than real food!

All right, I think I'm outta stuff to stay tonight. Keep it real, yo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Eight: Out Of the Office

All righty, friends. I don't expect to be available much over the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be playing drums for a local high school's fall musical, and those rehearsals start up tomorrow. Also, we've got a slew of touring bookings coming up, leading to some way-early mornings. Put those two and their requisite fatigue together, and I'm going to want/need to spend as much of my spare time as possible with my family.

I'd appreciate thoughts, prayers, and any Mountain Dew you'd like to pass my way between now and Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Seven: Couscous, Kansas-style

Back when I worked at Horsefeathers and Applesauce (this the year AFTER the drunk choreographer, the lead passing out on me during a show, and the revenge of the rampaging Joseph camel) we set Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in Morocco, so for the dinner portion of our evening, we served closest-to-authentic-you'll-find-in-Kansas couscous. Unlike previous meals, where we served individual plates and entrees, we served the couscous family style and explained that, in a traditional setting, the family would just pass the bowl around and dig in with their hands, picking out however much they wanted. We were also told to encourage our patrons to give this unusual serving method a try.

I suggested this only once. Then I immediately went back to the kitchen to get a serving spoon for the people at my table.

One glance can say oh so much.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Six: "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whoooooole Thing"

You ever look back randomly on an event in your life and suddenly have trouble comprehending the fact that it actually happened? I recall a choir teacher in high school once doing something abnormally silly early one morning for our select group of Madrigal Singers, then stopping halfway through her routine with a shocked look on her face. "Oh my gosh," she said, "I really just did that, didn't I? I'm not dreaming, am I?" She was then thoroughly embarrassed for the next eight or so minutes.

In honesty, though, it hadn't been the most embarrassing thing she'd ever done.


For some reason, the following thought suddenly seemed absolutely absurd to me for the first time, and I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the reality of it: I can't believe Jen and I actually zipped up in dolphin outfits and leaped around a stage in scuba fins making seagull sounds. I can't believe that we did this almost daily. For just over a month.

I mean, seriously?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Five: Let Him Eat Cake

Kim: Robbie, do you want cake?

Robbie: Yeah!

Kim: You have to eat one more bite of chicken.

Robbie: No.

Me: Just one bite of chicken, and then you can have cake.

R: No.

W: Don't you want some cake?

R: ....No.

(Robbie climbs down and plays for five or seven minutes while the rest of us eat)

K: All right, time for dessert.

R: Robbie want dessert!

K: Oh, you want some cake?

R: Yes.

K: Eat that chicken on your fork.

(Robbie hesitates)

W: Can you eat that one chicken so you can have cake?

(Robbie takes the chicken off the fork and eats it)

R: Mmmm.

W: Is it good?

R: Yeah!

W: Do you want some more?

R: No.

W: Okay, here's some cake.


This, folks, is a perfect picture of every Christian's relationship with God at some point or other. (Us = Robbie, God = Kim and I in the illustration)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Four: B-A-N-A-N-A-S

The following is bizarre. I might not even read it if I were you. You have been warned.


Jorgen Marsters loved bananas. They were easily his favorite fruit. He would buy a bunch of bananas at the grocery store every weekend and eat one banana a day. He never ate more than one; it was simply out of the question.

One day, Jorgen realized that, despite his consistent and relatively rapid banana rate-of-consumption, he was never actually able to finish his bunch of bananas before the last one went bad. "This is no good," Jorgen thought to himself. "A banana is a terrible thing to waste." So he started paying close attention to how many bananas he bought. He realized he'd been buying an average of six bananas a week, so he tried buying five bananas instead. By the fifth day, however, that last banana was soggy and brown. Perplexed, the next week Jorgen bought only four bananas, but four days later the last banana was mushy and unappetizing.

Poor Jorgen! Not only was he still wasting one banana a week, but now he was eating fewer bananas himself! "I know what I will do," Jorgen said aloud one day to nobody in particular. "I will buy a dog. Then, I will feed my dog the last rotten banana, and it will not go to waste."

For a time, it seemed this brilliant plan was a success. Jorgen went back to buying six bananas per week, and after the fifth day, when the last banana went bad, he fed it to his dog, whom he had named Kenny. After a few weeks, however, Kenny decided that he did not like rotten bananas and he refused to eat them anymore. One night, while Jorgen slept, Kenny ran away, and Jorgen went back to his old ways of wasting one banana a week.

Poor Jorgen was getting desperate. He didn't seem to care nearly as much about the wasted banana anymore as he did about the cruel joke Fate seemed to be playing on him. He was now determined to find a way to eat every last banana in the bunch, just to prove that he could do it!

Then, one night while he was tossing and turning in bed, agonizing over his dilemma, Jorgen decided upon his endgame. He went to sleep instantly, smiling, and dreamed of Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Walt Disney, and Aquaman congratulating him and telling him what a genius he was.

The next morning, Jorgen Marsters drove to the grocery store. He marched defiantly to the produce section and picked out a single yellow banana that was perfect in every way. He carried it proudly to the check-out stand and left the store with nothing but a single banana double-sacked in paper bags. He set the banana by his bed that evening, prepared to partake in the entirety of his one-banana bunch first thing in the morning, before it had had time to spoil. He had resolved to take this same action every day for the rest of his life, to show the Universe that he could thwart its intentions to exasperate him with a little good old-fashioned human ingenuity.

Jorgen died that night.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Three: First and Goal

There's one play that you've tried all afternoon that has given you nothing virtually every try. So, naturally, with the game on the line, you try it again. Twice.

And then you lose.

Sorry, but if we manage to pull away from this rough start to finish 8-8 again this season, it's going to ring a lot hollower than the past two years.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-Two: A Night at the Yo

Headed to the Toyota Center to take in my first Aeros game of the new year (game #4 on the season, and #2 at home). We played the new cross-state rival Texas Stars (based in Austin) who are backstopped by former-Aero playoff netminder Matt Climie. The Stars also feature former Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning defensman Brad Lukowich as well as a few other players who've had a scratch of time in the NHL. This was my first look at the new Aeros squad, featuring over half new faces, but it was great to see familiar faces Noreau, Stoner, Irmen, Rodgers, and of course, Anton Khudobin between the pipes.

Some observations:

--My $5 parking lot is now $10. It's also now regulated by an automatic parking machine. So chalk that up to another human job taken by those **** robots.

--I was a little disappointed at the rude welcome Climie got by Aeros fans. I know he's the other team's goalie, and I realize he wasn't a huge contributor here last season, but he was one of our guys, and he was the guy who gave us a shot to get back into that series against Manitoba. We could have laid off on the "Climie SUCKS" chant until at least the third period, right?

--Clayton Stoner leads this team in goals. I think he scored maybe twice all last year. Perplexing.

--In what has become a continuing trend, the Aero Dynamics are wearing even less clothing this year than last year. While freestyling, a few of the dancers also seemed to hint that they have a background in some very different, less-family-friendly forms of dance. As a parent who'd like to take children to these games, I'm a bit disappointed. I don't know what kind of message these dancers are going to send about femininity to my son...or to any potential daughters, for that matter. Not a step in the right direction, Aeros.

--The crowd tried to get the wave going tonight. Been awhile since I've seen that one at a hockey game, especially a nearly-successful wave like tonight's.

--I felt bad for Hootie. The only thing that came between him and the shutout in his home debut was a fluky shot that deflected off of an Aeros stick and changed direction mid-air before deflecting off yet another Aeros defensaman's stick mid-air, popping it up over Khudobin's shoulder for the Stars' only goal of the night. Not fair, man. Just not fair.

--Big night for the Italian-sounding American-born players, as Zingoni had the only Aeros' goal in regulation and DiSalvatore had the lone marker in the shootout. Khudobin stopped all five Stars shooters for the 2-1 SO win. The final shooter to come up empty? Former Aero Matt Beaudoin, of course.

--Tonight was "Hispanic Heritage Night" at the Aeros game. From what I can tell, Hispanic Heritage Night means they occasionally play Spanish songs between periods and during stoppages in play. Yeah! Cultural diversity FTW!!

--They've added Adult Tricycle Races to the 2nd Intermission. I'm a bit ashamed to say I got really caught up in the thrilling finish.

--What's with all the people who throw Chuck-A-Pucks after time is finished? I get it that you think it's funny to try to hit the announcer or mascots before the game actually starts, but they've got kids on the ice afterwards to pick up pucks, and you're throwing things that could hit them from over a hundred feet away. Brilliant.

--Bought a pizza before the game rather than at intermission because A) they often run out of pepperoni by the 2nd intermission and B) I thought I might get a fresher pizza if I buy one early. It was certainly fresh out of the oven. It was also burnt. Still good, though.

--Oh, and I like the look of the new Aeros team. Should make for some fun games this season. Very satisfying walking away from the Yo with a 2-1 win.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy-One: "E"

Today, I was so tired my eye was twitching. I don't know if that's ever happened before.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Seventy: Now! (It's Just the Gas)

House Managing fun tonight. It was a discussion night, so things were supposed to go a little late anyway, but we got all the patrons out of the house in pretty good time. In truth, pretty much everything went quite smoothly this evening. Then, the stage manager comes up and asks me to follow her and see if I smell something like gas in the box office. I follow her. I do. So do the actors. So does the boss, who happens to have stuck around for the whole show tonight. Within moments, we're urging actors and crew members to finish their business and leave the building as soon as possible as the Center Point Energy crew is on their way and we need to shut down the building. Natch, the SM stays to wait for the Center Point guy. Natch, I stay around, too, so that A) she's not waiting alone, and B) the boss has a representative at the site when the guy shows up. (She considers me an extension of her own office sometimes) So we stand around in the parking lot, chatting with the security guard about his time in the Navy, waiting for the Center Point gentleman to arrive. He arrives, and we (along with Cyndi, who was apparently bored so she came back to help) take him on a tour of the theater. He smells what we smell, but his little gizmo (gizmo = slang term for a mechanical device in this case and NOT a Mogwai) says no gas, no carbon monoxide, nothing bad. He tells us it is most likely "just a funny smell."

So, no gas. No exploding theater. Just a funny smell.

A few other snapshots before I go:

*Pens beat the Flyers tonight. In Philly. Ha ha.

*Really happy with the way both of my shows (or, the ones I wrote) are turning out. Looking forward to taking them to schools in just over a week!!

*The Hockey News picked the Aeros to finish 11th in the West. I say Fie! Fie!

*Speaking of the Aeros, I'm going to the game on Saturday! So stoked!

*Speaking of stoked, I've settled on my idea for NaNoWriMo 2009! I'd been kicking around different ideas for the last month or so, but I'm really excited about this new one.

*Started running again. About freaking time.

*Um...I'm out of things to say. G'nite!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Nine: Because God is Awesome Like That

Check it out, Big John Scott is now a Puck Daddy celebrity. Best part of this clip = the slow-motion extreme closeup of Scott's first shot to Parros' jaw.

That George Parros is one tough customer, yo.

Anyway, my home computer has been comatose pretty much since March. We thought for awhile one of Kim's tech guys at her workplace may get to fix it, but he never got back with her. I finally took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy on Monday. After waiting in line for half an hour, I got a Geek to check it out, poke it, prod it, take stuff out, put stuff in, plug it in, and unplug it again, for about an hour. At the end of this hour, she said she had no idea what was wrong and that it had to be shipped away for a more thorough, professional diagnostic. This, she informs me, will run $200. At the end of this diagnostic, "they" will call me and tell me how much it will cost to actually fix the thing. To quote Blue Lazer, "FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!"

I come home and tell all of this to my wife. She, understandably, is concerned. We aren't rich people, folks, and while this sort of expense isn't even close to "breaking" us, it's certainly not helping us pay off the credit card any quicker, either. So I tell her that we're still okay, we're going to be okay, God's always provided for everything we've needed--and we've had some sudden demanding expenses in our four-plus years together! "You never know," I said. "I may even sell a script or a story and get a couple hundred dollars in the meantime to help us out. Who knows what could come up?"

The next day...

Got a call from the husband of a co-worker who is currently a high school drama teacher. He's looking for a five-part combo to play for his school's musical, and through a mutual friend, who observed a rather successful night of Rock Band last winter (if such a thing as winter exists in Houston) he'd heard that I played drums, and would I be interested in playing for his school's show? He sent me the dates, I checked them on the calendar, and they're clear.

So now I'm playing drums again (hooray!) for a show (something I've wanted to try for quite some time) and getting paid. Enough to cover the cost of repairing the old computer, I might add.

Sometimes, your faith is tested over long, agonizing periods of time (like the first eight months or so we were in Houston). Other times, you just have to have enough faith to make it to the next night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Eight: Mike Russo is Awesome

You probably don't know who Mike Russo is. (I know my readers) Russo's the Minnesota Wild's beat reporter for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Somehow, the guy balances covering the team for the paper with keeping an AWESOME daily blog on the paper's web site. I will be honest, I really don't like the Wild, despite the fact that many former Aeros have been and are enjoying success out there. Originally, I started following Russo's Rants to see when Pouliot, Reitz, Harding, or Clutterbuck might get into a game. Also found it useful to get a scoop on bubble-players that may be sent down to Houston, like Mojzis was last year.

As I read, however, I determined that Russo blogs hockey the way hockey should be blogged.

Daily content. I'm talking quality content, too. Updates from practices, anecdotes from drills, comments from players, lineup for the night's game, Russo's got something either useful or interesting virtually every day. It's also amazing what a great relationship he seems to have with the players and coaches. He shows his readers their human sides. This is something I've seen a lot of newspaper beat writer blogs do on occasion, but somehow Russo brings out the lighter side of these guys all the time. I know it sounds cliche, but you really get a sense that you're in the locker room or traveling with the team when you read Russo's Rants.

Furthermore, when Russo interviews a player, you have an interview to read. None of this "just throw up the video, it's faster" nonsense. The guy takes his blogging as seriously as his reporting. That's getting rarer and rarer, and as a guy who doesn't always have access to sound and video while checking up on my hockey updates, I sure appreciate the extra effort.

Finally, Russo's always great to the fans, the team, and the paper, without sacrificing any one for another. He's not a homer at all; while I usually get the sense that he wants the Wild to win, he never uses terms like "good guys" or "bad guys," and his reports are always fair. He'll call it like he sees it, even if it's unpopular (i.e. picking the Avs to beat the Wild a couple years ago in the playoffs--the guy took a lot of heat from the Wild faithful for that one, and kept his cool. Contrarily, the Avs beat writer picked the Wild to win and took the same flack from Avs fans and was...less than gracious...) He knows hockey, and he knows how to explain it so that experts and novices understand at the same time. (This is particularly useful in the new CBA/Salary Cap era)

I've already decided that, if/when Russo moves on from the Star Tribune to another market, I'm going to keep following his work. Unless he goes to write for the Wings.

Dear Mike Russo: Please never accept the beat writer position in Detroit. Thanks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Seven: Jumble

Hey all.

My mind is fairly jumbled tonight. Lots going in, around, and through it, and an unusual mixture of really light and silly stuff with some really, really heavy stuff. As such, I'm having focus issues. I've had about five ideas for blog topics tonight and could get none of them past the second or third sentence.

I gots the jumbles.

"Just the Jumbles, man! The Jumbles!"

Wow, that's a classic.

Yeah, I'm pretty worthless, blog-while, tonight. Sorry! I'm fine, just jumbly.

(Jumbly=not a real word...yet...)

Oh, and this.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Six: Zombies

I hate zombies. I hate zombie video games, I don't enjoy theoretical conversations about zombie attacks, I find zombie literature obnoxious, and with the notable exception of Shaun of the Dead, I hate zombie movies. I don't like the concept, I don't like the execution, and I'm constantly feeling overwhelmed by zombie pop-culture references.

I don't fault all my friends and coworkers who love zombies. I'll never tell someone not to enjoy zombies, and I'll never roll my eyes or try to make anyone feel uncomfortable when the conversation inevitably turns to the walking dead. I can be a good sport. But I'm sick of zombies, and I've felt the need to vent that for a couple of days, and I couldn't think of anything else to blog about tonight.

Next time, on RandomRant: I'll tell you how I feel about lima beans!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Five: A winning combination

Today, I had to work both the afternoon and evening shows at the theater, so I just stayed pretty much from 1 p.m. till 9 p.m. During the first show, I got to listen to the Avs beat the Canucks on the Internet. (Someone forgot to tell Craig Anderson the Avs are supposed to suck this year) Between shows, my wife and son brought some pizza, and we had dinner together at the theater. I also got to chase my little boy around the theater for awhile and explain to him what a play was. He also sat mesmerized by the pianist playing her warm-up pieces. During the second show, I did some reading on the tenth book on my "I'll read anything!" reading project.

Looking back, the afternoon/evening combined just about all of my favorite things: the theater, family, friends, pizza, hockey, and reading. And at the end of the day, I found myself really, really wanting to write.

Lesson: Balance + contentment = creativity? Hard to tell. I am someone who definitely creates better when I'm happy. I know a lot of artists do it best when they're ticked off at the world. Or just depressed. Man, I'm glad I'm not one of those artists. Anyway, I'll attempt to look into this further ;-)

Oh, on a side note, I also find that when I'm feeling most creative and motivated to write new plays/ stories, I generally struggle to think of anything interesting to blog.

Dumb blog.

I'm just kidding. Probably.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Four: Factor Tree


For more factoring fun, click here!

You ever get to the end of one of those weeks where you feel your survival merits a "Well done, you"?

If that was the case for you this week, then well done, you! Enjoy the weekend. You've earned it.

Go buy yourself a pizza. Unless you're on a diet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day Two-Hundred Sixty-Three: Austin

Woot wireless Internet. Woot Hampton Inn.

Non-woot putting me in a room that already has somebody in it.

Anyway, I'm listening to the Avs-Sharks game while my roommate-for-the-night sleeps. Avs are winning 5-2 after 2. I'm shocked. Then again, it is Joe Sakic Night.

Some highlights from today's booking:

**The event was the final program in a seniors event. (The church's event was encouraged to invite their children and grandchildren to the performance of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, so that they can use it as a discussion point with their families about Christ at home, so don't worry, there were plenty of kids at the actual show) We went to have dinner in the same dining hall as the conferees, all senior citizens. Leah finds an empty table for us to sit at and goes to save Stephen and I seats. She sits, and fifteen seconds later a man takes the stage DIRECTLY behind the table and starts announcing numbers for the door-prize drawing. Yup. We're eating at the empty table directly in front of the center of attention for the next fifteen minutes. And we just couldn't stomach the food, which made it even more awkward. When somebody on the other side of the room won something and the host had to walk over there to hand it to them, I said, "Quick, while the attention is elsewhere! Let's go!" And we did.

**Our opening act tonight? Why, a showchoir of women in their 70s with matching red vests and bronze canes called The Steel Magnolias, of course.

**The show features Leah and I as Lucy and Peter playing all of the characters through some quick costume changes. So, for example, Jadis is a wig, crown, and robe over top of the blue Lucy dress. With that in mind, here's a fun little wardrobe malfunction: Edmund shivering next to the Witch's sleigh. "You haven't been here very long," Jadis asks, "have you? I am Jadis. I am the Queen. This is my Queendom." She throws her shoulders back, robe falls off completely. " Narnia!"

**At the hotel, Stephen and I get keys for our room. We head up the elevator and try our keys, and they work, so we head into the smells like smoke, which is odd because it's supposed to be a non-smoking room. Then, we realize there's a laptop, turned on, on the desk. And the bathroom is completely stocked. And there's a suitcase on the bed. So we head back down to the desk. "There's already somebody in this room," I tell the guy at the desk. "Oh, there is?" He looks confused. "That should be impossible." We explain that there's stuff in the room, and he says that the last person may have just left some things. We say no, that would be a LOT of things to leave behind, and we describe it. Then, the guy behind us in line says, "Oh, is that room 412? That's my stuff! I was just coming down to say my key isn't working anymore." I offer the guy my key. "This one works," I tell him. Awkward all around. Just like middle school.

I love bookings.