Monday, June 30, 2008

gravity will always let you down

If there's anything more uncool than riding a Razor scooter, it's falling off a Razor scooter. On the sidewalk. I got skills. I don't know if you wander through the residential blocks of Lincoln Square, but you'll come across these small, old neighborhood churches with cornerstones of circa 1886. I was scooting along, looking at this church I hadn't seen before, wondering what this god-fearing German neighborhood looked like in 1886 when I should have been wondering what the sidewalk looked like circa now. My scooter hit a -- I don't know -- a rock? Probably no larger than this asterisk --> * <-- but holy hell, I was about to have a profound misunderstanding with gravity. My brain made an emergency call: "feet? legs? hello? Voicemail (you joking?) -- hi guys, it's Marisa... um...yeah. It would be great if you could maybe, like, I don't want to trouble you or anything, but I'm about to fucking fall on my face and it would be nice if you responded by, I don't know... working? But whatever. Don't buffer my fall. I'm really looking forward to stopping at CVS on the way home for hydrogen peroxide and band-aids. I needed to buy that shit anyway. Thanks. Cute voicemail message about 'having to run out' ha ha. Bye." Click. Thankfully nobody saw me bite it on my scooter other than Jesus c 1886. We're just going to keep this hush hush. It would be pretty lame if anybody knew I got owned by my scooter.

Friday, June 27, 2008

This week when you grab a java and scone at your hipster coffee joint, pick up a Chicago Reader: don't take the top one because obviously somebody read it and put it back on the pile. No -- a nice compressed copy, somewhere in the middle. Read the Straight Dope and Savage Love columns first, and then flip to the Best of Chicago 2008 insert. That's where I be, tied with Emily Schwartz in the Best Playwright category: Thanks Chicago Reader and Kerry Reid! To quote Emily Schwartz: "It will surely help us on our way to achieving a semi-obscure level of cultish fame."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

zombie meme

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:
  1. one weapon.
  2. one song blasting on the speakers.
  3. one famous person to fight alongside you.
Weapon can be real or fictional, you may assume endless ammo if applicable. Person can be real or fictional.
1. Weapon: Super Mario Bros "Flower Power" fireballs.

2. Song: Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams (Come True)"

3. Bill Nye The Science Guy. He can do amazing things with baking soda (I think he'd melt zombies with it)

Monday, June 23, 2008

an out-of-blogging experience

On Wednesday, I was wrapping up things at work when I got a Facebook message from Jason Kilar, the CEO of Hulu was throwing a cocktail party at 5:30 that evening at The W Hotel and it was a last minute invitation, but would I like to come? Jason had found me through this post I wrote back in March. My first impulse was to confirm that Hulu did, indeed, have a CEO named Jason Kilar. I couldn't fathom why I was receiving a personal invitation from the CEO of a rising internet media company; I swear, I had no other affiliation with Hulu other than to profess my love for it on my blog. But I've professed my love for Full House here and John Stamos has yet to e-mail (John, seriously, what are you waiting for?). This "Jason Kilar" might be pulling my leg. I looked up The W Hotel and found it was not-too-far from my office downtown. I'd have to delay my very important dinner plans (Hamburger Helper Lasagna mmm boy), but, what the hey, right?

The party was up on the 33rd floor of The W. It's right at Lakeshore and Ontario, and there's a beautiful lake view from up there. I was one of the first guests arriving right at the crack of 5:30. The woman at the door seemed suspicious of my presence. I looked not at all like a muckety muck advertising exec (the party was to woo potential advertisers and not bloggers who drink a few cans of Icehouse and post things on the internets at 2AM while wearing $10 lingerie. Go figure). "Uhh... Jason invited me?" I said, question mark.

Jason was talking with some of the staff, and the woman walked me toward the open bar and asked how I knew Jason. "He e-mailed me a couple hours ago." Which only sort of answered her question. I got a drink -- top shelf open bar -- double fist pump yeah. And then I met Jason. He was excited to meet me and thanked me for coming on such a last-minute invitation. He had found my blog post back in March and remembered I was from Chicago. My posting had come through on Google Alerts when they were tracking any mentions of Hulu once the site went public. Specifically, he really liked what I said about Hulu: "My first Hulu experience made my head explode in a brain-spray of awesome." That they've been kind of using the statement as a touchstone sentiment. Then he called one of the Hulu staffers over and asked him to turn around and show me the back of his Hulu t-shirt. And there it was, my endorsement from this here blog, on the back of a t-shirt. They even spelled my name right.

(and the front...)
They printed up these t-shirts for the Hulu staff and development team to celebrate the Hulu launch in March, and the staff wears the shirt at promotional events. Jason introduced me to the staff as the Marisa from the back of the t-shirt. It was oddly flattering, like discovering my debut single had tanked in the States but that I'd unknowingly been rock star in Japan for the past few months. My quotation was also on their cocktail napkins in rotation with some other Hulu user quotes. I grabbed some napkins, but after a few vodka-sodas and greasy crab cake hors d'oeuvres, I did what anybody would do with a cocktail napkin and therefore have no cocktail napkins to share. But I do have the t-shirt and some other Hulu swag. And as if the top shelf liquor open bar weren't enough, the food tables overflowed with sushi, swanky steak sandwiches, shrimp kabob-y things, chicken empenadas, chocolate mousse -- holy crap, screw you Hamburger Helper. Funny, these things I type at odd hours, on the internets and wherever. I never know where they will go or what they will mean to anybody. If I get a t-shirt out of it, that's cool too.

(One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies on, yes, Hulu. If you haven't seen Back to the Future, forget it. You are dead to me. Well not dead dead. You have some catching up to do in movie-watching)

Friday, June 20, 2008

sham poo

Lacy over at A Year of Dubious Success narrated this video: "How Shampoo Works." Please show it to children.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

one score and seven years

Mah birfday was today. Some things others have accomplished by age 27 (from this site)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. dropped out from his job at General Electric to become a full-time writer.

Henry David Thoreau went off for two years to live alone in a cabin at Walden Pond.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space.

Memphis millionaire Frederic W. Smith, whose father built the Greyhound bus system, founded Federal Express.

Scottish botanist David Douglas discovered the Douglas fir.

Ernest Hemingway published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises.

Boston dentist William Morton pioneered modern anaesthesiology after learning that inhalation of ether will cause a loss of consciousness.

Jimi Hendrix choked to death on his own vomit after ingesting wine and sleeping pills.

Janis Joplin died of an overdose of whiskey and heroin.

Conceptual artist Piero Manzoni crapped in 90 small cans which were then factory sealed and offered for sale at the price of gold.

Bob K., first degree murder, in prison for life with no chance of parole.

Jessica Schram trolled MySpace for seven straight hours during work.
My humble goal for the year is to outlive a few music legends who kicked off this spinning rock at 27, their deaths due to the discharge of needles or firearms into body parts. Note to self: lay off the big H and the guns.

I don't make a big wahooey out of birthdays. I'm not even going to invite you out to drink at a bar, not because I don't like you, but because then you might feel obligated to buy me a birthday drink. I'll have none of it. Buy me a drink for no reason on some other date. Cake is okay. But not ice cream cake. Worst birthday present I ever got? A cassette copy of Phil Collins' No Jacket Required. It wasn't even a purchased cassette -- it was a copy of a purchased cassette. My eleventh birthday. I forget who gave me that. One of my "friends."

A scheduling shuffle left me with the day off. My plan to wake up at a decent time was thwarted by the impulse to hit the snooze button in 9 minute increments for 3 hours instead of turning off the alarm. It isn't even easy to hit my snooze button since the snooze bar broke off months ago. I have to stick my pinkie in this little hole that will one day electrocute me, preferably on a work day so I don't have to go to work. Today was not nearly as eventful as my 10th birthday where I had to sleep on the floor UNDER a bed in an Amtrak sleeper, or even my 21st birthday where I found the only bar in West Virginia that closed before midnight. They wouldn't sell me a beer on the knife-edge of turning twenty-one because I looked twelve.

Having the day to myself was celebration enough. I did some weekday grocery shopping, loitered at the coffee dive, typed words into sentences. Pretty much like any old day, which is just fine with me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

because some of you get antsy when I don't post in a week

I've been busy teaching children how to smoke.
Okay kids, mommy's got a headache. Go play with your Bic lighters outside.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I finished reading a thick old pile of scripts for the upcoming Pegasus Players annual Young Playwrights Festival. It's still in the adjudication process. I'm not the final word but one of the gatekeepers saying YES/NO to sending scripts on to the final round. Of course I'm keeping my eye out for good plays, but it's more about finding "a voice." A million times I've been told "we like your voice."

Me: You like my voice?

Theatre Professional: We love your voice!

Me: You're going to produce my play?

Theatre Professional: No.

Me: But you like the play?

Theatre Professional: We like your voice. We want to read your next play. We might like THAT one.

Me: I haven't written another play. I wrote THIS one.

Theatre Professional: I'm sure we'll love your next play.

It's like dumping somebody in the most positive way possible: it's not you, it's me, you're a wonderful person but... I don't know, when you sneeze, it creeps me out -- but really, that's MY problem and not yours. It's a positive thing to have a voice, and to be told you HAVE a voice, even if you don't exactly know what the heck they're talking about. I have a terrible voice. I can't sing. Not even talk-through karaoke songs like Cake's version of "I Will Survive." And I don't know if voice necessarily includes story-telling ability. If you have a great voice is the only compliment you get, it's a heartache until somebody pulls the trigger and produces the script.

I guess I don't know what else to call it when you're reading plays written by 16 year olds, if it's "voice" or "talent" or "something else in quotes." A lot of the YPF writers clearly had to write a play for class. But some of them have a voice and something to say and a story to tell on the stage. The most difficult part is guessing which of those writers might be open to exploring the script in the workshop and rehearsal process. Work ethic is not something a voice will necessarily tell you.

eff you, chicago department of revenue

The Chicago Department of Revenue makes it easy to pay your parking tickets online. They even provide you the way to pay up to ten (10) parking tickets in one transaction. This means that some people -A.- park illegally A LOT, and -B.- collect parking tickets like baseball cards. So this is my tax for driving less and not checking for kamikaze street cleaning signs, wrapped around trees secretly in the night by ninjas. Do you know how many Chipotle burritos I could have bought with this parking fine? Seven. (7!)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I took this photo in Lewisburg, West Virginia in the summer of 2002 to document the "Honk If You Like Pickles" sign. I like pickles, and I honked frequently. Now, I'm charmed by the antique gas prices.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

somethingstore somethings revealed

The Wegrzyn sisters (plus Geoffrey) rendezvoused for Sunday brunch at Kitsch'n on Roscoe to open our deliveries from The moment you've been waiting for:

left to right: Marisa, Carly, Amanda

Amanda's and mine look similar, right? Would the Somethingstore dare send us the same Something? Yes. Yes they would.

left to right: Marisa's red lingerie, Carly's Hip Hop Bling, Amanda's blue lingerie

I'm jealous of Carly's bling

The lingerie comes with a matching thong. I am not joking.

I make sexytime over my Snoopy t-shirt

Epilogue: Next time, I want a robot. Or at least some Hip Hop bling because I am gangsta. Clearly.