December 5th, 2013
|03:50 am - We found each other.|
I first met sovay in October 2009, though I didn't know it at the time. I was on the stage of the Somerville Theater performing in The Big Broadcast of 1938 and sovay went, partly because a friend was scoring the show, partly because this kind of history was just her thing, and also to settle a bet over whether or not my "Frank Cyrano Byfar Hour" was an actual piece of Boston radio history or just a good hoax.
( She won the bet.Collapse )
We are getting married today in the Somerville Theater because us. I can put it no better than that. It is an interfaith service with my father officiating along with Rabbi Talya Weisbard Shalem. Our rings are simple gold bands, the inside of each engraved with two stars. They represent a binary star system, two stars which orbit each other as they make their journey through space. We did something, however, that binary star systems don't: we were making our own separate paths when our attractions caused radical shifts in orbit. And orbit and journey we shall. When we picked up our rings today, we found that our jeweler, Jade Moran, included a poem.
Binary, fixed in spaceWe found each other.
One heart emanates from their
light that travels
November 28th, 2013
November 14th, 2013
|01:24 pm - Don't spill while pouring or the drops will eat through the wood|
alphacygni turned both me and Sonya on to a little thing called Fire Cider, which is one of the most powr'ful liquids I have tasted in recent memory. It's an apple cider vinegar and honey concoction which is touted as a good old-fashioned New England health tonic, which is just fine for me because I'm in New England and I sure like feeling healthy. This is not, however, the reason I've become quite fond of the stuff.
The reason I am happily knocking back drinks made with Fire Cider is because of all the other stuff they put in it, primarly ginger, garlic, horseradish, and habanero. These, too, are good old-fashioned health tonicky things, and when you put them all together in an already-spicy cider vinegar, you get something magical. If you try it on its own, taking the tiniest of sips, you're going to notice that while the spice and heat are intense, it's not a burn. Your palate is not completely stomped on; the stuff tastes quite nice if you're into vinegar.
The heat fades from your mouth quickly because it takes a detour straight to your brain and plays with your endorphins like six-year-olds in a ball pit. It's pretty cool. You take a sip. You blink. Your sinuses clear. You instantly wake the hell up and your brain feels shiny for a bit. Have a bit too much at once and you're reminded of those Looney Tunes where Porky and Daffy go into a saloon and the bad guy makes 'em drink mad hooch which compels 'em to pull their cowboy hats over their heads like bonnets and recite "Mary Had A Little Lamb". It makes you want to go ride all the roller coasters. This. This is why I like it. As I'm currently enjoying a case of cold weather blech, I'm very much liking it.
The stuff goes well in seltzer, preferably plain or with a little citrus to it. It's stronger than soda syrup, so you can't add in heaps like you usually do. The Granny Smith seltzer that Polar sells just for us worked nicely. So did the grapefruit. You can probably also put it in tea, but I don't recommend the licorice mint. We don't talk about that.
The real draw, of course, is discovering which delicious forms of booze go well with it. Fire Cider itself is non-alcoholic but will happily mix with liquor. alphacygni's suggestion was rum, lime, and some simple syrup. I can safely attest that dark rum works well with the stuff, especially if you use honey for your sweetener. You can also mix up a decent bourbon drink with it, too; my current beverage today is a modified hot toddy with bourbon, honey, this Fire Cider stuff, and plenty of hot water. The nice thing about it is that when you're ill, you can have one any time you like. It's medicinal.
I'm also guessing hot buttered rum would play well with the stuff too, but perhaps I should save serious exploration for flu season.
Sonya and I had a few mugs of the stuff the other night and discussed possible slogans for the liquid, which can be cruel indeed without mental preparation. (It can smell fear. I'm pretty sure of it.) Anyway, the best of my lot was "You'll Swear By It After You Swear At It". Clearly it helps inspiration a hundredfold.
November 9th, 2013
|02:51 pm - Trains in time anomalies or just some busted electronic equipment?|
In recent months the MBTA has been updating the little electronic signs what tell you the time and display any audio announcements. Both of these features are very useful. The new features on the Red Line, for example, now also tell you how many more minutes you are going to have to wait until a train comes your way. (Any wait over twenty minutes is optimistically displayed as "20+".) This would also be incredibly useful if it actually worked.
Sometimes it works; other times you just have to take whatever the sign is saying on faith. On the inbound platform at Davis, at least, things is weird. Trains are often listed as due in "1 min" for, say, five minutes. Or ten. Sometimes the ETA will change magically before your eyes to "2 min" while you wait, which means either someone or something is trying to adjust for lost time darnit, or that the train is actually rolling backwards now. I cannot discount it; you cannot put anything past the MBTA at this point.
The display board gives you the ETAs for the next two trains coming your way, which you'd guess would put an end to conductors telling a crowded platform the ol' lie "There's another train right behind us", but it doesn't. (Those wily conductors have been known to actually tell the truth from time to time.)
Happily, the display board can also provide thrilling and gripping display-watching drama on par with anything HBO can give you, only without the violence and sex. (The cussing, however, stays in. Hooray!) Last night Sonya and I watched as the Braintree train, which at this point had been due in 1 minute for fifteen, was nearly lapped by the Ashmont train behind it. The Ashmont's minute countdown was actually working, and we began to take bets on whether the Ashmont train would in fact pass the Braintree train in mid-tunnel, which wasn't likely and we weren't expecting it, or if the Braintree train had just given up and never even left in the first place, which was slightly more plausible.
The Braintree train arrived first and we believe the Ashmont train was helpfully pushing it.
So in conclusion, unless you like staring at ads for products no longer meant for your demographic, there ain't much else to look at on them subway platforms.
October 25th, 2013
|06:39 pm - OH GODDAMMIT COMCAST YOU HAD ONE JOB|
The move is going well. It could be going a lot worse, but right now we've got a place to sleep and a place to eat and a place to keep our stuff, and right now that's what counts. The outside world, however, has some problems.
Earlier this week we had the unhappy realization that we could not transfer my RCN cable account over to the new house. Turns out that while RCN provides service to most all of Somerville, our little street is apparently small enough to be one of the streets which isn't on the "most all" list. I am legitimately upset about that; I have been a satisfied RCN customer for eight years now. I hear some people don't like their television options, but I really never used it except to watch Turner Classic Movies so I didn't mind it. Their cable Internet service has been reliable and, with only a few exceptions of brief spotty service, fast and steady. Sonya used them briefly without complaint when she lived on Winter Hill; their setup was quick and service fine.
It was to my chagrin on Wednesday that I found that Comcast is the cable provider of our little street. I have yet to hear anything good about Comcast. I dislike their Internet policies, I dislike hearing about arbitrary bandwidth caps, and I admired RCN for being one of a small handful of ISPs which didn't roll over and say "Okay, DMCA guys, you can grab whatever information you want from us whenever" when asked a while back. Comcast? On its back, wagging its little paws in the air, waiting for a belly rub from The Man.
However, short of leeching someone else's wireless service, which isn't the nicest thing to do to someone else's bandwidth and we couldn't find any open access points besides, Comcast appears to be the only game in town. So it goes.
On Wednesday we called Comcast and set up service: high-speed Internet and a basic enough cable television package so that we could get TCM. We declined the DVR option; we can do that much more cheaply on our own should we wish. A technician was scheduled to come out Tuesday, and when we said we could at least set up the Internet portion ourselves, the customer rep said he could ship us out a cable modem which would arrive on Friday.
Nothing arrived today. Sonya checked her credit card and saw she had been billed and charged for Internet, Cable TV, and the DVR which we explicitly said no to. Upon calling Comcast, she learned the following Ugly Truths:
Basically Comcast charged us, charged us extra for stuff we specifically refused, and then did nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it wasn't as if they were actively working on things and were just slow at it, no, they had no further plans to make. I don't wanna be the Internet Law Guy who goes "WELL THAT THERE'S TECHNICALLY FRAUD EVEN IF UNINTENTIONAL" because I don't want to go down that road just yet, but good goddamn this is insulting.
- The order for the cable modem never went from Sales to Shipping. It was never sent out. Nobody anywhere acknowledged it. The rep Sonya spoke with today said she could send an order to Shipping now, and it may come by Monday. We got an order number for this; we never received an order number from the guy on Wednesday.
- No technician was ever scheduled to come out Tuesday, and the earliest another one can come out now is November. This may be because Comcast thought "well, they're getting the stuff shipped to 'em, we don't need to send anyone out", which brings us back to #1.
- There was indeed a charge for the DVR, but the rep today said she took it off our service. A refund is supposed to be forthcoming, but there's still been a charge.
However, the second rep did a lot today in an attempt to make good; time will tell if what she did works. I'm really expecting to get the package on Monday only to find, surprise, the service was never switched on at the house. Neither Sonya nor I can afford major lapses in Internet service right now. We have contingency plans, places to go in order to do our work and our communicating which is very helpful, but goddammit I'd really like us to have the damn service at home.
ALSO RCN WHY YOU NO LIKE OUR STREET IS NICE STREET IS SMALL STREET YOU COME OVER BRING SERVICE TO OUR STREET WE WILL PAY YOU MONEY EVERY SINGLE MONTH YES PLEASE
October 23rd, 2013
October 22nd, 2013
|07:50 pm - not much, you?|
Hello, nice people.
I am equal parts amazed, humbled and thrilled to have been offered the role of the Common Man in the Porpentine Players' upcoming production of A Man For All Seasons, going up nearly every weekend this January at the Factory Theatre (sup Rosie).
There is also, of course, The Big Broadcast of 1962 with a Frank Cyrano Byfar Hour reunion (and Amelia Adams starring in A Byfar Christmas Carol) happening this December from the 19th to the 21st at the Regent in Arlington; the AMFAS casting just happened and it's very pleasant news indeed.
October 20th, 2013
|10:20 pm - IN WHICH I SAY "DUDES" AND "LADIES" A LOT|
Where does one buy a good pair of well-fitting, durable, good corduroys which both men and women can wear?
I am serious. Where do these magical unisex corduroy pants exist, and how can we get some?
I'll go back a bit. Sonya and I like wearing corduroy. Who doesn't? Corduroy pants are comfortable; they're pleasing, they come in reassuring dark colors, and they make great sounds when you drag a comb across 'em. I am envious of Sonya's dark green corduroy jacket. It is a lovely jacket which she wears very well and doesn't fit me so I don't ask to wear it. I can't quite say Sonya is envious in return of my corduroy pants, but damned if we haven't discovered another one of those lousy gender disparity things that this country so loves. While shopping for goddamn pants, of all things.
The thing is that I'm a dude, right. And I can walk into a store such as, say, Sears, or LL Bean, or Eddie Bauer (though, honestly, I'd rather walk a mile somewhere else rather than step into Eddie Bauer) and say "HELLO I AM A DUDE WHERE ARE THE PANTS." And off I go to the section with corduroy pants for dudes, and they're in reassuring dark colors, and as long as I accurately remember my waist size this month I'm gonna be fine with whatever I pick out and if not, I either keep the receipt or I use a belt.
But apparently clothing options aren't the same for ladies as they are for dudes. HOLY CRAP WHAT A TOTAL REVELATION WHO KNEW? But when Sonya and I embarked on CORDUROY QUEST 2013 a few weeks back, we ended up on a sartorial adventure which ended with me down a hunnerd bucks and Sonya fuming at the entire fashion industry.
The nice places like LL Bean and Land's End what make nice corduroy pants for men also make corduroy pants for women. That is nice. What is not nice, however, is that LL Bean and Land's End make corduroy pants only for women who like to look all feminine and such. This is why their pants for ladies are offered with capri-style cuffs which look absolutely hideous but promise to give you "slim ankles", and with a little spandex in the waist so it'll stretch and not make the ladies look all fat and ugly and a bad baby birthin' prospect or whatever fear is currently being spread by advertising.
This is not to say that looking all feminine and such is bad. I know many people who look all feminine and such and do a very good job of it; I have never once heard any of them complain about fat ankles in corduroy pants. So, um, there's that.
Again, to contrast: Dude Corduroy Pants: Simple cut, 100% cotton, nice colors. Ladies' Corduroy Pants: Not-simple cuts, always with Spandex added to "give it a touch of stretch", and in colors that range from Golf Course Midway Green to something which could best be described as Unfortunate Baby Spoor. (I believe Land's End calls it "curry". Okay, then: Unfortunate Baby Curry.)
Sonya, however, does not dress overly femme, nor is she given to wearing clothing which looks as if an entire maternity ward has been sick on it. She has a three-piece men's tweed suit in which she looks terrific, but that suit was made long, long ago. Her favorite corduroy pants, made by LL Bean back when they actually had the notion that not all women want to dress alike, are not long for this world. She would like to buy corduroy pants which do not have Spandex, which will not give her slim ankles, and which will come in the darker, muted colors which we both like. But for all we've looked, we can't find anything.
She cannot wear much of the corduroy for dudes, though, because while that would make things much, much easier, it appears to be a simple fact of anatomy that dudes and ladies have differently-shaped hips and the pants cut for dudes are now specifically cut for dude hips. Sonya and I share a lot but we apparently don't share the same size hips, so my dude pants are a no-go. (They're also a few sizes too large, but THAT'S WHAT BELTS ARE FOR)
So what is there to do? Where can one go to buy corduroy pants for women who don't want femme pants? Simple cut, good fit, 100% cotton, and made of good, sturdy corduroy material? (The other thing we noticed while looking through catalogs and stores was that pants for ladies are made much less sturdier than pants for dudes. Because apparently dudes are so manly and rugged they'll wear their corduroy down bare before you know it, doing such manly and rugged things as walking in pants or sitting down at a computer.)
This is an important question and, if a solution is found, will put our minds to ease once we know there's at least one corduroy pants-maker out there who is cool with the idea of ladies who don't want to look like Laura Petrie. I mean, not that Laura Petrie wasn't hot, but I am not in love with Laura Petrie; I am in love with a woman who wants to wear simple corduroy pants.
I've never been much concerned with clothing as long as A. it fits, B. it covers up parts that'd get me arrested in public, and C. it's clean; now I know why. This is stoopid, Barney. This is really, really stoopid.
1. Forethought? Ha! Changing rooms are only to be used in the most dire of circumstances. I can't even begin to explain the neuroses behind this one because I really don't know what they are, only that I break out in a cold sweat when contemplating trying on multiple articles of clothing in a changing room.
2. I will be honest; I have not given much thought to ladies' clothing beyond that which I have had to wear for theatrical pursuits and whatnot. I know how to buy pantyhose that works for baseball mascot costumes (did I ever tell the tale of the Hatfield Hen in this here journal?) and I know that playing a nun so doesn't involve shopping for women's clothes because all you need is a big wimple and a form-hiding robe.
October 15th, 2013
|04:17 pm - OH YES IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN TO EAT A CALZONE FOR RADIO|
ARE YOU HUNGRY TONIGHT?
ARE YOUR PANTS NOT SO TIGHT?
COME TO JUMBO'S, AND EAT A CALZOOOONE
The Post-Meridian Radio Players are holding our Fall Fundraiser today at EAT AT JUMBO'S in BEAUTIFUL BALL SQUARE and if YOU, yes YOU make an order in person, over the phone, or at http://www.eatatjumbos.com/ (other food-ordering websites don't count) from now until 10:00 pm Eastern Standard/Daylight/WHICHONEISIT time, a portion of the money you give Jumbo's for AWESOME FOOD will then be given to the PMRP for AWESOME RADIO SHOWS! I mean, we're putting on Night of the Living Dead for Halloween and there's also the matter of a certain Big Broadcast that'll be going up in December in Arlington. WANNA SEE THEM? WANNA SEE US PUT THEM ON? WELL THEN HAVE SOME DINNER!
Eat at Jumbo's is over on 688 Broadway in Somerville near the bookshop. We like them because they make food for everybody to enjoy whether or not they eat gluten or dairy or other animal things, and they like us because we're awesome. The number is (617)-666-0000 and HOW AWESOME IS THAT KIND OF NUMBER ANYWAY. WHY ARE YOU NOT ORDERING THE CALZONE OF THE BEAST ALREADY GO GO GO
October 14th, 2013
|06:15 pm - With some tomatoes nearby in case the cat decides to ghost mooch|
Sonya went to Lexington this afternoon and, while there, took some pictures of Abbie's cairn and the nearby garden.
October 12th, 2013
|11:47 am - ATTENTION WORKERS IT HAS BEEN  DAYS SINCE JULIAN FELLOWES SAID SOMETHING STUPID|
We've already gone over, in all caps, the brilliance of one Julian Fellowes and his incredibly world-shattering, game-changing plan to write his own screenplay and call it Romeo and Juliet, thus helping modern-day culture lovers understand the impenetrably arcane works of one William Shakespeare, a man who used words enough unlike the words we use in English today so as to be completely incomprehensible. But Why? we ask, throwing our heads back to the sky and gesturing in an appropriately beseeching fashion. Why did this brilliant man look deep within his heart and bestow upon all of mankind the gift of comprehension-circa-2013? Was it out of a newly-gained sense of altruism, developed overnight with the help of three ghosts? Was he bored? Is he just like one of Loki's minions or something, here to sow craziness for its own sake? Why? Why? Why?!
As it turns out, it's because he's a pompous smartier-than-thou. As quoted in the New York Times review of the film (which doesn't quite like it, by the by) our dear Mr. Fellowes loads, aims, then shoots his mouth off:
Speaking with the BBC, Mr. Fellowes ("Downton Abbey") has waved away criticisms of his alterations because "to see the original in its absolutely unchanged form, you require a kind of Shakespearean scholarship and you need to understand the language and analyze it and so on." With tongue presumably in cheek or perhaps just a foot deep in mouth, he added that he could do this kind of heavy interpretive lifting "because I had a very expensive education — I went to Cambridge." Recognizing that not everyone enjoys such advantages, he said, "There are plenty of perfectly intelligent people out there who have not been trained in Shakespeare’s language choices."He's a modern-day Prometheus, he is--or, for those of you without the benefit of an Oxford education, "that guy who made fire and pissed Zeus off or something". However, after discussing this AT GREAT LENGTH with Sonya, we have determined that Mr. Fellowes is, indeed, half-assing it. He wants to bring Shakespeare to the Great Unwashed Masses What Don't Know From Nothing? He wants to use Our Awesome Zeitgeist to Engage Modern Audiences Or Whatnot? WELL THEN, WE SAID OUT LOUD IN ALL CAPS, WHY THE HELL ISN'T THERE ANY TWERKING IN THIS ROMANCE? A quick stand-around-and-say-"butt"-a-lot conversation ensued, which brought about the following MASTERPIECE OF WESTERN CULTURE:
If I profane with my unworthiest hind
This holy shrine, a gentle fine should work:
My cheeks, two blushing pilgrims, sweet and kind
To smooth that rough touch with a tender twerk.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hind too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this:
For saints have butts that pilgrims' butts do touch
And cheek to cheek is holy twerker's kiss.
(Then, of course, to finish it off)
You twerk by the book.
And that's the end of this post!
(We're off to watch twelve hours of movies otherwise this post would have ended proper. Sonya, commandeering the keyboard for a moment, points out the following:
DON'T WORRY IT ALL WORKS OUT IN THE END.)
September 13th, 2013
|03:05 am - Them bits and those pieces|
000. I was reading selections from the Digital Comics Museum and, because I was bored, decided to screencap and post fun panels to a Tumblr, which as we all know is locked in mortal combat with Twitter over the coveted title of The Internet's Bumper Sticker. My tumblr thing is called Hey Fellers! and it updates 10 times a day more or less depending on how many panels I've thrown into the queue. I've found that Tumblr is only good for two things: When you want to view random shit, or you want to quickly post random shit and don't care bout opening no dialogues. You can also view a metric boatload of panels all at once thanks to Tumblr's magical archive feature and Web2.0 tomfoolery.
Right now I'm reading through a ton of WWII-era Canadian comic books; I highly recommend the Johnny Canuck series of panels I put up on Wednesday. Further on back is Nyoka the Jungle Girl, a startlingly progressive comic because its female protagonist got her own damn self out of peril, and frequently. (Okay, it's not so progressive when it comes to colonial racial attitudes, but one step at a time here.)
Then there's Dizzy Don, a highly-stylized wacky radio comedian character (s'riously?) who trades cornball jokes with his pals Canary and Shirley, and also just happens to keep solving mysteries because he's an Ace Detective to boot. The writing is charmingly stilted but the character design is weird. I'm willing to bet Dizzy Don started life as a gag-a-day type and then got his own amazing detective series. He just keeps grinning, even in the face of some pretty grimdark pre-Comics Code situations, which is off-putting.
The one thing I have learned from all these comic books was that there sure were a whole lot of Fifth Columnists in Canada during World War II, and they all liked to monologue a lot.
001. Tamarind Bay, a really great Indian restaurant in Harvard Square, has closed for good. What's worse, it closed for good in August, way back before Sonya and I had the thought to eat there again. (I believe we last went in June; it was a good place to visit after recovering from an illness.) What's worse worse, they closed because the building they were in changed hands and the new owner doubled the rent, ostensibly because they can't legally just kick a tenant out, yet want something new in that basement space. They forced out a nine-year tenant much-loved by the locals and for what? So far, bupkis.
What's worse worse worse, Tamarind Bay had another location in Brookline that closed in May because its head chef lost his visa. It's a very nasty stroke of luck to happen to a terrific restaurant; both locations closing within a few months' time due to completely unrelated and arbitrary reasons. What's worse worse worse worst is that Tamarind Bay was the only Indian restaurant around that cooked from the region they did and don't ask me which region because I'm totally blanking. They featured such really good dishes as a really amazing yogurt-marinated tandoor chicken which came with no sauce yet tasted incredible, a lemon rice dish I have not found anywhere else, a ground lamb dish named Rara Gosht which put curry together with lamb and did wonderful things to the taste of both, and an eggplant dish which Sonya really enjoyed and that's saying something because eggplant is a vegetable which can be quite difficult to enjoy. Chicken Tikka Masala, the stalwart staple of many an Indian restaurant in America because it's a relatively safe dish for the timid, was nowhere to be found on Tamarind Bay's menu. God damn they were good. I hope the owners re-open in a new location, but losing both restaurants in three months is a harsh blow. I'd be surprised if anyone could just spring right back from that. (I can wait.)
010. What's that? You say you've always wondered if television's Robey, star of TV's Friday the 13th: The Series, ever put out an unironic pop cover of "One Night in Bangkok", then appeared in a video that doesn't so much scream "80s" at you as it uses several Marshall stacks? Gee, are you ever lucky you read this post today. Even with its lack of dwarves and cheesy Chroma-Key effects, this video wins MTV Bingo in a decisive fashion not seen since "Total Eclipse of the Heart". It's clear they had funds enough in the budget for either irony or hairspray and, well, they sure as hell chose, all right.
PROTIP: You may want to save the video for some time when you think the world's making entirely too much sense.
011. And speaking of irony-free stuff from the 1980s, I saw the trailer for the Robocop remake. Golly but do I have a lot to say about it and I will pretty soon.
pre-emptive tl;dr It stinks!
September 3rd, 2013
|05:14 pm - IN MY NEXT FILM LEAR GOES FOR A STROLL WHILE GONERIL AND REGAN DISCUSS FEMINIST THEORY IN ALLEGORY|
HELLO BOYS AND GIRLS THIS IS NOT DERSPATCHEL TODAY THIS IS AWARD-WINNING WRITER, TV MAKER, AND BIG SMARTY MAN JULIAN FELLOWES
DERSPATCHEL HAS KINDLY GIVEN ME SPACE ON THIS COMPUTER TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF GREAT IMPORT SO PLEASE PARDON THE CAPS AS I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON SEASON 6 OF DOWNTON ABBEY WHICH IS SET TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS INTO THE FUTURE WHERE LOWER-CASE LETTERS HAVE BEEN ABOLISHED
SO TODAY I WISH TO THROW MY HAT INTO THE SHAKESPEARE MOVIE-MAKING RING AND I HEAR IT'S NOT DIFFICULT I MEAN ALL YOU DO IS GET SOME PEOPLE TOGETHER AND PUT COSTUMES ON THEM AND MAKE THEM SAY STUFF THIS GUY WROTE OVER THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. WELL THAT'S SIMPLE ENOUGH, I THROW PEOPLE TOGETHER AND PUT COSTUMES ON THEM AND MAKE THEM SAY STUFF ALL THE TIME, I'VE GOT THIS
BUT IT WOULDN'T BE AN EXTRA-SPECIAL JULIAN FELLOWES PRODUCTION WITHOUT TAKING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE GENRE AND TURNING THEM ON THEIR EAR, UNLESS THE CONVENTIONS INVOLVE EAR BALANCING WHICH IN THIS PLAY I AM HAPPY TO SAY THEY DO NOT
SO I AM ANNOUNCING MY NEW MOVIE WILL BE A TERRIFIC ADAPTATION OF MACBETH WHEREIN MACKERS AND THE MISSUS ACTUALLY MOVE AT THEIR OWN SPEED IN A DIFFERENT TIMELINE THAN THE REST OF THE CAST. THIS OF COURSE CAUSES ALL KINDS OF NEW CONFLICTS THAT MUSTY OLD BARD HADN'T EVEN THOUGHT OF, SUCH AS THE FACT THAT BANQUO NOW IS SO HARD TO KILL HE SHOWS UP AT THE FEAST BEFORE HIS GHOST
NOW THAT I THINK OF IT BANQUO IS A PRETTY TERRIBLE NAME, LET'S GO FOR THE UNDERGROUND CRED AND NAME HIM BANKSY FOR THIS
ALSO THE MISSUS DOESN'T DIE STRAIGHT AWAY INSTEAD SHE LINGERS FOR A GOOD EIGHT SCENES WITH A COUGH THAT GRADUALLY SOUNDS LIKE IT MAY BE GETTING WORSE WHILE THE REST OF THE CAST GATHER AROUND HER BEDSIDE LOOKING ALL CONCERNED AND STUFF AND ONE OF THE CHARACTERS I HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT WHO YET WILL SAY "IF ONLY THE MEDICAL SCIENCES WERE AS ADVANCED AS THEY ARE TODAY AND/OR IF PEOPLE'S ATTITUDES TOWARDS CERTAIN BODY PARTS AND BODILY FUNCTIONS WERE MORE PROGRESSIVE, WE MAY HAVE HAD A SHOT AT SAVING HER"
THIS IS KNOWN IN MY SMARTY CIRCLES (I RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES WITH REAL SMART PEOPLE) AS BEING "DARK AND EDGY" AND BOY IT'S HIGH TIME SOMEONE CLOBBERED MACBETH WITH THE "DARK AND EDGY" STICK CAUSE EVERYBODY KNOWS THE STORY OF A COUPLE USURPING THE THRONE OF SCOTLAND AND THEN FEELING PRETTY TERRIBLE ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS SURE IS ONE HECK OF A LAUGH-A-MINUTE ROMANTIC COMEDY
SHUT UP I'M TOTALLY DOING THIS
THAT KIND OF TALK WON'T BRING MATTHEW BACK YOU LOUTS
THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS FINISHED
AND NO M'LADY WON'T SLEEPWALK AROUND THE CASTLE NAKED, WHO DO YOU THINK I AM, ROMAN POLANSKI
August 6th, 2013
The cat's, like, getting eulogized around.
MetaFilter had a thread for him. Universal Hub, ever ahead of the local trend, wrote about him after the first scare. The comments section there has garnered the dubious distinction of being one of the longest-running threads without a troll. A cat site featured a history of Abbie and his writing which makes me a bit proud. Yeah, dude was oldschool. And an artist I've never met drew a tribute to Abbie the Cat; he inspired her to draw her own cat comic. He seems to have been a good influence, which gladdens me remarkably. I love it when people are inspired to create good things. I'm honored that Abbie went and did some inspiring.
August 5th, 2013
|03:33 am - I hear hippos are very, very big on Broadway|
It has been an interesting week or so for obscure and misunderstood films. To help keep from falling completely apart in the wake of Everything What Has Been Going On, Sonya and I have turned as we often do to film for escapism. (Sonya received an especially nice care package from handful_ofdust chock-full of DVDs, even.) Currently we're playing that game where we share weird films the other hasn't seen before but ought to. Sonya's mother has even played along; she was amazed that I had come thirty-eight years in life without seeing John Astin in Evil Roy Slade, and once I saw it I was amazed too. I'd also never seen My Favorite Year for all I'd heard about it, and it was absolutely fantastic. Mark Linn-Baker got typecast as Cousin Larry way too soon. Finally, Sonya showed me Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which turns out to be a fantastic portrayal of seafaring life much like Captains Courageous, only with Napoleonic-era warships in the South Pacific rather than whaling ships on the Grand Banks. That right there is a completely misunderstood movie, released too soon after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Audiences unfamiliar with the Master and Commander book series went in expecting Johnny Depp and Captain Barbossa, only to watch a cabin boy have his arm amputated twenty minutes in.
So I guess now it's my turn, and I was very happy to make this discovery: Someone has seen fit to screw copyright and put up the full cut of Cats Don't Dance on YouTube, and for that I thank them. Sonya had never seen it before and I had seen it only once many moons ago when I had HBO, so naturally we had to watch it tonight. It is a fantastic animated musical which had the misfortune of being finished at a time when its parent company, Turner Feature Animation, had just merged with Time-Warner and the resulting offspring didn't want to have anything to do with previously-developed projects. That's Hollywood. Warner Bros released the film in March of 1997 with virtually no marketing, it made back one-tenth of its budget in its domestic release, appeared on VHS five months later and disappeared even quicker; and the only time it's been released on DVD in widescreen was in 2008. For Germany. And Belgium. And Luxembourg.
( I don't know. Maybe they really like dancing cats in Luxembourg.Collapse )
July 27th, 2013
|03:53 am - Two Elizabethan Hipsters Discuss the Popular Culture of the Day|
Inspired by a comment from MetaFilter user Shepherd
Act I, Scene 3
[Enter CHINBEARD and FEDORO.]
Here be our favorite house for ale and song.
I know it well, Fedoro. Why proclaim
Our whereabouts like thus?
I'm not quite sure.
Come, let us sit a while here and speak
Of the tragedy this afternoon which so
Moved us to mockery, hence our removal here.
A tragedy t'was billed, and so it was,
But for whom I cannot say.
Why, us, i'faith.
The players didst not suffer half as much
As we who stood through painful dialogue.
Methought the players plied their craft with skill.
Aye, skill they had, but hamper'd by a tale
So incomplete in telling, that a man
Couldst drive a team of oxen through the holes
Left unfill'd by its deficiencies.
Hast thou an example?
I have but four or six.
On which shall we dwell first?
Pray, choose but one.
As you like: The ending suffered from
Contrivances, devices and conceits
So that the climax, which should be as sad
As Orpheus' lament, instead becomes
Predictable. In fact, were it a group
Of tortoises, thou shouldst see them approach
From leagues away. 'Tis indisputable.
Speakest thou of inept Friar John?
Of tasks he had but one, and yet he failed
In sole capacity as messenger.
Though John may be conveniently a goat
My complaint lies chiefly in the family tomb
Where all misunderstanding doth occur.
'Tis my belief if all involved had just
Sat down as one and talked it out, Fedoro,
Then the scenes of horror which came next
Would not be necessary, or even possible.
I pray thy point reveals itself anon.
In all due time! Now then, here's Romeo.
E'en without the note from useless John
Wouldst thou not think he might have held a hope
That his love was still alive, though dead asleep?
Whyfore, then, did he not perchance to search
For further signs of life from Juliet?
Was no physician found? Where be her nurse?
I cannot claim to understand this pap.
Nor I, Chinbeard; my mind's a Dervish dance,
Fill'd with questions gone unanswered yet.
No reply shall we get from the man
Who, inkwell dry and eager to retire,
Decideth that his work be good enough
To claim that these two deaths were fixed by Fate,
When "star-cross'd" lovers both should share the blame.
O not again! That chestnut hath been done
Three score times o'er, and each one just the same.
Thou shalt be interested to know that I
Hath compiled a list, in full, of every play
Which hath used this trope.
Pray, call it something else.
The word means little to me, it is a rude cipher.
Be it so. Let us call a trope cliche.
That is acceptable; for it is known to all
That wordly repetition pleases Gauls.
Had I the gall to write the words this hack
Allows to be unleash'd upon the stage,
I should be hung in effigy and burned.
Thinkest thou that goes a bit too far?
It may be so, but hear me out: I fear
That should this author be allowed to write
More of the same as he has writ before,
His plays shall grow as tulips every Spring;
Well expected, smelling all the same.
That's still no reason for an effigy.
Thou art right. I spoke that word in haste.
But mark my words: This drama hath no legs.
It will run but half a fortnight then be gone,
Deservedly forgotten and unpraised.
Your criticism hath a cynic's tone.
[Aside] None but a cook can tell the stew needs salt;
His cynicism rivals only mine.
Come, gentle Chinbeard, think of something kind.
Hath this play no single quality
Which upheld could prove artistic worth?
Fedoro, it be not worthe a rusted bodkin.
[Exeunt, pursued by a fixie.]
July 24th, 2013
|04:58 am - Cat funeral at midnight|
We buried him tonight in Lexington.
The vet visit was brief. Dr. Jake arrived around 8:30 pm, gave me a waiver to sign certifying I was the owner of the cat and that I authorized the procedure, and explained to those assembled--Tracy, Nurit, Sonya and Tricia--what he had recently told me over the phone. The first shot is a sedative and anxiety reducer, which would put him in an endorphic dream state. The second shot, administered five minutes later, would quietly send him off. Dr. Jake gave us time to say goodbye before the shots, but we've been saying goodbye to him all week.
I held him on my lap, cradling his head in one hand and stroking his fur with another. His skin had become cold to the touch an hour or two before. His breathing had become more and more labored, and Sonya sat beside me and placed a reassuring hand on his chest. Tracy had thoughtfully combed Abbie so he looked sleek and good one last time. I wailed at the first shot; I wailed louder at the second. That was the point of no return. You can be in denial all you want, you can still hold out the smallest hope in your heart that maybe just maybe he'll perk up and this whole silly cancer thing was just one big joke ha ha got me good there buddy, but once that needle goes in and the tourniquet is released, there are no takebacks.
It mercifully did not take long. I held my best friend in my arms and felt his life slowly ebb away. I told him to go with the Cats who had Gone Before. I knew they were there, emerging from the shadows and the sun, singing him a song of mourning and joy, of welcome and farewell. I sang him his lullaby. He did not know we were there. It didn't matter. I felt his chest rise and fall a few more times, I felt his pulse grow softer and softer, and then he was gone. It was 8:45.
We sat in the living room for a long time like we did with Martha, petting the cat and talking about his life. So many things had already been said, but it was okay to say them again. Dr. Jake helped me take the cat's collar off. I will never part with it. Should I ever need to hear that jingle of tags, should I ever need to remind myself of his presence, I can do that. It is an incredible comfort.
Then we wrapped him up in his carrier towel. In his paws I placed Catnip Frog, which had been a gift from my mother, and the red yarn mouse, a gift from Sonya's mother. Then we wrapped him in a bedsheet shroud, placed it in one half of the cat carrier and took him to Lexington: me, sovay, and ratatosk. hermitgeecko arrived several minutes later with an incredibly useful flashlight. Together, we represented four of the six or seven most important people in his life. It mattered so much to me that they would be the ones to help me lay him to rest. We may not have had enough for a kitty minyan, but Abbie was a Foodatarian anyway and besides he always was wary with a crowd.
We had planned on burying Abbie under Rosabella, a flowering dogwood tree Sonya had planted as a child and which she cherishes dearly. Rosabella, however, offered no reasonable spot for us to dig. She has low-hanging branches and I really did not want to injure her roots with our shoveling. Instead, we moved further back in Sonya's yard to a tall pussy willow, grown from a sprig of the tallest pussy willow in the state of Maine. We marked out a grave in the grass between the pussy willow and Sonya's family radio telescope. (What, didn't you have one in your backyard growing up?)
Digging a grave is a difficult, grubby, back-aggravating, blister-inducing, yet extremely personal and intimate job. Digging a grave at midnight is especially difficult because the sounds of metal on rocks could bother the neighbors, and you really don't want to have to explain to the nice police officers why you're out digging a shallow grave in someone's backyard in the middle of the night. We could have done it in daylight tomorrow, but Sonya and Tracy both felt a sense of urgency to finish this story that started two Saturdays ago. We also had no place to keep him overnight--in the words of Oscar Hammerstein, "it's summer and we're running out of ice."
All four of us took turns in shifts digging, holding flashlights when we weren't taking a turn at the shovels. The topsoil came out very easily, but the ground underneath was full of rocks the size of footballs. Either kind. The glacier that came through New England sure was generous with the granite. We spent more time digging and scraping and removing the large stones than we did actually moving dirt. The stones were put aside for the cairn we would build when we were done.
Finally, after levelling out a decently deep spot, we went back to the car to retrieve the cat. As I pulled the cat carrier-bier out of the car, Sonya asked me if I wanted a hand. No, I said. I need to do this myself.
Took two steps and looked down at the sheet-shrouded lump which had once been the greatest cat in the world. And I cried the rest of the way to the gravesite. These things, see, hit you in stages. Perspective whups you upside the head and you suddenly have an Awful Realization about what you're doing. I'd been whupped: I am now going to bury my cat. It will be a few weeks yet, I think, before I get whupped again and realize he is well and truly gone.
We placed Abbie the Cat in the hole we had made just for him. I sang his lullaby to him one more time. sovay remembered how he'd once wanted a piece of her chicken caesar wrap so badly that she acquiesced and gave him a nibble, which he promptly threw up--and then asked for more. Carolyn told the story of the time she'd playfully placed a chip clip on the side of his mane, which promptly caused him to throw up. (She then turned to me and gleefully exclaimed, "I've hacked your cat's firmware!") I am not sure why so many legendary stories about cats involve prompt vomiting, but there you go.
Sonya, Carolyn and I each tossed a symbolic handful of dirt into the grave, then I took a shovel and began to fill it. I needed to take the first round of shovelling, just like I needed to carry him over by myself. He was my cat; I was his guy. Sonya softly sang the same low, sweet song she had sung the previous Monday when we first thought Abbie was on his way out. I tamped down the dirt with the shovel, cringed at the clanging sound, and stepped into the grave to tamp it down with my feet. I looked down at the dirt and assured Abbie that even though I may have threatened it in the past, this was not dancing.
ratatosk took over the filling duties after a while, and once the dirt was mostly replaced we took all the stones removed from the dig and built the cairn. Since Lexington has coyotes, it was practical as well as symbolic. The cairn looks to be the best you can build in the middle of the night. Some day soon we may have a daylight memorial for the fellow, and possibly make a proper headstone. He was a Good Cat.
The toughest part is over. There is a deep feeling of relief hidden among the profound sadness and desolation. I no longer have to worry about Abbie and how long he might last in such a sad, painful condition. I no longer have to check on him, to hold him, to look in his big soft kitten eyes and see a friend yearning to let go. On the other hand, I will never again get to check on him, to hold him, to look in his big soft kitten eyes and see a friend. To paraphrase George C. Tilyou, I had troubles yesterday which I do not have today; I have troubles today which I did not have yesterday. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
There is a palpable emptiness in the house now, but there is also peace. This is how it happens.
July 23rd, 2013
|09:22 pm - In Memoriam|April 30, 1997 - July 23, 2013He was a Good Cat.
|06:58 pm - It is time to say goodbye.|
After a day of upsetting deterioration, Abbie is fading rapidly now. He breathes open-mouthed with tongue out, his abdominal muscles heave to get any kind of breath in and out, his eyes won't constrict in the light and he is barely responsive enough to move away when he feels like you don't need to see him like this anymore. This is no life for a cat. We are letting him have his time in the living room right now with nobody watching--please, cat, please please please let go, go to sleep, join the song, we love you--but the travelling veterinarian is due in ninety minutes.
It is time.
July 21st, 2013
|01:09 am - Worst-case scenario realized.|
After the scare on Monday there was a week of sad quiet, of a cat just lying around the house and people wondering how to help him best. Then Abbie had an ultrasound appointment on Friday which brought everything crashing down.
The results were the worst we could fear for: Pancreatic cancer which has spread to his chest. They didn't even need to suggest a biopsy; the masses were large enough in the ultrasound. Life expectancy was quoted in the weeks-to-months range. It's terminal.
We have treatment options, but they're all invasive. I'm not about to put a 16-year-old cat through surgery or chemotherapy. At least when people get chemo, they are told what they're going through and what will happen. The cat, he won't know what the hell, and he is suffering enough. Also, I am not about to drop thousands of dollars just so the cat can live to suffer for a few more days, weeks, whatever. I have decided to instead see him through the last of his days and make sure he is as comfortable and as peaceful as he can be.
So it has come to pass that our house has turned into a Cat Hospice. (It's true; it says so on the living room door.) There's a floor AC unit to keep him cool and he's got his favorite box and two bowls of water and if I knew where he'd put Catnip Frog last, I'd go get it for him. He is eating dollops of baby food sporadically; I can get him to take one or two spoonfuls before he decides it's time to go lie down somewhere else. But he's not eating enough. This ritual occurs twice, maybe three times a day. He's drinking water, and I've got unflavored Pedialyte but we haven't tried that yet.
He lapses. Some times he licks my hand when I pet him and he meows in greeting; other times he just lays out on the floor and quietly acknowledges the possible existence of other lifeforms around. Today I felt especially terrible because I'd picked him up and moved him to the cooler room and when I knelt down to let him go, he poured out of my arms and landed splat on the floor. He didn't bounce back. He always bounces back.
I don't mind telling you I am completely overwhelmed and exhausted to the point of despondency. (Or is that despondent to the point of exhaustion?) There's so much to do in the next month and change: Find a new apartment with Sonya and wonder how the hell we're going to pay for it; prepare my rooms here for people to see; prepare to move for September which means putting all my worldly possessions in boxes and spending money for professional movers since I am never ever ever moving again without a car; settle into the new place and deal however with the cat (how am I going to move a terminally ill cat?!) Plus I've got 40 pages of radio script to write for the beginning of August, not to mention revising two other scripts and giving notes on others. And all I want to do is go to sleep or engage in activities which require as little energy and conflict as possible. I'm beginning to think it impossible. This is one of those terrible cases in life where if there were only one of these Particular Situations going on you could handle it reasonably well, but when they all come crashing down together, you crumple. Today, tomorrow, for days after, I am aluminum foil.