Wednesday, October 31, 2007

fire bad! power tools good!

The ghost tour post is coming. I swear. Shit! See? I swore. (Zing! I'm here all night, folks).

Theatre Seven is doing some payback to Lifeline Theatre for letting us build our set in their shop. We're doing some cleaning and organizing of their basement. I spent the evening cutting wood into little bits with a circular saw. My first circular saw experience. I still have all my typing fingers. Theatre Seven master builder/actor/journeyman Charlie Olson built the set for Lifeline's production of The Island of Dr Moreau. It's a super cool set.

Here's what 99 cents will buy you at Walgreen's:

My Halloween costume. Made in China with lead paint no doubt.

Monday, October 29, 2007

CSI: Chicago?

I walked through a crime scene this morning.

Well -- no -- sorta.

CSI: NY was filming on Michigan Avenue outside my office, around about the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower. The central mystery of this particular episode is: "why is CSI: NY filming in Chicago?" Gary Sinise was hanging out. We shared a donut. No we didn't -- that's what I fantasized about when I spaced out at my desk.

Here's the scoop on the Trib's blog.

Friday, October 26, 2007

smoking baby, the movie

I got excited when I found out I could record with my digi-cam. This may be the first and last movie I ever make: SMOKING BABY: THE MOVIE! (I bought this smoking baby for $5.00 at Uncle Fun. It was the last Smoking Baby for sale. Watch out, Wes Anderson. I'm giving "quirky" a new name)

ghost tour: the teaser!

First, for those of you following along with my Pushing Daisies obsession. . . Who do you think the narrator is? Is he simply the omniscient story-teller, or do you think he may factor into the future story? That would certainly be a twist!

I accidentally took 9 second video with my camera the other night on the ghost tour. I'd never used the video feature and forgot I had it on my camera. I was attempting to take a picture of Wayne our tour guide and instead shot the unofficial teaser to my ghost tour post. Here we are in the alley behind the Oriental Theatre, the former spot of the Iroquois Theatre. 844 people died in a theatre fire here in 1903. Many died in the alley when they fell out of fire exits 5 floors up -- the theatre owners rushed construction and hadn't yet built the fire escape. Wicked currently plays in the Oriental Theatre.

The stagehand hanging out by the stage door explained that being in this alley gives her chest pains ("And not because of my smoking," she said, exhaling a puff into the October night).

Wayne explains the sort of ghostly things one can catch on a camera. It should be obvious that I didn't know the video feature was running on my camera, and I'm a little disappointed I didn't get a still picture of Wayne and his waxed moustache.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ghost tour. coming soon

I went on a Chicago Ghost Tour tonight with Tracey K and Annie. It was fun. The evening will warrant a full post in time for Halloween. I took a few photos, which I will share, some containing unexplained orbs of energy.

UNEXPLAINED ORBS! I do not jest.

I like to think it is evidence of a ghost instead of evidence of a shitty camera. But for all the spooky unexplained photography, I snapped the most terrifying photo on the walk home.

This Sears mannequin was brutally murdered in the display window.

I don't know if he has a head. It might have been sawed off with... I'm not sure what tool was used as he seems to use his tool chest for storing Christmas ornaments.

This mannequin has been like this since at least Monday. Shop Sears.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

emergency: take-aways

Probably the best 911 call ever.

Monday, October 22, 2007

it's raining luggage

Did you hear about the luggage that fell out of the airplane? I always had an irrational thought that my bag would fall out of an airplane. I dismissed it because it seemed unlikely if the cargo door was shut. The luggage that fell out of the airplane was luggage that was checked at the gate. The moral of this story is if you have a big goddamn bag you expect to bring as a carry-on, better to check it like normal or else it is going to fall out of the airplane.

I was going to write something of substance. I'm spacing out.

Here is a link to some great animal photos. The page is called Great Animal Photos.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No Child

I had the opportunity to see No Child at Lookingglass Friday night. High fives to Hal Brooks for hooking me up with a couple tickets for the show. Real nice of him. I met up with Sarah K for an after work beer, shot, and cheezborger at the famous subterranean Billy Goat Tavern. I'd never been before. It's charming in a that's probably a health code violation! sort of way. Then we hoofed it up Michigan Ave, arteries pumping cheezborger grease, to balance out the dive experience with classier and tourist-priced Maker's Mark Manhattans at Bistro 110 by the Water Tower there. And the show? Amazing, funny and moving, all good things. Nilaja Sun's performance is, I don't know how to describe it, the intense shape-shifting of it... magical? Yeah, magical.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

daisies, newsies, zombies

* Look, I'm not going to beg you to watch Pushing Daisies at 7pm on Wednesday on ABC. I don't have a TiVo or DVR so I actually have to make a point to be home by 7pm on Wednesday to watch this show. I'm having a friendly argument with Dan about whether or not the story-telling on this show is moving too fast. He thinks it is. I don't think it is. My theory is that series creator Bryan Fuller is anticipating getting canceled after one season, so he needs to cram all the important story-telling into the first 18 episodes. I have seen enough TV shows canceled after one season (Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Wonderfalls [technically canceled by Fox after 4 episodes, but a full season was filmed and then released on DVD]) to know that a very imaginative TV show has to anticipate premature cancellation. Where it goes from there, we shall see. By the way, Swoozie Kurtz cracks my shit up any time the story diverts to Chuck's aunts.

* I know I've hit the big time when my old high school newspaper wants to interview me. I'm running a couple playwriting workshops at New Trier High School's Literary Festival on November 2.

A head's-up from my sister Amanda who turned me on to today (I can't believe I haven't been visiting that site every 10 minutes til today). Here's another gem from them, courtesy of Average Jane Crafter, in time for Halloween. Zombie embroidery. Take a vintage embroidery transfer and Zombie-it-up. (Tif: next Crafty Ladies project?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

today's episode: impromptu corporate sponsorship of the arts

The supervisor for my temp gig took today off. I completed the day's task efficiently and there was nobody to give me more work. You temp long enough, the universe is going to drop one of these free-swim days in your lap.

This is how it goes; the age-old story: You report to one supervisor in a large office. Nobody else knows or cares what you're doing there. They know you belong there as a transient with typing and computer skills. They assume you've been taken care of. Like, say, when your friend goes out of town. You just assume this friend has made arrangements for her pet cat. But perhaps the cat is pooping all over the floor? Who knows? Who cares? The cat is not their responsibility.

I didn't poop on the floor. I haven't. I won't. Not yet.

I doubt anyone knows my name, except the other temp who started with me. I like her. She's temped long enough to know that in the end, everyone is replaceable. That sounds bleak. It's not. It's liberating to the professional artist/temp.

Today I considered myself "on call" for anybody who happened to need my mad office skills.

Nobody needed my mad office skills. Don't they know I got mad office skills? Believe.

And the temp gig? It's not a bad gig as far as temp gigs go. I KNOW bad temp gigs. Assembling name-badges in a windowless, unventilated, fluorescent-lit storage room that was not intended to be occupied by a human for 8 hours? Bad temp gig.

I'm not complaining.

The coffee's pretty good. I've got an incredible view of the Chicago River -- I'll show you some time. I'm enjoying the mile walk between the train and the office, even though I got tricked by a quarter glued to the sidewalk along Wacker Drive. Good one.

The company doesn't block Internet radio like one company I worked for used to do. That was awful. [Repetitive task + silence = insanity]

And on a day like today, when the supervisor goes AWOL, writing plays on the Microsoft Notepad looks surprisingly like "work" work. It is work. Maybe work that is not appreciated at work in the American workforce. It's not building cars, or fixing plumbing, or processing bills. Maybe it's not work that's appreciated by 99% of the people in this country. Maybe it's more like 99.93%.

That's okay. I like it anyway.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007


What in the holy love of crap is going on in Springfield?

Moment of silence mandated in Illinois schools

We had a moment of silence for reflection and prayer in high school. It was called "class." And by "reflection and prayer" I mean nap-time.

Sure would be nice if Illinois government would spend less time on this bullshit and more time on, I don't know, things that matter?

toonces in da houwse

The folks are out of town, and Toonces is on vacation at my apartment.

I've given up on the CTA. It made me want to die. I'm taking the Metra to work and adding 2 miles of walking to my commute.

Everybody watch "Pushing Daisies" on ABC! It's whimsical and funny and morbid in a big-hearted way. I hope it taps the full potential of its premise. Please don't get canceled. Please. It would only be replaced with "CSI Cold Case & Order: Miami" because the world needs more crime dramas. Fingers crossed it lasts at least a full season. That's all I'm asking. One season.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

your ears are an incinerator of sound

I once said, "I'd be fine if I never had to hear the B-52's Love Shack ever again." It was said during a long night of light domestic beer and karaoke. I really meant it. I hate that song.

Would I miss it? If I never heard it again, would I miss anything about it? (Tin roof! ...rusted!)

What if...

Through circumstances unexplained but accepted, once you hear a song, you are unable to ever, ever hear it again. Assume you know what you know about the music you love. What song would you save for...

* a rainy day
* a romantic moment
* a night alone when you're really depressed with a big spoon in your right hand and a carton of Ben & Jerry's in your left
* your personal pep rally
* a lazy Sunday morning
* when you're about to smash somebody's windshield with a baseball bat cuz they done you wrong
* driving on Lake Shore Drive
* your deathbed

Lucky you there are enough songs in the world you can go 99 years and still have plenty of music to listen to, but any new loves you hear will be lost loves. Would it change the way you listened to a song knowing it's the very last time you'll ever hear it.

Can you tell my iPod died while I was stuck on the train?

Monday, October 08, 2007

the grind

I started a new job today. I was given a security key-card to get into the office, and I lost it by 10:30AM. Somewhere in the copy room.

The CTA Red Line is atrocious.

Beer me.


It was good that I was out of town for when the Cubs folded like a chair in the playoffs. A sad, sad folding chair. Nobody cares about the Cubs in Louisville. I had to request the game be turned on at a bar. After I saw the score I said, nevermind, you can change the channel back to golf highlights.

Had a good time, met some nice talented folk at Actors Theatre. Disappointments: there wasn't time to do much socializing with the Acting Apprentice company, and the bourbon bar at the hotel closes at 8pm (?!). Every night (?!?!?!?!). Now, on to the writing of the thing.

Hello to the person who found my blog by searching "watch videos about men and women pooping in seprat [sic] tolets [sic] but in the same bathroom". That's a really specific fetish, dude. Good luck on your quest. Maybe you'll have more luck if you learn to spell.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I have a question

Are New York Times theatre critics required to blow 0.08+ on the douche-bag breathalyzer before writing reviews on new plays? Somebody please tell me that Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius is more than just a Mamet knock-off as Ben Brantley proclaims. I won't be able to see it, but I'd no doubt enjoy the crap out of it.

louisville slugger

I'm cruising I-65 to Louisville, KY this afternoon. I was invited to contribute writing to the Anthology show for the acting apprentice company at Actors Theatre, a show that runs one of the weekends of the Humana Festival in March. It's me and 5 other writers and a composer working on a show about SPORTS! Oughta be a hoot. This weekend gathering is to get to know the company and the other writers and maybe do some work and drink some bourbon. Well I'm drinking bourbon. It is Kentucky.

Mom is cleaning out the basement at home and gave me a pile of dishes. I'm writing a note to remind myself: take the dishes out of the car! Every time I hit the breaks, there's a clatter of Fiestaware in the butt of my car. It makes my driving a little more dramatic, but I don't need to shuttle a pile of dishes across Indiana.

I'm itchy with interstate wanderlust. Piloting my little yellow car at 65+ MPH for hours and hours. Driving while eating Chicken McNuggets. Browsing the NASCAR baseball caps and pine tree air fresheners and touristy schlock at interstate Gas-N-Shops. Flipping through the radio stations and finding the local fire & brimstone broadcast on the FM, or the gem of a low-watt jazz or oldies station, lasting 15 minutes before it crackles out of range. Can't wait to hit the road, if only for a weekend.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

everybody's posting it

A krunk ode to Tracy Motherfuckin Letts and Steppenwolf. Word.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

temporary life

Below is a compiled transcript of the past couple interviews for temp work I've endured. It's inaccurate in dictation but true in spirit.


Interviewer: I want to go over a little what the job requires. We're looking for somebody to generate web-based surveys for our clients using a program called Quibblebits 2.0. Have you ever used that program?

Me: No.

Interviewer: Ohh...kay. We're also looking for somebody who can compile and distribute data using a program called Donkeyslap Plus. Ever do any work on that?

Me: No.

Interviewer: Have you ever used Excel?

Me: On purpose?

Interviewer: What do you mean "on purpose"?

Me: Nothing.

Interviewer: How comfortable are you working with numbers?

Me: What, like, math?

Interviewer: Adding numbers.

Me: Accurately?

Interviewer: Yes.

Me: What, like, with a calculator? Or in my head, "quick! what's 57 plus 1877?!?!" like that?

Interviewer: With a calculator.

Me: Are you asking me if I know how to use a calculator?

Interviewer: We're looking for somebody who's comfortable with math.

Me: Right, but would I have a calculator?

Interviewer: Well, okay, it was great talking to you.

Me: But I'm good with computers. I pick up things like super-fast. And I'm punctual. I have many positive qualities. Just ask my mom!

Interviewer: We'll let you know.

Me: Will you really?

Interview: When you don't hear from us, you'll know.

Me: Awesome.

My heart--I thought it stopped (more Amy Hempel)

I went to The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. I bought The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. It's cheaper on Amazon, but I like to support independent book stores with liquor licenses. It's nice to know I'm set if I have an alkie-fit in Non-Fiction.

I'm working my way through the book now. All of her stories are short, but some of them are REALLY short (one of her stories is only one sentence). If you don't read any of her collections, yet want to know what it's like to read Amy Hempel, ask a friend to punch you in the face. When you start crying, let him hug you. That's what it's like to read Amy Hempel.

In the Animal Shelter

by Amy Hempel
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

Every time you see a beautiful woman, someone is tired of her, so the men say. And I know where they go, these women, with their tired beauty that someone doesn't want--these women who must live like the high Sierra white pine, there since before the birth of Christ, fed somehow by the alpine wind.

They reach out to the animals, day after day smoothing fur inside a cage, saying, "How is Mama's baby? Is Mama's baby lonesome?"

The women leave at the end of the day, stopping to ask an attendant, "Will they go to good homes?" And come back in a day or so, stooping to examine a one-eyed cat, asking, as though they intend to adopt, "How would I introduce a new cat to my dog?"

But there is seldom an adoption; it matters that the women have someone to leave, leaving behind the lovesome creatures who would never leave them, had they once given them their hearts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

friendly bets

The Pink Chainsaws! are clawing their way up the pack. Week 1 and Week 2 were dismal flops. I won my Week 3 match-up (thanks Brian Westbrook, thanks Ronnie Brown), and Week 4 is shaping up for another win as long as Carson Palmer is held to 27 fantasy points or less tonight.

All my Survivor picks are in the game (Erik, Frosti, James [for the car]). There have only been 2 episodes. Not bustin' out the champagne just yet.

I would talk about the 2007 Celebrity Death Pool, but then Satan calls to remind me I'm on the bullet train to Hell.

I'm watching the late night movie on Channel 26 "The U!" It's Teen Wolf starring Michael J. Fox. It's about as good as a steaming werewolf dump. I really liked it when I was 6. This movie contains the line, "with great power comes great responsibility." That line is also in the Spider Man movie and David Mamet's play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. So, yes, Spider Man is a rip-off of Teen Wolf which is a rip off of Sexual Perversity in Chicago. They're all the same story if you squint.