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Friday, April 18, 2003
Our rehearsals are starting to run later and later as we go through prop lists, costumes, dance blocking and logistics for shooting video stuff. We have a lot of video left to shoot and not a lot of time.
By the time I got home last night it was really late, but I managed to find enough free moments to put together a new audio rack. It looks like this:
And then there's recapping, and stuff going on this weekend and... wow, now I'm hyperventilating. Why can't I call in sick like a normal person on weeks like this?
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Movies this week
Chasing Papi: Ah, man. We always bitch about how there aren't enough Latinos on screen and then they come out with this shit. Womazing Latin stud? Check. Three buxom Latinas with varying degrees of hotness? (From caliente to muy fiero!) Check. Dumbass screenplay? Obvious cameos? I kind of liked it better when the only thing we had to fear from Latino movies was Cheech Marin.
Holes: The guy who wrote the book and screenplay for this is from Austin and it's getting tons of buzz here. I really wish I'd read the book and I may hold off on seeing the movie until I get a chance to. People who've read the book seem to absolutely love it and the movie's getting good reviews.
Malibu's Most Wanted: I'm not a big Jaime Kennedy fan, but I do think a good rap culture spoof (one that isn't CB4) is long overdue. I keep waiting for there to be a great documentary about white kids appropriating hip hop culture, but haven't seen one yet. (Although Black and White was an interesting fictional attempt.)
Bulletproof Monk: Chow Yun, stop. Seriously. Go back to Hong Kong. You make much better movies there. You don't need to play second banana to Seann fucking William Scott. Why aren't you in the new Matrix movies?
The Good Thief: Is it wrong that it physically pains me to even look at Nick Nolte? I have the same stomach reaction to Keith Richards.
I'm way behind on my movie watching. That probably won't change until early May.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
My favorite headline today...
From CNN's main page:
"What's next for Abu Abass?"
How about Abath?
Fine. Don't laugh. See if I care.
Dysfunctional Family Unit
The last few weeks before a show, a unit of about seven to nine people becomes suddenly enmeshed in each other's business. You work in pretty close quarters, several hours a night for weeks, and you're suddenly privvy to a lot more personal information than you'd otherwise have.
Somebody being 10 minutes late to rehearsal might come with a 15-minute explanation that draws you into a personal crisis they're having or some job-related drama.
It's both great and frustrating. You form tight bonds (or strengthen existing ones if it's a troupe you continue to work with) and everyone else's problems and triumphs, from work schedules to datings problems to birthdays, become your own.
Then it stops. The day after the cast party, everyone scurries in their own direction. You only hear about things in each others' lives through e-mail or at a scheduled meeting, or at a pick-up rehearsal. The familial body collapses, the limbs and torsos falling like the twin tower giants made of people from that old Clive Barker story.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
The Goodie Bag
It's almost worth driving all the way across town, worth sitting in a cramped waiting room with kids running around screaming, to get the goodie bag.
If you live in Austin, it's like getting a bag of really good drugs from a primo dealer. In fact, that's exactly what it is: a bag of drugs. Once a year, I have to go to the Allergy Center to get my Allegra-D prescription renewed. When I go, they always ask me how I'm doing. This time, I didn't see Dr. Cook -- instead, I saw a nurse practioner who was just as handy in sizing me up (Down pillows? No. Two cats. HEPA filter. Neti Pot. Used to use Flonase, but now don't need it except during Cedar Fever.) and getting me fully prescribed.
Then the bag. A bunch of samples of everything. Lots of Allegra-D. Some face wash and a cream for itchy skin related to allergies. A container of Flonase and a box of a new kind of eyedrops that are supposed to be better than Patanol. In Austin, where just about everyone comes down with allergies after more than two or three years of living here, I was carrying around the medicinal equivelant of the briefcase from Pulp Fiction.
I have crappy health insurance, so this visit only goes toward my deductible -- I'm going to have to pay for the visit out of my pocket. But $50 worth of paper-bagged, free drugs makes me feel a little better about that.
To celebrate my drug score, I went over to Fry's to pick up a motherboard/processor deal I'd been eyeing in the paper. I dealt with a tall, mumbly guy who was working at amphetamine speed. I asked if they had what I was looking for in stock and before I could finish my sentence, he was already drawing up the receipt. It turns out they didn't have the processor in stock (it's an MSI Nforce2 motherboard and Athlon 2100+ processor for $149. Good deal, right? I'll need new memory and am looking for a new case, but figured I could buy a piece at a time over the next few weeks.), so I ask about a rain check, and he's drawing that up before I finish or can ask about any other processors I could substitute for the missing chip.
The guy was on caffeine and crack, as near as I could figure. He seemed to be operating on some kind of Matrix-speed higher consciousness that I, the lowly-ass customer, simply couldn't keep up with. I walked out with my rain check and about a dozen unanswered question, and the burn in the stomach that comes from shitty customer service. I bet he'd have treated me better if he knew I had a stash of Allegra-D and Flonase in the car.
Round table current events jam session bullshit
I watch Bill Maher's HBO show, Real Time every week now, and I try to catch The Daily Show and Colin Quinn's Tough Crowd from time to time, and I watch them accepting that stand-up comics often don't know what they're talking about. As much as I love folks like Chris Rock and Carlos Mencia, I understand that they'll sacrifice a valid point to make something funny and that politically, they make broad statements that, upon closer examination, are just dumb.
It's a little harder when you mix in political pundits on shows like Real Time because you've got people yelling at each other, and the person who wins is the one that gets in the cutting jab and the biggest audience whoop. It's very easy to come across like a jerk on these shows, and only a few people like Larry Miller, whom I didn't realize was so conservative until I watched him on this show, can come out of it looking like they actually think about what they're saying instead of just popping out sound bites.
The disturbing part is how people accept as gospel what some very uniformed people are saying simply because it's said in the guise of a political/social discussion. As if a punchline is any more truthful on Bill Maher's show than it would be at Chuckles Comedy Club in Tucson.
One comedian/pundit on Quinn's show went so far as to advance a point of view that he obviously stole from watching Maher's show the Friday before. He was quickly informed that what he was saying was completely inaccurate, but in his attempt to brain up for Quinn's show he must have thought that watching "Weekend Update" and some HBO punditry was just as good as, say, watching BBC News or reading a newspaper.
Monday, April 14, 2003
A heat wave
Austin has had great weather going on about two and a half months now, but we're just hitting the cusp of hot. Today was a little warm.
It was worse if you were inside the Post Office on 6th and Guadalupe. For some reason, perhaps a government sociological experiment, the air conditioning was off, so you had a line of last-minute tax filers standing around in mostly business attire, sweating it out in a long line that had about three sharp turns.
Luckily, it's a post office, so it's not like there aren't things to fan yourself with. Sheets of stamps, padded envelopes, Fed-Ex mailers.
If you're one of the unlucky people going to the post office tomorrow, might I suggest some sort of Personal Cooling System?
Everything at Sharper Image is a "Personal" whatever. Personal Cooling System. Personal Executive Mini CD System. Personal Ionic Lint Brush with Personal Inseam Dust Removal Attachment. It's like they don't want you to share anything you buy with anyone else.
I think Sharper Image may be run by a bunch of assholes.
Sunday, April 13, 2003
Workin' on a Sunday
Once a month, (the third Sunday of each) I do a swing shift at the paper, editing weekend entertainment reviews for the Monday Life & Arts section.
It's very quiet in the newsroom. It's like this during the week only early in the morning or the day after a major event (opening night of South by Southwest, an election night, the day after some huge, breaking news story). I put on a CD, which is fine to do alone, but then some other desk neighbords showed up, so I'm stuck between a, "Hey, I got here first, I'll listen to what I want, OKAY?" posture and just feeling self-conscious that every note of the music I'm listening to is being scrutinized.
Yeah, I know. Headphones. But really, with all the clutter on my monitor, all the little toys around my computer and the bulk and heft of the ancient Mac I'm saddled with (a BEIGE Mac, if you want to guess how old), it's not even worth reaching back there to plug them in.
So the music is really, REALLY quiet, as if houseflies are covering Radiohead. Bzzz bzzzz bzzzz.
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