Wednesday, May 25, 2005

f. that fire-farting beast
I've written a few plays. I even went to school and got a degree that makes me sound a lot smarter than I am. Some of these plays were good. The good ones were lucky enough to find homes with actors, a director, and more or less, audiences. The bad ones were spared production, and are saved in hiding spaces for the sole purpose of humbling myself now and then. (Nothing, however, beats the short story I wrote in seventh grade about racism. The theme? Racism is bad -- who knew? Man, I wish I could find that now).

Since graduating a few years ago, I switched to screenplays. Well, some pitches and half-finished ideas, but technically one screenplay. Not much to show for three years of being in the real world, I know. In my defense, it's become a slobbering, ten-armed beast of a story that makes daily threats on my life. It also farts fire. You can see why it's not done. But damn that bitch, I'll finish 'er off by year's end if it kills me.

Recently I started another play, which was mildly terrifying. Not for any real reason really, I just kinda forgot how to do it. I was all, "What are these words? And these characters, what do they do?". I was freaked out by not having written a complete thing in so long. Luckily, I know some actors and a director who don't think I'm necessarily completely terrible, and liked some ideas I had, and wanted to workshop them with me.

So that's what we've been doing for the past month. I bring them new pages, they read them aloud, I ask questions, they ask questions, and somehow, the play gets written. It's pretty damn fun, this process. We're trying to get it into a festival, but if not, it'll be done in some form or another. And hey, you're all invited. I hear there's a kegger at Fatso's after!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Office Etiquette
Much to my chagrin, I left my book at home the other day. This was especially sucky because I haven't had much time to read lately, and had planned to finish it at lunch. Reading is one of the few things that combats the tedium of work. And since I'd rather talk to my sandwich than make conversation with most of my co-workers, and since my sandwich, while tasty, is less clever than I require, I was out of luck.

So, trapped in the break room with nothing to do, I decided to read the fine print on all the signs we're required to post by law. Your standards. Everything from Minimum Wage to Whistle Blowing to a sign up sheet for a company softball team from 1997. I became a little alarmed when I read the Warning Signs of Violence in the Workplace. Symptoms include irritability, waning enthusiasm, and sleepiness.


Sure, I've had dreams where bosses are swept up by tornados and rolled over by tanks, but I've never thought about actually doing those things myself. These symptoms, however, make me wonder how I come off. Add Occasional Bouts of Smart-Ass to the list, and I'm a prime suspect. At least I've never threatened anyone or destroyed office furniture (my favorite warning sign). Remember that if you're ever called to testify.

Then I moved on to the Sexual Harrassment poster. The graphic, which seems to be lifted from Photoshop, shows the outline of a woman standing over a copier. Behind her is a man with one hand casually in his pocket, and the other presumably grabbing her ass. In any event, it looks to be extremely naughty and highly inappropriate, what that Photoshop Shadow Man is doing. This made me wonder about how I'm perceived, too. Perhaps I should re-think the way I greet people around the office.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Carpe Doogie
Today I made my first adult decision...
I'm going to stay a kid for just a little while longer.

-Douglas Houser

I watched a few episodes of Doogie Houser, M.D. the other night. There are so many rad things about this show: the gentle synthesizer soundtrack, Neil Patrick Harris and his all too convincing performance as a creepy man-child, Vinny as a guido in the making, the soft lighting, Doogie's ability to tackle every kind of medical problem. The list goes on.

Of course, the best part of any episode is the end: reflection time. Doog sits down at his blue screen and types out the lesson he's learned, always with the kind of wisdom you'd expect from an inspirational mug, or calendar of proverbs. Hmmm... Anyone feel like a small business venture? It's never too late to beat a dead horse, people. If we could only work that synthesizer in somehow...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Misogynist or Proud Tranny?
I heard that yesterday was Mexican Mother's Day. Nevertheless, I'm still confused over what I heard at the bank:

Guy: Happy Mother's Day.

Teller: Oh, I'm not a mother.

Guy: I hear THAT!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Toughest Man in the World
Speaking of The Murph, two weekends ago our paths crossed for beach camping. It was a crew of San Diego solids, and Marah and I. Honeymoon adventures involving ghosts were shared, frisbee skills were honed, wood planks were widdled to swords (yeah, that really happened), and beers were drank.

One tale Kevin recounted for us can only be called "The Toughest Man in the World". It's about his grandfather. With his permission, I will re-tell it with slight embellishment. (It's a little awkward, this re-telling. Kind of like when you're in a room with someone, and they talk about you as if you weren't there. Good thing social awkwardness is my bread and butter).

The Toughest Man in the World was a B52 tail-gunner in WW2. During one particularly intense flight, his plane was shot to shit. Everyone else on board was killed. He took two bullets in the shin, himself. As the B52 plummeted to sea, burning all the way, he managed to kick out the cockpit glass and eject. Somehow in descent, while staring death in the face, he managed to get his parachute open before crashing into the water. Quite possibly, this sliver of chute time saved his life.

Some Chinese fisherman saw this all happen, and they pulled him out and took him back to shore. Over the next few weeks, they held him in a kind of camp. The extent and purpose of said camp is unclear now, though it was benign enough, because they kept him alive, torture-free. They even treated the gangrene he'd developed from the gunshot wounds. Yes, once a day someone would come to his tent with a spoon, and scoop out the infection. It was the only alternative to amputation. He issued nary a whimper throughout the ordeal. When the Americans arrived three weeks later to bring him home, he simply muttered, "it's about damn time."

When he was older, it gave him great pleasure to freak out the grandkids by showing off the small cave in his leg. He cackled as they recoiled in fear. Of course, these visits were perhaps less frequent than he'd like. See, nomadic is the life of the Moonshiner. And so he zigzagged through east Texas, settling only long enough to make and sell his bathtub whiskey. The enterprise's profits were humble at best, but it quenched his thirst for adventure.

It was an unpredictable, sometimes harsh lifestyle. Years later, he would consider it at night, while dining with his wife off paper plates of roadkill.

"Is dodging the tax man really worth it?", he wondered to himself, picking gristle from his teeth. "Maybe I should settle down, give the wife something solid. Man can't run his whole life."

And so he took up a full-time job in one place, which afforded more opportunities with the grandkids. They came to know him as a man of gesture and silence. On fishing trips, he stood quietly until someone reeled in the catch. He'd then grab it for study. If it was proper for eats, he set it aside. If it was useless or inferior, he'd pound it with a hammer and throw it back. Life was for surviving, which meant no fluff.

Death finally caught up to him the only way it could: by sneak attack. An out-of-the-blue car crash closed the book on him. It wasn't pretty, and I suspect he only let it happen through gritted teeth. But he knew when he was beat. Such was the grace of The Toughest Man in the World.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Get Out Of my Head, Perry..... And Into my Car
I've had this song stuck in my head for 3 days. Well not the whole song, just these lines:

She's just a small town girl
Livin' in a yaya world
She took the midnight train to a-ny-wayah!

I'm not sure about the lyrics (the "yaya" part is how his voice sounds to me), or even the title. All I know is it's Steve Perry. Was it during his solo career, or with Journey? Can't say. That's not important. What is important is that these goddamn lyrics get out of my head STAT!

This all started Friday night when someone lamented the absence of karaoke from our lives. It ignited a Steve Perry fire in me that I can't deny, apparently. I'm taking it as a sign. I have a date with this song, as maddening as it is at the moment. The problem is Kevin Murphy did it for Leigh's birthday a couple years back, and it set an insurmountable bar. Gotta work on my falsetto.

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