Wednesday, March 31, 2010

v2, d31: Marching Band Movies

My sister is currently on a road trip with her high school band (she's the band director) and she just left a facebook comment on the predictability of her band's choice in movies for the bus trip. (Cars, Pirates, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, for the record)

It made me wonder, what sort of movies are you supposed to want to watch on a band trip? The Music Man? Mr. Holland's Opus?

Clearly, not enough exciting, new films are being made for the high school marching band demographic.

So, we're gonna have us a FOMW contest. (I can already tell this is going to be wildly popular...) Using the comments section, pitch me your idea for a new marching band-centric film. It can be any genre, and it can be as simple or as detailed a pitch as you want. (In other words, you can leave me a few sentences for a premise or you can provide a short synopsis with proposed A-listers to star and everything) You can enter more than once, but you can't pitch more than three movies. (That means, if you want to pitch me a trilogy, that's fine, but then that's IT! No more after that!)

The winner's gonna get something. I dunno what yet. It'll probably depend on whoever wins.

I'ma be the judge. Give it some thought; you've got until midnight CST on April 5th to enter.

Make me proud, readers. Remember: lame contests are only lame when nobody plays along.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

v2, d30: Insomnia: Another Perspective?

I'm starting to think maybe I'm going about this all the wrong way.

For the past several years, I've been praying that God would help me get more sleep. Generally speaking, though, that doesn't happen, and I end up spending a lot of time tired. This is the case currently, though I'm not sure if it's lack of sleep or overabundance of activity during my days. Probably both.

Anyway, my thoughts often turn to "Why can't I sleep why can't I sleep why can't I sleep" or "How can I sleep more" or "I need more rest." And I fully think I ought to be figuring out a healthier way to live, and I know sleeping more is a part of that. If, however, as currently seems to be the case, I simply can't get more rest, maybe my prayers ought to be more along the lines of, "God, please show me how I can best use these extra hours I'm not sleeping." Because let's face it, unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep is not productive in any way, shape, or form. Instead of lamenting the unfortunate circumstances, maybe I ought to spend a bit more attention on doing the best I can with them.

Maybe not. Maybe, in this specific instance, that's only going to exacerbate the problem. But I'm going to give it a try and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe finding a more productive use of the wee hours of the morning will help me sleep deeper in the precious few hours I can manage.

Or, maybe I'll just crash in a month.

Bah. I'm probably headed for one of those sooner or later anyway ;-)

File your taxes, everybody!

Monday, March 29, 2010

v2, d29: Random Nintendo Game of the Month!!!

I think it's time for some "features" on this blog.

When I started back up for another year of blogging, one of things I told myself was that there would be more semi-regular features. I tried to do this last time, and I think I only ended up reviewing one title. But oh, it was a winner.

I used to sample these beautiful old NES games via a program I'd downloaded called Console Classix, but compy is currently on the fritz somewhat, and Console Classix is one of the programs it won't currently let me access. No worries, this month's Random Nintento Game (RNG) is brought to you in part by the folks at

And the financial support of viewers like you.

On to this month's game: Amagon!

Now, I read the description of Amagon before I decided to play it. Amagon (known in Japan as Totzusen! Machoman) is a side-scroller and an action game that centers around a marooned marine named Amagon. Amagon's plane has crashed on an island, and here I have to quote the description I read: "Inconveniently, his rescue ship is on the other side of the island." Inconvenient! I should most certainly say so! And so, Amagon has to fight his way across the island in order to get to his rescue and get off the hostile island.

Not a bad premise. Sounds like a good old-fashioned run-back-and-forth-while-shooting-bad-guys type of game. Plus, it's got a marine. Yes! I've always wanted to be a marine! (This was apparently the grandfather of the newer, gorier, sinfuller Alien vs. Predator game)

Click on the title. The first thing I see is a barefoot man with pink hair atop a ginormous head standing barefoot on the beach in a pink tank top and pink shorts. A few feet away, a pink biplane is sticking straight up out of the ground, almost entirely intact. (Marines fly biplanes???) Over the man's head is the title, "Amagon" in big cartoony balloon letters. The "O" in Amagon has eyes and fangs. The music That's the only way I can describe it.

As you would expect of a stranded marine, Amagon prances barefoot while carrying what looks and sounds like an automatic weapon, but it actually shoots out one large pink gumball at a time. (Or maybe it's a marble? A masher?) He wields this weapon against hostile birds, snakes, bats, bees that shoot stuff at you, and of course, jumping mushrooms. Amagon can duck, jump, shoot, and prance, and that's about it. If any of these small creatures touch Amagon, he flails his arms and legs, leaps high into the air, sticks out his tongue, and dies. I want to know how the man survived the airplane crash and then croaked because a swallow grazed him on the shoulder.

Bird flu?

As the game goes on, Amagon's enemies get tougher. There are cavemen, elephants that walk on their hind legs, porcupines, dragonflies, tubby rodents of some kind, alligators that walk on their hind legs, lobsters, tiny flying get the idea.

Oh, and there are bosses. To fight the bosses, Amagon becomes a giant, high-stepping, shirtless wonder that tosses energy waves of some sort. Bosses include a double-sided flying lion head, a walking evil know. The kinds of things marines fight in the forest.

You've got a limited amount of ammo, though it's pretty hard to run out. Right next to your ammo counter, there's often a flashing "GO!" encouraging you to get a move on. I'm not sure why; there's no time limit and there's no indication that your rescue ship is going to leave without you.

Would be nice if the rescue ship sent some reinforcements to help you blow away dinosaurs and hippos with your pink gumball pellet gun. "No, no, that's fine. You guys just sit on the boat and play cards. I'm a marine, I can handle this. AAAHHH, NOT A SPARROW!"

Anyway. The longer you play, the weirder the game gets. And while I didn't play all the way through, I caught most of the highlights thanks to youtube. Don't read on if you don't want spoilers for the ending.

The final boss is an alien wizard that is--get ready for it--aboard your own ship!!! Which, for the record, is powered entirely by one massive sail. fly in on a biplane, you have a pseudo-automatic rifle, and your rescue ship is a leftover from the Trojan War.

All in all, a tad disappointing. Though you do get to use the cool one-liner, " about to die!" while fighting the final boss, and really, isn't the final boss one-liner what 8-bit Nintendo games are all about?

By the way, click that link. It's a Five Iron Frenzy music video, for those of you who missed the reference. You're welcome.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

v2, d28: Review/preview/Newsies clip post

Was scheduled to work strike for the last mainstage show (which meant I didn't actually get a day off this week, which fits in pretty perfectly with my schedule lately ;-). I always enjoy strike, though, and tonight was no exception.

Strike always makes me think of Newsies, though, so here's some Newsies for y'all.

Another long, long, long week ahead. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. every day again, this time working on three shows instead of two. (Welcome back, Teammates!) Also, a wedding on Saturday that I'm in, and I severely hope that I don't forget about it in the midst of everything else.

If you see me this week, especially toward the weekend, please remind me about that.

Also, if you're available to pick up a rental tux for me on Thursday, let me know, since I'll be in rehearsal all day long. Plus, I don't have a car anyway, so it wouldn't matter if I were in rehearsal or not.

In three and a half weeks, Alice will open, and two days later Foxes will be up as well. Weeks should be getting progressively more exhausting up to that point, though I think I should be able to get my Sundays off from here until there. Of course, if I get called in early to do sound system setup at church, that may not really be true.

It is good, though, to feel so in demand ;-)

In other news, the NHL Playoffs are going to start at some point in the next month. I'm going to miss the first round, more than likely, which will be a bummer because it means I'm probably going to miss all four Avalanche playoff games this year.

Oh well. Here's high hopes the Pens can get it all put back together between now and then. I think they'll be fine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

v2, d27: ENERGY LEGS!!!

This is a story about my sister-in-law Julie.

Julie and I were recently talking about high-heeled shoes, and how it's weird that women like to wear them.

Please note: I didn't say it was bad that women wear them, and I understand and agree that they bring an element of class and style and femininity to an outfit, but with the amount that ladies complain about how badly they hurt, it's puzzling to most men that someone would actually want to wear them given the choice between heels and, say, anything that's comfortable and functional. Again, not judging, but you have to admit that the idea of inventing something to wear that is neither comfortable nor functional is odd (though, historically speaking, not uncommon).

I have similar thoughts about the pommel horse in men's gymnastic competitions. Yes, I can envision the conversation/show-off session around which the sport was born, but the fact that it caught on is a bit bewildering.


Julie mentioned that she wished she could wear heels at work (she's a nurse) because it would help her reach the things on the top shelves of the supply closets (she's a short nurse). I told her she could just as easily invest in some plaster stilts, and that they'd help her reach far higher than the heels would. She said they didn't really make stilts for comfortable walking, so I asked if she'd ever seen any of those jogging/exercise stilts that I'd occasionally seen on late-night infomercial programs. (You know, the kind of place where you find all sorts of things that can be paid for in three easy payments and, if you order now, they'll send you a second one for free, despite the fact they said the first will never wear out) She looked at me as though I was making this up, so I hopped on Google to see if I could find the commercial online.

I came across a web site for DC Power Stilts, and it had lots of useful video clips.

Here's the first one we came across:

"Wow," she said. "Now, instead of just changing out their meds, I can do a handstand/flip off the wall while I write my name on the dry erase board!" I commented that such an action would probably make her the coolest nurse in the history of the state of Oklahoma.

We watched some more videos (which I'll spare you now) featuring these amazing Power Stilts before I came across one called "Awesome Stunts." Well, this sounded promising, so we watched it, only to discover that almost every stunt was a variation of jumping down an entire flight of stairs at once OR back-flipping over a car.

Also noteworthy, the only people we'd seen on these videos up to this point were guys in their twenties OR beautiful young women who seemed to find these men mysterious and attractive.

Just when I was starting to think that Power Stilts were a boys' only club, we came across this gem. Go Go Powerisers!

Lesson learned: guys backflip over cars on power stilts, and lame things. Like throw hissy fits and talk on their phones.

Way to shatter those feminine stereotypes, ladies.

Anyway, Power Stilts look like a lot of fun. At over $200, they also look like a colossal waste of money. And by comparison, they make high heels look a heck of a lot more sensible.

Though I'll bet you can't backflip over a car in heels.

Friday, March 26, 2010

v2, d26: Quickies

A few quick thoughts:

*I received a sincere thanks from Cedric's people for returning my Census. So, there's my prize. Whoo.

*For those of my readers who still haven't checked out the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World trailer, I am posting a link to it. You should check it out if for no other reason than you will know what it is that I've been strangely unable to stop myself from watching multiple times a day for the past few days. Besides, Edgar Wright is awesome.

*In other comic book movie-related news, apparently this site finds it alarming and confuzzling that the upcoming ultra-violent film Kick-Ass is not on most women age 25 and up's radars. Wait, what? Adult women aren't crazy about obscure, obscene, gratuitous, college humor comic book movie adaptations staring Nicholas Cage? This recession is serious, yo...

*While rehearsing a play, director will usually tell the actors to disregard everything in parentheses because that's just something that stage manager of the original production put in there and it isn't actually part of the script. They usually say this when they want to tell you to do something totally different than whatever is written in the parentheses. Um...yeah. I dunno where that started, but I'm gonna call bunk on that one. If the parentheses say "Crosses D.S.C.", then yes, there is a good chance the playwright didn't write that. If it ain't blocking, chances are the same person who wrote the dialog wrote it. Now, I do agree that you don't have to be married to the parenthetical information, but enough of this, "a stage manager wrote it, so ignore it" stuff.

*By the way...since when do we ignore anything a stage manager writes?

*If I had been Johnny, I don't think I would have been able to pray that specific prayer without thinking, "Wait a second...I've said these words before!!" Also, Tommy Tompson's parents weren't very original.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

v2, d25: un-post

Sorry, blogworld. You don't want to know the thoughts in my head tonight.

No really, it's for your own good. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

v2, d24: Game Over


If you haven't dealt with the many frustrations you may have suffered as a child, if you have lasting feelings of failure from your formative years, if stressful childhood memories tend to give you a very visceral reaction, DO NOT watch the following video.

It may just be the most aggravating three and a half minutes of your life.

I particularly like the screen that flat out says, "You and your friends are dead. Game over." No pulling punches there.

I'm a little disappointed not to have Little Mac's "Give up, Mac? Retire?" after a mere three losses in the guy's professional boxing career. Yup, 17 years old, 12-3-0 with 8 KOs, definitely time to call it quits.

Hope I haven't ruined your day, my gaming friends. Remember, Robocop is never discouraged. And neither should you be.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

v2, d23: "It's a post that ends with 'D'OH' oh oh oh..."

Today, my wife, son, and sister-in-law brought me a lemon-berry slush from Sonic after work. It was a little too heavy on the syrup (never thought I'd be saying that about a slush) but was fantastic nonetheless. We've really cut back on the fast food this past month, and while I wish I could say it's because we're suddenly health conscious, really it's just because it's been getting too expensive.

Anyway, Robbie ran around Saint Street for awhile, up and down the stairs, running in circles in the rehearsal space, climbing through and hiding under chairs. Then everybody had to leave so I could have dinner and get ready for the evening's rehearsal. Robbie started to fuss and then cry when he had to leave, echoing that heartbreaking "I want my daddy to come!" That kinda sucked. But we let him take one of the nice smooth rocks from outside back with him, and that seemed to ease the immediate burden.

Probably a lot of those heart-breakers in the next four and a half weeks, unfortunately. This'll be a fantastic test to remind myself whether or not I think what I'm doing for a living is actually worth doing for a living.

Rehearsals are going really well, I think. Tho, to be fair, there've only been three rehearsals for Foxes and one for Alice. (Notes: Alice and the Foxes is a fun title for a play. Or a girl-fronted 1950s rock or jazz band. Ooh, or surf music. Very underappreciated, surf music) The next three days will be chocked full, so hopefully I don't get behind on my day job stuff. (Also, apparently I now have 1-3 p.m. office hours at Grace. So, stop by and say hello, Grace groupies!)

Good news: I'm actually pretty tired at bedtime when I get home. Bad news: I'll never get through my library books if that holds steady.

I'm starting to get rambly. I'ma cut this off before I tell you about how I smelled someone's canned pasta today and got all nostalgic for Spaghetti-O's.


Monday, March 22, 2010

v2, d22: May as well post today's too

Waiting for my wife to get off work so we can all meet for dinner. Hoping more opportunities like this arise over the next month.

Started rehearsals for Alice Now! this morning. Today went pretty well, though I had one actor have to leave early for a doctor's appointment and another one throw up at the end of rehearsal. So I guess that means that technically, today was disastrous. Oh well. We had fun.

I mean, you know. Most of us. For most of the time.

One of my first production meetings for Hero Squad, one of my designers left the room crying. One of my first blocking rehearsals for Secret Identity, one of my actors went to the emergency room. After our first Four Maps rehearsal, one of my actors came down with a really nasty virus. And now, my first rehearsal for Alice, one of my actors throws up. This is a trifle upsetting, because I generally believe I'm a really nice and cautious person (in a work-related environment. Outside the workplace, all bets are off). I don't know why trauma seems to follow the early stages of every project I get my hands on.

If I ever get to direct a production of MacBeth, watch out. I'm predicting an ocean liner will somehow crash through the walls of the theater during the second day of blocking.

v2, d20: A Rainy Day at the Zoo

***Back-blogged from 3/20/2010***

Today we took a family trip to the zoo.

It’s funny that every time I told a person at work today that I was at the zoo this morning, every single one of them thought it had been work-related, despite the fact that there had never been a single announcement made about a work-related zoo event that needed staffing. I’d just say something along the lines of, “I spent all morning at the zoo,” and people would say, “And then you had to come to rehearsal? I’m so sorry!”

No, it turns out I actually like the zoo. Robbie likes it quite a bit, too, and he’s now finally at an age where he can really enjoy a zoo the way a kid enjoys a zoo. He loved the animals. His face would light up when he’d discover something new or when he saw something that he recognized from pictures/books/videos. He also running around all the paths and climbing through the tunnels they put in several of the exhibit for the kids (and the tweens, who scare the kids away with their incessant tween-ness…get off my lawn!). And it didn’t seem to damper his spirits at all that we were being dumped upon by the thick rainclouds overhead.

I hit the ZooBoo spot and fought off the sudden urge to do the Thriller dance. Of course, I don’t really know the Thriller dance. But I did get a chance to reminisce and remember how bizarre the bronze statues in that particular fountain are. Weird, weird statues.

At one point, we were walking by the orangutan pen when a pre-recorded advertisement played over a speaker hidden behind a plant or a fake rock or something. It started with a pretty noisy roar, followed by the friendly Welcome-To-The-Zoo announcer voice saying (rather ominously) “They’re coming…this summer, at your Houston Zoo, it’s dinosaurs! Don’t miss the excitement! Dinosaurs at the zoo in the summer of 2010!” Robbie suddenly looked quite concerned, grabbed Kim’s hand, and said, “I don’t want to see dinosaurs.”

Kim laughed. “I don’t want to see dinosaurs either,” she said. “They’re too noisy.”

I told Robbie that the dinosaurs weren’t actually here yet, that they’d be here later, and that we were going to leave before they came, so there was nothing to worry about. Then, Kim asked Robbie if he wanted to see the giraffes. He said, “Yeah, they’re quiet.”

The rest of the day, “quiet” became the word he used to describe any animal that he liked seeing.

While we were watching the elephants get their baths and eat their carrots, a sudden downpour of rain hit the zoo. We stayed under the cover of the elephant alcove for awhile, then I hugged Robbie tight and ran with him to the nearby reptile house while Kim and Julie followed with the umbrella. There’s a decent workout for you. I don’t think I’ve ever entered a herpetarium short on breath before in my life. (Now there was one time I was breathing a bit hard upon exiting a herpetarium, but that was because my friends and I were trying to distance ourselves quickly from our friend Herbie, who had grabbed a zookeeper by the wrist and shouted “Hey guys, I caught one!” after seeing several signs throughout the zoo that encouraged you to “Catch a Keeper” if you had any questions)

One of Robbie's favorites was the fruit bat display inside the kids' zoo. They had it set up in a little cave that had some fake stars on the ceiling and some tunnels for smaller children to crawl through. Robbie loved the bats because they were feasting on some bananas that were hanging from the ceiling. Bananas are one of Robbie's favorite foods, so I guess he thought he could relate. He started saying that he was a bat, and running around the cave looking for bananas.

Also noteworthy: the aquarium was playing the song “Rock Lobster” the whole time we were in it. I thought that had to have some sort of lasting psychological effect on the zoo workers stationed outside the front door, where the music was the loudest. Robbie recognizes clownfish as Nemos, despite the fact I think he’s only seen that movie one time at school and never at home. He has no clue what a Dorie is, and I think that made Julie a trifle disappointed.

Afterward, Kim said she was glad we didn’t check the weather before we left, because if we had then we probably wouldn’t have gone. I think she’s right. We had a really fun morning at the zoo. I mean, we got really wet (it stopped pouring, but it never stopped raining completely for the rest of our visit), and it was a little chilly by the time we left, but we really had fun. And we probably would have missed out on it if we’d have known it was going to rain. That’s a bit of a shame. After all, it’s just a little water. And with the way my schedule at work is about to explode, I’ll take every family outing that I can fit in on my Saturday mornings. Rain or shine.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

v2, d21: Did so post

We're playing host this weekend to my sister-in-law Julie, and yesterday was a full day as it was, so I didn't get a chance to sit down to blog until after bedtime. As such, my blog from yesterday is on the laptop, and I'll post it tomorrow. All about our spontaneous zoo trip during yesterday's mini-monsoon. Good times!

First Little Foxes rehearsal was yesterday. First Alice Now! rehearsal is tomorrow. Very long month ahead of me. I'm absolutely looking forward to the work. Not looking forward to the fatigue nor the lack of family time over the next month. Would appreciate prayers on both fronts.

Let's see, what else?

I don't know if I've mentioned this on here before, but story time has become an important part of Robbie's bedtime routine. During this time, Robbie sits on my lap on the floor of his bedroom with the lights off, and I make up a story on the spot and tell it to him. They're very short, and they're usually pretty boring, but I try to involve elements that he's familiar with or fond of (for example, stories about a little boy named Robbie, or stories featuring Spider-Man, skyscrapers, excavators, or something we did together the day before) so he really loves them because he finds them relateable.

Before nap time today, I asked Robbie if we could take turns sharing stories, which means I got to hear what my son has picked up about the fine craft of storytelling over the past month or so. Here's what I got:

"Once upon a time, there was a digger and an excavator, and they were working, and the workers dug a hole, and then it was night time, so they went home and had dinner and rested. The next morning, they went to work, and they had to dig a BIIIIG hole, so the machines dug a big hole."

Not too bad.

Hey, I just saw a commercial about how my Census is making my neighborhood a better place. Cute commercial. I guess that's one way to try to sell your little Census, Government...

By the way, I think those of us who filled out our Census forms and sent them back within two or three days ought to get something for our compliance. A cash bonus, maybe. Or some hockey tickets. Or a Cedric plush toy. Or a ball. I dunno, something.

Friday, March 19, 2010

v2, d19: The Silly Video

I promised a silly video.

And I deliver.

And that puts me in the mood for this.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

v2, d18: Short-changed

Sometimes, when you see a really short, fairly content-less blog, you start to assume that I didn't write very much that night. Often, that's not the case.

I've written quite a bit more than I'm publishing tonight because I'm hitting the delete key a lot. A lot is happening. More than I can process. And in far more lives than just mine. It feels as if God is lining up the pieces for whatever His next big play is going to be. And I can definitely see the seeds of resistance.

And that's vague. But if I try to go into any more details, it just gets unintelligible. I don't see the big picture right now. My family, my workplace, I don't see the big picture. Nobody seems to. All I can do is pray for the light to see the next few steps and the faith to know that the destination at the other end of the fog is a place worth struggling toward.

Today was weird, by the way. And tomorrow's one of those meetings that I honestly dread. I need to keep my focus, because I feel like there's a lot of goings on that are trying to distract me from the things that are truly important.

Note to readers: don't freak out. Everything's fine and is going to be fine. I promise I'll explain all of this whenever I figure it out. :-)

And I apologize if you feel short-changed with vague, fairly ominous-sounding blogs. I'll post a silly video tomorrow to make up for it ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

v2, d17: St. Patrick's Day

My boss had her assistant pinch me today at work.

I was wearing green, too, but my boss is partially color blind, so she had her assistant pinch me.

She didn't pinch me herself, mind you. She gave her assistant a certain look that was a SIGNAL for her to pinch me.

It gets better: her assistant immediately acknowledged that yes, I was in fact wearing a very pale shade of green. She knew! And she pinched me anyway, and THEN she said, "I think he's wearing green." She said that was why she didn't pinch me very hard.

I mean, really? The whole thing was just really bizarre, and the more I think about it the weirder it gets.

Good night.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

v2, d16: Priority filler

Sent off the census today to Cedric. (Seriously? No comments on Cedric the Census Centaur??)

The census was very disappointing. The government now knows that three people live in my house and when our birthdays are.

We'd better get a freaking card.

Oh, and they know we're white. Thus ends Census 2010.


Tonight I have to do some real writing, so I'm afraid blogging falls by the wayside. Please enjoy the following music until I return.

Monday, March 15, 2010

v2, d15: Quick, while I'm still coherent!

I'm going to go ahead and post my blog now, during my lunch break, because I got about 3.5 hours of sleep last night and I may no longer be capable of stringing together words into sentences by the next chance I get to sit down and write.

Apparently, U.S. Census forms are now out in the mail. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I hope the form is long and complicated. I love taking surveys. I especially love taking surveys that are actually used for something (a research project, say, instead of just a facebook 'Have you ever' survey). When people call to do phone surveys, I actually stay on the line more often than not.

I matter!

In college, part of my General Psychology grade included participating in a certain number of experiments that upperclassmen were doing for their advanced research projects. Loved it. One of them involved taking a survey, watching an episode of COPS, and then taking the same survey again. I think they were trying to determine if I felt more violent after watching COPS, but I don't remember.

For the record, I generally love violence. I wonder if that'll be on the Census?

I think the Census ought to have a mascot. People generally respond better to things that have mascots. (If that question is on the Census, as it should be, I'll make sure to let the government know that) I'm thinking Cedric, the Census Centaur.

"Hile, legal citizen! I am Cedric, the Census Centaur! We centaurs can read the future in the stars, yet we cannot discern your annual income without your cooperation!"

Think about it, the government. Call me back. I'll sell it to you for fifteen grand.

Seriously, though, folks, make sure you fill out your census and send it back. According to Yahoo!, they're going to send someone to your house if you don't.

Hm...I smell a romantic comedy in there somewhere...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

v2, d14: Shuffle blog

Now it's technically the time of night where I start to get sleepy. I'm not sleepy tonight, of course, because my body still thinks it's an hour ago.

Thanks, daylight savings time!

Actually, I do love DST, once I've adjusted. For now, it's a pain.

Okay, on to the shuffle blog!

For those who don't remember/don't know how we play, here's the way it works: You put your iTunes or WMP to "shuffle" and hit play. The first song comes up, and you start blogging the first thing that comes to your mind. You're supposed to blog on that topic for as long as the song lasts, but I usually give myself 2 songs instead of one because I can't type nearly as fast as I think.

(Post-post note: I actually kept it to one song for all except one of the excerpts below, so go, me!)

Got it? Great. Here we go!

#1: My New Philosophy from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Shuffle blogging has a tendency to bring out the songs you haven't heard in years and have forgotten you owned in the first place.

I went through a BIG musical theatre phase back in high school, and YAGM,CB was probably a huge part of the reason why. It was my first high school musical, and a phenomenal experience, and to date one of my favorite theatre memories. I've actually been a part of this show three times, once as a principal, once as an added ensemble member, and once as a light crew. The last time I did Charlie Brown was at The Huron Playhouse, where I was in the chorus. (The show doesn't actually have a chorus) We did the newer Broadway revival version (the version of the show this song came from) and I had a LOT of people after the fact say they'd wished I'd played Charlie Brown instead of the guy who did.

Didn't change anything, but that's still always nice to hear ;-)

#2: Fade Away by the O.C. Supertones

This has one of the coolest intros the band has ever concocted, IMO.

This song also seems to really jive with everything that's going down in my life right now. I know I mentioned it once or twice, but last week was trying (though not necessarily in a bad way. It was confusing). I don't anticipate the week ahead being quite as rough, but then again, who knows? I do have a meeting ahead on Friday that I'm particularly dreading, so I need to remind myself all week that sovereign God is in control. And this song just sort of reflects the idea of struggle and really wrestling with challenging ideas and situations and coming out stronger.

I don't know what's happening. My prayer is that I'm becoming stronger for it, that my family is becoming stronger, that my friends are growing stronger, and that my workplace is growing stronger.

#3: Fireflies by Roper

One thing I miss about the Midwest: fireflies on a summer's dusk. We used to sit on the porch and watch them light up the evening air two or three at a time. Really fascinating, captivating little creatures. I remember one time, my sister and I went out to try to catch a few to put them in a jar. (We may or may not have gotten this idea from the Noah's Ark level of the NES classic Bible Adventures) We didn't catch too many, and the ones we did catch didn't fare too well. We never saw a great number of fireflies the rest of that summer.

(Warning: this next paragraph is kinda gross)

Have you ever hit a firefly with your windshield? Man, that makes you feel guilty. Most bugs leave a blot or a smear; fireflies tend to leave a glowing bulb, fluorescently lighting their own remains until, very gradually, the glow flickers out. You feel terrible.

What?? It's true!!

#4: Everything I Hate by Smalltown Poets

I wish I had gotten into Smalltown Poets today. I think I really would have gotten into them if they'd shown up on the scene at this stage of my life rather than during my high school years.

It never ceases to amaze me how vastly different our tastes can be as we grow older. I'm not necessarily talking about music or entertainment, but paradigms. I remember being in college and looking back at high school and thinking, "Wow, all that stuff that I thought was a really big deal was really, really unimportant." And to an extent, I look back at college and think the same things about that season of life. What's really hammered this point home recently, however, has been watching my son. The kid will be stacking some blocks when he comes to one that just doesn't fit atop the others like it should. It's the end of the world. He gets mad, he starts to cry, he throws the whole tower down and cries for me to fix it.

Dude. Not a big deal.

Anyway, all of this tied in nicely with this morning's sermon, and I'm fairly certain I'll be looking back on my Earth-life when I'm in Heaven and I'll realize that all of it--newlywed, adulthood, mid-life, senior citizens--was simply a series of paradigm shifts, worldviews gradually changing until I reached the shadow of this existence is obliterated by the light of true existence, resurrected and living forever with the one true God.

And that does bring a bit of comfort when considering the uncertainty of the present and near-future.

#5: World Without End by Five Iron Frenzy

Well, this is a nice way to wrap up after that last bit of ruminating.

This song is crazy fast. And you know how everything is always faster when you play it live? Listening to The End is Here recording, I have to wonder how Chakka's hands didn't fly off.

I love this song. And I don't care if the intro sounds kinda circussy. It's just awesome. It's one of my favorite worship songs, and I don't think I've ever heard it used as such in any service at any church.

"The very spark that burns the stars drew near to me today; the God of everything that is whispered in my ear that His love is boundless."

Words fall short, indeed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

v2, d13: Can't Blog, Clown Will Eat Me

Not really.

But I can't blog because my compy wants to run CCleaner. So I'ma let it do that.

Sorry blogworld.

Saw a Beatles cover band at Miller Outdoor Theater tonite. It was fun.

Also, Tarvis, Josh, and I polished off a 20 inch pizza with about six toppings tonight. The waiter picked up our serving tray and said, "Proud of you, guys!"

So were we.

Friday, March 12, 2010

v2, d12: Chaos! Chaos, I say!

One development after another. Very, very full day.

1) Had to be at work at 6:20 this morning for a school performance.

2) Van was almost out of gas, so I had to get it to a filling station.

3) Pump at gas station was apparently not on, so I had to find another station.

4) Had a good show for 400 kiddos, grades K-5.

5) Learn that Kim's car died (again) in the parking lot of Robbie's day care.

6) Learn 20 minutes later that tow truck driver left Kim's key on the bed of his truck and subsequently lost it somewhere on I-610 forever.

7) Good friend Kat volunteered to drive me out to the Carmax so they could use my key to run the diagnostic (without which they would not tow the car to another repair shop)

8) Stuck behind a two-lane accident on the access road for 15 minutes on the way to Carmax.

9) While stuck on the access road, get a call from Robbie's school requesting we come pick him up, as he is sick.

10) As we're pulling into Carmax, the Carmax guys decide to go ahead and tow the truck to the dealership anyway for repair--the one that's right by my workplace.

11) Switch the car seat to Kat's car, which is now going with Kat and Kim to get Robbie while I go with the tow truck to the Chrysler spot by my work.

12) Wait for 45 minutes at Chrysler for them to diagnose the problem.

13) Call best man Josh, who is on his way from Dallas to visit, to tell him he may as well hang out at the Galleria till I get everything straightened out.

14) Prayer meeting.

15) Call Josh to come meet me at work, and he gets stuck in traffic on the way, making 10 minutes drive into 40 minute drive.

16) Fourth callback audition for Little Foxes.

17) Wait until 5 p.m. for Chrysler to call back about my car.

18) Leave at 5 p.m. to get to Chrysler before 6 p.m. (It's about 5-7 minutes away)

19) Apparently, an 18-wheeler wrecked, spilling gas all over I-610, completely shutting down the major highway. (Maybe it got on Kim's old key) As a result, every road headed toward a major highway at 5 p.m. is backed up for miles. Literally, miles.

20) After an hour of driving, only make it halfway to Chrysler, so they close at 6 p.m. Star heading home.

21) An hour later, get home, play with Robbie while Kim makes dinner.

22) Go out with Josh to meet Dave at Chili's for some dessert.

23) Write on blog.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

v2, d11: My Brain is Going to Crash

My brain is going to crash.

But it's okay.

New stuff on the secret blog.

Also, apparently Hugo Weaving is in talks to play the villain in the Captain America movie. That's just too perfect.

I can't keep a coherent train of thought going tonight. I should write a play.

Lots to process right now. Lots of changes may be coming. Or possibly not. It's hard to tell just now.

Thank God I can't see into the future, because I get the feeling that, if I could, I'd have no idea how in the world I was supposed to get from here to there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

v2, d10: Fighting the Compy


I'm fighting the underperforming home computer. Again.

Those of you who are longtime readers know that this is not a new battle. It should also come as no surprise to you, then, that no matter how bad things get, I will not be taking the compy back to the Geek Squad.

This is extra frustrating for me. See, when I think of fighting computers, this is more what I'm thinking of:

Heck yeah.

Instead, I'm fighting with such fierce weapons as the F8 key and that cute little puppy dog who supposedly does your file searching for you.

Look out, evil worms!

This be disheartening.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

v2, d9: A Tough Sum

It's difficult to say much about today, because it's hard to know exactly what happened today. Company meeting/Bible study took what I can only describe as a fairly shocking turn this morning, and it resulted in what was possibly one of the most intense times of fellowship and worship I've experienced since I've been here. I don't want to go into too many details on here, partially because this is a public blog and partially because you can't really go back and describe the events that lead to worship and fellowship. It's different for everybody present. I can't say for certain that everybody found our gathering to be fruitful, but I know a lot of people did. I know there was some crying, some laughing, some singing, and some good old a-preaching, and it was all very spontaneous.

And God used me as one of the catalysts. That's always a strange feeling, where you start talking and you start to see God moving. Every time it's happened to me, I've always felt really unworthy (which, of course, I am), and today was like that.

You know, it really is an honor to be included in God's work. In any capacity. An honor, and a privilege, and a responsibility.

Anyway. That was this morning. Whatever happened, I think it was good. I hope and pray it may be a beginning for something.

The rest of the day was busy, busy, busy. Production meeting, rehearsal for tomorrow's early booking, van loading, lunch finally (@ 3 p.m.), and then another production meeting. I think my favorite production meeting is always the one where the costumer brings detailed sketches of every character. I've got one of the best costume designers I've ever seen working on this show with me. I'm lucky. It was fun.

Very busy. Very productive. Fairly exhausting. Tomorrow's going to be long; early call for a booking, late call for the last(?) Little Foxes callbacks. Even after this morning's prayer time, I saw several small instances of God at work in friends' lives. Above all else, I hope I get to see more of that sort of thing tomorrow. Second on the priority list: hope for an awesome booking. Third: smooth callbacks. After, I hope my lunch is nice and tasty, too.

And that it comes before 3 p.m.

Monday, March 8, 2010

v2, d8: Batman vs. Spider-Man

Okay, to be honest, I'm having a hard time envisioning a scenario in which this would actually happen. Obviously, these hero vs. hero battles are almost always the result of some mix-up, but if that were the case in this instance, Bats would pretty much put Spidey down quickly and get to the bottom of things. Misunderstanding over, and we're partners. Nevertheless, that makes for boring discussion, so let's pretend that the defenders of New York City and Gotham City are opponents for some reason.

I'm going to say we're talking about Bruce Wayne Batman here and not Dick Grayson Batman, because Dick's Batman still isn't really established. (Plus, from reading the reviews it seems he gets beat up a lot)

Spider-Man's first battle with any adversary is almost always a disaster. (Didn't Screwball get the best of him not too long ago?) He gets pounded and/or embarrassed, goes home, figures it out, and then comes back and wins the day the next time around. Batman, on the other hand, pretty much pwns. The man is just prepared for anything and everything. In the recent (bizarre) Batman R.I.P. storyline, the character had devised a scheme for getting out of a coffin buried under six feet of dirt with his bare hands. He also had a backup personality capable of running his should his mind ever undergo psychological attack. Or something like that. Point is, the guy is prepared for anything, so a web-slinging superhero with a type of precognitive ability isn't going to be too far off his radar.

Spidey is stronger than Bats, however, and probably quicker. His reflexes are excellent thanks to his spider-sense, so not a lot that Batman would do should be able to surprise Spider-Man. (Spider-sense is awfully selective, though, if you ask me) Batman has the edge in martial arts prowess--he's basically a ninja on top of a samurai on top of a Shaolin monk etc--and equipment, though Spider-Man's web-slinging gets him out of a tight spot faster. Overall, I think Batman's the better and more ruthless fighter, and he's taken down tougher foes than Spidey in his day. (Mr. No Superpowers has held his own the Superman, for crying out loud!)

The x-factor here, however, is the fact that Spider-Man wins all sorts of battles he has no business winning. The guy is just tenacious as heck. He just keeps coming and throwing whatever he can find until the other guy goes down for good. (Excellent example: after driving a tanker truck into Juggernaut didn't work, Spider-Man buried him in wet cement. Just keep trying stuff, something's got to work!) I don't know that there's any character in comics with as much tenacity as Spider-Man has, so I don't know if even Batman has enough to keep the webhead down for the count.

If I were a betting man, however, I'd say that Batman ultimately comes out on top of this rivalry. He just doesn't lose. Even when he died, he did it on his own terms, and he took out one of the most powerful entities in the DCU in the process. Hopefully, after Batman takes Spidey down and realizes they're on the same side, they become partners. A Batman/Spider-Man team-up is the one thing in comics I've been hoping for since before I was into comics. They both have the best villains' galleries in their respective universes, they've got the best supporting casts, they're both brilliant, one's a detective, one's a scientist, their personalities would play perfectly off one another, and, as I've mentioned, they're the perfectly unstoppable combination of preparedness and perseverance.

On top of that, think of the video gaming possibilities!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

v2, d7: Week One in In The Books

Well, that was an eventful first week of blogging!

Train rides, last-second work calls, auditions, callbacks, Oscars, late-night movies, and near head trauma. Plus plenty of exciting toilet training details I will spare you.

I'm telling you, when the rodeo comes to town, this whole city just gets crazy.

I really wish I could get to the rodeo this year. Not going to have the cash for it, which is unfortunate because I was actually pretty set on finally making it out there now that Robbie is old enough to stay out for a little while. It seems a shame that you can live five years in the city with the world's largest rodeo/livestock show and yet never actually go out to visit it. (Just watch, the first spring I'll actually make it to the rodeo will be after I've moved away when I come back to visit some friends)

Watched some of the Academy Awards tonight. It was as I'd feared: Oscars by yourself is kinda lame. I enjoy awards shows more for the social aspect than for the awards themselves. I'm really not a huge fan of many celebrities, I don't go out to see as many movies as I'd like, and I don't care at all who designed what guy's suit or that lady's dress. Honestly, I'm not big on formal events in general (have I blogged on that before? I'm sure I'll bring it up again around Spotlighter time). However, I do enjoy hearing friends and colleagues exchange opinions on what films and stars they did or did not like, and it helps keep me informed. Which is good, since performance art is kinda my thing, and film and theatre are kinda like second cousins.

Anyway, watched some ceremony, and it wasn't bad. I do like breakdancing, but I'm not sure it's always appropriate, by the way. During music from "Up", for example.

After awhile, I got the brilliant idea that it would be fun to actually watch a movie rather than just watch a show about movies, so I popped The Dark Knight into the old DVD player. This is actually only the second time I've seen that movie (the first being the day it came out at a movie theater just outside Disneyland. You definitely need The Happiest Place on Earth after your first trip through TDK), and it's really pretty good. It's also pretty easy to find minor quibbles with, and you always find those the second or third time through the flick. (When you can find a dozen or so in the first viewing, that's when you know you've got problems) But it was good fun. Movies are good. Gave me the idea that I need to go through and watch all the movies that I own, because most of them have been sitting in their case for over a year.

Don't know if I'll actually do that. But it's kind of a cool idea. We'll see how dry I get for blog topics later in the year ;-)

Okay, still more movie stuff: new Iron Man 2 trailer is up at

Also, I know most of you probably know that Sandra Bullock won a Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side; did you know that the day before she won a Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve? She did, and she actually showed up to "accept" the award. (Note: one of the presenters is a friend of mine from my Horsefeathers days)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

v2, d6: On Call

Today was really, really wonderful.

My wife and child went grocery shopping this morning, leaving me to sleep in until 11:30 a.m. Those of you who know me know how little I sleep during the week and how rarely an opportunity comes up where I can get a chance to catch up somewhat, so this was a great way to open the day. When they got home, I helped bring in the groceries and then went outside to play with Robbie with his dump truck in the gravelly area in our apartment complex's courtyard (his favorite place to play). Afterward, we all sat down to lunch together, and Kim had baked a tasty yellow cake to reward Robbie for a successful day of toilet training (you're welcome for sparing the details). Next, we all settled down for a nice afternoon nap. At around four in the afternoon, Robbie and I went back outside for more rocks and diggers while Kim got some housework done. Nearly an hour later, we came in and I got a quick break while Robbie watched Bob the Builder, so I put away some of the clean laundry. As the movie finished up, Kim went to prepare dinner, and Robbie asked if I would read a book with him.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the sort of day you're dreaming of when you say you want to be a father.

Of course, there's no such thing as the perfect day, so I should have been expecting it when my phone rang halfway through "My First Truck Board Book." You see, I had signed up as the "On Call" house manager for the show at work tonight, called in to duty only on the rarest of chances that something happens to the scheduled house manager OR that person simply doesn't show up and shuts off their phone. The former of those scenarios happens occasionally, the latter is really pretty rare.

But it sure did happen tonight, and suddenly I was already fifteen minutes late for work.

Suddenly, I had to change clothes and jet out the door and to the theater, and I'd be working until after both wife and child had gone to bed. Sorry, dinner-with-the-fam. Sorry, family-night-at-home. There's just no time.

I did, however, finish My First Truck Board Book before throwing on my work clothes as quickly as possible.

But man, eying your home-cooked dinner plate going back into the fridge on your way out the door borders on the heartbreaking ;-)

Really, all things told, I wasn't upset. There's always the possibility of something like this when you're on call, and I really had had a fantastic day with the family at home. Everything went smoothly at work, and a couple people pitched in to make sure I wasn't a half hour behind before I'd even walked into the theater.

Interesting, though, that in six days of blogging, this is the second instance in which an unexpected phone call radically altered my plans for the rest of the day. On Monday, it was family interrupting work. Tonight, it was work interrupting family time.

I guess it all evens out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

v2, d5: Movies

I'm bummed that there's no Oscars party on Sunday. Or, if there is one, that I don't know about it.

Or that possibly, it was intentional that I not know about it.

*Looks around with SUSPICIOUS EYES!*

Ahem. Anyway.

Saw the new Alice in Wonderland tonite. Visuals were very good. Costumes were fantastic. Scenic design was very good, too. Everything else was pretty meh. Story wasn't very good, the dialogue lacked imagination. Performances, pretty much across the board, were pretty blah. Story-wise, a similar take on the Wonderland mythos has been done before, and done better, albeit quite a bit creepier. (I really hope THAT movie never actually gets made)

On the whole, however, it didn't seem like there was any reason this story needed to be an Alice in Wonderland story. Yes, the characters were all characters from the two most famous Alice books, but they really didn't need to be in order for the story to work. It could have happened in any fantasy world with any other generic characters, and the story itself really wouldn't have been impacted much. (Part of this is because the story wasn't too strong, but still) It felt like they wanted to make a weird creature-feature type movie, and rather than make up their own mythos and characters, they just used Lewis Carroll's.

That said, it isn't a bad movie. I'm glad I didn't spend a full nine dollars on it (thank you, AMC gift cards!), but if movies were $4.50 like back in the old days, it wouldn't have been a bad deal.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

v2, d4: A beautiful three-bedroom post

First, new stuff over at the secret blog tonight. Really, something different and intimidating for me, so I don't know if it's going to turn out or not. Also posted to my reading blog this morning. I think this may be the first day I've posted to all three blogs in the same day.

Second, I want to thank everybody that reads this who's been in for Little Foxes auditions this past week (and that includes a good number of my reading audience). I know they've been unusual, and I know there's been some frustration and some complaining, but they've actually been really, really productive. I've had a lot of fun watching the readings and having casting discussions with JCG. I think this has potential to be one of the most dynamic shows we've done since I've been with the company. I am really excited about getting into rehearsals for it, even though I know they'll move slower than any of us are comfortable with and may get frustrating from time to time.

Finally, I'm pretty sure I met a direct descendant of the Godfather tonight. After the performance of Ret., a tall bald man in a heavy overcoat was talking to our house manager, asking questions about our upcoming Easter programming. The HM didn't really know anything about the show, but I'd just recently read the script, so he directed the man to me. The man speaks in a fairly high-pitched, awfully scratchy voice with a heavy New Jersey accent. Says he's got some friends coming in from Cleveland, and he was wonderin' if maybe this was the sorta thing his associates might enjoy. (Okay, he didn't use the word associates. But still) So I told him what I knew of the plot (his hands never left his pockets the entire time), and when I was finished, the tall man nodded his bald head casually and said "Sounds like it might be interestin'," then he turned to his lady friend and thanked me as he walked off.

There's a good chance the guy just pretends to be a stereotypical mobster when he goes out in public to see how people react to him. Or maybe he just knows where Jimmy Hoffa is.

Guess I'll let you know if he shows up with a few of his friends from Cleveland at the Easter show.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

v2, d3: Space Adventure: A True Story of What Really Happens in Space

Okay. Not feeling particularly well this evening, so I'm just going to post this script I was talking about in yesterday's post and call it good.

Because clearly, it is good. When you hear people talking about what an awesome playwright I am? This right here is the stuff they're talking about.


In all sincerity, though, (HA!) I have to say that it was written specifically to be amusing for some 2nd and 3rd grade kids, and to that end it was highly, highly successful. Any incorrect information that may have been insinuated about space travel or the use(s) of plutonium are strictly not really that big a deal.






Two astronauts, JENNY and ALLISON, sitting at a computer. Enter CAPTAIN KATE.

KATE: All right, astronauts, on your feet!

JENNY: What's up, Captain Kate?

KATE: What's up? I'll tell you what's up! They've just discovered a brand new planet on the very edge of the solar system!

ALLISON: Uh-oh. Sounds like she's going to make us work!

KATE: You can say that again, cadet!

ALLISON: Uh-oh. Sounds like she's going to make us work!

JENNY: That's exciting news, Captain, but what does it have to do with us?

KATE: NASA has decided that the first astronauts to explore this new planet will get to name the planet anything they like!

ALLISON: Cool! What are we going to name it?

KATE: Planet Kate, of course!

JENNY: Planet Kate? You want to name the planet after yourself?

KATE: Why not?

JENNY: What about the two of us?

KATE: We can name a moon or something after you.

ALLISON: I guess that sounds fair. When do we leave?

KATE: Now! Soon! As soon as we can get the space ship loaded!

ALLISON: Right! I'll pack the food!

JENNY: That figures.

KATE: Jenny, you pack the rest of the equipment. And I will call the orders. All right girls, let's move!

Scene 2

On a faraway planet, GLORPY and WIZZBIT are carrying a heavy box. In rushes CAPTAIN NARTHAX.

NARTHAX: Glorpy! Wizzbit!


NARTHAX: You be careful with that box! That's our entire supply of plutonium! If you drop it, it'll explode, and then we won't have anything to eat for the entire trip!

WIZZBIT: Yeah. Where are we going, again?

NARTHAX: I told you, our scientists just discovered a new planet, and we're going to be the very first ones to explore it!

WIZZBIT: Oh yeah....why are we doing that?

GLORPY: Can't you remember anything? It's the gibbledegorb shortage! There's no gibbledegorb left anywhere on the planet, and we have to find some more!

WIZZBIT: Oh yeah! So wait, is there gibbledegorb on this new planet?

NARTHAX: There's only one way to find out, Wizzbit!

WIZZBIT: Oh do we find out?

GLORPY: Just come on already!

Scene 3

Both groups are in space ships headed in the same direction. WIZZBIT and ALLISON are the ones flying the ships.

KATE: Make sure you let us know when we're close to the new planet, Cadet Allison.

ALLISON: What's it look like?

JENNY: It's a planet. It's a giant planet! It should be the only big planet-looking thing in the area.

ALLISON: Ohhhhh, I got it!

GLORPY: We'd better get to this new planet soon. We're almost out of fuel!

WIZZBIT: Does the new planet look kind of like a small spaceship?

NARTHAX: What? No! Planets don't look like spaceships!

WIZZBIT: Okay. Just wondering.

KATE: Allison! Did you pack the food?


KATE: Did you bring anything besides peanut butter?

ALLISON: I don't think so, why?

JENNY: You mean all we have to eat for the entire trip is peanut butter?

ALLISON: Don't you like peanut butter?

KATE: Not for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!

ALLISON: You're weird. Hey, I think we're about to hit something.

JENNY: I'm about to hit you! Who goes on a mission to another planet and brings nothing to eat?

ALLISON: Um, I think there's something coming at us.

NARTHAX: If we don't find some more gibbeldegorb to power our ship on this new planet, we'll never get back home!

GLORPY: That would be sad. I left all my stuff at home!

WIZZBIT: I think that thing that isn't a planet is probably going to hit us.


ALLISON: I'm pretty sure we're going to crash.


They crash.

Scene 4

The two ships have crash landed on opposite sides of the stage.

KATE: Cadet Jenny! Status report!

JENNY:'s complicated.

ALLISON: We crashed.

KATE: I know that! Wait..this is it! This is it! We've found Planet Kate!

JENNY: That’s great, Captain, but we lost all our plutonium in the wreck!

KATE: ALL of it??

JENNY: Yeah, there’s this big crack in the…

ALLISON: It’s all right, everybody! The peanut butter is o-kay!

NARTHAX: Glorpy, can you fix the ship?

GLORPY: Sure can. But there’s not really any point. . We’ve completely run out of gibbledegorb!

WIZZBIT: Is this the new planet? Because if it is, then I found it.

NARTHAX: What did we crash into?

WIZZBIT: Planet.

NARTHAX: No, I mean up there in space!

GLORPY: It was probably a meteor or something.

NARTHAX: Maybe. Or maybe it was that spaceship sitting right over there!


Sees the other ship. The humans and aliens see each other for the first time.




KATE: Don’t panic.

NARTHAX: They might be friendly.

JENNY: They could be nice aliens.

GLORPY: They might know if there’s gibbeldegorb here!

KATE: We need to try to make friends.

NARTHAX: Maybe they’ll help us.

ALLISON: I’ll give them a nice sandwich. That’s a great way to make friends!

WIZZIBT: Maybe they’d like a snack! I’ll go get one!

KATE: I was thinking more like a handshake.

JENNY: Great idea, Captain Kate!

NARTHAX: Let’s extend the intergalactic sign for friendship!

GLORPY: Right!

KATE and JENNY extend their hands to shake while NARTHAX and GLORPY raise their fists, as if to fight.

JENNY: Uh-oh.

GLORPY: Well that’s a bummer.

KATE: It looks like they want to fight.

NARTHAX: They’ve given the intergalactic sign for war!

JENNY: I hate fighting.

GLORPY: This is going to get messy.

ALLISON: Here! I’ve got sandwiches for everybody!


GLORPY: They’ve got gibbeldegorb!

NARTHAX: LOTS of gibbledegorb!

JENNY: What happened? Why aren’t they fighting?

NARTHAX takes a sandwich from ALLISON.

NARTHAX: We’re saved!

He and GLORPY dance.

KATE: Are they dancing?

ALLISON: I told you, everybody loves peanut butter.

KATE: Cadet Allison, you’re brilliant! Hurry! It looks like they want some more!

ALLISON: But…then there won’t be any for us…

WIZZBIT: Here, I’ve got some yummy plutonium. Maybe they’ll trade with us.

KATE: Jumping Jupiter, is that….

JENNY: Plutonium! More than enough to get us home!

ALLISON: That’s cool.

KATE: Hurry! Trade with them, trade with them!

ALLISON shoves the box of peanut butter to the aliens and takes the jar of plutonium. Everyone but ALLISON and WIZZBIT is dancing for joy.

NARTHAX: Our whole planet is saved!

KATE & JENNY: We’re going home!

KATE: And I’ll be famous!

JENNY: And I’ll get a moon or something named after me!

The aliens bow to the humans and start to load the gibbledegorb into their ship. The humans start to load the plutonium into theirs.

ALLISON: Um…hey, Captain Kate?

WIZZBIT: Narthax?

ALLISON: Do you think it would be okay if I went with the aliens?

WIZZBIT: Can I go ride on that space ship instead?

KATE: What?


ALLISON: Well…I don’t know if I want to ride home on a ship that doesn’t have any peanut butter to snack on.

WIZZBIT: I’m hungry. If they have all the plutonium, then what am I supposed to eat on the way home?

KATE: You really want to live on an alien world…

NARTHAX: You really want to leave your home planet…

KATE: …for snack food?

NARTHAX: …for snack food?


ALLISON: I like peanut butter.

KATE looks at JENNY, NARTHAX looks at GLORPY. They all shrug, and then ALLISON and WIZZBIT switch sides.


WIZZBIT: Yippee!

All climb into their spaceships.

NARTHAX: All right, Glorpy!

KATE: Ready, Jenny? We’re going home!

NARTHAX: Let’s get out of here!

Spaceships blast off.

ALLSION: So, um…where are we going??


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

v2, d2: "Mr. Will! I can't do this!"

Today was showcase day for the 2nd and 3rd grade acting class I've been teaching for the past 8 weeks.

Okay, "teaching" is an overstatement and a half. I pretty much let Leah take the lead, and I serve in more of a support role. The first ever class I taught in our academy followed a "head teacher/support teacher" model, and I've just sort of stuck with it ever since. Usually, I'm the support teacher, though I took the lead in a couple of junior high classes I taught last year, and those were probably the most fun classes I've ever been involved with. But I digress. (Sur-prise, sur-prise!)

Today was our showcase, meaning parents, siblings, grandparents, and a few friends were coming to the classroom to see what we've been working so hard on for the past two months. I always enjoy showcase days. It always amazes me how ready a parent is to absolutely love anything their kid has worked on. (Heck, we've got at least four pages of scribbles up on our fridge as I type this) Plus, after the show, we get free food at the reception. And usually parents of students bring home-baked goodies. And there's always a veggie tray. So it balances out.

Our class performed a short play simply titled Space Adventure. The full title, not used in any of the press, is Space Adventure: A True Story of what Really Happens in Space. I wrote it specifically for this class. Leah and I sat and brainstormed a story for awhile, and then I sat down and wrote 'er out. I may post the script on here for tomorrow's entry; it's the best written-for-class script I've done since Not-So-Super Heroes. It's also an interesting examination of what happens when two creative minds try to write a short story on totally empty stomachs.

Good times.

Now this particular class has been pretty rowdy from start to finish. Some of it is this age group; a lot of it is these kids. A couple of them are wild on their own; the whole lot of them are insane when they're together. And today started no differently. We could get them to rehearse, but we couldn't get them to stop goofing off completely. They were pretty good, but there were still lots of giggles, and some undue wackiness from the lone boy in the class.

Then, the crowd started assembling just outside the classroom door. And the rowdy kids suddenly got very, very quiet.

"There's people!" one of them said!

"Lots of people!" cried another.

A wave of panic struck every single kid in the class. I've never had a group united in their terror like this before. Usually one or two or three kids will get really shy and nervous, yeah, but all six?

They forgot to goof off. All their excess energy was channeled into fear and trembling and some nervous giggles. Leah and I explained that they were going to be fine, they would be great, and if they got really stuck, one of us would feed them a line. But they weren't going to get stuck. They were going to be awesome.

The kids cowered backstage as the parents milled in, and the I stepped out in front of the curtain to give my hokey curtain speech about translating the alien dialect into English so that our audiences could understand it (went over really well, thank heavens!). Then, I turned it over to the kids. In the first scene, our three human astronauts come onstage and talk for awhile, and I'm backstage keeping the aliens quiet.

Suddenly, one little girl, the most rambunctious and distractable of them all, the child who's never had trouble being the center of attention, whispers to get my attention. I look over, and the girl is ghost-white.

"Mr. Will!" she hisses. "Mr. Will! I don't think I can do this!"

I told her she was going to be fine, she knew the lines, she knew the show, and she kept protesting. For the first time in two months, I felt sorry for the girl. She was really freaked out.

"Remember," I whispered to her as she's standing just behind the corner, 15 seconds from making an entrance, "most of your lines start with 'Oh, yeah!' and your teammates will help you out if you get stuck." No more time for encouragement, it was time for the aliens to take the stage.

She was great. Actually, they ALL were. From a memorization standpoint, it was the best ANY of them had ever done. Their focus was superb. For them, anyway. I honestly had wondered if things were going to fall apart all over scene four. They didn't. For once, they got it all right.

And, in this instance, once is all you need.

Afterward, it was a joy to meet the parents. At least four of them said they were bringing their kids back. I think two of them signed up for the next session right there on the spot. Their girls were all chatting about how they couldn't wait to start again, and the parents conversed as if they were finding new friends. It was really, really nice. I think everybody had a good time.

Teaching is always hard and usually uncomfortable for me. It's not something that comes naturally, and it's not really something I think I do very well. And there have been some sessions that have been nothing but a drain. But I always enjoy showcase days. Regardless of the journey, there's always a reward to be found at the end.

Monday, March 1, 2010

v2, d1: False Start

And, we're off again!


Today was unusual. I realized about three days ago that today was my self-imposed start-up date for my second blog-a-day project, and I stared to think about what I wanted to say as we set out on this journey again. I thought about making changes to the layout, signifying that I am not the same writer or person that I was when I kicked off this blog over a year ago. Then I decided I wanted to change the title, then the way I numbered my days, and then I started to wonder whether subject matter or overall tone would be significantly different now that I had a year of consistent blogging under my belt.

And then I was like, "You know what? Just screw it. I'm just gonna do what I do." Which is good, cuz that was pretty much the point to begin with. But I liked the idea of changing the name and layout, so I did that anyway. I actually spent about an hour playing around with different ideas before I settled on the current state of WBW. If you get all the references, bully for you. If you don't, meh. Sorry. I like the way it looks and reads. And if I change my mind later, I'll just tweak. It'll be okay, we're going to make it through this.

Anyway, spent about an hour tweaking the blog itself, settling on the new look for the next three-hundred sixty-five days, and I opened the "New Post" tab on this blog for the first time in a month and a half, prepared to type out a fairly well-prepared first post. Naturally, it was then, at that time, at that precise moment in WBW histroy, that my phone rang. Awesome. Just like in a book. And just like in a book, my entire day's plans were suddenly changed by that one fateful phone call.

You see, the call had come from Robbie's day care. Apparently the boy had been rocking out all by himself on the tiled floor, dancing like no one was watching, when he suddenly lost his balance and slammed--hard--face first on the floor. The entire left side of his face had started bruising instantly, and the day care workers weren't going to put him down for his nap for fear that he might have a concussion.

Adding to the complications of the day: Kim and I are, for the most part, down to one vehicle. And she had the debit card. So I had to pick up her so that we could pay the doctor, and since she'd had a slow day of work ahead of her that afternoon anyway, the three of us just made it an afternoon.

The earliest appointment we were able to get at Robbie's pediatrician's office was at 3 p.m., so we spent the afternoon in the medical district keeping him from taking a nap. This, ultimately, was how Robbie got his first ride in a train. (The kid ADORES trains, so we parked our car at the park-and-ride and rode the train to his doctor's doorstep) The afternoon was a success, and the pediatrician said no signs of concussion, and as long as he was being his "normal, ornery self," everything was okay.

And trust me, he's been his normal, ornery self all night.

Train ride, playground, elevator trip, Taco Bell, this became the kid's best school day pretty much ever. And truth be told, it became a very nice all-family event as well.

So, poignant blogging interrupted, but a nice time with the family. I'll make that trade any day.

Lesson of the day: Life always interrupts. Adapt. Find the opportunities to make it work for you.

In other news: I missed you, blog. It's funny, because I didn't expect to, but I've come to realize what an outlet writing has really become for me over the past few years. Heck, look at the length of my early posts last year with my later posts. Look at the fact that I never blogged until a year ago, and now I've got three. I look at things, and I need to write them out. I need to see them on paper. And I think I need somebody to read them. Words on a page are dead in and of themselves. They're empty characters, dotted and dashed squiggles jotted on pages that can blow through the wind as easily as a dead leaf or an old McDonald's bag. (Or typed on a computer screen that can absolutely murder a beautiful simile)

Anyway, the time off has been good for me, because I needed to recharge, and I also needed to realize how big a part of my life blogging/journaling/whatever you want to call this particular exercise has become. Also, my time off was probably good for all of you readers as well, because you would have gotten really, really sick of daily Olympic hockey posts. But wow. The Olympic hockey tournament was awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. (Come on, admit it, many of you probably thought that's what you were going to read about today. Nope. I'll save it for later this week ;-)

Speaking of the Olympics: Did this actually happen last night? I mean, I have fairly vivid memories of it, but there's a rational part of my mind that says, ", surely they didn't...I mean, that's just silly!"

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Thank you, readers, for sticking around. (Stephen King calls his loyal followers "Constant Reader." I've always thought it would be funny to refer to mine as "Bored Readers," but that's not really a flattering term for anybody, and it's really more of my old self-deprecating style coming out to play, so I'm probably going to scrap that idea. Just know that it was there, and that it made me chuckle)

Interesting note: I gathered more "followers" during my hiatus than I had when I was actively blogging. Bad sign?