(sorry for the lack of narrative in this post–it’s a good reflection of the inside of my brain right now)

The theme song sound for 60 Minutes always bums me out. For decades now, that ticking clock has signaled the end of the weekend. Doesn’t matter if I hear it on a Wednesday afternoon or a Friday night. It’s Pavlovian.

There’s a certain someone from a far away place who is interested in being my pen pal. Here, check out the email I just received:

Hello! What is your name? At supervision of your structure I very much have become interested in you. My name is Anna. If you want with me to communicate then write to me. If you write to me do not forget to specify yours e-mail of the address that I could answer to you.

Quit checking out my structure, “Anna.”

In May, I’ll be able to check another state off my list when I spend a week and a half in Omaha for the Great Plains Theatre Conference. The Singularity will receive a reading and talkback, and I’ll get to spend some time just being a playwright around other people who are doing the same (many of whom probably get to just be a playwright more often than I).

monstrous breasts
Said by me in my kitchen last week, “Wow, look at the size of these breasts. All three of them are HUGE.” James didn’t know what to say as I jiggled them in his face.

The question I have is: What the fuck are they feeding these chickens? Has anyone else noticed how large chicken breasts have been lately? This is across brands, from organic to extra-pesticidey. I’m used to getting packages with four “regular” size breasts–solid B or C cup–but lately I’ve been getting more like two or three DDs. Unless these chickens are also working their legs, I’m not sure how they have the strength to carry their upper bodies around all day.


Monday dump

some of the ingredients for last night’s stir fry – it was so colorful, I had to stop and take a picture – now my phone smells like garlic

  • When we go to California on vacation, one of the ways we offset being in an expensive part of the country is by preparing some of our meals instead of eating out the whole time. We always go to Trader Joe’s to get inexpensive food and–more importantly–inexpensive wine. I’m excited that TJ is opening stores in Texas. The first Houston-area store opened in the Woodlands last month, and two more (actually in Houston) will open before the end of the year. We went to the Woodlands location this weekend and weren’t disappointed. In fact, for the hour or so we spent in the store, I felt like we were on vacation. Then we walked outside, and I remembered where I was.
  • I follow a lot of tiny house blogs. You often see the same houses (literally the same photos) over and over, from blog to blog. Which is fine. What’s not fine is that one blog, Tiny House Swoon, has decided to charge 49 cents for you to view their posts. Now, if these folks were searching out the houses and taking the photos themselves, no problem. But they’re just posting things they’re finding on the internet. Needless to say, I unsubscribed.
  • While showering this morning I was thinking that if I were to open an Italian restaurant, I’d call it Manipesto. (some people sing in the shower, some people come up with stupid names for shit) Figured I wasn’t the first person to put that word together, and google confirmed it.
  • A short play I wrote a few years ago–Militia Slumber Party, or Embracing the New World Order–will be produced by Revolution Theatre Company in the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Festival next month. Revolution Theatre is an awesome repeat customer–this is the third time they’ve produced my work for this festival. If you’re in Chicago, you should check it out. The festival goes for 72 hours straight. I’ve always wondered what kind of stuff is happening in those overnight slots. Because the audience is bound to be drunk. Or over-caffeinated.
  • Got up to pee in the middle of the night. (note to self: quit drinking 20 ounces of water before going to bed) Guess I was half-asleep (and hunched over) because I ran face-first into the wall. Hoping this isn’t emblematic of the kind of week that’s ahead.

cunning folk

Wanted to knock out a quick post before my friend Lisa comes over for dinner. She’s in town from New Haven, which always makes me think of witches. I guess the “haven” part gets transmogrified in my brain to coven or something. It also seems like a place where Stephen King would set a story about a professor who finds a severed head in his bathroom cabinet that helps him write his lectures. Until it eats his face in his sleep. (Be back momentarily…going to google. Witches, not Stephen King.)

Actually, there were witches hanged and otherwise dispatched in New Haven. So maybe some dim, distant memory from high school history still resides in a part of my brain that the wine hasn’t gotten to yet. While off on a tangent reading about witches, I ran across a wiki page for cunning folk, men or women who practice the magic arts. Though I don’t truck with magic, I would sort of like to be known as a cunning folk. Just make sure you spell it right.

I’m always trolling websites about small houses, living off the grid, etc.. Today, thanks to my friend Reddit, I found this great (and exhaustive) collection of photos chronicling a couple’s redo of a small camper. As I looked at their smiling faces, all I could think about was what those photos would look like if James and I were doing that project. We tend to have…different approaches to getting shit done, so it’s doubtful that we would be as merry as these folks (who, I realize, might have used their editorial discretion when choosing photos). It would be more like, you’d see one of us working alone while the other was kicking something in the background, obviously yelling profanities. But, hey, we always end up getting it done.

I’m out. Lisa’s here, and it’s sort of rude to be typing when I should be making dinner.


Thursday list (courtesy of Reddit)

Sometimes in the morning I like to poke around on Reddit instead of reading about how fucked up the world is on all the various news sites. Reddit shows you how fucked up things are too, but there’s usually a good dose of humor to make it go down easier. Here are a few of the gems that I enjoyed the past couple of days. Thanks, Reddit.

  • From a thread asking “what’s the most fucked up game your friends play” comes a game that is pretty funny, even to my old lady sensibilities:In a big group of friends, one person would put their finger to their ear (like a secret service agent) and as the rest of the group noticed they would do the same. When there was one person left without their finger to their ear, everyone would scream “GET DOWN MR. PRSIDENT” and tackle them. On pavement, gravel, whatever. There were some injuries.”
  • Wonder how much time this took? Did they consider any other five-letter words? Booby? Dooky? Titty?
  • At least the view is nice.
  • There’s a KISS tribute band made up of little people. (If you click on the link, be warned that music starts playing immediately.) Upon further investigation, it seems there are TWO mini-people KISS tribute bands. And they are feuding.
  • Stella does this when I’m taking a bath and forgot to let her in the bathroom.
  • Stock photography tells a story. (Funny thing about this is I’m playing BINGO tonight with my coworkers.)
  • I can’t say why exactly, but I find this extremely funny. I look up pronunciations all the time, and his delivery is spot on. Here and here are a couple more. If you find any of these funny, go to his page, click the first video that comes up and just let the pronunciations play. I’ve been driving my coworkers crazy with this one.

open letter

Dear Man Jogging Down I-10 Around 7PM Tonight During Heavy Traffic,

I saw you for the first time a couple of hours ago on my way home from work. I was driving my car on the freeway when something caught my eye. It was something that moved unlike a car. A bit of whimsy in the midst of smog-inducing, butt-numbing traffic. It was you, jogging down the shoulder of the freeway as if you had been loosed upon the tundra after a period of confinement.

You were in my sights for no more than a moment or two, yet I still took in the details of your being. You were wearing a white shirt, black shorts and exercise shoes of some flavor. Your clothes were snug, as if you wanted nothing to slow you down. You had good form and appeared to move quickly, though not as quickly as I was, even in traffic, sitting on my ass in my car, listening to music, looking at you. I wonder how many other drivers almost popped their necks, jerking their heads to look to the right. At you, jogging down the shoulder of the freeway as if you were on the first leg of a short run.

There exists the possibility that your car broke down and you’d forgotten your cellphone, so you were forced to let your feet do the jogging. But you weren’t in work attire (unless you work as a model for bike shorts). And you weren’t moving like someone who had the misfortune to break down on the freeway. Granted, I’ve never seen anyone jogging away from their abandoned car, but I would imagine there would be a resigned hunch in their shoulders, a “why me” sort of gait. But you, you were jogging down the shoulder of the freeway as if you were in the midst of an urban workout that requires adrenaline and a death wish. Or as if you were running from zombies–a cautionary tale for the rest of us. No, I know what it was.

You were jogging down the shoulder of the freeway the way I would jog to a wine and puppy party.

Whatever your destination and whatever your reason(s), I hope you made it where you were going. Thanks for making the drive home more…confusing.

planning ahead

When I finally have that nervous breakdown that I’ve been saving up for all these years, I’d like to be taken to a place like this while I convalesce (though I’d prefer a fluffier couch). This little hobbit house looks like a great spot to read a book, take a nap and get one’s general shit together. I’m reminded of something Dennis once said about needing to take a break from his very busy and stressful life. He said he’d like to be committed, only for a week or two, so he could do crafts and stare out the window onto the lawn of the “home” and just be quiet for a little while. Maybe that’s why people used to be committed back in the day. It was really  just a vacation from dying of consumption or having 12 kids and no air conditioning.

When you have time to kill (and an internet connection), check out Have you seen this?!. I tend to skip the cat videos but have found other things of interest. Like this video of a guy skiing (link updated) through his neighborhood. Literally. All I do is walk through my neighborhood, sometimes to that exact song. No one videotapes me doing it, though. I hope.

When you want to bake something sweet for the holidays, I recommend these ginger cookies with the following changes (all of which were gathered from reading a large number of the comments on the recipe). Replace the water with an equal amount of orange juice. Use butter instead of margarine. Chill the dough for an hour before shaping it into balls and placing on a cookie sheet. Leave at least a couple of inches between each slightly flattened ball because the dough spreads out like a mofo. Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar instead of white. I’m not much of a baker, but I had good luck with this recipe.

When I take my next road trip out west, I hope to stop by Antelope Canyon, AZ for a look-see. For a state with a lot of backwards thinking, there sure is a lot of breathtaking beauty and rampant reminders of the passage of time/power of nature.

When The Walking Dead returns in February, I really hope that Shane (the bad cop) is killed off. Not because he’s gone crazy and is now probably evil but because the guy playing him is a horrible actor.

a slightly different way to go green

a new option in mudflaps

At the airport about a month ago, while waiting for a small, propeller-powered plane to bring me back to Houston, I met a young woman who cut a tough swagger. Covered in tattoos. Face, neck, arms, legs. Probably other places. And she had that “don’t fuck with me” look on her face. So I didn’t.

An unsupervised little girl ran up to her and said something about her tattoos. Her tough demeanor cracked a bit as she chatted with the girl, who eventually ran off. She said, “Kids are so honest. They always ask me about this stuff while other people just stare.” We started to have a conversation.

She mentioned that she’d graduated from trucker school earlier that day and was heading to Houston to visit with her son before going on the road. She wasn’t sure yet what her route would be or what she’d be hauling. Until meeting this woman, I didn’t realize how many pent up questions I have about the truck drivin’ life.

I guess it’s the open road thing. There’s a certain romanticism about it. Long haul truckers see America. They travel through different seasons in the same day. They eat at funky places along the interstate full of other people from elsewhere, everybody moving moving moving and all on a schedule. They spend most of their time alone, and I’ll bet they think some weird thoughts. There are long stretches of road – like I-10 once you get out in west Texas, where the speed limit is 80 and it looks like you’re on another planet – that lend themselves to reflection, imagination and, probably, paranoia.

We’ve made huge leaps forward in so many areas of our lives in the past decade, but someone still has to physically haul all that cheap shit from China that you buy at Walmart. And bring food from ports around the country because we don’t grow our own and we want to have apples in February. So, while blue collar jobs that pay a living wage are disappearing by the bushel, truckers are still in demand. A hold out, at least until teleportation is mastered.

None of this is the interesting part of this story. The newly-minted trucker told me that one of the last lessons she learned in truck driving school was not to put anything green on her truck. It seems that something green, say, tied to the antenna, is a sign to truck stop hookers to come calling. Not having green on the truck doesn’t get you off the hook, necessarily. The students were told that if they were approached by a prostitute whose services they were not interested in, they should politely decline. Otherwise they might wake up with a slashed tire or two. In addition to truckers, I don’t know much about prostitutes. But I would wager that the ones who service truck stops are probably some tough mofos.

Next time you find yourself at a truck stop in the evening time, take a gander at the trucks. See who’s sporting the green. If this cab’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin.

(PS – a quick google for this factoid has not been successful – all I know is that this chick believed it, and I believed her – in my googling I did learn that asking on CB if someone wants “commercial company” is another solicitation tactic) (The More You Know™)

well that was odd

Someone just knocked on the door/rang the bell. We weren’t expecting anyone. I wasn’t wearing a bra. I quickly put one on.

I look through the peep hole. A small, chubby woman or maybe a child has his/her back to the door. I open the door. The dogs are going crazy. It’s a cacophony of barking and a twister of prancing energy behind me. The dogs are ready to eat whoever is standing there. The person turns around when I open the door. It’s a kid. About ten or eleven. Seems frightened of the dogs, so I step outside and shut the door.

He asks, “Do you have a son?”

Uh, no? We don’t have kids.

“Oh. I thought because of the basketball goals…”

No. We play with those.

“Oh. Okay.”

And that was it. He walked back to his bike, which was parked in our driveway, and rode off. He was carrying a white plastic grocery bag with something in it – rocks? pecans? child-sized doses of crack? I don’t know. And I don’t know why I didn’t think to ask him – if we did have a son, what then? Was he going to challenge him to a game of basketball? Would it make sense to challenge the child who lives in a house with not one but two basketball goals? Obviously anyone with two basketball goals in the driveway takes that shit seriously.

Of course, we don’t take it that seriously. We just happen to have two goals in the driveway. I gave James a goal for his birthday a couple of years ago, and we ended up with Mason’s goal from his house. If you are interested in taking the goal that I gave James (Mason’s is much nicer, so we’re keeping that one), let me know. It ain’t fancy, but it gets the job done. Make sure to call first.  We may be busy playing HORSE with a ten or eleven year old chubby boy who doesn’t even live on this block who goes randomly door-to-door looking for someone to play with.

cleaning out my drafts folder

(shaking fist) You killed my shrubbery!

— I’m glad that one of my goals for 2011 wasn’t to write in my blog more often. If it were, I’d be failing horribly. But it wasn’t, so I’m not. This post will be a bit random – I’m cleaning out a couple of posts that were begun and then abandoned because 2011 has been a busy, busy year so far.

— Look at our poor philodendron (above). It is normally about six feet tall and ten feet across, but now it’s a sad, wilted little thing. It froze like this last winter too, so I know that it will come back bigger and better than ever. Until it returns to its former glory, which will probably be May or June, I’ll have to wear clothes when walking by the picture window in the living room. No more shrubbery coverage.

— I was hanging out at a friend’s house the other day and a Rachel Ray cooking show was on. I used to watch the food porn channel pretty regularly but have moved on to other TV pastures the past year or two, so the last time I saw Rachel Ray she was doing that cutesy, schmaltzy, nicknames-for-everything routine. I guess she has a new show now, and she’s so subdued that she almost comes across as depressed. In the episode I saw, she rarely made eye contact with the camera, didn’t smile and seemed disengaged from what she was doing. I didn’t exactly long for the upbeat bullshit, but I did find it sort of disturbing.

Original Works Publishing is translating their playscript catalog into ebook format (including my play) for sale on Amazon. They’re the first play publishing and licensing company to launch its catalog to be read on Kindle and iPad.  In theory, I don’t like e-readers. I love the tactile sensation of reading a book. I love the way the spines complement and contradict each other on my shelves. I love marking my progress through a book not only intellectually and/or emotionally, but also physically as whatever I’m using for a bookmark (receipt, business card, an actual bookmark) moves from beginning to end. I love that when I’m deep into a book, a bomb could go off next to me and I’d barely notice. I love the stack of four or five books I always have next to my bed, ready to be read. None of this do you get from an e-reader.

However, it’s different reading a 10 or 100 page script in that format. I’m used to reading scripts on my computer because that’s where I write my own. So it’s not difficult making the jump. I’ve started buying scripts on Amazon (most are around $5 or $7) and have been pleased to read new plays on demand. If I were to produce one of these plays, of course, I’d buy the script in paper form – you have to be able to make notes and interact with the writing in a way that ebooks don’t allow. But this is a low-commitment way to check out new work (or old work, if that’s your thing) for not much money.

— Hope to get back to regular blogging soon, but I’m not promising anything. I will be announcing a call to action in the fight stupidization campaign pretty soon. Watch this space for details.

there’s a difference between a tap and a knock

Tap Vs. Knock
Yesterday afternoon, Stella the ratdog and I were having a siesta in the living room. While we were lying on the couch – resting but not sleeping – there was a very light tap-tap-tap on the front door. Not a knock. A tap. The dogs immediately sprang into motion, barking like it was the end of the world as they always do when someone’s at the door. Not wanting to open up to friend or foe with a blanket and pillow on the couch (sloth is a sin, after all), I jumped up, grabbed the bed stuff off the couch and tossed it into my office, put on my glasses and went to the door. Maybe 20 seconds had passed. Max.

I looked through the peephole before opening up. No one was there, unless it was a child who was too short for me to see. Not falling for that one, girl scout cookie seller. I went into the kitchen to get a better view of the front, and there was a guy walking up our driveway. White dude in jeans and a white button down who had almost reached the street. Our house is set pretty far back from the road, so he must have turned around immediately after tapping. Didn’t wait a reasonable amount of time for someone to answer. He got into the passenger side of a dirty red work pickup that had a gold logo of sorts on the door. The truck drove off. I opened the front door to see if there was maybe a flier for landscaping services or something. Nothing. I went back inside to discuss all of this with James. Then I saw the truck drive by again. Didn’t see them  stop at any other houses on our street. Creepy.

It’s not a big deal. Maybe the guy did put a business card in the door, and the card blew off before I got to it. Maybe he realized he had the wrong house when he heard dogs barking inside. The thing that bothered me the most about this situation was the tapping. Who taps on someone’s front door? You tap on a hospital door when visiting a friend, wanting to make sure they’re covered before you enter. You tap on your boss’ door before bringing them the Pensky file. You don’t tap on the front door of a house if you want someone to answer.

Perhaps it was the Raven.