Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, September 28, 2007

So maybe it's more serious than I thought

So in my last post I mentioned in passing that my mom is in the hospital. At first blush we thought it was a urinary tract infection that had gotten sever and was threatening with sepsis. Now that's a pretty damn big deal on its own when you're 74, but yesterday we find out that it's not a urinary tract infection, that my mom is hospitalized with an E. Coli infection.

Now that's some scary shit. All I knew from E. Coli was that you could get it from eating food that was handled improperly, and if left untreated, it could kill you. That's about enough. The docs think she'll still be fine, but this thing has fucked her up but good. When I got there yesterday, she was still running a low fever and was still pretty loopy. Loopy's not an unusual condition for Mom, but this was a little more than usual.

We don't know where it came from, especially since my dad eats the same stuff that Mom eats, and he's fine. But there are apparently a lot of ways you can pick up this bacteria, so my dad and aunt spent a chunk of yesterday giving the house a ridiculously thorough cleaning. So in the end she'll be fine, but that's just a little freaky, to see something in real life that you only were previously aware of from CNN.

On the poker front, tonight is the return, after a two-week hiatus, of the Falstaff home game. Let the donkery commence! I warmed up by spending a little time online at Full Tilt the past few nights between writing recaps of the EPT London for PokerNews and PokerWorks. I've doubled my online bankroll, up to a whopping $200! Yeah, I know. If I just took the ad money they gave me each month and never played, I'd have more than that in just a few months. And then last night I dropped $45 over the course of a couple hours. Time for another couple weeks away from the internet poker machine, I'm starting to suck too bad again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Well that was interesting

So I walk into the rehearsal hall, sit on the table in the front of the room, and tell my cast that the show we've been working on for the past month and change is cancelled.

Yep - no show. No payoff for all their hard work. They'll get the paycheck they were contracted for, but they won't get to finish the process, they won't get to share a real stage with their castmates, they won't get to hear the applause.

And about half of them knew it was coming. When we cancelled rehearsal Tuesday night and called for a company meeting Wednesday, the questions started flying. I told my Stage Manager what the deal was, and obviously I told Suzy to stop working on any props or costumes. Then we made the announcement last night, and then I invited the cast out for a beer on me and a last hurrah, and told them what the deal was.

The party line that we announced in the meeting was that the script needs a ton of work and the decision was made to pull the play because of it. And a lot of that is true. The script does need a ton of work, and it wasn't going to be able to happen in the two weeks we had left to work on it.

The other part of it was that the writer hated the interpretation I had taken of the play, and the producers didn't have much faith in the play as it stood. They agreed that I could make a funny show out of it, but they felt that the play wasn't strong enough to stand on its own. I can't disagree with them there.

I gave them several options for how to proceed. We could do the show the way I was going and piss off the playwright, which isn't the best tactic for a company that is built around developing new works and becoming a haven for local playwrights. We could do the show the playwright wanted, and piss off the actors and director (me) by having us all change direction after a month's worth of work. They could fire me and bring the playwright in to direct the show (which would not have upset me very much at all). We could have the playwright give me very specific changes and I would try to incorporate those into the play and make a compromise.

In the end, we decided that the weaknesses in the script and the distance that the playwright and I were from anything resembling the same page made for an untenable situation, and the producers decided to pull the show.

I feel lousy for my cast, who have worked very hard to make this show happen, with rewrites galore and changes in "the plan" coming at them frequently, but now they're not gonna get to put it onstage. Which sucks, but I think it was the right decision. Ultimately, the show that was going to get presented was not going to fit the vision of the writer, and in a company that is based on supporting local playwrights and putting their ideas on stage, that just can't happen. So rather than put something out there that either wasn't going to fulfill the mission of the company, or that was going to be lousy, they pulled the show.

For the record, I think the show I was directing was going to be funny. It wouldn't have ever won a Pulitzer or a Tony, but audiences would have enjoyed it. I had a great cast, and they were working their asses off for me, going anywhere I asked them to go. I don't think the play worked the way the writer envisioned it, and I think it would have been a terrible flop had it gone on in that direction. My show would have made the playwright angry and audiences happy, and his show would have made him happy and audiences bored. And therein lies the root of the problem.
So it was a rough decision to make, but ultimately the right one. The only thing that pisses me off about the whole thing is that if we'd cancelled this fucker two weeks ago, I'd be leaving today to fly down to Key West and party with my degenerate friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Inches > Pounds

So the same number has been staring up at me each morning from the scale for the past 4 days - 221.

Now that's a pretty good number, seeing as how the number was 265 when I started this weight loss extravaganza. But that's not the number I'm concentrating on today. The new number I'm focusing on is 44 - my current diameter at the gut.

Ten days ago it was 46.

When I was getting ready for the Metrolina Theatre Awards on the 15th, I had Suzy measure me, and my measurements were this -

Chest - 48"
Gut - 46"
Waist - I don't really remember, but probably something like 43" if the rest of everything holds true.

Well, today I was having issues holding up my new pants, and since I hadn't lost any weight (becoming frustrating since I've been working out like a fiend), I decided to measure myself and see if I just bought the damn pants too big or if I am the incredible shrinking Falstaff.

Chest - 46"
Gut - 44"
Waist - 41"

So I am the incredible shrinking Falstaff, and what they say about muscle being heavier than fat is apparently true. And as much as they SUCK, situps work. A bunch. It doesn't hurt that I've put almost 70 miles in between my real bike and my stationary bike in the last 7 days.

So this is what I looked like two weeks ago at the awards ceremony. I had to go for the rocker-chic look which I can't quite pull off (although it looks better in the full-body shots because then the ripped jeans and cowboy boots come into play) because none of my tuxes fit anymore. A nice problem to have, but it's starting to get expensive.

At least now I can buy clothes at Goodwill for my intermediate clothes. Note - there aren't really any clothes at Goodwill for fatasses, because people give away clothes they can't wear anymore, and it's usually (in America, anyway) because we're getting bigger! So if you're already fat, you're not gonna find much. But if you're getting thinner, the options become more open.

More to come later on my show updates and on the WPBT tourney - I've almost got all the details locked down, and I think it will work well for us. Certainly better than the dickcheese at the Orleans poker room, who seemed to go our of their way to screw us.

And I'm thinking Atlantic City the first weekend of November. I have to be in NYC that week anyway, so I'm gonna find a way to get to AC for the weekend before I fly home.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Well, that sucked

Vent mode: ON.

That might have been the single worst night of rehearsal in the 18 years I've been doing theatre. After getting some notes from the playwright and a request to meet with him before rehearsal tonight, I knew things weren't going to go well, but I didn't expect for the writer to essentially tell me that he hated my entire interpretation of the play, and that what I intend to put on stage in less than three weeks bore no resemblance to the play he thought he'd written.

So that kinda sucked.

Basically, I was given a script of a play to read to see if I was interested in directing it. I had suggested a couple of plays to this company, who I've worked with several times as a designer, and given them scripts of plays that I really like and would like to direct. They didn't even read those, but sent me this script. I read pieces of it, wasn't ecstatic about it, but figured I could find some interesting things in it and make it funny. So I said I'd direct it.

Mistake #1.

We hold auditions, and in a very passive-aggressive way I get suggestions about actors to use, always with the caveat of "but you use whoever you want." So I took these as suggestions, not pieces of anyone's dream cast. When the suggestions were made for the third or fourth time I began to realize that maybe these were more than just idle ideas, that these might be people that he really wanted in the show.

Okay, fine. They're all good actors, and they fit the roles, so no problem. I used 'em. They've all be great to work with.

Then I find out that a representative of the company will be at every rehearsal, checking up on me. This thrills me not at all. I run a closed rehearsal process, and basically want to be left alone to direct my cast, build my ensemble and develop my show in my way. I don't mind periodic check-ins, but having someone there every night when they don't have any real purpose bugs me. It bugs me more and more with pretty much every rehearsal.

So finally after three weeks of being out of town and being not around, the playwright comes to see a run thru Saturday afternoon. I've put in a lot of broad physical comedy, lots of things designed to get a good laugh out of an audience. Ours is not a very discriminating theatre crowd, so I figure the bigger the funny, the better.

Today I'm told that the writer was looking for small, subtle humor. "Harold Pinter meets Neil Simon" was the phrase. Lots of pauses, lots of introspection, lots of subtle work. The polar opposite of the show I've been working on, and one guaranteed to play to nearly empty houses and terrible reviews. Now I'm not saying that the show I've put together is going to win any Tony awards, but it's not designed to. It will, however, give an audience something they will enjoy and give them something they might tell their friends about.

The company has had a couple of shows in the past year really get ripped in the press, with differing levels of deservedness. But another lousy review can really hurt the company's ability to sell tickets, since they only produce two shows a year. So I would fight really hard to defend my vision for the play, from a commercial standpoint if nothing else, but it's hard to tell the guy that wrote it "Nope, you're wrong."

I had no problem telling him that what he was talking about wasn't funny, and he saw my point. But now I laid all this at the feet of the artistic director of the company, and told her that I'd direct whatever play they wanted me to direct. I'd either direct it the writer's way, and they'd probably get killed at the box office and in the papers, or I'd direct it my way and piss off the writer, but maybe have a chance at some financial success. I really don't give a shit anymore.

I've never felt so disheartened about a show before, and it's made me almost nauseous. If I hadn't signed a contact and had 13 actors depending on me I'd have walked a week ago. But at this point, I can't let the cast down, especially since some of them are only involved in the project because I asked them to be. So I've gotta suck it up and do the best show I can, but damn if I don't wanna just crawl in a hole and pull the hole in after me. Suzy's similarly fed up with all the changes to the play, since she's doing props and costumes, and has had a miserable experience, too. The only thing this play has going for it is that the checks won't bounce, and I have a great cast.

Also, unbeknownst to me, last week the folks that run the company told my stage manager that if they had time to find a replacement, they'd fire her. Now that might fly in some places, but dammit, my stage manager on any show is my right arm, and don't go changing the personnel I need with me in midstream. Nobody fires my SM in mid-rehearsal. I may murder one, but nobody fires them! A lot of their issues with her stem from the fact that she's a kid. She's 22 and this is her first professional gig. Of course now it's souring her on being a stage manager at all, after being treated so harshly through this process. So even more fun.

So we open in three weeks, and I'll be counting the moments until I'm done with this beast of a show. If I were just a little more distant, or could make myself be the guy that just sits in the back of the rehearsal hall working on something else while the actors direct themselves, this would be the show that sent me there. But I can't do that to my cast, some of whom were my friends before this, and all of whom I care about now. They deserve as much of my best as I can give them.

Vent mode: OFF

Friday, September 21, 2007

Winter Gathering Tourney

Here are some ideas I'm seeking input on. I'm working on a place that will let us set our own structure, or at least modify their standard structure. To that end, here's a question -

What is more important to the blogger tournament - more levels early, or more play late? Given that we are a large group in the winter, would we rather have an event like this -

Ante Blinds
1st Level - $25-$50
2nd Level - $50-$100
3rd Level - $100-$200
4th Level $25 $100-$200
5th Level $25 $200-$400
6th Level $50 $300-$600
7th Level $75 $400-$800
8th Level $100 $600-$1200
9th Level $200 $800-$1,600
10th Level $300 $1,000-$2,000
11th Level $500 $1,500-$3,000
12th Level $500 $2,000-$4,000
13th Level $1,000 $3,000-$6,000
14th Level $1,000 $4,000-$8,000
15th Level $2,000 $6,000-$12,000

Or one like this -

Ante Blinds
1st Level - $25-$50
2nd Level
3rd Level
4th Level - $100-$200
5th Level
$25 $100-$200
6th Level $25 $200-$400
7th Level $50 $300-$600
8th Level $75 $400-$800
9th Level $100 $600-$1200
9th Level $200 $800-$1,600
10th Level $300 $1,000-$2,000

12th Level $500 $2,000-$4,000
13th Level $1,000 $3,000-$6,000
14th Level $1,000 $4,000-$8,000
15th Level $2,000 $6,000-$12,000

Basically, the only difference is adding in the 75/150 level before the antes, and taking out the 1500/3000 level. I'm not sure what effect this would have on the overall time of the event, but I'm hoping it won't last more than 6-7 hours overall. But I feel like the social aspect of the tourney is the most important part to us, so the early levels are really important. Not to mention I suck, so I want as long a period of time to play as possible.

And how much should it cost? Is $150 too much? $100 + $50 rebuy? I'm trying to set it up as a freezeout, and we've had events that ranged in cost from $85 to $130, so I was shooting for the $100-$125 range. But let me know if I'm aiming too high for a bunch of people to play, and I'll work on something else. I am having trouble getting a private event for us that is less than $100, so that may be the cheapest I can manage.

Please post your comments or email me quick-like.

Couple quick things...

1) I hope to have an announcement next week about the location for our Winter Gathering tournament. If it works out, it will be very cool.

2) Anybody wanna go to Atlantic City November 2-4? I'm gonna be in the Apple that is Large that week, and my work plans should finish up around the end of business Friday, so I could go to AC over the weekend and fly back home Sunday evening. You know how to get in touch with me if you're up for it.

3) Harrah's has a bunch of specials going for the time of the Winter Gathering, so log in using your Total Rewards card, and see if anything appeals to you. I think right now you can get two free nights at Harrah's, Bally's, Caesar's, Rio or Paris. We're still staying at the IP, because I'm booking a room for my father-in-law as well, and it's gonna be cheaper for two rooms there, but if you're looking for a (minor) upgrade over the lodgings at the IP that is still central-strip, try Harrah's. It's right next door and a decent place to stay. Hat tip to Speaker for telling me about the Harrah's deal.

The night of suckouts

Most on me, one notably by me. You know it's been a long night when you hit a two-outer and someone else remarks something to the effect of "he was due for one."

The scene - my home game. The cast - the usual motley assemblage. Me, Special K, BG, T, Diamond Jim, Uncle Phil, Crazy Nate, Big Nick and Little Nick (coming later to replace a busted BG).

So I play a lot of pots. No, really, I play a LOT of pots. It's a $.25/.50 game, with a standard preflop raise of $3. That raise to $3 doesn't really thin the field, so I get a lot of chances to see a flop with suited one-or-two-gappers in a three or four-way pot. Just like I like. I dump most of these hands after the flop if I don't pick up a monster draw, but when I hit, I add more fuel to my reputation (mostly deserved) or playing a bunch of shit cards.

Blame G-Rob. I do.

So on this particular night, I'm running up and down. Mostly down. I hit two pair on the flop several times, each time to get run down by the straight or the flush on the river. Understand that this is a home game, and there's not a lot of consideration of pot odds or proper poker play. Some folks are going to chase anything all the way, some folks are going to play their underpairs like they're Aces, and some folks are going to slowplay or weak-play themselves out of big pots. Me, I'm gonna go after stacks, not pots, and I'm going after them with middle cards, because my hand strength stays more disguised. Even Uncle Phil, who's paid more attention to my play than most, admits that he can almost never put me on a hand. That's what I prefer.

So I'm now $200 into this $.25/.50 game, and I've gotten a little tired of being run down by mediocre draws, when I shove the last of my chips in the middle on a flopped set. Crazy Nate calls in a heartbeat, and I say "Do you have the straight?"


"Fuck. Pair the board, please."

And for the first time all night, the deck gives me my suckout. I felt a little bad about celebrating hitting a two-outer, but as BG mentioned, it was about damn time I got my money in behind and hit.

It's okay, though. Karma evened out a few hands later when Big Nick hit a two-outer to double through me for a $200 pot. Special K popped it preflop to $3.50, his standard opening raise. I was in the BB or the straddle, I don't remember which. I just remember K saying "Oh look, I'm under the gun," which with all the straddling and re-straddling that had gone on, he was for nearly half the hands. We see a couple of callers before it gets to Big Nick in the BB or SB (dunno, on my right elbow.Probably the BB). He goes all in over the top of the raise and two callers, for about another $76.

I've got about $300 sitting in front of me, having made a big comeback from stuck $200, and look down at two shiny red Aces. I know if I call the $76, at least one other player is going to come along, probably with anything JTs or better. I think, however, that if I shove, I can get heads-up. I wouldn't much mind Special K coming along, but I don't want to play a 4-way pot with Aces. I want to play against at most two other people. So I shove.

It probably took me about half a second to make all those calculations, and my "All-in" had all the confidence of someone who was holding Aces. As was my intention. I wanted it to be screamingly obvious to anyone who was awake that at that point in the hand, I was ahead of all other comers.

At that point, Special K took a couple minutes and then joined a group of players that only had two other members to that point - players I know personally that have folded pocket Kings preflop. Otis and Absinthe have told about their experience folding Cowboys preflop, and if I remember right, one of them made a good laydown and one didn't. I don't remember which. But K dumped his Kings, and the other two guys in the middle got out of the way.

I should just called, because on the Ten-high flop I coulda got the rest of Special K's cash outta the side pot, because the Ten in the door made the set for Big Nick and I was back to roughly even for the night. Oh well, I'll probably make the same move six days a week and twice on Sundays, so I don't feel too badly about it. I did manage to finish up about $100 on the night, so it wasn't totally an evening of treading water, and I dish out my fair share of suckouts, so it's only blog-worthy that I spent most of an evening actually getting my money in good, not that there were suckouts galore at the Falstaff home game. I'm just not used to actually having a hand when I put chips in the middle, that was the main trouble with my play all night!

Look, ma! Poker content on my poker blog! And you guys thought I was all about biking and losing weight, didn't you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Force equals Mass times Acceleration. So a 222-lb. human going into a bike path at 14 miles an hour is exerting how much force onto the ground and his shoulder when he lands?

One mega-ouch, that's how much. I'm not sure exactly what happened, if I hit a bad patch of gravel, a rock, or if my fucking shoelaces got hung on my cog, but my front wheel went 90 degrees to the path and my body, adhering to Newton's first law (a body in motion tends to stay in motion), stayed in motion. Until I landed on my shoulder. At least I was able to kinda roll with the impact, which mitigated the blinding pain into something survivable rather than something that required an ambulance.

So when I realized that I was on the ground, I decided standing would be a good idea. Then I moved my right arm, and realized that wasn't such a good idea. I heard a loud 'pop' from my right shoulder, and then decided that I'd better sit down to pass out for a minute.

So I did.

When I came to, my vision had cleared, so I was pretty sure I wasn't concussed, and my shoulder hurt like a mother. As did my knee, but the cause of that was pretty apparent - road rash. The abrasions on my shoulder really didn't hurt until this afternoon, when the Aleve kicked in enough to take my mind off the other pain in the shoulder and let me focus on the big scrape. I'm fine, long term, but I think I'll take a couple days off from my free weights program. Especially since I kinda can't lift my arm over my head.

In other news, Suzy won the Best Costume Designer for a Drama in the Metrolina Theatre Awards on Sunday. The awards show went well, I think it looked great, to be honest. I did a lot more work on the lights than I have done in the past, and I think it added a lot to the musical numbers. Just one more little swan song as I try to move out of doing as much design work. I'm currently booked on 6 shows this season, one of which I've completed (and apparently helped destroy the entire Dickens theatrical legacy, if you believe the review. I don't. I think it was an excellent show with a very clear concept.). I'm currently under contract to design Oliver (done), Killing Time and The Diary of Anne Frank. I'm verbally committed to Tweaks, an opera at UNCC, and Sideshow. I think I'm going to back out of Tweaks and the opera, which will cut me down to only 4 shows this season, fewer than I've done in years.

Basically, I'm tired of it. I'm only designing shows for money, and there's not enough of that in theatre to really make it worth the time. There are certain companies and directors I will always work with if I can make the schedule work (thus sticking with Sideshow), but for the most part, unless it's a show that's really exciting, I'm gonna pass. I want to concentrate on acting and directing, and even then I only want to do shows I'm passionate about. I've done so many shows at this point (well over 100) that I don't need to see my name in a program, or get mentioned in a review (especially if it's like the mention I got for Oliver!, not that I'm bitter (much)). I only want to do theatre that I care about, and have fun doing. So I'm cutting out a bunch of my design work and trying to find other people to pass it off to.

But one thing that I am excited about is the chance to audition for Dog Sees God, a play about the Peanuts gang all grown up. It's one of the funniest plays I've read in years, and my buddy Glenn is directing, so he knows what I can do on stage, so I think I've got a shot at a role.

Another happy/annoying moment this weekend was having to rent a tux jacket for the awards because I could no longer fit into any of my dress clothes. All my tuxes and other snazzy clothes could now fit me and a friend inside them (which has possibilities...), so I had to go with a rental. Also this weekend I started wearing my wedding band again. Not the one I bought last year because I decided Suzy and I needed new wedding bands for our anniversary, but the one I got when I first got married but had gotten too fat to wear for the past 8 years or so. I also fit back into my cowboy boots, which had been too small. Who knew I had fat feet? Not me.

Down to 222, with a total weight loss of 43 lbs. I'm into 38 or 40 jeans, down from 44 relaxed fit six months ago, and had more than one person at the awards show tell me they didn't recognize me at first glance. I have to say that made for a successful re-emergence into the theatre scene.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm not dead...yet

It's been one of those weeks. One of those long, long weeks, with too many hours spent staring at either a computer monitor in my office or a computer monitor in a darkened theatre. I finished tech for Oliver! this week, and damned if I'm not very glad it will be a while before I do another big musical.

Like a looooong time.

See, the facility that I was doing Oliver! in is a community theatre celebrating their 80th anniversary season this year. In pretty much the same building. So it's an old space, with rickety ladders, a ceiling that's too short for the shows they do, and not nearly enough dimmers for the work I'm trying to do. And a brand new Technical Director on his first show.

It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I got along really well with the director, who I've known for years, but never worked with until this show. I managed some very nice effects, and some of the songs, particularly "As Long as He Needs Me" and "It's a Fine Life" look really good, in my never-really humble opinion. But that meant that I had to cancel a week of Killing Time rehearsals to go design this show, because Theatre Charlotte hired me first, so the second gig to come along has to stand in line behind the folks that booked me first. And last night we got the final rewrite of the script for Killing Time, with some things better, some things not as good. So that made last night's return to table work interesting, especially since we now only have four weeks to work until we open.

And one of the scenes that we worked very hard on blocking last week was cut entirely, losing me a couple of pratfalls and one good sex joke. Not really a big deal, but I liked that scene.

So I've been getting home late, writing for PokerNews before bed, writing for PokerWorks when I get to work, and trying not to fall asleep at my desk more than once a day. And I've yet to put my new bike through its paces, and have largely eaten like shit for a week. So I'm lucky that all I've done is maintain my weight and not put back on a pile. But I'm holding pretty steady at around 225, so now that life has returned to relative normalcy, I should be able to get back on my exercise routine and stabilize my diet again.

Starting Monday. Because the weekend is also fucked. I have rehearsal Saturday from 10AM-6PM, then I'm going on a date with my wife for the first time in at least a month. I'm gonna get up early Sunday to go ride, and then I go to Spirit Square to help tech the Metrolina Theatre Awards. This is an annual awards show that I've been involved in since its inception. The Metrolina Theatre Association (MTA) is a service organization for theatre in a 50-mile radius of Charlotte. We started an awards program 4 years ago to celebrate excellence in theatre in our region. I'm really attached to this awards thing since it was kinda my baby. There were 4 or 5 of us that worked our asses off for over a year getting the rules written and procedures outlined before we managed to ever have an awards ceremony, but this is year 4 for the awards, and I've gotta admit, I consider the fact that these awards happen at all to be my biggest accomplishment in theatre in this town.

Of course, like so many things, most folks don't really know that I wrote the 15 different rules revisions and pretty much devised the methodology by which these awards happen (except for the two or three of you who still come by and read this drivel), and I'm okay with that. I didn't work my ass off on the awards for recognition, I did it because it needed to happen for the good of the community. And anyway, like I need any more fuel for my massive ego.

But it's nice to be nominated, and I am. Suzy and I both are, actually. I'm nominated for Best Lighting Design in a Drama for my work on The Crucible, and Suzy is nominated for Best Costume Design - Drama for Amadeus. I think she's got a good shot at winning, and hope she does, because she worked her ever-loving ass off on that show and deserves some recognition. I'd certainly like to collect another trophy, but it's no big deal if it doesn't happen. I was very honored to be nominated for the Bill Rackley Award, which is given for overall excellence in design and technical theatre, and is named after a teacher at UNCC who passed away some years ago, but not before leaving a positive mark on a lot of people, including me. I don't think I have a snowball's chance at that, but it was very nice to be nominated.

So I'll be there at noon calling a focus and setting lighting looks, then I'll be calling the spot cues for the production. Then Monday night I go back into rehearsal. I am having a poker game tonight though, so there might be actual poker content at some point. But those of you who've played with me know that the chances of that are pretty damn slim. And if you've played my home game you know it's even less chance that actual poker will happen tonight, after a two-week hiatus from the Falstaff home game. It could get a little nutso.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Crazy Question...

But does anyone know anyone with about $175K liquid to make about $100K profit on?

There's a studio in Charlotte that's going out of business and wants $175K for the lot of their lighting and grip equipment.

I figure the lot of it is probably worth around $300K, and there's an opportunity for some serious profit.

Anybody tight with a rich poker player?

This is gonna sound a little obsessive...

Name that tune -

Moving on, I think it might be considered a little obsessive that I now own 3 bicycles and an indoor exercise bike, and there are only two people in my household.

I might be saved by the fact that one of the bikes is my wife's.

But probably not, since I'm the one pushing her to get a bike and ride with me.

I also may have developed a mildly unhealthy fascination with Craigslist, a phenomenon that I have managed to avoid until this week.

When I bought two bikes off it.
Now, in my defense, I am paying for the two Townies (slightly used) what I would have paid for just the black one, so it's a pretty smokin' deal. And I have at least ridden a Townie before (and if you haven't, come visit and I'll let you ride mine. It'll take you back to when you were a little kid and riding bikes was cool) when my friend Lisa let me tool around a parking lot on hers. I loved it, so when the deal came up for two of these for $450 on craigslist, I couldn't pass it up.

So hopefully this is something that Suzy and I can do together on weekend mornings - go cruise the greenways on our bikes, break a good sweat and get some exercise while hanging out together. And the Townie is designed for people who aren't into biking, so it doesn't have the requirement for stretchy pants and clippy shoes that sometimes turn folks off from bike riding.

So of course in order to buy and pick up two bikes, I had to get a bike rack. And since I drive a toaster
and I don't want to lug around a stepladder to get up on the roof of the damn thing after I've gone for a ride, I needed a rack to go on the back of the toaster. And I use the tailgate. A lot.

I am, after all, a hillbilly. And football season has indeed started. So there is no real coincidence that both vehicles at the Casa de Falstaff have tailgates, regardless of the fact that I don't typically attend football games.

So I needed to get a rack that's a hitch mount.
There was just one issue - no hitch. So off I head to Google, to find out how to get a hitch put on my toaster. That statement was met with some confusion when I later told Suzy "I googled to find a hitch for the toaster." She was very confused as to what I doing to the kitchen appliances, and asked me if I burned anything I'd need later.

Turns out U-Haul installs hitches, which I had no idea of, despite driving past the U-Haul join at least twice a week for 15 years with a big sign out front that says "We Install Hitches." So $200 later, I have a hitch with a 3,500 lb. capacity on the back of my toaster.

So off I head to Performance Bike, where the sales people are starting to recognize me. When they start to call if I miss a week, I'm gonna worry. I pick up a bike rack, then remember that the new bikes don't have water bottles. So I grab those. Or cages to hold the water bottles. So I grab those. Then I remember that the black bike has a rack on the back for a trunk, and since there's a 15% off everything sale, I grab one of those. So another $200 later, I'm on my way home to put my new rack on my new hitch so that Sunday I can go pick up my new bikes.

So much for retiring from lighting design because I don't really need the extra income.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I'd like to officially apologize, on behalf of the state of North Carolina, for the behavior of the Appalachian State University football team on their field trip to Michigan's "Big House" this weekend. It doesn't speak well for our state's athletic programs that one of our teams, from the NCAA's junior varsity league, would go into the home of the winningest program in college football and outplay the 5th-ranked Wolverines in front of over 100,000 fans of the blue and gold.

If we continue behavior like that, it's entirely possible that the App State Mountaineers will do something in the 2007 football season that the Michigan Wolverines haven't managed to do in a decade.

Win a national championship.


For the third year in a row.

Now, let's face it, this weekend's upset of Michigan by the kids from UNC-Doobie was on a par with the CFL champs coming into Foxboro and thumping the Patriots, but it's also not unreasonable to think that the best program in Division 1-AA could, on a day when everything went very well, thump the somewhat overrated 5th-best team in Division 1-A. And there's not a lot of argument that the Mountaineers are the best team in their division. Back-to-back national titles will pretty much lock that designation up for you.

But it's not fair. It's not fair to the Wolverines, who were, after all, trying to do something nice for their little cousins in the JV by giving them the home opener and a flaming shitload of television time. It's just rude to take advantage of that kind of gratitude and milk it for days and days worth of Sportscenter highlights. But we'll take it. Just this once.

Best T-shirt ever - Michagan Who? 34-32. Seen all over Boone this weekend.

In other sports news, another hillbilly kid outdid himself in Fenway this weekend and probably won't be headed back to Pawtucket anytime soon.