Archive for June, 2004


Thursday, June 24th, 2004

I’ve had a problem ever since I was a little kid. Sometimes I get so mad that I actually have a fit. When I was a teenager, these fits would last for two or three minutes, me just clenched fists and curled legs snarling in a corner. When I was a kid, they would last indefinitely. It might even be why one of my teacher’s thought I was epileptic.

But here’s the thing, I was pretty much in control of them. I mean, I have these fits because it feels so much better to have them than to not have them. I’m not epileptic, although it would be awesome to be epileptic because then I could be, y’know, shakespearean and everything.

I took Jordana’s computer in to be fixed. The first place wanted fuckloads of money, so I took it to the Apple store, made an appointment for three hours later, then sat and waited for 45 minutes after the appointment time, making me an hour late for a meeting with Mac. I went back to pick it up today.

They fixed the computer’s plug, and they told me to make sure it was working. I needed an address and phone number anyway, so I tried to load “” only to discover that the N, the Y and the H weren’t working. Good thing I checked, they brought it in the back and fixed it.

I brought it home and now, Jordana says the Shift key doesn’t work.

So, let me get this straight. I got the *PLUG* fixed, and because I only sampled a *lot* of the letters, but didn’t actually try to use *ALL* of them, I didn’t find out what the problem was? A PROBLEM I DIDN”T FUCKING HAVE WHEN I BROUGHT THE MACHINE IN IN THE FIRST PLACE?!!

It’s like bringing a suit in to get it pressed, and getting it back with all the buttons ripped off. No, it isn’t, it’s stupider than that. You can see buttons on a suit getting ripped during normal shit. It’s like getting the plug fixed on your computer and then finding out the buttons on the other side of the computer don’t work. It’s that stupid. It’s fucking stupid beyond comparison.

When Jordana told me, my whole body locked up. I’m too old to do it now the way I used to, my temper tantrums now are just, y’know, this blog. And you see how often I don’t write. But she told me and I managed to walk out of the room before my whole upper body locked up for about thirty seconds. I have little fingernail half moons in my hand and I totally threw my back out.

And maybe that’s what it is. As men, we get older and we just don’t have the flexibility and muscle tone to react the same way we did when we were fifteen. We *feel* all the same ways, we just don’t have the strength to carry out most of our plans.

You know what the apple store should do? They should fix it for free? Yeah, they should. But more than that. Since I had to wait so long, and since carrying around the goddam laptop on the mother fucking subway is such a pain in the ass, they should drive out here to my house and pick up the computer and bring it back to apple and fix it, and quickly, and then they should come back and pay me for the time it took for me to wait in line in their fucking store. Even $25 an hour is fine. By my count, I paid them $105 for the part, but I had a total of four hours of waiting, so they should drive their i-asses out to my house, fix my computer, and give me $95.


Doin’ it well

Friday, June 18th, 2004

There are times, regardless of what I said in my last post, where auditioning feels exactly right. When I went in to read for City Of Angels, I told the music director that I knew the score really well, I just needed to make sure I had the words right, so he let me read over his shoulder. He later told me that he knew I was sight-reading, and that it was such a relief to know he wouldn’t have to drag another idiot actor through a score that hard. That was one of those auditions.

I almost always claim to know the score. For some reason it impresses people better than sight reading, mostly because the director and casting director think you’ve done a ton of research on the role.

Since I’ve been in New York, I’ve done almost nothing but premieres. In fact, now that I think about it, everything I’ve done except for A Soldier’s Play has been the first time anyone’s done these plays. Which is cool.

I went in and auditioned for a new musical two or three days ago, and it’s one of those situations you really don’t dare ask for because it’s just so wonderful. The playwright is great, the music director/composer is great, the hall is really nice and they’re doing the whole thing with no cues, no sets, no costume changes, so the whole mess is just gonna *happen*, us actors doing material that I actually love. When I went in and auditioned, it was like seeing old friends, except that I’ve never met these people before. So, it was perfect, and they just called and officially offered me the role.

The role is that of a spoiled Mayor/CEO who’s not a bad guy but his heart is in the wrong place. He’s obnoxious and larger than life. For those three of you who’ve followed my so-called career over the last four years, it’s Mayor Poppy/ CEO of Buzz Cola and Paul Kelleher’s Boss all roled into one.

I’ve got another show this summer, but rehearsals start about a week after this show closes, so it sorta works out perfectly. On top of that, Gideon Productions had one of the best meetings of our existence last night where we broke down the structure of our new show, coming next year, called “Fleet Week”. It’s a musical featuring the coast guard, the navy, the city of New York, Ed Koch and The Statue of Liberty. Seriously, she’s one of the characters.

If I could make five dollars an hour for the time I spend working on my career, I’d be a millionaire, but in lieu of that, I’ll take rehearsal as payment.


Thursday, June 17th, 2004

I am a huge fan of reality TV.

“Which shows do you like best?” I hear you cry out.

Almost any reality show is fine with me. I like the discovery channel and I like the science channel. And PBS almost always has something awesome on it. My favorite channel though is the food network. I actually find myself really liking or really not liking the hosts of these shows based on…

“Wait a minute, those aren’t reality shows”, you say.

Why aren’t they reality shows?

“Those are just shows about people doing stuff and not playing characters… Okay, wait, I know that sounds exactly like The Amazing Race, but seriously, you know the difference.”

No, I don’t actually.

“I mean, The Swan? The Swan is a reality show”

Right, The Swan is on Fox or something, and MTV has “I Want A Famous Face”, which I guess counts as reality, and then the Science Channel has an *identical* show called “Surgery Success” or something and the Discover/Health channel basically shows nothing but cosmetic surgery.

“What about The Real World? That’s a bullshit reality show.”

Which is identical to “Frontier House” on PBS… You don’t actually know what you’re talking about, do you?

“You’re right, Sean. I’m so frickin stupid. Crap.”

Here’s what I don’t want to see on TV. I don’t want to see the insides of a person. That’s why I can’t handle the surgery shows. It makes me wish I wasn’t watching TV. I don’t want to see famous people doing stuff that they aren’t famous for. So, that cuts out basically everything on the E! Channel, which I wish I could block on my cable box. I’m not a big fan of either special effects or badly written characters suffering for no other reason than to increase “Drama”, so the former cuts out *every* sci-fi thing on TV and the later cuts out almost all night time drama. Even The West Wing is punishing its characters just for living, and I’m not enjoying it.

So, I end up watching almost nothing but documentaries and movies. I don’t watch the prime time reality shows because they have bad writing and characters suffering purely for Drama. American Idol was fun to watch because I watch it with a group of people who know less about music than I do and they hang on my every word, other than that it makes me feel like I’m at an audition, which is the single worst feeling I’ve had other than finding love notes written to my ex-wife by someone else.

Actually, even that had a certain possible vindication involved, auditions are like tooth surgery with no pain killers on teeth that are still healthy.

People say they don’t like reality shows, but there’s something more specific they don’t like. Every reality show has something for someone. I personally like the idea of The Swan, that they would take normal people with unfortunate looks and change their lives by shaping their appearance. There’s something so Jane Goodall about that, mimicking the monkeys to be accepted. I couldn’t watch it because I knew they were gonna put a camera up someone’s nose and that makes me sick, but I still thought it was a cool idea.

The Simple Life? Unless these girls are going down on each other, then it’s celebrities doing stuff they aren’t famous for.

Did you know that on the E! Channel, there is a show called “Celebrities Uncensored”, a show where they broadcast video shot of celebrities trying to be left alone while they walk through airports and leave restaurants? It’s a show that purchases and broadcasts video of famous people being hassled. The Guinness Book Of World Records stopped featuring records that were dangerous or stupid because people had begun to be really unsafe trying to get in to the book, but the E! Channel not only found an outlet for this hideous behavior, it created a culture for these people, the ones who spend their lives provoking famous people and videotaping it, wherein they could become rich themselves.

So, don’t hold your scorn for “Road Rules” or whatever. These people are retarded and they want to be famous and they tried to get on these shows. Think about Sean Penn in “Sweet and Lowdown” or “Dead Man Walking”, think of his talent and ability and the harrowing he went through to make the characters he’s made, and now realize that there is a TV show dedicated to kicking the door open while he’s taking a crap and filming it.

“God, you’re right. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I think I’ll go turn the TV off and read a book… I just love John Grisham, don’t you?”


Friday, June 11th, 2004

When I was twenty, I was cast as the lead in a musical called “No, No, Nannette”, a title that still brings my brother Ian to he knees with laughter and which would probably send my friend Ehren running from the room. Two interesting facts about this musical; One, it gave the world the song “Tea For Two” and Two, it was produced by the guy who owned the Red Sox and in order to produce it he traded away Babe Ruth for cash to the Yankees, thus cursing his baseball team for ever.

At least, I think it was the Red Sox.

Anyway, the show has a lot of tap dancing in it, and for some unknown reason I got the tap lead. The theater where we were doing the show was a 1500 seat proscenium stage with an hydraulic pit and 36 fly lines. It was the most beautiful theater I have ever performed in, easily 120 feet from wing to wing, easily 40 feet from the floor to the proscenium arch, catwalks a hundred feet in the air, and an old hardwood floor which made no noise but had just a touch of give.

I had three or so tap solos, and I really couldn’t do them very well. I was good enough that I understood the language, but I just couldn’t really pull them off. So, every day, at about one, I would go in through the scene shop and talk to the guys building shit in there. From there I could sneak into the dressing rooms and from the dressing rooms I could sneak on to the stage.

I would close my eyes in the dressing room and feel my way to the stage door. Not for drama, although I wasn’t beyond doing shit for drama even when noone was there- I was that kind of twenty year old- but so my eyes would dilate completely. Once I got on the stage, more often than not the only light was from the exit signs that lined the audience, and the drop off the front of the stage was about eight feet. Even worse would be the drop into the pit, about thirty feet when it was down.

If I walked on to the stage with my eyes closed, when I opened them I could see pretty well. I would change in to my tap shoes and start doing the steps, really slowly. For four or five weeks, every day, when everyone else went to lunch and did homework or whatever it is that normal people do, I spent four hours on the stage dancing in almost complete darkness and silence. I only left when I needed dinner.

It’s no wonder I was about 50 pounds lighter then than I am now.

Yesterday there were two moments while watching TV. “Elaine Stritch at The Liberty” was playing on HBO, and she talked about starting rehearsals for “Company”, and I just about lost it. To have been there, then. To have been in that cast, to have been able to be with Sondheim and Hal Prince, to have been there when American musicals were something other than clever and snotty.

And then, on ESPN, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James were being interviewed in a show called “Two On Two”. They were asked who would win if they were all playing in their prime and the answers fell apart into shit talking and goofing around, but then Magic said, “You know what? The game would never end. If the four of us were in here playing the game of basketball, as long as we got food brought in and could sleep every now and then, the game would never end. We’d just keep playing.”

And that’s what it is. Do I want to audition for stuff? No. Do I like the business side of the business? No. But if it was just me and the people I work with in a theater making plays for the rest of my life, if I had enough to eat and could sleep every now and then, I’d never leave. I’d never cook another dinner, I’d never go to another bar, I’d never turn on a TV.

And sometimes it feels like I could do it, I could make a life for myself. I know my eyes are closed, and I know most of the time I’m not even in the dressing room yet, I’m still in the scene shop, but I think I’m feeling my way, and sometimes it feels like I might have found the stage door. And I’m just putting it out there, if given the chance, I won’t leave. If I find the door and I make it inside, I’ll starve before I leave again.

The Abortion Debate

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

Okay, pull up a chair. Talking about the abortion debate is preaching to the choir and it always is, so don’t read any of this. You already made up your mind, there’s no point, but I’m doing this anyway because if there’s anything I hate more than someone stomping on my civil liberties it’s using my time well. If you don’t want to deal with too much ranting, jump straight to point eleven. Try to skip the stuff in bold right above it if you can.

Point One: Sexual release is one of the things we are here on this planet to do. Snack, Nap, Poop, Pee and Procreate, that’s the top of Mazlo’s triangle. Or the bottom. I never remember. Maybe it wasn’t Mazlo. Anyway, for some reason People Who Believe In God want to make these things weird. Pooping, eating and orgasming are the things that feel best in this world, and we’ve tried desperately to attach moral implications to the ways we deal with each of these things. If you take these three ideas you could make an entire career as a stand-up, talking about this stuff as if it were taboo. Because we are all infants.

Point Two: Legislation concerning the above three things is a waste of time. Drug addicts are addicted to drugs because they light up the same part of the brain that the three above things light up. You might think there are people in the world who are controlling their sexual urges, but they are *LYING TO YOU*. They aren’t. Don’t come and tell me you have your shit under control, you’re a fucking liar. You cannot control the sexuality of your constituency. You can’t control your own sexuality. Priests can’t and neither can you.

Point Three: You don’t have to have sex in order to have an orgasm. You don’t have to stop the sexual act in order to keep abortion and overpopulation under control. But unless you are willing to support a *massive* overhaul of the public school system wherein we teach masturbation, oral and digital intercourse techniques, and long exhaustive lessons about the best way of pleasing your partner without intercourse, but you still want people not to have abortions, then you are an ass. If you want to stop abortions, then teach kids as young as twelve about different options you have sexually. Who am I kidding, take a lesson yourself. I can’t believe how many women I’ve been with who think I know something special when I’m just doing the standard stuff. And women have no idea how much fun sex can be because they’ve spent their entire lives with sticks up their collective asses.

Your kids are going to have sex at a younger age than you did. You better start talking, and you better find some options. Telling them not to isn’t going to work.

Point Four: You cannot be a Republican or a Libertarian and be Anti-Choice. You also can’t be a Catholic and Pro-choice. See, these words mean something. It’s very fashionable nowadays to claim you are a libertarian, because people are incredibly stupid and they feel like it’s a clever thing to say. It’s like saying you’re a Republican like George Bush, or a liberal like Clinton. None of these things make sense

Republicans support a smaller government. It’s the lynchpin of their philosophy. Libertarians believe the same only more so. Legislating abortion is a call for larger, more intrusive government.

Point Five: There is much debate about the beginning of life, but if you say it’s the egg dividing, then my mom unwittingly killed six of her children when she miscarried. And your logic does extend that far, she needs to be held responsible for the health of her uterus which, once detected, was fixed and she was able to have three children after the miscarriages. (She could have found out before the miscarriages, not doing so was just lazy, right? I mean, certainly lazier than the four minute mistake you make when you say “I just want to feel you inside me, just for a second” when you’re sixteen.)

Or was that God’s choice? Those six “babies” who “died” as “multicellular non-cognitive growths”. Because if it was, then the miracle of her last three children was directly in opposition to God, which means my life was begun in direct opposition to your God. I can live with that.

Point Six: If you were pro-choice when you were in your twenties, but now that you are married with children you are pro-life, I have news for you. You’re still pro-choice. There is a difference between being pro-choice and being a person who has abortions. You changed your mind. This is America, for the love of God, and that is what being Pro-Choice is. It is retaining the right to do what you want with your mind and body.

Point Seven: The quote “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion is already born”, which has been attributed to Ronald Reagan, should be followed with, “I’ve noticed that every man who is anti-choice has no possibility of being pregnant.” Jesus, the circular logic of the hopeless mystic. People who say, “there must be a creator, or we wouldn’t be here to even ask the question…” make me want to cancel my subscription.

People who are born to parents that hate them and abuse them and grow up to be serial rapists can be put to death by the state, but if a woman gets pregnant, she can’t say “Man, I already hate having this kid, I want to just stop this before it gets out of hand” shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision? Are you retarded?

Point Eight: People don’t want to have their babies. Most of them do, but not everyone. Look at the world, and think about time. Think about how long the world has been here, how long it will continue to be here. Think about how hard and unhappy just being alive is. Think about the years you have been here, the years you have to go, the long miserable slag toward ill health and mental degredation that you have waiting for you, and then after you die, how long will the world continue on and on, with your life long forgotten, your ancestors lives just dust on someone’s mantle with pictures of more people who don’t matter.

You weren’t aborted, and neither was anyone else who was here. If someone doesn’t want to bring another god forsaken life on to this planet, why the *hell* do you want to *make* them have that child? Where do you live, what are the circumstances of your life, that you think “Y’know what we need? More fucking *people*!” Spend a week riding the subway in New York at rush hour, and I guarantee you, you’ll be thinking, “yeah, I’m pretty much okay with *all* of these people not having kids.”

Point Nine: Don’t talk to me about adoption. Okay, you’re a middle class white girl and you’re pregnant. God doesn’t want you to have an abortion, right? He wants you to have this child and put it up for adoption so another couple who can’t have children can raise it. Because you’ve figured out god’s plan.

Fine. Who am I to say? I mean, who the fuck are you to say, but, fine. That’s God’s plan. He made that couple in Dulluth *barren* so you could have your idiot, conceived-in-the-back-seat-of-a-Buick, white kid be adopted and raised a corn fed existence.

So my question is this. Why are there so many unwanted babies of color? Why are crack babies of color allowed to die unadopted? Oh, I see, now God works in mysterious ways, right? The orphanages are full of babies all over the third world and Europe, but God wants *YOU* to have your *MIDDLE CLASS WHITE KID*? Fuck you. I can tell you my feelings about this particular abortion, not only should that kid not be born, but the abortion is one generation too late.

Point Ten: John the baptist was twenty years older than Jesus. So don’t pull the mother of Jesus and the mother of John meeting each other in the old testament when they were both pregnant and the frickin’ zygotes recognizing each other. It’s why it’s called the Apocrapha. The sin of Onan was not spilling his seed upon the ground, it was disobeying his parents. Sodomites were not wiped off the earth for rogering, they were wiped off for not extending a welcome to strangers. And the laws concerning sexuality in the old testament are about *ownership*.

Jesus never said anything about abortion. He did however say that divorce should be punishable by death. That was Jesus, not Moses. Jesus. Good Time, Full of love, new testament Jesus never said one word against abortion, but did call for divorcees to be put to death.

The old testament does say that Adam became man when he breathed his first breath. Nothing about the idea of Adam was considered Adam until he breathed.


Point Eleven: Okay, here’s the deal. No-one is pro-abortion. No-one thinks that stopping a pregnancy once it has begun is a fantastic, fun, celebrated idea. But there are lots of things that are hard, lots of choices we have to make for the sake of our future that we do celebrate. No-one wants to work a shitty job while they are trying to graduate from college, but we celebrate that as a hard decision that is ultimately for the best.

Some pregnancies are unwanted. Some married couples with good incomes don’t have the time or the love to give to a child. Most of all, the birthing and raising of children should be the most sober and solemn responsibility we enter in to as people, and if there is any doubt at all, people should be allowed to not be parents. It isn’t laziness that impregnates people, sometimes it’s absent mindedness, sometimes it’s callousness, and you know what? Sometimes two people try to get pregnant and then do and realize they made a mistake.

It happens in a second, or, if you’d rather count the entire sexual act, in an afternoon. You overslept for class once, or you forgot your homework at home. You even once did badly in an assignment at work or at school. Maybe you forgot someone’s birthday once. All of these mistakes take the same mental slip as not taking a pill or using a condom that is too old or just letting your natural, overbearing urges get the better of you for five minutes. That feeling you get in the morning when your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button? That’s nothing compared to a 17 year old in the throws of one of his first sexual encounters.

Unless you feel like you have lived a life without mistakes, you have to allow others the right to clean up after themselves. It isn’t your baby, it isn’t your body and it isn’t your decision, nor is it your right. Take all of the time you currently spend railing against abortion and spend it on trying to make your own life better. Your old buddy Jesus wouldn’t have thrown the first stone, so you need to back off.

Garage Band

Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

This program came on my computer, and the reviews of it have been raves. Seriously, it won’t make you a musician, but if you have ever sat with music recording equipment before, in five minutes you’ll be making songs.

In fact, it seems to be largely designed for people who *aren’t* musicians, which is awesome. But I have music written in Finale and I can’t seem to import them into GB no matter how much I try. It’s pretty easy to export music created in GB into Finale so you can have lead sheets and whole scores, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to go in reverse.

My friend Melissa is a really gifted songwriter and she has asked me to work with her on her music. She wants to get it recorded and published and everything, she’s thinking about royalties, and I think I can at least pilot her away from obvious disaster. I’ve also been offerred a show in the Fringe being produced by 23 year olds, one of whom is a beautiful girl, and my extremely good looking ex-wife wants to produce a screenplay I’ve written.

Too bad it still feels like I *DON’T HAVE A JOB*. For not having a job, I sure have a lot of fucking bullshit I have to deal with.

Also, the plug on Jordana’s computer is now broken and won’t charge her battery. She’s got more computing power than that used by NASA to launch Voyager, but the plug won’t work anymore. $250 to fix it.

I need to shower both before and after the gym on days like this.

Reagan’s Dead

Monday, June 7th, 2004

And it gets you thinking about the number of things that could have been handled differently in the 80s that would have prevented the world we deal with now. But, hindsight is 20/20…

Except of course that same hindsight is now painting Reagan as some kind of perfect compassionate conservative. You know what? I really don’t care about anything in this particular blog so far, so I’m gonna drop it. Go read Salon.

I drove off one of Ian’s readers by being, y’know, me, and I hate to admit how good it feels. Man, I was such a prick at one point, constantly driving people to the brink of hostility and then, usually, over. When I think of the things I did as a kid, and when I think of the things I could still be doing if I weren’t constantly manically trying not to be a complete dick, it boggles the mind. I spend more energy trying to not be bad than I do trying to be good. I’m a grumpy fucker with no patience.

Here’s the deal. I’ve had a pretty easy life, I don’t have any kind of monopoly on suffering or circumstance. There is a way that man is meant to live, and that way includes access to happiness, love, food, sex, and space, (along with a bunch of other things), and when someone tries to control what other people do in their minds or bedrooms or whatever, it makes me insane. Not only am I in favor of abortion, I’m in favor of corporal punishment, I’m just this side of believing that might makes right. And I have no patience for whining moralists who try to claim that behavior, without consideration of intention, is evil.

You can say I don’t understand what it is to be truly hungry, to be truly desperate, and maybe you’re right. But the difference is, I’m not the one saying you *should* pray, you *should* work harder, you *shouldn’t* fuck who you want, when you want to. I’m the guy saying, “whatever you do with me is fine, as long as you can handle the consequences.” You know when you’re on the train and some woman is beating her child and some other woman (with no children) is giving her a dirty look? I’m the one giving the judgement passing, no-child-having sack of shit a dirty look, Maybe that kid *needs* to be beat, you don’t know. Had I been beat more as a kid, maybe I’da graduated from college.

That’s it. You don’t know. You don’t know the circumstances, and if you don’t know, then shut the fuck up.

Anyway. I’m sorry, Ian, that I ran off a reader, but I’m not sorry to the reader. She can swing on Deez.