Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flowchart City

Ok here's one for all you process-oriented people out there. Especially those of you in the corporate or programming worlds. Especially if you have some fondness for 1980s pop music.

If this were really part of a coporate report, of course, there would be three pages of appendices to go with the chart.

Thanks to JS for pointing this one out in her endless efforts to amuse.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Acceptance... my word for the day.

As in, acceptance of love, joy, peace, the possibility that Barack Obama actually does represent a genuine social movement, all good things. I accept all this into my life. Today. Now.

Plus, I am sending out good mojo for a particular someone to gain acceptance into the grad school of her choice.

Happy Birthday Lori!

Yes, it's that time of year when my sister gets another year older in one day. All Hail Lori! Who knew you'd turn out, well, kinda cool? Kinda really cool.

Rather than use this space to rant against Star*ucks as I'd planned to yesterday (that will come another day. Oh, I loathe them - please don't ever go there) I will instead devote it to my sister's birthday and a few random tidbits about her.

First, here's a picture of her - a good, straightforward one that she has chosen to use to present herself to the world:

It's small, I know. It's what I've got.

While we're on the subject of pictures, let it be known that she posts tons of photos, mostly of her family, on her blog. That's usually where I steal the images of my niece that I sometimes post here.

Which leads neatly to the subject of that family. That would be a pretty rad accomplishment in itself, wouldn't you say? Odd that I couldn't find a single picture of all 5 of them on her blog since her last birthday. Little help, Lo?

She hung up snowflakes in her house to bring a little holiday winter to Phoenix. This makes me proud because she kind of got the idea from me...

She makes scrapbooks all the time. Like, obsessively. I don't pretend to get it, but that's not my job.

She did a walk for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to raise money for Breast Cancer awareness, research and treatment. Three days worth, including camping. (And I think it's an understatement to say that Lori isn't really the camping type.)

She let her husband go camping with my friends and me when we went to Bonnaroo last summer.

She plays Rock Band on her Wii (oh, she went to great lengths to get a Wii for her kids) She claims that it's the funnest thing since sliced bread to play the fake guitar, and from what I hear from others, she's probably right. Personally, I hope she gets Dance Dance Revolution by the time I visit next.

She has some kind of vendetta against crocs. Again, no clue why, but it's her thing. Doesn't mind when small children wear them, but otherwise they're a problem.

She loves baseball! Hates the Yankees and therefore appreciates the Red Sox. Not the same as being a true fan, but it's close enough!

She reads to her kids.

Well, that's all I have time to put out there for now. Happy Birthday!!!!!! Not much of a present, but I hope you like it.

My other non-present for everyone is the news that I got cast in a show. Details will follow, but for now know that it's happening at the end of March/beginning of April at a theater/comedy club on West 46th Street.


Lori, Jason and Annie went to Spring Training Opening Day as part of the birthday celebration. Good call! As luck would have it, it was the occasion for the kiddo's first ever carousel ride. Tee hee!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


OH - and what about that moon last night??? Amazing, right?

I missed the "peak eclipse moments" because I was in a very late audition (and on the bus home from it), but I like to think that was a good omen for me...


So I've been slacking on the blog a bit. Got a nudge from a friend, so here's a bit of an update:

Saw Die Walkure at the Met a couple weeks ago. Now, loyal readers already know that I have this music geek side to me. And about a year ago I wrote about receiving the gift of Wagner's Ring Cycle on vinyl. Still, I wasn't sure how I'd respond to 5+ hours in a theater with this music.

Silly me. It was awesome (and I do try to avoid Valley Girl-style misuse of that word. I fail sometimes, but I try.) Even a first-time operagoer in my group who had given prior notice that she might bail at one of the intermissions stuck with it and loved this show. Wouldn't be exactly right to say it 'flew by,' but it went faster than I'd have thought it could. I will say that, from our seats waaaay up top at least, that wall of fire that Wotan builds around Brunnhilde didn't look quite so vibrant. Still - fantastic!

I've kept very busy with auditions lately, which has felt good. Also started some music work, which has me excited too. The logistics of life constantly intrude - welcome to the world - but I've been fighting the good fight. Political concerns are on the mind all the time these days. That shouldn't surprise anyone much either.

Couple nights ago saw Patrick Stewart in Macbeth at BAM. Stunning. Not perfect by any stretch, but some choices I hadn't considered, mostly very good acting, and, well, I'll cop to a soft spot for bald actors who really rock the house.

There's Patrick with his Lady M., Kate Fleetwood. Once again I was way up in the rafters, and this time I think it made me miss out on some important stuff. Still: helluva show. The whole run is sold out, so you may want to make really good friends with someone involved with this show, or with BAM, or who already has tickets. And by 'make really good friends,' I of course mean 'have sex with.'

OH - got a great shirt from my sister delivered to the dayjob today! A gray athletic t-shirt with an image of Jesus, halo and all, standing on a cloud with arms outstretched, and beneath Him is the caption: JESUS HATES THE YANKEES. Hehehe. I think that the fact that my sister's husband (who's a bigger baseball fan than I am) is studying to be a Christian minister makes this even funnier. After all, he'd know who Jesus hates, right? In the note she sent with it she wrote: ...And for the Yankee fans you may work with... well, Jesus hates them, too. :-) That's my sis!

Happy Spring Training one and all (even Yankee fans)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Presidents' Day Weekend

Well here's some good stuff to open Presidents' Day Weekend:

To celebrate the return of pitchers and catchers to Spring Training, Keith Olbermann hit one out of the park. Sometimes the synch doesn't work so well, but you'll get the gist.

Bush has stated that history will vindicate him the way it did Abraham Lincoln, that other wartime President who was unpopular in his own era, whose birthday was Tuesday and who gets some of us the day off this Monday. Well, I suppose we'll see. But something tells me that history is more likely to agree with Olbermann's assessment of George II: "You're a Fascist. Get them to print you a t-shirt with 'Fascist' on it."

I know, I know: he's not technically a Fascist exactly. But what he (and, perhaps more to the point, the people who really run his administration) does is so much closer to Fascism than Democracy that I think it's worth mentioning. And while we're on the subject, the fear-mongering Right has been so direct in its divisiveness, so willing and eager to call dissenters unpatriotic, even terrorist collaborators, that I think it may be time to get a little fierce in defense of real freedom. You know, the kind of freedom where the government doesn't get the ok to spy on everyone all the time. And call it 'necessary' to national security. And then to insist upon 'retroactive immunity' for the private companies who help make the intrusion. Semantic circles, people; subterfuge and fear-mongering. In service of a grand marriage of church, state, pharma, insurance, investment and oil.

So Keith wants to call it Fascism? I'll allow it.

I'm just going to leave Congress's baseball business alone for the time being, other than to wonder if it's really the best use of time...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V-Day

Such as it is.

No really big beef with the holiday of systematized 'romance,' but not much of a fan either. This may not surprise you.

Anyway, I have a couple Valentines for y'all: the first is this site, which has all kinds of off-color, totally office-inappropriate faux Valentine E-Cards which in my opinion are perfectly appropriate in their sarcasm and irreverence toward this Day of Commercialized Love. Plus they're, you know, pretty funny.

The next is the news that Pies -n- Thighs (remember that bbq place in Brooklyn that I wrote about last year?) which had closed for a while, is re-opening in a bigger, and arguably more convenient, complete with liquor license. Will this bode well or ill for this erstwhile off-the-beaten-path treasure? Guess we'll find out come summer. In any case, this is seriously good news! Thanks to KZ for the 411 on this.

And then one little coincidence: on my commute, I rocked the iPod random action and the first track that played this morning was called 'A Valentine out of Season.' Neither here nor there, but I thought it was a quirk worth mentioning.

Happy smooching, you that smooch.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Simpsons Madness

No secret that I have what might justly be called an unnatural appreciation for all things Simpson.

Given that caveat, I think fans and non-fans alike will find a way to appreciate this:

Guitar tapping is way cool.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Duper Pooper Scooper Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras, everybody! And big ol' primary election day, Giants victory parade day and everything else!!

In honor of the event, let's bring back the Magic 8Pod.

SO, 8Pod, what do you have to say about Mardi Gras '008?

  • Bongwater - The Living End

Well, hmm... The band connotes party time, sure enough. And there's an odd twist on the times and the area in it's faux end-time sensibility. "We're living in the last days..." Interesting choice.

Ok, next, what can you provide in the way of predictions for this 'Super Duper Tuesday' Presidential Primary?

- for the Republican Party

  • Greg Brown - Moondance

How 'bout that? At first it doesn't seem to fit: a great Van Morrison song being sung by Mr. Superlow Mellow Voice Strong Sensitive Folky Guy? For the Republicans?? But I guess it does bring to mind all those College Republican drunken singalongs to 'Brown-Eyed Girl'. And then a deeper listen takes us to a lonesome longing in the guitar-and-bongo arrangement, and maybe even some desperation in "Can I just have one more moondance with you...?" Last moondream? Plus... there's that whole thing of taking cover 'neath October skies...

Let's not forget that there's a half decent chance that we'll know who the Republican nominee is going to be at this time tomorrow.

- for the Democratic Party (which, by the way, is not "The Democrat Party" in spite of what many conservative pundits and officials - including the President - have been calling it, oh, for a few years now. Is no one else bothered by this? Is it another one of those thing that the Dems don't complain/stand up about for fear of seeming whiney?)

  • Fleetwood Mac - Butter Cookie (Keep Me There)

This one yields all kinds of fun interpretation for a good 8Pod diviner! First of all, it's an outtake from Rumours, the album which yielded "Don't Stop," which was Bill Clinton's theme song - and it's even sung by the female vocal half of that song, Christine McVie. That's right folks, an outtake, a demo version, just piano and drums and voice. And then, there are the lyrics: in spite of the subtitle (Keep Me There) the sparce lyrics say "Don't leave me in the dark, I need you here with me... Don't leave me in this mess."

Don't know if this helps us draw a conclusion, though: does it mean Hillary will pick up the mantle? Or will she be left alone in the dark? Perhaps this is a good place to point out that the Dems divvy up their delegates by percentage in a lot of today's states - meaning that it is pretty UNlikely that we'll know who the Democratic candidate is going to be in time for Ash Wednesday Mass.

Lastly - what do you have to say about the Giant Superbowl victory and ticker tape extravaganza?

  • Los Lobos - Somewhere in Time

Huh. This actually moves me a little.

I'm not a Giants fan. Not really a football fan in general, but definitely not a Giants fan or a fan of New York sports in general (Mets excepted). In fact, I refer you to a hilarious video on YouTube showing a clip from Downfall with Bruno Ganz as Hitler, but with made-up captions making it look as though they're talking about football rather than military action. I'm not putting up the link or the viddy, because it is utterly inappropriate and offensive in the way that only parodies of Hitler can be, but you can easily find it by searching "Hitler Cowboys Football" on YouTube. And it's pee-your-pants funny.

However, this song sheds light on the parade for me much more than on the victory. Reminds me how good it feels to know that throngs of people can use the Wall Street area way downtown as a place of celebration again. Certainly couldn't have been a parade there if the Yanks had won in 2001. And it does seem like last year had a big move forward in terms of being able to speak reasonably about that chunk of land, so this championship might even have been one of the first chances New York had to celebrate a victory down there.

So ok, maybe it's maudlin, sentimental and bittersweet to hear it that way. But here are the lyrics to the song, by David Hidalgo, Louie Perez and Dave Alvin.

I hear a voice singing somewhere in time
A song I knew so long ago
It takes me back to places somewhere in time
To everyone I used to know

I see a face I remember somewhere in time
Someone I love who's gone away
Gone away somewhere in time
one away somewhere in time

Another night, on a highway somewhere in time
Darkness plays those tricks on me
Far down the road in the shadows somewhere in time
Am I the man I'm supposed to be?

I see a light, shining somewhere in time
A lonely light to lead me on
To lead me on somewhere in time
To lead me on somewhere in time

Wake from a dream, a dream from somewhere in time
I rub my eyes so I can see
You're standing there before me somewhere in time
Standing there waiting for me

And I'll take your hand someday somewhere in time
Forever I'll be here with youI'll be with you somewhere in time
I'll be with you somewhere in time
I'm here with you somewhere in time

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Oh, and...

Lupe Fiasco = Brilliant

Outer Borough City

Today (well, yesterday at this point) was all about Brooklyn. After easing into the day after a late long night with coffee a big breakfast of roast beef, potatoes and eggs, I went out to the BAM Harvey Theater for Beckett's Happy Days, directed by Deborah Warner, starring Fiona Shaw. Holy shit. Not many shows live up to the kind of hype that this show got from the press, but I'm happy to say that this one did. "Happy" doesn't really cut it, in spite of the title - it's something beyond happy, something closer to "ecstatic", because the show was transcendent. Really. One of the greatest writers in the history of the language at the height of his powers, interpreted by one of the great actors of our time in a collaboration with a director that appears to be as solid as there is out there (The Waste Land, Medea, and now this - good as gold, y'all). Funny, poignant, brilliant... transcendent. Wish I could say the show "is" transcendent, but unfortunately it closes today, so unless you're coincidentally prepared or really motivated (and don't care about the Superbowl at all), well... she'll be back with another show one of these days.

Afterwards I went to a little tiny restaurant called Pequena, aptly enough. Really delicious fish tacos and rice & beans; righteous peeps working the floor; perfectly adequate margarita; fun place - you should go.

Then I took a walk through Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill in the crisp chilly evening. Ended up at Tillie's, a rad little coffee shop - kinda crowded at first: had to share a table with a grumpy-ish guy for a while, but it mellowed out before long, and I spent a good hour or so there. No web site for this place as far as I know, but they played the first Clash album, so that should count for something.

Next it was over to the BAM main space for the Brooklyn Philharmonic performing John Corigliano's Pied Piper Fantasy with some world premier staging, and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Excellent. Not thrilled with the way they handled the post-concert talkback/new composers' concert in the Cafe - they failed utterly even to try to make it clear to us that the Cafe concert was apt to fill up and that the one way to guarantee NOT getting in was to hang around for the Q & A. Super annoying. So not only downtown venues participate in this kind of behavior. Still, good performances of two good pieces.

All hail Brooklyn. Again.