Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Week in Review: November 23-29


Got my haircut. I've been a regular of Brandi's now for the past two years. Before that, I was a GreatClips guy. The problem with GreatClips is that you can't make a future appointment, which is necessary for a person like me who thinks long hair is cool but can't actually grow long hair. I tried growing my hair out twice in my life, and both times I wound up looking like an ass. My hair doesn't grow down, it grows out. I looked like I had a big afro. Not to mention that the longer my hair grows, the curlier it gets. Picture that: Me with a big, curly 'fro. Got that image? Yeah, that's how I actually looked. Scary.


That was the day before Thanksgiving. Um, that's about it. I can't remember what else happened.


Thanksgiving. Spent the day at my parent's house. Had the usual turkey/mashed potatoes/stuffing/rolls dinner. It was wonderful, as usual. But the holiday itself kind of makes me mad. I mean, for starters, couldn't they just move it to Friday? Because the jagged work week really does me no favors. Retail could still have their big sales the following day, which would work even better because everyone could go without having to take the day off. Well, everyone who doesn't work in retail. Or, leave Thanksgiving on Thursday but make the following Friday a legal holiday as well. Either way, this three days of working, one day off, one day of working, and two days off thing doesn't work well with me. I get easily confused.

Oh, and while we're at it, let's actually take time to celebrate the holiday. I know Thanksgiving has never been as cherished as Christmas, New Year's or even Halloween. But can't the powers that be in retail wait until at least a week before Thanksgiving before they display their Christmas merchandise? The way it feels now, Thanksgiving is nothing more than a footnote to the major holiday season.

Mom and I went to Meijer Thursday evening because she needed a big tin of popcorn for some reason. They didn't have the popcorn - apparently the sale price was too good to refuse for many shoppers - but they did have a lot of jaded and grumpy-looking employees working there on a holiday evening. Happy Thanksgiving, you get to work 11-8!


I had to work. Again, the government could easily fix that problem. At least it was a pretty quiet day.

On my lunch hour I went to Target to partake of some of their day-after-Thanksgiving DVD deals. I bought the Star Wars box set for $40 and both volumes of Kill Bill for $25. I also picked up Fearless. It had been awhile since I had purchased a movie - strange for me, I know - and I needed a fix. I was kind of conflicted about the whole thing. The Star Wars movies are not in their original form because George "Asshole" Lucas has decided those versions sucked. Instead, these are the new versions that have new CGI shots, new music cues, and actors replaced with their sequel counterparts. Pity the poor guy who played Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi - he's now been replaced by Hayden Christiensen. But I do like the movies, and that price was hard to beat, so I caved. What can I say, I'm weak.

The Kill Bill movies were another story. There've been rumblings on some DVD sites that new special editions of these films are in the works. But there's also been hints that both volumes would be edited together to make a new and different film. Since I was a big fan of the second one and a moderate fan of the first, I went ahead and picked them up because I didn't want to get Lucased on those, too.


Saw Sideways with my friend Jeff. Great movie. It's about a man whose best friend is about to get married, so they go on a wine-sampling trip through northern California a week before the wedding. Paul Giamatti, wonderful in last year's American Splendor, did even better work here, and Thomas Hayden Church, best known for his work on the TV sitcom Wings, made his character believable even though the guy was pathetic. This is the third Alexander Payne movie that I've enjoyed. (For the record, the other two are Election and About Schmidt.) I look forward to his next film.

I had a major coughing fit right after the film began. It was so bad that a guy in our row moved. Eventually I surrendered and left the theatre during the movie - a sin for me - to buy some bottled water. I would have complained about the $3.25 cost for the water had I not been in so much pain. $3.25 for water. I hate movie theatre concession stands.

After the movie, Maydak wanted some ice cream, so we went to Coldstone. I had clipped a coupon in the paper for $2 off an Ultimate Bucket, intending for him to use it. (He's the ice cream junky, not me.) And order it he did. An Ultimate Bucket is just as it sounds, a big bucket full of ice cream. I believe it's the equivalent of a pint and a quart. He selected chocolate as his flavor, and then added Oreo Cookies, Resse Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate chips, M&M's, and, finally, Heath Bar as his five Ultimate Bucket mix-ins. Now here's the scary part: He ate it all in one sitting. What's even scarier is it didn't take him long - 30 minutes, tops. For those of you who have never been to Coldstone, it's thick ice cream. None of that run-of-the-mill soft serve shit. We're talking homemade quality. But he said he felt fine afterward and that there were no reprecussions from eating it. Dude's destined for a heart attack.


I spent the day inside, reading. I'm nearly finshed with a book on the band Wilco. It's not bad, but I'm getting a little tired of Jeff Tweedy's antics. (He's the leader of the group.) Guy sounds like an ass. Besides, their stuff, while good, isn't really the masterpieces that all the critics make them out to be. Oh, sure, they have some good stuff - mainly the entire Summerteeth album - but a lot of their songs are smothered by the production that you can barely hear the melody. I much prefer Tweedy's first band, Uncle Tupelo, a little alt-rock/county combo from the late-eighties/early-nineties era. They're cool. Seek 'em out!

I also watched Fearless. The first time I saw it was at the Dollar Cinema in Muncie, and, when we left, my friend Ray said he felt like he had just seen God. Seriously, the movie is that powerful. I had forgotten how great it was. Even Rosie Perez, she of the exteremly nasal voice and bizzare interpretations, turned in an impressive performance. My only flaw came with the Tom Hulce character. I know he was supposed to represent the evil of mankind, how monetary gains can lead you into a soulless life, but it just didn't work for me. The movie was so subtle in every other area with the exception of him. (His acting didn't help. He was a bit too over-the-top.) But, man, that final crash scene. So beautiful and disturbing at the same time. Sadly, due to 9/11, the movie will probably never see the proper Special Edition DVD release it deserves. Instead we have to settle with a feature-less, full-frame edition. Oh, well, at least it's out there.


I watched Mean Girls based on the recommendation of a few people. I will not listen to those people anymore. The movie sucked. OK, Lindsey Lohan continued to prove that she has talent in the acting area, but a few more dumb movies like this one and she'll never be able to break into adult roles. (She better learn soon: Her next movie is an updating of the Herbie films. Yes, in her next movie she'll costar with a wacky, possessed car.) And Tina Fey is my new girlfriend - she's witty, smart, and pretty. Yes, she co-wrote the script, but I like to think that all the bad parts of it were written by the other guy. Other than a few bits - like anything Tina Fey said - the movie just felt like a watered-down version of Heathers. What makes it an even bigger crime is that Mean Girls is directed by the brother of the guy who wrote and directed Heathers. I bet that family had an awkward Thanksgiving. "You stole my film! Pass the gravy."

And that's the first edition of Week in Review. Let's try this for awhile. I'll be honest: I love updating the blog, but it's a bit of a chore to do so. Maybe if I try to do it every Tuesday I'll get better at it. We'll see...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Yeah, I know, I haven't updated in awhile. Bad me. Here's a rundown of what's happened since my last post:

Sunday, October 17 - Charlotte's Web closed. Sadly, I doubt I will ever get a chance to play a sheep again. However, thanks to the Lebanon Follies I have already since played another farmer. The night we closed, David, the owner of the theatre, offered me a role in Annie as a chorus member. Unfortunately, I had to turn him down because it conflicted with my Follies schedule.

Wednesday, October 20 - Saw R.E.M. at the Murat Theatre. That would be the fourth time I've seen them live. Great show, even if they didn't do "Get Up", quite possibly my favorite R.E.M. song. But they did do several songs I didn't expect to hear, including a rare old old old old song from 1982 called "Permanent Vacation" that they never recorded. (I am familiar with it because I have so many R.E.M. bootlegs from that period.) The new songs sounded better live than they do on the new album, a very sedate affair. It's grown on me, but it took a lot of listens to get there.

Friday, October 29 - I bought an iPod because I got sick and tired of going to the gym and hearing nothing but boy band crap. My iPod can store around 5,000 songs before it is full. I've been slowly transferring tunes from my collection into the 'pod, starting from the back of my library and working up. (There were better artists at the back than the front.) As of this writing, I'm up to Santana and have 915 songs. It's been a joy to take it to the gym and hit "random". Never in my life did I think I would work out to Neil Young's "Down by the River" or Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit".

Saturday, November 6 - Saw The Rocky Horror Show at the Artist's Studio in Fishers. (The stage production, not the movie.) It was fun to see, but I must be the only one in the world who actually enjoys that show as a show and not as an interactive shout-fest. There were audience members who were yelling at the stage as if they were at a Hollywood Bar and Filmworks midnight showing of the movie. It was entertaining at first, but after awhile it got old. Rocky has some truly wonderful music in it and was a kick to see live. At least it was until the guy dressed in black who looked as if he only came out of his parent's basement to see his weekly showing of Rocky Horror started yelling "penis" over and over again towards the stage.

Monday, November 8 - My friend Bonny and I continued our quest to have dinner at every table at Don Pablo's. We're almost there! Of course, when we near completion they'll probably rearrange the room, totally screwing us up.

Saturday, November 13 - Saw Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at Ball State. Great production, but I wasn't a fan of the script. The story involves two sets of twins, each one not knowing he has a twin, and the complications that arise from this misunderstanding. It's a fun script at first, but there's only so many times someone can be mistaken for someone else before it starts to get old. But, man, it was worth it for the production level. The only way I can describe it was that it felt like a surreal painting come to life. The effort involved in the production - and the success at making it work - makes me want to travel to Muncie more often and see shows there. (Side note: Afterward, I drove around town checking out all the old collegiate spots. The video store I used to frequent is now a porn store. And my second apartment complex looks like it's ready to fall down at any time. Pretty strange.)

Sunday, November 14-Thursday, November 19 - A week full of Follies rehearsals. I actually took some time off because I knew I couldn't work, drive to Lebanon, rehearse, and then drive back to Fishers without losing my mind by the end of the week. A lot of late nights, but it was all worth it when...

Friday, November 20-Sunday, November 22 - ...the show opened. I did not have a featured role in the production, but I did have a few bits here and there that got me noticed. For example, at one point I actually channeled the Beastie Boys and rapped. At another point I sang in a barbershop quartet. (Easily the scariest thing I've done onstage so far. You hit one wrong note and the entire group sounds like shit.) Of course, there was some dancing, but I think I nailed it. OK, I nailed at least 50% of it, but that should count for something. I was very surprised when, at the cast party, I was given three major awards: Best New Cast Member, the Sunshine Award for Best Positive Attitude (that one actually made me speechless), and a special merit award from Ellie, the director. Yes, there's a great chance that I will do Follies again next year. After all, I now have awards to hand out.

And that catches you up. A note about the blog: I am seriously thinking about dropping my Internet service at home since I use it only five minutes each day. Don't worry, that does not put the blog in jeopardy. I've decided that instead I will try to update it here at work when I have spare time throughout the day. (Lunch, breaks, etc.) For those of you who might think the blog will take precedence over work (Mom), don't fret. I have somewhat of a good work ethic and that would never happen.