Friday, October 31, 2008

Is the Winkie's Diner scene from Mulholland Drive the scariest movie scene of all time? You don't have to know anything about the rest of the movie -- this scene alone is a 5 minute horror movie.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A great post about Renaissance Women (or the lack thereof) over at Tomorrow Museum:

Monday, October 27, 2008

dog years

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The playwriting workshop I conducted at my old high school (New Trier) went well. It was part of a day-long Literary Festival, so a bunch of writers of all sorts of disciplines speak about what they do and/or guide some sort of writing exercise. Some other writers who were in attendance included Neo-Futurists' Greg Allen, playwright Sarah Ruhl, novelist Adam Langer, Ben Joravsky from the Chicago Reader, cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, Entertainment Weekly TV critic Gillian Flynn. Junior and senior writing students essentially have the entire day off from their regular classes to attend hour and half sessions throughout the day.

This is the fifth year of the Festival and the third year I've been conducting a workshop. The first year, I attempted to talk for an hour and a half about playwriting which, if you know me, is an hour and twenty-nine minutes too long to be talking. Since then, I use a writing exercise that involves brainstorming and list-making, and then using that stuff to build a two character dialogue (it's more fun than it sounds). The approach is to just get stuff down on paper. It doesn't have to be good. Quantity not quality. It's pretty much a lesson on first drafts. And the success of any workshop like this depends on participation and sharing, and the students in my sessions did both. Well, most of them did. Some of them clearly were here by some unfair default in scheduling and life.

I had some free time between my sessions, so I wandered around the school.

The main stairwell, looking down from the 4th floor. If you were going to drop a garbage bag filled with spaghetti sauce down any stairwell in the school, this was the one.

The HomeEc kitchens are on this floor. This hallway smelled like cinnamon rolls. The other hallways smelled like sweat and hormones.

One of these lockers was mine. I forget which one. The green one?

Rainn Wilson, Ann Margaret, Adam Baldwin (from Firefly), and Charlton Heston. Charlton Heston is dead, to answer the "Where Are They Now" question. I do not make enough money to be included on this bulletin board.

Arty ceiling shot of the second floor rotunda, if by "arty" I mean "bad photography."

I've always liked this Indian carved into the Indian Hill Metra underpass. I don't know what that blue stuff is.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


  • Let's slap Malcolm Gladwell across the teeth. His new book on geniuses doesn't include a single woman. Not even a pity inclusion? The woman who invented White-Out? No? My genius was disqualified because I once shot a staple into the pad of my index finger attempting to refill the stapler. It didn't need to be refilled, apparently.
  • I'm sorry I didn't respond to the Evite for your birthday dinner. Was it fun? I bet it was. Anyway -- look -- I would have been there but I was really, really, really busy.
  • Procrastinators, ahoy! It's the last weekend to see Ten Cent Night at Chicago Dramatists.
  • Psalms of a Questionable Nature opens in Philadelphia this weekend. I'm still debating whether or not I'm going to drive to Philly next week. It seems like a good idea until I look at a map and realize that Philly is on the wrong side of Pennsylvania. It's like 12 hours from Chicago, not including necessary stops at Arby's for curly fries.
  • Why is the governor of Illinois such a weasel? He gives people with impossible last names a bad name, and I'm sensitive to that.
  • Tomorrow I'm teaching a playwriting workshop at my former high school. This is my 3rd year doing it. I try to make playwriting sound fun while leaving out the bits that make you want to slam your head in the door of a walk-in cooler.

Monday, October 20, 2008

why I blog

Andrew Sullivan's article, Why I Blog, in The Atlantic.

Who I am on this blog differs from who I am in person. If I'm brash in text, I'm shy in person. I'm pretty quiet. Always have been. When I was younger, Mom would report back from the parent/teacher conferences: "Wish Marisa would speak up more in class." Is blogging and playwriting a symptom of repressed loquaciousness? A feeble attempt of "look at me look at me! I'm witty and worth your time look at me!" (shrug) In conclusion, if I've ever threatened to punch you in the balls or ovaries after some dumb argument about Saved By The Bell, I was probably liquored up. I'm not really like that. You were probably wrong anyway. Forget it. I forgive you. You're welcome.

apartment life

I have no idea what my neighbors are cooking, but it smells really really bad. Stewed fisherman's boots in curry-cilantro sauce?

funny cuz it's true

My apartment mouse is winning the battle over my subconscious. Last night I had a dream the neighborhood was infested with mice, and the only weapon I had was a golf club. WTF, brain? A golf club? I don't play golf! Why not a flamethrower? Come on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ten cent night mix CD

I like CD mixes. I like making them and I like receiving them. Not in lieu of a legitimate gift, like, "happy birthday/merry Christmas, I made you a mix!" Cheap bastard. But as a supplement or a bonus or a just because. I made a mix for some folks involved with Ten Cent Night. Music that feels like the play. It's very country, with a dash of folk, and some modern alt-country. I dislike the term "alt-country," but there it is.

I would have included Tammy Wynette's "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" on the mix if I had it on CD. Tammy makes female submission so toe-tappingly delightful! I oughta dislike the song on principle, but I'm not going to lie: I learned how to play it on my guitar. The best part about this video is Tammy Wynette sings this song with her daughter.

And here's the track listing for the Ten Cent Night mix CD I made. The play closes October 26, so you got one more weekend to see it if you wanna see it. Thanks to folks who've made the trip to the Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden intersection to check out the play at Chicago Dramatists.

2. OLD 97’S – W. TX Teardrops
4. STEVE GOODMAN – City of New Orleans
6. LORETTA LYNN – Fist City (FYI, this is the best song ever written about a woman who wants to punch another woman in the face)
7. DWIGHT YOAKAM – I’d Avoid Me Too
8. JOE NICHOLS & RHONDA VINCENT – Cash On The Barrelhead
9. THE LITTLE WILLIES – It’s Not You, It’s Me
10. NEKO CASE – Thanks A Lot
11. MARTI BROM – This Is Love, Not Liquor
12. PATSY CLINE – Back in Baby’s Arms
13. ERNEST TUBB – Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin
14. WILCO – Jesus, etc
15. THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND – Heard It In A Love Song
17. CARL SMITH – Loose Talk
18. JIM CROCE – I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song
19. THE FLATLANDERS – One Road More
20. TOM WAITS – Old Shoes

Saturday, October 18, 2008

malcolm gladwell makes artists feel better about themselves

Also, am I the only one who didn't like "Everything Is Illuminated"? I'd try reading it again, but -- no.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

shrimp on a treadmill + benny hill theme = funny

Duffman452001 posted his video to YouTube in 2006 with this explanation: "I just took 2 things that made me laugh and combined them into one of the funniest things Ive ever seen." Genius is often that simple.

Links to more things + benny hill theme = funny over at There's also a link on that post to sad guys on trading floors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the blehhh sort of day

Life is filled with blehhh days. I woke up. Showered, dressed, walked to train, took the train to work, walked to my office building. Work completed, came home, la dee da dee da. And then, at the end of a blehhh sort of day, just when I'm sure I will sink in the the quicksand of blehhhh and spend the rest of tomorrow coughing up a sandy blehhh consumption, my day has been saved... by Robocop on a unicorn.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"the country" - billy collins animated poetry

I haven't seen or heard my apartment mouse in some time. Maybe he's moved to somebody else's apartment. Maybe he died of old mouse age and is rotting in the wall. Maybe he's plotting his revenge and maybe I should seal all wooden matches in mouse-proof Tupperware.

"take on me" literal video version

Thursday, October 09, 2008

drunk history - vol 4

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Atlanta, IL

In eight years of driving back and forth between Chicago and St Louis on I-55, I have wanted to stop at the Grain Elevator Museum in Atlanta, IL. Atlanta is located midway between Springfield and Bloomington for those familiar with I-55. There is one hand-painted, fading wood sign for the Grain Elevator on the northbound side of the Interstate (there is no sign for travelers going south). I finally exited the interstate and visited a piece of Agricultural history.

It was closed.

A handwritten sign in the ticket office said I could call "Larry" on weekdays if I would like a tour in the off-season. Mehhh. I parked my car and wandered around Atlanta. It was delightfully ghost-town-ish.

The library for all yer smart book-learnin'. The clock in that clock tower was saved from the Atlanta High School that was built in the early 1900s. The high school was demolished, but the clock was saved, just like in Back to the Future.

I'm glad the spirited citizens realized the importance of books. (the library was closed on Monday. I don't much like reading on Monday anyway)

Millstones from the 1848 Grist Mill -- or -- wheels from the Flintstone's car?

I almost shat when I found this. Hold on to your butt:

I had no idea that Atlanta had one of these giant men, but this giant comes from the same mold as the (semi)famous Gemini Giant of Wilmington, IL. He was originally designed to be a lumberjack holding an axe.

I love Atlanta, IL

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hopefully some reviews in the Tribune and the Sun-Times will give Ten Cent Night a leg-up during the unprecedented run of both Chicago baseball teams in the post-season. I don't know if theatre in Chicago will turn into Tumbleweed Town during game nights, but it might not be an issue since both teams are on track for a spectacular implosion. I'm calling it: Cubs and Sox knocked out in sweeps. I know, I'm being selfish, but like a goldfish sucking the grime off the wall of its bowl, I feed on despair. Especially the despair of Cubtard fans at Wrigley who gave Big Z a standing ovation for pitching a suck game. Don't even explain to me why he might have deserved it. I don't care.

I'm driving down to St Louis to catch Killing Women at Hotcity Theatre. I will drink Schlafly Beer and eat toasted ravioli and toast the history of Westward Expansion with my toasted ravioli as I gaze upon the Arch. I might even wander around my old Washington University stomping ground now that the VP Debates are over and the snipers have left their posts from the tops of campus buildings.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I have no water at my apartment

As I was walking home from the train, one of the streets in my neighborhood was totally flooded. I thought, wow: it sure would suck to live on THIS street. Ha ha.

Turns out, it sure would suck to live in my neighborhood. My building has no water tonight.

Dear Poseidon, Greek God of Water OR Chicago Department of Water Management (whichever one of you is less fictional and more functional):

I would like to shower tomorrow morning. I would also like to flush the toilet. Please let that be possible soon. I bought a gallon of water for drinking and essentials. I'll hold number 2 until I get to work tomorrow. My co-workers will love that.

Yours In Anger,


P.S. Kidding about the number 2 thing. Girls d
on't poop. We just don't.

Water is back on. Thanks for your concern.

final FP total in the wegrzyn sister fantasy football Week 4 smackdown

Amanda's Lo-Panimals: 80.64

**BIG WINNER--> Marisa's Smoking Babies: 87.74 <--BIG WINNER**

(Commissioner Chainsaw of the Velociraptor Slumber Party league writes a brief weekly wrap up. She is a big jerk in the realm of fake sports. She didn't write a wrap-up last week because she lost in Week 3 and she took her football and went home.)


The Brad called it. Dead-last i3oilermakers upset first place The In-Laws. Holy crap on a popsicle stick! It gives the Bad News Bears booger-eating spaz losers inside each and every one of us hope that one day we will transcend last place to second-to-last place.

Would somebody beat The Gentrificators already? I don't mean to gang-bang any one team in this league, but COME ON! Bring. Schrock. Down. Annie's Annihilators have a go in Week 5. If The Brad can pull an upset, I have faith in Annie to gob-smack the number one team. I don't like winners. Unless that winner is me. I like Me. I hope I win. I beat my sister's Lo-Panimals this week. I know you can't see me as I type this, but I just did a double fist pump.

Sasquatch Hunters and The Well-Hung Ninjas are in a dead-heat to see who can make the most inconsequential drops/adds in the league. Way to go guys! Keep at it! I'm sure it'll start to matter at some point!

A Good Football Team made a desperate plea this week to vote against an accidental trade. While Brett's on-his-knees plea was met with a resounding "sucks to be you", I hope you will all remember this: one day you may be in Brett's shoes. Please remember this as you point and laugh at him.

Commissioner Chainsaw

Ten Cent Night clips on Stagechannel

Holy crap, it's October.

A couple clips from TEN CENT NIGHT on for you out-of-towners who won't catch the show:

Stagechannel revamped their site recently. It's a nice upgrade.