Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I have to say that three of the sweetest words in the English language are "new contact lenses." Followed by "that don't instantly dry out" makes it that much sweeter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So they're talking once again about the smoking ban in Chicago. I know this will not be the popular opinion amongst a lot of people that I know but


Let me first say that I have a lot of friends who are smokers. I will never tell them to quit. Me harping on them is not going to get them to quit. They know that what they are doing is unhealthy and will lead to a very unpleasant premature death. That saddens me, yes. But truth of the matter is, there is nothing I can do about it. They've done studies on addiction and essentially what happens is that the addictive substance turns off one's ability to make rational decisions at the same time that it tells your body that you want more of the substance. Chemically, you are unable to make the right choice. And what good is it going to do to have your friend down your throat all of the time about something you know is bad for you but just can't stop? You're going to stop talking to that friend, is what's going to happen. So for the sake of keeping my friends who mean the world to me, I overlook their smoking habits. I'm not crazy about the habits, especially when my friends have just had a cigarette and they go to hug me and they smell really bad, but insist on holding on for a long time. I just don't breathe during those hugs. I love my friends but I hate cigarettes. Does that make sense? If they come to the decision on their own that they want to quit, I will do whatever I can to help. But I'm not going to force them to try.


For a long time, there has been this mentality that smokers should have the right to smoke wherever and if you don't want to smoke, you don't have to, or you can avoid the places where smokers go. NOT TRUE. I'm out for a leisurely stroll, trying to do something good for myself, and I pass a half a dozen smokers who chose to exhale when I am in their general proximity. Again, my choice is to not stroll there or not breathe. When do I get to complain about my right to breathe clean air without being labeled an oppressor?

All of that aside, let's look at smoking bans in general. Los Angeles led the way. L.A., for crying out loud, where they give you a pack of cigarettes on your ninth birthday so you can be cool like the movie stars. The only place I had been where they still had cigarette girls in bars. Not just here or there bars, but in all of them. At least all of the ones I went to when I was out there. Until they decided enough! No more smoking in bars and restaurants. My first question was, "What about the cigarette girls?" My friend who was living out there at the time said they now sell gum and mints and things. So there was no dip in employment associated with the change. And from what I've heard, there was no dip in tobacco sales, either. People who still smoke just go outside to do it.

So New York joins in the fun and bans smoking in all bars and restaurants. Again, no dip in employment, no dip in tobacco sales. But it does mean that when I go out to a bar, I come home smelling...not like a bar! My clothes don't reek of smoke so badly that I want to hang them out my windows to air out before letting them into my laundry basket. This is particularly nice for the traveler because you can put your clothes that you wore to the bar back into your suitcase without all of your clean clothes being immediately infected with the putrid smell of stale cigarette smoke.

And now Chicago is debating the ban. I'm not sure where the debate lies. Smokers will continue to smoke, and yes, in the same quantities they do now. Bars will still make money off of people coming out to drink. Restaurants will still make money off of people coming out to eat. But fewer non-smokers will get lung cancer from exposure to secondhand smoke. It looks to me like a win-win-win situation. Where's the debate?

I know I've probably offended a lot of smokers with this post. For that, I apologize. Like I said, a lot of my really dear friends are smokers and I'm not out to change them. I know that this ban won't change them. They will still don their parkas and gloves and hats in the dead of winter and run outside for a smoke and I will continue to love them dearly, even when the lung cancer and the emphazema hit and they are smoking through their trachial tubes like Andy Garcia in Dead Again. But how nice it would be to go out and spend time with my friends and come home not smelling like smoke. Because I choose to be a non-smoker, largely because I don't want to smell like smoke all of the time. It would be really nice to lead a smoke-free life. Or at least a reduced-smoke life.

Please pass the smoking ban.
So I got my oil changed last night and asked the guy to change out my headlights. This is after a twenty minute side trip back the two blocks to the auto parts store to buy a second headlight after finding out they are three times more expensive if you buy them at the oil change place. Anyway. They set about the oil change and after about ten minutes, the guy comes back in with one unopened headlight and gives it back to me, telling me the one bulb is fine. I asked him why it doesn't turn on then. He told me it wasn't plugged in. Which is strange because when I looked under the hood forty five minutes earlier, trying to change the bulb myself, both of them were plugged in. So I asked if they were both working and the guy replied yes. They completed my oil change and gave me a new air filter and whatnot and I paid and they sent me on my way. Pulling out of the oil change place, only one headlight came on.

This leaves me with one of two possible solutions: the guy figured that I like having the one headlight unplugged and decided to leave it that way or he also decided that taking out the battery in order to change the light was a pain in the ass and not worth the trouble, so he told me a nice little lie designed to make me feel like an idiot. Neither one is a satisfactory choice. Granted, he didn't charge me for the labor of putting in a new headlight, but still. Don't lie to my face, dude. That's not how you should run a business.

And then my cat threw up on the carpet this morning. So I'm grumpy. Sorry, but I am. I'm grumpy and starting to freak out about my trip out east, mostly because I haven't heard back from anyone, so I don't know if I have a place to stay anywhere. I know it will all work out, but still. And I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to get new contacts soon. And I have to do some Christmas shopping. And it all boils down to now is not the time to be saving money. Which is irritating. But I think I will call that new tea place about a job. Can you imagine me working in a tea bar? How perfect would that be?

Monday, November 28, 2005

I guess it really can happen. I'm going to have to come up with a new story now...
At least it hasn't been snowing for the past two days...

So one of my headlights went out on my car. I went to the auto parts store and bought a new light and popped my hood to change it out looks like I have to take out my battery in order to change the light. This makes me nervous. I've never removed the battery from a car before. I'm sure it's something I could do, or if I had really nimble fingers, I might not have to remove it at all, but it still makes me nervous. Car battery acid is really nasty stuff, and I'm nervous enough as it is putting in a halogen headlight because any oil from your fingers on the lamp and it could explode as soon as it turns on. So I close the hood and decide I'm going to either wait a few days and try again when I'm feeling braver, or ask the guys at Jiffy Lube to install it for me while they're in there when I go to get my oil changed.

This morning, it's icky and rainy as I'm on my way to work, so I turn on my headlights. The other one is now out, too.

So after work, while my car is still under the protective covering of the parking garage, I'm going to change out the light that does not require that I remove the battery and hope it works. Then I'll procure another new lamp from the auto parts store and perhaps tomorrow after work, again under the protective covering of the parking garage, I'll try to change out the other headlight. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

So yeah, the reunion happened. It was weird. Good and weird.

And Thanksgiving happened. It was fun.

And my uncle got married and I got to see a lot of my family and it was really nice. But I felt bad because I wanted to drive home last night instead of staying with my family overnight in Wisconsin, but I really just wanted to be at home. And this morning, I woke up with my cat next to me and knew coming home was the right choice. I read and we both went back to sleep and we both woke up again at about two in the afternoon and I was really happy I came home last night so I could be indulgent in my laziness.

And then I just got an email saying I still have a gig in Pennsylvania on the 17th. I had thought it was just going to be cancelled because I hadn't heard from the guy in a long time about moving to a different venue or anything, but he talked to the original venue and I'm still going to get to play on the 17th. I'm now nervous as fuck. I know it will be great, but wow. Yeah. I hope people show up. I've got some serious planning to do.

Friday, November 25, 2005

To the tune of Fraire Jaques

Happy Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving
Save your bread
Save your bread
Stuff it up the turkey
Stuff it up the turkey
Be sure it's dead
Be sure it's dead

Tee hee.

Yeah, I know I'm a smidge late, but I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I did. It even included a really nice visit with my dad, so that was good. And just so you know, I'm thankful for you guys. My friends, be they the ones I see on an almost daily basis, or the ones I really only know through virtual channels, I'm thankful for you guys. And my family. And my cat. And my home. And my health. And all the usual crap.

Anyway. I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving and are avoiding the malls today. Eep.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This is what is known as a perfect snow. Not too much -- maybe a half an inch, if that -- but enough to dust everything in white. It reminds me of Holland, because even though it doesn't snow much in Holland, it snowed when I was there, and it was just this nice, beautiful dusting of white on the rooftops. Gorgeous.

And this is the thick, wet snow that is perfect for making snowballs. It's not blowing around in our faces, making outdoor functions difficult; it's just resting there, being pretty. It's easy to brush off of your car. It melts when it hits pavement. It's good snow for going outside in your snowpants and having fun with. Well, if there was a little more, it might be good for playing in, or if you gank some from your neighbor's yard. But this is a nice snow. A good snow to start off the snowing season. A good snow to remind us that snow isn't always dreadful.

I am, for the first time in YEARS, trying to head into the holidays with joy instead of resentment. It helps that Fucknut is so excited about Christmas -- it's kind of infectious. If only I could figure out what to get everybody...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So my high school reunion is on Friday. I'm going. After much debate and hemming and hawing, I decided to go. Who knows? I could meet people I went to school with who I never knew and they could turn out to be cool. I could get those looks of, "Wow, you turned into a worthwhile person" that will keep my ego going for months. Or it could be really dull and I'll go home after ten minutes. Whatever. My curiosity got the best of me and I'm going to go. I'm going solo, though, so as not to subject any of my friends to this whole thing. That's cruel and unusual punishment.

But in a way, I'm really scared to go, especially after seeing Leftover Voices the other day. After watching that film, I felt the need to be that character again. It was really bizarre. So when I walk into a room filled with people I went to high school with, am I going to feel the need to be who I was when I was in high school? I hope not. And in the spirit of preventing that, I'm going to list a few things here that I have accomplished since I graduated from high school. I may not be skinnier, I may not have better skin, I may not be a millionaire. But these are things I have done with my life that I am proud of and that I can brag about at my reunion, if I am forced into a position wherein I feel the need to brag.

I graduated from college. Took me three years and I had a 3.911 (out of 4.0) GPA.
I got my paralegal certificate, with honors.
I got an apartment in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Chicago.
I joined a theater company.
I starred in a fully improvised film.
I recorded two albums, and a single.
I raised over $6,000 for breast cancer research.
I walked two and a half marathons.
I went to Australia.
I went back to Europe.
I fell in love.
I fell in love with New York.
I wrote and directed a children's musical that audiences and my cast fell in love with.
I found friends who love me anyway.
I shaved my head.
I got myself un-depressed.
I paid off my debt.
I got a tattoo.
I befriended the cutest cat in the world.
I sponsor a little girl in the Philippines.
I performed with a professional lindy hop troupe.
I took second place in the cabaret division at the American Lindy Hop Championships with the Chicago Shag Team.
I marched in the Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade and the Gay Pride Parade.
I was on television I don't know how many times.
I had a song played on WXRT.
I played a song live on WLUW.
I organized two Chicago Lindy Exchanges.
I starred in a Jeff Recommended musical.
I touched the lives of I don't even know how many people through my music and my theatrical/cinematic performances.
I appeared in a film that showed at the Music Box.
I appeared in a film that showed at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and several festivals across the country and in Canada.
I designed and built my own clothing, and the costumes for I don't know how many shows (but a lot).
I learned how to run a sound and light board.
I learned how to play the guitar.
I learned how to say "I love you" in Dutch.
I got my laugh noticed by Sam Mendes.
I got to pull costumes from the Paramount Studios costume cage.
I met Moby three times.
I spoke to Ryan Stiles.
I became vegan.

For the girl nobody noticed, that's not too shabby. I just have to remember all of those things on Friday when I walk into that room. I have to remember that even though there is no "got married" on that list, I am still a worthwhile person and I've done a lot of great things with my life. Hell, most people don't do in their entire lives half of the things I've done in the last ten years.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

To the original cast of Dream Juice:

Just over a year ago, Corn asked me if I wanted to write and direct a children's show and I said no. I went home that night and the idea for Dream Juice was born. I took on the task, petrified of what might come, scared that I might not be able to handle it, frightened that nobody would like my little script.

And then I found the ten of you. Or you found me. For one reason or another, you all walked into our little theater and I'm so thankful you did. The show you created is so much more fun than the one that I wrote. You breathed so much life into those characters and you made audiences of all ages fall in love with you. You kept me interested and engaged and laughing every weekend for eight weeks. You brought new things to the plate every day. You kept exploring and never stopped playing. Our closing day show was the perfect ending to one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I thank each and every one of you for being a part of this little show.

I think what I will miss most is watching it every weekend. I loved this show. I loved watching it. I loved the songs. I loved the interactions between the characters. I loved the costumes. I loved the lights. I really just loved watching this show every weekend, and I will miss it next weekend when I don't get to go and spend an afternoon with you guys.

Thank you, my cast. Thank you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Okay, so it was weird. Because it's me. Just me. For forty five minutes, it's me on screen. There is hardly a scene that I'm not in, and in a lot of them, it is just me. Just me. On screen. For forty five minutes. And in profile, I have no nose. And I really am pear-shaped. And I have a lovely back. And I have really beautiful hair. And I talk out of one side of my mouth. And I have a great, expressive face. And it's just me. For forty five minutes.

I'm excited to see the longer version of the film. I'm not sure that the whole story translates in the short version. I don't know if it will in the longer version. There are a couple of things about the film that if I didn't know what was going on, I don't think I'd know what was going on, and that opinion was reinforced by my mom and her partner. But the resounding comment from the entire audience was that I was amazing. The three leads were wonderful, and we all had a really great chemistry. Which I think is the important part. The guy who played my boss is so funny. I had forgotten most of it. I have a couple good lines in there, too.

I dunno. I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I gave an amazing performance. I was even empathizing with me on screen. And it is shot really well and the other performers are amazing and it is still one of the most incredible experiences of my life. On the other hand, there are a couple of things that didn't turn out the way I imagined they would and I'm not sure I like the way they did turn out. I'm still excited to see the longer version, and when I get my copy of the DVD, I'll probably watch it a million times. Because also, the first viewing for me of something that I'm in, I get so caught up in my own physicality that I can't really be objective. I have to watch it six or seven times before I get used to the fact that I have no nose and I'm pear-shaped and I talk out of one side of my mouth and can actually watch the film for the film, you know? So I need to see it a bunch more times. But it was wonderful to see it last night. It was great to see the director again. It was really strange to get so many compliments on my performance, especially because when the film was over, I felt the need to be my character and she doesn't do well in large social situations.

I want all of the rest of you to see it and tell me what you think. Honestly. Forget about the fact that I'm nude in about three scenes (or is it four?) and tell me honestly what you think of the film and the story and my performance. I'm excited to see what you think.

Friday, November 18, 2005

If I may borrow a phrase from The Shawshank Redemption, "I'm so excited I can barely sit still or keep a thought in my head." I get to see my movie tonight. I know this is the short version. I know there is another half an hour of yummy Leftover Voices goodness to be seen at a later date, but I'm so excited to see this. Four and a half years of anticipation have all built up to this. Why can't it be five o'clock now?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

So I decided last night that I wanted to get a smidge of exercise. Nothing too strenuous as I'm still battling this lump of goo in my throat, but I've gotten tired of sitting around all of the time. But also seeing as it was really cold and windy and snowy (yes, snowy) outside last night, I decided to exercise in my own apartment by walking around in circles. Yes, walking around in circles. I am that much of a dork. But my poor cat...if you've never had a cat, this will make no sense to you, but if you have, you know of what I speak. Owen is the kind of cat who likes to get to where I'm going before I do. If I'm in my room and start heading towards the living room, he runs to the kitchen to wait for me there. If I'm in the kitchen headed towards the bathroom, he thinks I'm going to my room and runs to wait for me there. It's really cute. But here I was, walking at a pretty brisk pace around in circles, one second looking like I was headed for the kitchen, the next looking like I was headed for my room. The poor thing probably got more exercise than I did, trying to keep up with where I might be going next. After about ten minutes, he gave up and took my spot on the couch and fell asleep. It was cute, though. My poor baby.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Holy crap, I get to see a short version of Leftover Voices this Friday.

I will say this: the project started out as the director's senior thesis film. So the version being shown on Friday is the version she is handing in for a grade. But I remember the morning that I showed up on set and she greeted me with a ginormous smile on her face and said, "We're making a feature film." It wasn't something that she planned; it just all turned out so much better than she imagined. So there is also a 75 minute version of the film that she considers to be the real film. I'm excited to see that one, too.

But this Friday, I get to see the 45 minute version of the film. I don't know if I should bring people to it or not, or if I want them to wait and see the longer version. If I go solo, it would also make it possible for me to "screen" the film in case there is anything in it I don't want people to see, then I don't have to invite them later. Tee hee. But holy crap, after four and a half years of waiting, I get to see this film on Friday. Two days from now.

I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!
Okay, so I'm going to rant for a minute, kind of inspired by all of the daytime television I subjected myself to while I was home sick. And the magazine I read in the waiting room at the doctor's office yesterday. I find myself wishing that I had the means to conduct some social research on a large scale so that I would have some actual figures with which to support my assertions, but I'm not sure how to go about that. Anyway, here goes.

I think the problem with Americans is that we're all in such a fucking hurry for everything. Too fat? Gotta lose weight now. Running late at the airport? Can't be bothered with security checks. Bad teeth? Need plastic surgery. Not feeling well? Need a rapidly dissolving pill that will make me feel better NOW!!! And I ask you, where has all of this hurrying gotten us?

We are still in the top five fattest nations in the world, if not the fattest.

Everyone I know is still always late.

We have men and women obsessed with plastic surgery, and entire television series devoted to fixing every little "problem" people might have with their physical appearance.

We have people on eighteen different medications at a time, just so that they can function at work, when if they would just take a day to rest and rejuvinate, their own bodies would heal them in a matter of days.

But we, as a people, can't wait a couple of days to feel better. We have to feel better NOW. Not even in ten minutes. NOW. We have to look better and feel better and perform better NOW. There are banks advertising the fact that they are trying to shave three seconds off of every ATM transaction, so that you have an extra three seconds to spend with your family. You know how long three seconds is? You just wasted it reading that sentence. I'm sorry. You could have been better spending your time with your family if, perhaps, I recorded this all as a podcast that you could listen to on the go, instead of actually having to read it.

I got sick last week. I felt it start, I felt is worsen, I am now feeling it go away. Did I pump myself with all kinds of drugs? No. I rested. I drank tea. I ate healthy foods. And voila! I'm better. Sure, it took a week, but you know what? Had my doctor given me antibiotics (which, believe it or not, a lot of doctors will give their patients antibiotics for viral infections, just so that the patient feels like he/she now has something that will make them feel better now), I could have gotten, I dunno, a yeast infection, which would then take another few days to clear up, all the while, my flu-like symptoms would just have to run their course anyway. Is it wrong that I chose not to take a drug that could cause another problem, making me sicker longer and requiring more drugs, in favor of letting my body heal itself? Am I crazy? Or isn't it possible that I got sick in the first place because I was pushing myself too hard and what I really needed was just to slow down for a couple of days anyway?

But we, as Americans, are in such a hurry.

I watched this one talk show yesterday wherein the host conducted an experiment -- she donned a fat suit and walked around Los Angeles for a day to see what it was like to be obese. It was an eye opening experience for her, and I have to give her props for doing it. But at the same time, she got to go home and take the suit off at the end of the day, whereas her guests have to walk around with their bulk all of the time. And as the show went on, they moved away from obesity to other physical things that provoke laughter and teasing from others -- like a woman with really bad teeth. Their solution to the problem? Cosmetic dental surgery to give her a perfect smile. And the woman's reaction? She was so happy she was brought to tears.

Now here's where things start to piss me off. Somebody doesn't like something about his or her appearance. He or she writes to a television show for help. Television show provides the necessary plastic surgery. Person lives happy life looking "normal."

Since when is "normal" the goal? And since when is "normal" defined as "what 1% of the population looks like?"

Do you think we would give a crap about Sarah Jessica Parker if she had gotten the nose job agents told her to get? Would we recognize Bob Hope or Jay Leno without their chins? Would we know who Alfred Hitchcock was if he got liposuction? Would we care about Camryn Manheim if she did?

What these television shows are doing is taking what is unique and special about a person and removing it. Fixing it so that this person now looks more like, I dunno, somebody on TV or in a magazine. Someone we are told, as a society, looks perfect. Someone with a body type that is only really achievable for 1% of the population. The television show strips these people of everything that makes them interesting so that they can feel good about themselves.

Wait, what?

Yes, I know, it's still the same person on the inside. Whatever. When you walk into a room, do you notice the people who look like everybody else, or do you notice the people who have their own style? Their own look? Call me crazy, but I just kind of scan over the perfect-figured blonds, the average (though still good looking) guys, the cookie-cutter people. I know it's my own bias, but I gravitate towards the people with glasses, or the really tall, skinny ones, or the women with junk in their trunk because they just feel more real to me.

And for the record, I know what it is like to be teased your entire life about your physical appearance. While I was never obese, I was never skinny, either. I've always been on the edge between fat and acceptable. I had HORRIBLE skin as a teenager. I've always been really pale. I've been teased for so many aspects of my appearance, I've lost track of some of them. But I know that there are things I can do to change the things I'm really unhappy with. I can change my diet and exercise more if I want to lose weight. I know I have to wash my face at least twice a day to help prevent breakouts, but they still happen and I deal with it. And I'm always going to be pale, so I've learned to call myself "porcelain-skinned" instead of "fish-belly white." I know that these are all long-term commitments, and that I have to dedicate myself to a new lifestyle if I want something to really change. There is no pill that will "fix" me. I know people who have gotten liposuction and then gained weight back and you know what? Because they no longer have fat cells in certain areas of their bodies, other areas store that new fat and they look like deformed poodles or something.

There is no magic powder or pill or solution that will make you look like a supermodel for the rest of your life starting now.

So you have two choices: put in some real time and effort to change what you want changed naturally (but we're in such a hurry!), or realize that not everybody is supposed to look like a supermodel, and mmost likely, you are not one of "the chosen ones."

Like with any group of famous people, supermodels are about the top 1% of the population. Olympic athletes are the top 1%, but we don't all feel the need to be Olympic athletes. Award winning actors are (supposedly) the top 1% at their craft, but we don't all feel the need to be award winning actors. Nobel prize winners are the top 1% in their fields, but we don't all feel the need to be Nobel prize winners. Why do we spend millions of dollars every year on products and surgeries to try to look like the top 1%? Why not spend millions improving our minds or athletic skills or artistic abilities? Why are we so obsessed with appearance? Why is it okay to pursue the most physically damaging, least accessible 1% category there is?

I know that there are still a lot of societal biases against people who look "different," and I wish that would change. I wish we had a more realistic image of what "normal" is from which to judge "different." I wish people wouldn't be so quick to judge others based on physical appearance. I can do my part, but I'm talking about a whole societal overhaul here. I'm not saying we all have to get fat and knock out a few teeth and shave our heads or anything, but I am saying that we need to have some sort of middle ground. Obesity is not healthy. Neither is anorexia. A 5'9" tall woman with a 28 inch waist should not be considered "big." That's just wrong.

I don't have a solution. At this point, it's just something that pisses me off. I feel like I need to do more research and then write a book or something. I'm tired of living in the heroin chic generation. I'm tired of being part of this neverending race to get nothing important accomplished. I don't want to play this game anymore.

I'm going to get more tea.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

One more day at home. I'm going to the doctor this afternoon. Caving and asking Western medicine for help. I figure I should take advantage while I still have insurance.

Disclaimer: I know how important health insurance is. Trust me. And it is part of my game plan to get insurance, even if I have to pay for it myself, when I leave this job. I will not be uninsured. Don't worry. But as long as I have good insurance that somebody else is paying for, I might as well take advantage, right? And besides, this coughing thing is getting old.

Illness aside, I would like to mention reason number 482 why I love my new property managment company and hate the old one. At my old place, it would take a while for the radiators to turn on in the fall, and throughout the winter if it got particularly cold, the radiators still did their same old thing. Even on weekends, they would come on once in the morning for about an hour, and twice in the evening for about a half an hour each time. And when they went off, it would get cold in there. I would, on occasion, call my property managment company and ask if they could do something about the heat, and it might come on for an extra ten minutes or something like that. Anyway.

At my new place, I haven't been able to figure out the radiator trick. They come on once in the morning and once at night, but it gets really cold in the interim. And one of them hasn't ever come on, near as I can tell. So over the weekend, when the radiators hadn't turned on for a couple of days at all, I left a message at my new property managment company asking if they had any advice on what the radiator trick might be. They called me this morning and asked a couple of questions -- are all of the coils turning on, etc. -- and they are sending someone out this afternoon to check all of my radiators to see if the filters are clean to make sure they are in proper working order. Not just a "give them an extra blast of heat" fix-it, but a "let's find out what the problem is and fix it" solution.

It's strange how the littlest things can become a big deal once you have a frame of reference. Thank you to my new property managment company for realizing that their tenants are people living in homes, not just people paying rent.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Still feel like shit, but at least I'm back at work, so I can feel like shit in public.

And Dream Juice is almost over. Just one more weekend. We got it on tape yesterday, though, so I'm really happy about that. And we had a productive meeting about turning it into a tour, so I'm happy about that, too. And it's just about time to start working on the next Corn show -- Soft Corn Porn. Yeah. Should be interesting.

I wish my head was working right...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The ickies seem to have plateaued. Here's hoping they start to go away tomorrow.

Here's hoping my heat turns on soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Day four of the mystery illness has proven thus far to be the worst. I'm hoping this means it'll go away soon. Like, by Monday would be nice.

Bad Seed is over. Wow. The show I've been working on since February, the show I was going to pass up so that I could take a much deserved break, the show that turned into a phenomenon in the Chicago theater scene, the show that proved to the rest of my theater company that I can play more than a damsel in distress, is now over. It probably won't really hit me until next Friday night when it gets to be about 7:30 and I don't have to think about going to the theater. It's an interesting chapter of my life that has come to an end. I'll miss singing my song. I'll miss being evil once a week. I won't miss being covered in dirt. I will miss the red eyeliner. Though that one, I can do any time I want to, really.

What? It's a look.

Friday, November 11, 2005

So mucous is your body's defense against viruses and infections and stuff, right? So the fact that my mucous glands are now in overdrive means I should start healing soon, right?

Come on, mucous!

Gimmie your worst!


Scratch that.






Thursday, November 10, 2005

What's with the blue eyeshadow? No, really. When did blue eyeshadow become popular again? And why on earth did blue eyeshadow become popular again?


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I don't remember what it's like to be able to be sick. To not be worrying about "am I going to make it through my show tonight?" To not have to put being sick on the back burner and go about life as usual even though my head is no longer connected to my body.

I got a sore throat last night. The kind where you wish you could vomit up your own esophagus and get a new one, so I took the day off today. And I just get to be sick. It's kind of nice. I've gotten a lot accomplished already -- I did my dishes, packaged up a pair of shoes that I have to return, and watered all of my plants. I still need to go to the post office and Joann Fabrics and the library, but I can do that later. If I want to go back to sleep, I can. If I want to watch a movie, I can. Feels kind of good.

I do have a show tomorrow night, and one on Friday night, and I'm going into Dream Juice on Sunday, but for today, I get to relax and be sick. Maybe I'll actually be able to get better.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Okay, there is something you should know about my cat. As much as he is the neediest cat in the world, he wants attention on his own terms, and his own terms only. If he really misses me, he'll let me hold him for a few minutes. But usually, when I pick him up, it's two pats on the head, and he's squirming to get down. Yes, he will nap in my lap, but only when he wants to -- if I try to make him sit in my lap, he won't do it. He is very much the independent, strong-willed type.

Now, I am one of those people who likes to cuddle with their pet. I know, I know, that sounds dirty, but when I'm sleeping, if he chooses to sleep right next to me, I love it. Rest my hand on his back, and we both nod off. It amazes me that he trusts me enough to sleep with my hand on his back, you know? My cat isn't like that very much. If he's sleeping somewhere and I even bend down to give him a kiss, he gets all offended, and will sometimes get up to find another place to sleep.

I tell you all of this to set up what was probably the cutest, sweetest moment I have ever had with my cat.

Last night, I fell asleep on my couch as I have been doing a lot lately. Long about 11:00 or so, I got up to go to bed. "I got up to go to bed" is probably one of my favorite sentences in the English language. Think about it. It's fun. Anyway, I got up to go to bed and found my cat asleep on my bed in my spot. I have a full-size bed, so there is plenty of room for me to have my side and him to have his side. And usually, that's how it works. But he was napping on my side, in my spot, resting on my pillow. I thought turning on the light would make him move. I thought the act of putting on my pajamas might make him move. I thought my one last trip to the bathroom might make him move. I thought kneeling down by the side of my bed and resting my head on him lightly would make him move. I thought kissing his head would make him move. I thought pulling back the covers would make him move. I thought me getting under the covers (on my side of the bed, right smack next to him) would make him move. I thought me lying down almost spooning him would make him move. I thought turning on my alarm clock and turning off the light would make him move. Nope. He stayed exactly where he was. Me lying next to him on about two inches of bed, with my arm draped over him, my face buried in the back of his neck. He went back to sleep.

I laid there with my cat for a few minutes, soaking in the moment, getting to spend a few precious minutes with my cat, all snuggled up warm and cozy, expecting him to get up and relocate at any second. But he just stayed there and let me sleep next to him. Finally, when my arm started to fall asleep (the one under me), I nudged him over to his side of the bed. He was a little miffed, but went back to sleep soon enough.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to my cat's old age when he lets me snuggle with him more, and sometimes when I want to, not just when he needs attention.

I know, I know, this whole entry sounds rather...get your minds out of the gutter, people. He's a cat, for Pete's sake. It was sweet.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Holy crap, it's finally done!!!

Leftover Voices, the film I shot four and a half years ago, is finally finished!

I'm sitting here at work, drinking hot water because it's really cold in here (after a week of being so sweltering hot at work you could barely breathe -- but I loved it, and much prefer that to this), and my character in the film used to drink hot water, so it got me thinking about her and about the film, so I decided to send my pestering e-mail to the director asking how it's going and she told me it's done! They're working on the artwork for the poster and DVD cover and stuff, but the film is done. She wants to set up a screening in December for those of us who still live in Chicago. Holy crap.

I'm so excited to see this movie. I will keep you all posted on when/where you might be able to see it.

I'm so excited!
Wow. So that's how rockstars live.

Blister on my thumb.

Mystery cut on my finger.

General aches in my back.

I'm too old for this shit.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

So I keep getting spam advertising the newest weight loss craze, hoodia. Hoodia is an African cactus that bushmen have been eating for centuries during long hunting trips to stave off hunger. It's all natural, has no side effects, blah, blah, blah. Okay, so here's my thoughts on the deal:

First of all, hooray! Let's go wipe out this plant species from the African desert! Let's deprive the bushmen who actually need it from being able to get it. Hooray!

Okay, fine, that's not exactly how it is working. See, a bunch of scientists took some hoodia and are studying it so as to be able to reproduce it in a lab and make it ready for mass production, synthetically. Hoodia will still exist in the wild. Good. But there's more to it than that.

The bushmen are acutally suing for intellectual property rights. It is their plant, they've been sitting on this gold mine that could cure the world of obesity, they should be in on the profits, right? Right. So that's one piece. The other is I'm sorry, but the synthetic production of whatever chemical it is in the hoodia that makes it work makes me nervous. My guess is that it isn't just one thing; it's probably a lot of the qualities that make the plant work. And when you combine synthetic ingredients with other synthetic ingredients, will it work the same, or will there suddenly be some kind of side effect that will result in millions of people becoming violently ill? And in every article I read, they keep talking about the taste -- when they come up with an effective hoodia pill, it will taste good. It's a pill. You swallow it. It is in your mouth for all of two seconds -- does it really need to taste like chocolate mousse pie? If you're that serious about needing to lose weight, you'll put up with a funky taste for two seconds. Trust me. Flavor should be the least of our worries on this one. How about making it safe and effective? If it was up to me, I'd grow my own hoodia plant in my house under a heat lamp and eat it just like the bushmen do. Synthetic duplication makes me nervous.

Synthetic duplication also makes me nervous because a lot of the products out there on the market right now DON'T HAVE ANY HOODIA IN THEM. They tout the benefits of hoodia, but contain no hoodia. Wait, what? Why advertise it as hoodia if it's really chlorobubonicplaugeiform, you know?

And my second thought is this: oh crap. I can see insecure teenage girls who would have been bulemic now becoming anorexic because hooray! We have a pill that will help you develop anorexia! If you were having problems with self control before, here's your cure! This pill will literally eliminate your appetite, so instead of eating 1200 calories like you were when you wanted to starve yourself before, now you'll feel just as full eating 200 calories a day! And how much do you want to bet that those 200 calories come from foods with no nutritional value? Candy, soda, etc. This is a pill that helps you starve yourself. Just what the American market needs.

I can see how for some people, hoodia would be helpful. Like, I dunno, for the bushmen who go out hunting for weeks at a time, can't carry food with them, and may or may not get to eat every day, depending on how the hunt goes. I can also see how hoodia can and probably will be abused by people who really don't need it, like people who have eating disorders already.

It's about moderation, people. Eat stuff that is good for you in moderation. Exercise in moderation. Not everyone is supposed to look like Christian Bale in The Machinist (which is an excellent film, by the way). Actually, nobody should look like Christian Bale in The Machinist. Every person's body has a size that it is supposed to be for optimum health. Be comfortable with that. Tell the mass media to fuck off and eat the soup AND the salad AND the bread, if that's what you want -- they each have their own health benefits. We need to get over this weight loss obsession, as a culture. I know that obesity is not healthy, but neither are malnourisment or bulemia or anorexia.

Leave the hoodia to the bushmen. Everything has it's place and it's purpose, and you take it out of that place, apply it to other purposes, and bad things are bound to happen.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

And on a totally unrelated note, happy birthday, little baby Colin!

And congratulations to the happy mommy and daddy. I love you guys and can't wait to meet the new addition to your family!
I don't normally watch Boston Legal, but it was on after Gilmore Girls and House and my taped episode of My Name is Earl last night, so I caught the last half of it. I know a lot of people go ga-ga for James Spader -- he's never really done much for me. But last night's episode was amazing. The case he was trying was about a woman who was suing the government because her brother was killed in Iraq. I seriously wish I had a transcript of James Spader's speeches in this episode. One of the things he said was, "We talk about honoring our soldiers; how about honoring them by caring when one of them dies?" He talked about the fact that even though the war in Iraq is strikingly similar to Vietnam, we are more concerned with Brad and Anglelina, or Terry Schaivo. This war is not being televised like Vietnam was, so it is easy for us to forget about it, to not think about it, to pretend that it isn't really happening. I know that not everything I see on television is true, particularly when it is packaged in a legal drama that ends with two grown men drinking martinis while dressed as flamingos, but I think he had a really valid point. This whole attitude of "If you're not with us, you're against us," or this fear that everyone seems to have about talking about Iraq is disturbing. And probably the most powerful statement he made in the show was something along the lines of "As long as we are allowed to voice differing opinions, what's going on over there will never happen over here."

"If you're not with us, you're against us." Sounds like we're not allowed to voice differing opinions, doesn't it?

I sometimes wish I was more politically minded so that I could talk about this stuff intelligently, but I do other things with my time other than scour newspapers and so on. I do remember a few things from my history classes, though, one of the big ones being that there is an ebb and flow to every major civilization in history. Somebody rises to power, and then is overthrown by somebody else. And that fighting to stay on top usually makes the fallout much worse. Actually, I don't think there has ever been a major civilization that has gone quietly, or slipped into the background for a while to make a comeback later. Maybe a comeback would be possible if they did just slip into the background. But think about it -- Rome ruled the world, and then fell. The Greeks ruled the world, and then fell. France ruled the world, and then fell. England ruled the world, and then fell. China ruled the world, and then fell. The Aztecs ruled, the Mayans ruled, the Incas, the Egyptians, all of these peoples were the major power in the world (or A major power) for some period of time, and then were overthrown. They all survive in some form or another -- France, Italy, Greece, England, Egypt, China, etc. all still exist -- but they don't have the power and control they once did. They still have influence, just not to the extent that they once did.

So here we are in America. One of the younger countries in the world, comparitively speaking. Old enough to feel like we're entitled to our place at the top. Old enough, maybe, to take a step down. Maybe we shouldn't be the mightiest nation in the world. Hell, with the guys in charge right now being proven liars time and time again, maybe this is the best time for America to say, "You know what? We had a good run. We'll let somebody else police the world for a while until we get our shit together, and then we'll be back." I wonder what would happen. I wonder how that would work. If we let ourselves age gracefully instead of fighting it. If we're not overthrown by another people, but just take our hat out of the ring for a bit. Regroup. Rebuild.

Just a thought. Sorry. I woke up thinking, "One year ago today, I tried to change the world around me. So did millions of other people. And a handful of them rigged it so that our voices were silenced. How sad."

Three more years, kids. Three more years...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'm in this really weird place where I am starting to mourn the loss of this job, but also thinking about all of the great things I'll get to do when I don't have this job anymore. For example:

I won't have to drive this route into work every morning. But I probably won't be up early enough to listen to Lin's Bin anymore.

I won't have to dress nicely every day, but I won't have a lot of money to spend on clothes, so I'll have to do a lot more thrift store shopping. And/Or I can open up my scrap fabric bins and start making my own clothes again.

I won't have this lovely, fast internet connection anymore, but if I check my e-mail and stuff less often, that means there will be more of it, right? Or, it means more time spent in Wi-Fi coffee shops.

I won't have to file things anymore. I won't have to schedule meetings. I won't have to pretend that I'm doing something when I'm really not. But I won't have a steady paycheck to show for it.

I won't have somewhere to be everyday, so I'll have to find somewhere to be and something to do. Hopefully another job type thing that will help me pay my bills.

I can do whatever I want to my hair and my "style."

I dunno. I'm still a little bit freaked out about it. I know I'll be okay. I know I'll land on my feet -- I always do. And thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you to my wonderful Texas friend for the uber yummy care package. Thank you to all of you guys for being so supportive. I will do this. I know this is the right thing to do. It's just scary to make a big change like this after five years of consistency, you know?

I'll have to buy all of my own tea.