Monday, June 27, 2005

Billiards and Batman and Bad Moons Rising and Bianca

The weekend...

Friday night: The Music Man at Ben Davis. Jenn and I had five free tickets but all y'all were either busy or not interested. Not a bad show. Jenn hates the "Wells Fargo Wagon" song (quote: "It's about the damn UPS truck!!!"), but my least-favorite would have to be the "Shipoopie". That song doesn't even make any sense.

Saturday afternoon: Batman Begins. Blech. What the hell is everyone smoking? This movie sucked! Would it be too much to ask for comic book movies to be fun anymore? That's why Spider-Man was such a kick; yeah, we spent time dealing with Peter Parker's angst, but for the most part it was just a fun time at the movies. Batman Begins was just bland. And, as someone who's seen all five movies, I've got to say I'm tired of learning how Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. We get it! There's no reason to show it to us once (Batman), again (Batman Forever) and once more (Batman Begins). The villains weren't that great. You had Tom Wilkinson doing his worst Robert DeNiro impression and some pin-up looking 20 year-old playing a mean psychiatrist with a burlap sack over his head. And Katie Holmes? She's pretty to look at but can't act for shit. Not that this movie was all her fault; the screenwriters had no idea what to do with her character. She was just...there. The screenwriters did give her my favorite bit in the film, though. There's chaos reigning in Gotham and she walks up to a line of cops barracading the area and says, "Let me in! I'm an Assistant District Attorney!" And they do! Without any hesitation! No wonder crime runs rampant in Gotham City. I have no idea why all the comic geeks and critics are raving about this film. I pretty much thought it was garbage.

Saturday night: John Fogerty/John Mellencamp at Deer Creek. Both were awesome, although my friend and I were trapped in Urination Corner throughout the entire concert. We were about thirty feet from the back fence, which drunk dumbasses kept using as their own personal pissing post. We would have moved, but considering that there was 22,000 people there, we really had nowhere else to go. I think the average IQ of the people at that concert was 17. The guy next to us kept yelling, "Johnny C! Johnny C! Gid 'er dun! Gid 'er dun!" What does that even mean? When we were sitting in the parking lot after the show waiting to get out, we saw a drunk dumbass try to climb a fence and take some barb wire in his crotch. He screamed in pain and then attacked the fence, as if it was the fence's fault. At least the music made up for it: Fogerty did pretty much every CCR song you'd want to hear, and with a lot of joy and energy. Mellencamp reworked a lot of his songs and breathed new life into them. All in all, a great show, even with all the jackasses in attendance.

Sunday: Mom and Dad's to see my niece one last time before she goes back to Buffalo. My grandmother, aunt and uncle were there, too, so it was like a mini family reunion. At one point Bianca sang all the songs she knows for us. In between "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" I tried to teach her "Hello Goodbye," but she wanted nothing to do with it. Oh, well. She'll learn the Beatles songs soon enough.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Virtual Fun, Actual Time Waster

I have to buy the video game Sims 2. I found myself playing it last night at Brenna's - I was assigned the task of recreating virtual versions of the Charlotte's Web cast - and I quickly became addicted all over again. It's been about four years since I played the first version, which isn't as complicated as its sequel. Because I was a little rusty with the controls, I nearly killed Virtual Wilbur. (Who I made into a nine year-old pirate. He was older than nine and never a pirate, but, whatever.)

It's fun playing God. Want to see someone starve to death? Simple! Take away their food. As they whine and beg for something to eat, you can laugh as they get weaker and eventually collapse from lack of nutrition. Ever want to start a brawl? Two simple clicks of the mouse is all it takes to make that happen. Would you rather mess with someone's head? Turn them into an obsessive compulsive mess by making them wash their hands again and again and again. Bam! Their psyches are screwed.

Of course, the computer can throw wrenches into your plans. When I played the game years ago, this clown showed up and wouldn't leave. My Sims would go about their daily business only to find a clown waiting for them when they got home. They'd be trying to fix dinner and he'd interrupt them, making balloon animals and squirting them with a fake flower. I tried to kill him several times, but the bastard would not die. Eventually I gave up and dealt with it. But that doesn't mean I didn't try to "accidentally" shove him out a second story window.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

M.I.A. From the Quote List

OK, maybe I should have looked at the fine print. A lot of the lines I bitched about yesterday were actually nominated but didn't make the final cut. Here are a few of them from the nomination list that were sorely missed:

Airplane! - "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue."

All That Jazz - "It's showtime!"

Back to the Future - "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."

Batman - "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?"

Beetlejuice - "I'm the ghost with the most, babe."

Blazing Saddles - "Excuse me while I whip this out."

Blues Brothers - "We're on a mission from God."

Braveheart - "They may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!"

The Bridge on the River Kwai - "Madness. Madness."

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - "Kid, the next time I saw 'Let's go someplace like Bolivia', let's go someplace like Bolivia!"

Cape Fear - "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Chinatown - "She's my sister! She's my daughter!"

A Christmas Story - "You'll shoot your eye out!"

The Court Jester - "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."

Dazed and Confused - "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I keep getting older, they stay the same age."

Deliverance - "I bet you can squeal like a pig."

Die Hard - "Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker!"

Do the Right Thing - "Always do the right thing." "That's it?" "That's it." "I got it, I'm gone."

Elephant Man - "I am not an animal! I am a human being. I am a man."

The Empire Strikes Back - "I am your father."

Fast Times at Ridgemont High - "Hey, Bud, let's party."

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Fight Club - "First rule of Fight Club is 'You do not talk about Fight Club.'"

Five Easy Pieces - "Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, give me a check for a chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules." "You want me to hold the chicken, huh?" "I want you to hold it between your knees."

Freaks - "Gooble gooble, gooble gooble. We accept her. One of us, one of us."

Full Metal Jacket - "What is your major malfunction?"

Ghostbusters - "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"

Godfather Part II - "I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart."

Godfather Part III - "Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in."

GoodFellas - "Funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you?"

Grapes of Wrath - "Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there."

It's a Wonderful Life - "What is it you want, Marty? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down."

It's a Wonderful Life - "Look, Daddy. Teacher says, 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.'"

Marty - "What do you feel like doing tonight?" "I don't know, Ange. What do you feel like doing?"

Men in Black - "You know the difference between you and me? I make this look good."

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - "You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked. And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place."

National Lampoon's Animal House - "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - "I know you are, but what am I?"

The Princess Bride - "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Pulp Fiction - "They call it 'Royale with Cheese.'"

Raiders of the Lost Ark - "Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?"

Rain Man - "I'm an excellent driver."

Raising Arizona - "I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash you got."

Reservoir Dogs - "Are you gonna bark all day little doggie, or are you gonna bite?"

Risky Business - "Sometimes you gotta say, 'What the fuck.'"

Say Anything... - "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen."

Scream - "Do you like scary movies?"

The Shawshank Redemption - "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."

The Silence of the Lambs - "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."

Singin' in the Rain - "What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!"

Sleeper - "It's hard to believe that you haven't had sex in two hundred years." "Two hundred and four if you count my marriage."

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - "Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

Swingers - "You're so money and you don't even know it."

This is Spinal Tap - "These go to eleven."

Tootsie - "I'd like to make her look a little more attractive. How far can you pull back?" "How do you feel about Cleveland?"

Toy Story - "To infinity and beyond!"

Unforgiven - "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."

The Usual Suspects - "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

The Wild Bunch - "If they move, kill 'em."

The Wild One - "Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?" "What have you got?"

Final thought and then I'm done complaining (until next year's Top 100 group): Any list of great dialogue that includes lines from Top Gun and Dirty Dancing while ignoring Pulp Fiction and Tootsie is not a very credible list in my book.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"You Know, For Kids"*

The American Film Institute published another one of their boneheaded lists last night. This time it's the 100 Best Movie Quotes. I despise these things. First of all, it's condescending to ignore other countries' contributions to cinema by excluding them because they're not American. Because of this, the list should be called "The 100 Best American Movie Quotes" instead of giving the impression that it's the 100 best quotes from every film ever made. Second, these lists are always very safe and pretty, ignoring bold and interesting choices in order to concentrate on popular films. Plus they make me mad. Take a look at some of the stuff excluded:
  • GoodFellas ("All my life I always wanted to be a gangster.")
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ("The next time I say 'Let's go someplace like Bolivia,' let's go someplace like Bolivia!")
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark ("Why did it have to be snakes?")
  • The Jerk ("He hates these cans!")
  • All That Jazz ("Showtime!")
  • Rushmore ("What's the secret, Max?")
  • Office Space ("It says here you've been missing work." "Well, I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob!")
  • Rain Man ("I'm an excellent driver.")
  • Fight Club ("The first rule of Fight Club is 'You don't talk about Fight Club'.")
  • Ghostbusters ("This chick is TOAST!")
  • Raising Arizona ("Turn to the right!")
  • American Beauty ("I rule!")
  • Glory ("Give 'em hell, 54th!")
  • Back to the Future ("Hey, you, get your damn hands off her.")
All great films, all memorable dialogue, all missing in action. And, because it's only American cinema, great dialogue from films like The Third Man and Monty Python and the Holy Grail get snubbed.

Meanwhile, Jerry Maguire is represented by two quotes. Jerry Maguire! It's hard to believe that Cameron Crowe, who wrote the maudlin Maguire, also wrote Say Anything..., one of the most memorable and realistic teen romantic comedies I've ever seen. ("I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.") He also wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High. ("That was my skull! I'm so wasted.") Neither of the latter made the list, yet Maguire's "Show me the money" is on there at #25.

To be fair, there are some great choices on the list. Airplane! is a personal favorite, and even though you could have culled a dozen quotes from that film, the "Don't call me Shirley" line is probably the best. Still, it should have come in higher than #79. And it's nice to see "There's no crying in baseball" at #54 and "They're heeeeere" from Poltergeist at #69.

So what's the number one quote of all-time? "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," from Gone with the Wind. That pretty much sums up my feelings toward this list.

*The title of this post is one of many great lines from The Hudsucker Proxy. If you haven't seen it, rent it soon. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Accentuate the Positive

The past few posts have been nothing but me complaining about my job. Since I don't want this blog to become one of those "I Hate My Job and Want To Die" kind of blogs, I'm going to put an end to that right now. (Unless something happens that totally warrants my bitching.) Yes, it's true that I don't love my job, but I like it enough to stay for awhile. I just need a vacation. Really, really, really need a vacation.

So, what can I talk about? Um...

Well, I finished the fifth season of The Sopranos last night. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the fourth. Poor Adriana. One of my favorite characters and she gets whacked. At least Drea de Matteo won a well-deserved Emmy for her work. (As did Michael Imperioli, who plays Christopher, easily my favorite character on the show.)

Uh....

Saw Grease at The Artist's Studio Saturday night. Someone forgot the plot. It was all random singing and lame dialogue. Much different than the movie. The supporting actors made it worthwhile.

I begin rehearsals tonight for Plaza Suite. I've been Mr. Method Actor all day, saying "Yes, ma'am" whenever someone asks me a question and carrying people's stuff to their desk for them. No, not really.

What else? Well, the White Stripes are coming to town September 9, but I have a show that night. Dammit! Their new album is a lot of fun and it would have been a kick to see them live. Guess they'll have to wait until next time.

Katie's birthday is today. Happy Birthday Katie!

And, uh...

Alright, so there's not much else to say if I don't complain about work. But I guess I'm going to have to find something to write about because a) it's not healthy to always be negative, and b) do you know the shitstorm of trouble I'd cause if someone from here actually read my blog? So, in the interest of keeping my home, I'm going to back away from the work-related diatribes. Unless they're positive. Or too good not to post.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Take My Coworkers, Please

There are times when I have to sit at someone's desk while fixing a problem, often when that person is not there. Whenever I do this, it never fails: Somebody else will walk by and say, "Why, ______! You've changed! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!"

This drives me insane.

Take earlier today. There was a problem at one of the public desks. Librarian #1, let's call her Tina, was working at that computer, but as soon as I sat down to take a look at the problem, she disappeared. Not less than two minutes later Librarian #2 walked by and said, "Why, Tina! You've changed!" and then proceeded to laugh hysterically for about two minutes at her own little joke.

This has been happening for over six years now and I'm about ready to snap. I never encountered this joke at any other tech job I've worked at, which is why it's doubly puzzling that it's so popular here. And it's not limited to one area, either. I've had this witty quip said to me in every single department in the library by various levels of staff and all different age groups. Hell, I was once working on the director's computer behind a closed door when someone poked their head in and said, "Why, (director)! You've changed!!!"

It's to the point where I'm going to kill the next person that says this to me.

About two years ago I started to think of responses to this joke, but every single one of them were inappropriate. Such as:

LIBRARIAN - Why, Jan! You've changed! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!
ME - Yeah, I'm a guy now. Say goodbye to Jan, hello to Jim. Oh, and I'm working here.

Or...

LIBRARIAN - Why, Sherry! You've changed! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!
ME - Sherry? Who's Sherry? My name is Steve and I have a penis!

Or...

LIBRARIAN - Why, Paula! You've changed! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!
ME - SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!! WHY DOES EVERYONE ALWAYS SAY THAT?!?!?!? IT'S NOT FUNNY!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Look, I know librarians are a different breed. You're talking about people who like to look up facts for others for a living. Maybe they should use that Master's degree they're so proud of and look up a new joke. Or maybe, and I'm just throwing out ideas here, instead of trying to always be Jackie Mason, they should just ask me how I am. Wow, what a novel idea!

It will never happen.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Tech Center Cast

I'm working in the Tech Center at this very moment. Because it's summer, there are a lot of socially awkward kids in here playing an online wizard game. They're all little wizards together and every once in awhile one of them shouts, "Get the food! Get the food!" to one of his buddies. I have no idea what type of game this is or why they are playing it, but it seems to excite them. God forbid they go outside.

There are some lonelyhearts in here today as well, sad-looking people in their 40's scouring the online dating sites, hoping to find "the one." It can break your heart, but that doesn't mean I don't want to take them aside and say, "Dude, I know you're lonely, but answering the ad of a 22 year-old hottie isn't going to get you anywhere."

And of course the cell phone users. The room is quiet and then all of a sudden "Dee Doo Dee Doo Doo Doo Dee Dee Dee Doo Doo!!!" All heads turn towards the offending party, who, in a fit of embarrassment, runs out of the room yelling into their phone, "Wait a second! I'm in the library!" Then they stand right outside the door and have their conversation, never realizing that by leaving the room they didn't really help.

Let's not forget the creepy bastards, disturbing individuals who are on the computer for one reason only: Porn. Of course they're not supposed to look at it, but that doesn't stop them from trying. I love it when we bust them and they act all surprised, like, "What do you mean I can't look at porn while I'm at the library? Who knew?"

There are two things I hate about working in this room. One is the way we allow patrons to print. It's not the printing itself that's annoying, it's the way no one understands the concept. Here's how it works: Two computers share one printer. If a person wants to print something, they have to put money on their library card. After they've done that, they bring the card back in here and put it in a little white box next to the printer. As they print, it deducts the money. No one grasps this concept. "How, exactly, do I print?" is by far the most asked question I get in this room. Years ago I began equating it to a debit card; you have money on your card that you spend as you need. One lady took me literally and jammed her debit card into the card reader. Of course it got stuck and I had to pry it out with some tweezers.

The other thing that bothers me is the way people treat me. It's like they think I'm a moron, a village idiot whose only purpose in life is to watch them use a computer. I've been summoned by snapping fingers. They call me names like "Matt" and "Mike" from across the room and get upset when I don't answer. They refuse to make eye contact with me. And when they're leaving they throw their workstation card at me violently. Not everyone is like this, just about 80% of the people using the room. Yet I continue to smile and treat them with respect even though they equate me to an annoying insesct.

So I have one more hour and I'm out of here. Truthfully, it hasn't been that bad today. Other than the old guy wanting to do a mail merge who had never used a computer before, the people have left me alone. But I'm sure before the shift is over I will have at least one person look at me quizically as I explain how to print.

Yep, there it was. Right after I typed that last line someone came up and asked me how they could print. Never fails.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lane. Diane Lane.

Under the Tuscan Sun showed up in my mailbox today. I've had it on hold for ages, but I can't remember why I even put it on hold in the first place. I'm guessing it breaks down like this:

98% - The Diane Lane Factor
01% - Storyline
01% - Pretty Shots of Italy

This is not my kind of movie. But I have a mad insane crush on Diane Lane - my God, the woman is beautiful - and, if I remember correctly, Andie said she was good in it. Andie and I have screened two of Diane Lane's finer flicks, Six Pack and Streets of Fire, during our bad movie nights. Six Pack starred Kenny Rogers as a NASCAR driver who somehow stumbles into a gaggle of orphans and turns them into his pit crew. It was awesome. Streets of Fire was about...something. I don't remember much about it, other than Rick Moranis was a sleazy manager, the song "I Can Dream About You" was prominently involved, and Diane Lane spent the majority of the film kidnapped by Willem "Bob Crane is a Loser!!!" Dafoe while that guy from Eddie and the Cruisers tried to save her. OK, maybe I do remember Streets of Fire.

Anyway, Under the Tuscan Sun is "irresistible" and "a fun movie" according to the back of the box, so I'll probably give it a spin. But I just started the fifth season of The Sopranos, so that'll take precedence. Television shows about the mafia will always trump cutesy romantic movies in my house, at least while I'm single.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Geometric Memories

I failed geometry when I was a sophomore in high school. Not the entire class, just one six-week period. My brain couldn't wrap itself around angles and circumferences and proofs. I also had the worst teacher for the class, a gruff and deathly ill man who spent more time screaming at us than actually teaching geometry. (He had cancer or something. No, he was not screaming at us because he was in pain. Yelling was his m.o. and had been ever since he began teaching.) He also decided to use the most fucked up grading scale known to man; 80% was a D-. I don't remember my actual percentage at the end of that six-week period, but it was well below 79%, hence the F. I just couldn't stand the class.

Then the teacher died. Over Thanksgiving break he had some kind of liver failure and passed away. I didn't know how to feel about that. On the one hand, bummer that the guy died, and during a vacation period to boot. On the other, his death signaled an end to the public beratings and Hitler-esque grading scale. The school had a mandatory memorial service for this teacher, where I witnessed many of my former students, all of whom had professed their hatred of him while he was alive, get up and tell stories like he was the kindest and most gentle man they had ever met. I sat there and marveled at their hypocrisy. I guess I could have told the story about the time he started screaming "WAYE! YOU MAY AS WELL DROP THIS CLASS! YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME!!!" in front of the entire class, but I didn't think that would go over so well.

We got a new teacher, a woman who couldn't control a classroom if her life depended on it. Granted, she was coming into a situation where thirty students felt like they had just been liberated by the Allies. She tried to teach us stuff - sorry, I remember very little about geometry, other than it was one huge waste of time - but we goofed around. My grades improved, thanks to the reduction of the grading scale back to a normal and achievable level and the fact that I didn't have to sweat bullets everytime I entered the classroom, wondering if today would be the day he would lose his mind and beat the shit out of someone.

At the semester change I was transferred to another class with a different teacher. I had signed up for Journalism, which conflicted with the geometry class I was currently enrolled in, so they moved me. My new teacher was extremely relaxed and very patient with his students, explaining theorems and shit when we didn't understand them and joking around with us. Because my learning environment improved - and because I was sitting next to two girls I had insane crushes on - I actually looked forward to class on a daily basis. My grades went up, I was able to practice my flirting skills, and my mind began understanding geometry. I even voluntarily took Trigonometry my senior year because the same teacher was teaching it. (Big mistake there. Thankfully it was only one semester and I suffered through it.)

Why am I writing about this? Because a patron donated a geometry textbook to the book sale today and it got me thinking about how I would do if I took a class now, seventeen years (!) after my previous experience. Would I better grasp the concept or would I fall on my face like before? My final verdict: I don't care enough to try.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Beat It

Michael Jackson is not guilty. I pretty much knew going in that he would be found innocent - money and fame can buy anything - but a secret part of me wanted him to go to jail, just because I wanted to watch how everyone would react. Plus it would be nice for once to see a celebrity actually held accountable for his behavior.

I like Michael Jackson's music. Thriller is a kick-ass album and still sounds fresh and exciting today. But I quit caring about him as a person decades ago, about the time he began dressing solely in outfits made of buckles and snaps. Maybe we wouldn't think of him as such a freak if he would actually wear clothes that looked comfortable instead of ones that make him look like a whacked-out general. I'm also sick of hearing him whine about his "skin condition". Come on, we all know you bleach your skin. Admit it! And pulling out the "They're just going after a black man" stuff even though he's done everything he can possibly think of to remove the ethinicity from his body doesn't help me like him any more.

There is no excuse for his behavior. A lot of people cite his lack of a normal childhood as the reason he's so fucked up today, building amusement parks at his house and counting a monkey - two, really, if you count Elizabeth Taylor - as his most personal friend. Bullshit. There are scores of people who've had bad childhoods yet are responsible adults. Look at the whole "sleeping in bed with young boys" thing. Anyone else at the age of 46 would realize that, you know, it's not such a good idea. But not Jackson! In his world, he's just showing his love, and that if you think it's wrong then you're a meanie. However, according to his attorney, "He's not going to do that anymore". It only took a child molestation trial to convince him.

The parents of these kids deserve a lot of the blame as well. Who on Earth would say to their kid, "Sure, you can spend the night with Michael Jackson." If I had a kid and he wanted to spend the night at his friend's house, I would say, yeah, as long as the kid was his age. But if my kid came up to me and wanted to spend the night with a 46 year-old, I would have to put my foot down. I don't care if that 46 year-old has more Grammys than he can count and recorded "Billie Jean". It's just wrong, and if Jackson had been a random citizen, he would have been arrested years ago.

These people are also messed in the head. I love the band Talking Heads. I'm crazy for them, think they're wonderful. But if David Byrne was charged with molesting a kid, I wouldn't fly to whatever city the trial was in and sit outside the courthouse showing my support. I have a life, bills, job, etc. I can't suspend them simply to hold a placard that says I think the man is innocent. Nor would I release doves or hang signs outside his home. Who are these people that rabidly support Michael Jackson? The guy hasn't had a hit in 10+ years. His music is tainted by his eccentricity. He's only released four albums of new material since 1982, and only one of those - Thriller - doesn't sound dated. I mean, come on, people were fainting outside the courthouse when new evidence was admitted. That's insane. Even if he was convicted, they'd still have their copies of Thriller and Bad, so who cares? It's not like all the music would go to prison with him.

Who knows what Michael Jackson will do now. My guess is he'll pull a Howard Hughes and become a recluse. Nobody wants new music from him, and anytime he goes out in public he's just going to be mocked and ridiculed for days afterward in the paper. My guess is he'll sell Neverland, build a new mansion somewhere even more secluded and hole himself in it for the rest of his life, surviving off his proceeds from the Beatles catalog. That is, unless he has to sell those rights to pay off the debts he's accrued over the years. If that happens, don't be surprised if you go to McDonald's in the future and find a freak without a nose asking you if you want fries with that.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Speed Weekend Recap

Benjamin Diego Cortez is my new nephew's name. Cute, huh? Guess I can't call him Freddy anymore.

Went to the read-through of Plaza Suite tonight. And while my Bellhop will indeed rock the house, I really wish I was playing the character of Roy. My God, that would have been a blast.

The show will be held in September, probably September 15-18 if you want to tentatively mark your calendars. More information as I get it.

I saw Buck Creek's version of Sweeny Todd last night. It was merely alright, way too long at three hours. Also, the director staged the majority of the second act stage left, which meant, because a guy the size of Utah was sitting in front of me, that I barely saw a thing. Sounded alright, though.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Uncle Part II

I have a new nephew! My sister gave birth to an 8 lb. 7 oz. baby boy this morning. He doesn't have a name yet, so until he does I will call him Freddy. Mom, dad and baby are all doing fine. Baby's two-year-old big sister is currently at home, playing with her toys, unaware that as of right now she is officially the older sibling and must assume all responsibilities and duties as such. Trust me, Bianca, it's not that hard. Here are a few tips:
  • Once you begin driving, expect to give rides to and from school every day.
  • It's wrong to hit someone younger than you. No matter how much you think they deserve it, you will get in trouble.
  • You will be tattled on. Depending on Freddy's personality, this will happen often or hardly at all. But it will happen.
  • For about the next eight years, expect to have a younger shadow.
  • You'll have fights, both physical and verbal. You will probably have one scar for the rest of your life from one of these fights. (I still have one on my arm from when your Mom scratched me with her cat claws during an argument in 1984.) Expect this to continue until you leave for college.

Now, Freddy, let's not leave you out. I can't give you concrete tips, since I wasn't the younger kid. You'll have to ask your Mom for more specifics. But here are some things I've noticed that you might have to deal with:

  • Get used to people always saying, "Oh! Are you Bianca's brother?"
  • You will grow to hate the phrase "That's for big kids" as you watch your sister run off to do something you think looks cool.
  • Hand-me-downs. Toys, clothes, etc. Hope you like 'em.
  • You're living with a person who will do everything you will eventually do two years in advance, so learn from her. For example, Bianca will have no clue what high school will be like, but you'll know what to expect after seeing her suffer through it for two years.
  • If you really want to aggravate your older sister, find something she did and do it better. Trust me, this can drive an older sibling crazy.

So, welcome to the world Freddy. Your Uncle Marcus will see you soon, once he figures out when he can get out to Buffalo to see you again.

Oh, and for the rest of you, I've been cast in Plaza Suite. It's small - I play a bellhop in the opening act - but I'll get to act opposite my friend Elizabeth, which should be a lot of fun. Also, according to the director, my rehearsal schedule will be light because of the brevity of my part. Which means I'll have the best of both worlds: The majority of my summer nights will be free even though I'm doing a show.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Free Food

Today was the annual summer staff luncheon sponsored by the Friends of the library. It was your typical ham-sandwich-and-crusty-cheese-cube affair, but it was free, so I'm not complaining.

I love events like this. It always cracks me up how it's conceived as this massive party where all the departments will come together, break bread and socialize. In reality, everyone sits with people from their own department, talking shop while eating brownies and ignoring anyone who doesn't have a cubicle in their area.

This year they went with a zoo theme. There was crepe paper arranged vertically on the windows to simulate an animal cage, but all that did was make me feel like I was in a prison. Animal crackers were on the table and a boom box was playing a CD filled with songs that had an animal in its title. It is probably the only CD in the world that has "Karma Chameleon" followed by "Dumb Dog" from Annie. Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" made an appearance as well.

I, of course, had some fun. We were sitting near the 2 liters and I told everyone to be careful because my co-worker shook some of them up, but I couldn't remember which ones. I added color by saying that one had already soaked someone from YA, sending that person home because her clothes were drenched in Mountain Dew. This freaked people out; they would slowly twist the cap, silently praying that they weren't about to be on the receiving end of two liters of exploding Pepsi.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that we get free food, but they could stand to buy a little less. There are about 60 ham sandwiches sitting in the refrigerator right now, and there they will sit until someone decides to throw them out. Unfortunately, this won't happen for at least a week. They will slowly get stinky and moldy, because no one wants to be perceived as hating the Friends. And even after someone takes the plunge and pitches them, you'll hear people say, as they stare into the trash can at 60 green and very foul ham sandwiches, "They threw away those sandwiches? But the Friends bought those for us!"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Marcus Gone To Heaven

My audition went alright. There's nothing really to write about it; I got up onstage and ran some scenes with an actress already in the cast. There were two roles I read for, one of which I would love to do, but I think my age might work against me. The director said he would let me know by tonight whether or not I'm in the show. Read the blog tomorrow, I guess.

The Pixies concert was fan-fucking-tastic. They arranged their setlist alphabetically - an old school Pixies thing they hadn't done since they reunited - and played nearly every song I wanted to hear. The band was on fire, although the sound was not perfect. The overall mix was very muffled, surprising since the sound at The Murat is usually great.

The audience was an eclectic mix of art school types, nerds, punks, teenyboppers and middle agers trying to relive their glory days. In our area alone I saw two tough motorcycle guys, an elementary school kid with his parents, a friendly guy who could recite from memory what songs the band had performed recently, a guy who spent more time sticking his tongue down his girlfriend's throat than watching the concert, and one couple who kept dancing like they were at a club instead of at an indie rock show. I had as much fun watching the crowd as I did the band.

According to comments I've read on the Internet from the mega-fans, the Indy show last night was one of the best ever. I was glad to be there.

I've already ordered a copy of it. You gotta love technology these days.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Busy Night

Tonight I have an audition for Plaza Suite in Zionsville. My friend Elizabeth sent me the information this past weekend and told me the director was interested in hearing me read. I called him last night and set up an appointment. In preparation, I read the script - thank God for the 812.54 section in the library - and thought it was decent. It's a Neil Simon anthology play in three acts, different characters, different situations, same hotel room. Two roles are open, the male leads in the first and third acts. I don't think I'm suited for the first act, but I could knock the third act character out of the park. I'm a little young for the role, but that's what makeup and wigs are for, right?

Immediately after that I'm off to the Murat to see The Pixies, an indie rock band from the late 80's/early 90's that reunited last year for a massive tour. Great band, one of my favorites. I realize that probably very few of you reading this know who they are, but that's a large part of their charm. They've succeeded without the massive commercial success that bands require these days to stay alive. Plus they friggin' rock.

And, since we're talking about things that will happen tonight, here's hoping that my second niece/nephew will be born. S/he was due yesterday but still hasn't made an appearance. Come on, kid! Tonight's the night!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Wedding Non-Singer

Just got back from Joli and Matt's wedding in Bloomington. Good times. The ceremony was beautiful (it was outdoors overlooking a marina), the weather perfect, the food excellent, and the reception a lot of fun. I didn't do much dancing at this one, although I did hit the floor a few times. I couldn't break The Love Shack Code. (One must dance when "Love Shack" is played.)

They had a Karaoke machine at the reception, but I didn't sing anything. Part of it was because I didn't know anyone there except the bride and groom. Part of it was that it was more fun to watch others sing. And part of it was that every song I looked up in the little book wasn't available. I did see that they had "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, which I could have easily sung, but I wanted people there to like me, not fear me.

In other news, a freaking dumbass bird flew into my house and broke its neck earlier today. I noticed it as I was leaving for the wedding, but I was all dressed up and didn't want to take care of it while wearing a tie. I was hoping some animal would dispose of him for me, but, no, he was still on my sidewalk when I came home. I changed clothes, got the shovel, scooped him into a shoebox, and drove him to a dumpster. Sometimes it pays to live near an Osco.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

You Suck, Dick!

Look, I have no idea who this Mark Felt guy is, but I know he's not Deep Throat. Oh, sure, The Washington Post confirmed it, but I think they're just hiding the true identities of the real Deep Throat: Arlene Lorenzo and Betsy Jobs. Those girls were the true unsung heroes of Watergate. Too bad they will never get the recognition - or the box office - they deserve. (Although they do have one hell of a fun soundtrack.)

Speaking of ditsy female movie characters, what the hell is this? Can't they just leave well enough alone? Romy and Michele's High School Reunion was a fun movie but not something that really required a prequel. It was kind of obvious what happened to them before the movie began. Besides, the film flash-backed within itself anyway, so the whole idea of doing an early chapter of Romy and Michele is kind of beside the point. And if you have to do it, you may as well cast the original actors. I'm sure both Kudrow and Sorvino have the time. Kudrow has that new TV show, but she can work around that. Mira's probably free, though.

According to the IMDB, the new movie references The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Um, why?

I promise to write something about my actual life soon.