28 September 2008

something vaguely middle-eastern & musical in NYC

I'm going to NYC for a short work-related trip this weekend. While I'm there, I'd love to go to listen to some music that manages to combine Arabic flavors (instruments, harmonic structure, whatever) with some other kind of music. I've checked the usual places for postings (New Yorker, Flavorpill, Village Voice, TONY). Does anyone have another place that I can check? Monty?

exhausting week(end)

At the U, this last week was 'welcome week,' in which we welcome the new and returning students back to campus with three days of meetings designed to bore them to death. Monday started with a 9am meeting, and those of us in the design department went through to 11.30 that night. Tuesday started at 10am, and though I had a break mid-day (during which I went to the doctor and cooked dinner for me and S), I was still at the U until 1am. Wednesday started at 9.15am and went through the 5pm or so. Classes started on Thursday, which meant that my day started at 10am and went until about 5pm. After classes, I met up with Sarah and her parents, who took us to dinner to celebrate Sarah's birthday and new job.

Thursday night, after the dinner, I hopped on a plane to fly to Pittsburgh. I landed in Pittsburgh at 9.30 Friday morning to take care of some recording projects for yet another production of RADIO GOLF, this one at Pittsburgh Public. I did the recordings at 1pm, had them finished by 5pm, and was back at the theatre until 7.30 or so to work out some details. I turned out the lights at 9pm on Friday and woke up at 4.30 on Saturday (that's 1.30am California time) to fly back to LA. Sarah and her folks picked me up at the airport at 10.45 California time, and we spent a full day at the Aquarium of the Pacific and King's Fishhouse (looking at aquatic life from two very different perspectives). I crawled into bed at about 11.30pm, having been up for 22 hours straight. This morning, we went to brunch at Sevilla and then put my in-laws on a plane. Sarah and I chilled in front of the TV for a couple of hours, and now she's playing her game while I trying to get motivated to do some work. Mostly, though, I'm just pooped.

At King's Fishouse, the cocktail napkins all have dumb seafood jokes, including this one, which, thanks to Bryan Harris, has been part of my 'jokes appropriate for a 10-year-old' repertoire for years:

19 September 2008

One show down.

ENDGAME opened tonight. It was great, if you like Beckett. If you don't, well, then you'll be a little bored.

Show number two opens tomorrow! Come on out to SoundWalk to check it out!

18 September 2008

He's okay.

The student will be okay. I picked him up at the hospital last night. The professionals did some tests, but they said he was fine. Actually, they cleared him to drive, but we didn't let that happen.

He's got the day off, and he'll be doping up on OTC meds.


17 September 2008

Thank god we had an RN in the company

Tonight was an exciting night at the theatre! We're in our dress rehearsals
for ENDGAME at the U. Part of the tech is the gradual adding in of all the
techincal elements. Today, we loaded in the seating risers and chairs. At
about an hour before we were to start, one of the students was moving around
behind a curtain, fell, and hit his head on the corner of one of the seating
platforms. He said he was okay, but when he came out from around the
curtain, he stumbled and knocked a music stand over. I looked over at him
and he had a couple of scrapes on his face, and a nice welt above his left
eye. The welt was about the size of a half-dollar and stuck out of his head
over 1/4."

I immediately sat him down in a chair, sent for the stage manager, and got
an ice pack. The student never lost conciousness, nor was his speech ever
slurred. The SM checked him out and he seemed okay. It didn't take long
before our costume designer, who also happens to be an RN, heard what
happened. She came upstairs to where the student was sitting, and checked
his eyes. His left eye wasn't dialating, so she decided to call 911.

When the ambulance got here, the professionals looked our student over and
gave him a quick interview. They put him in a neck brace, moved him to a
stretcher, and wheeled him to the ambulance. Our student is now at the
hospital, getting checked out. The professionals told us that he'll be
completely fine, but we're glad he's being looked at by someone who knows
what they're looking at.

I'm watching a run of the show now, and afterwards, the SM and I will go
check on the student, making sure that he and his car get home tonight.
More later.

14 September 2008

The President I'd most like to drink a beer with.

Way back in 2001, I got to hear President Bush speak. It was in May, shortly after he took office, and months before September 11. He was limited, due to the circumstances, to a brief, non-partisan address, and he was, in a word, delightful. He was charming, self-effacing, and funny. During the speech, I found myself realizing how he won the election (well, not the Supreme Court part). He was a good ol' boy, and I wanted to sit down and have a beer with him.

That was one of the through-lines of his campaign in 2000. That he was the folksy candidate. The one who we'd like to drink with. The one who is most like our co-workers, our friends, ourselves. He campaigned on being an everyman, and it worked. No one can doubt that either Gore or Kerry appeared as folksy as Bush did.

So we elected him. Twice. And look how that turned out.

Now, we're in another campaign, and though President Bush isn't a candidate in this election, someone has risen to take that mantle of everyman and run with it: Sarah Palin. Frankly, it's one of the three reasons that McCain chose her as his running mate (the others being her 'maverick' styles and her double-x chromosomes). There's an article at latimes.com on Palin's event recently in Nevada. Here's a quote:

'"I love her," said Juliene Allman, who manages a dental office in Reno. "She is an all-American woman. She is like all of us."'

and another:

'"I'm 67, and she's the first person who is running for national office who is a common person," said Brandow, who is from Houston.'

So, here's the $60,000 question: do we really need an average person sitting in the vice-president's chair (or the President's chair, for that matter)? Do we need someone who is "like all of us?" Do we need someone who is a "common person?"

I suggest that we don't. I suggest that we need someone who is better than most of us: more intelligent, more generous, more savvy, more encompassing. We need someone who is UN-common. Someone who is better than us.

We used to look for greatness in our Presidents. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton. JFK, even! With George HW Bush, we took a turn towards looking for the average in our leaders. Why? Why seek out the mediocrity? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? Is our President supposed to be the most idealized reflection of our own aspirations, or is our President supposed to uphold the Constitution of the USA?

I am not voting for a candidate based on how 'average' they are. I am voting for a candidate based on how well I think they would do their job. And considering the fact that the job is way more complicated than managing a dental office in Reno (or, frankly, teaching design and composition at a University), I am going to vote for someone who is uncommon. Unaverage. Presidential.

NY Times: Sarah Palin

Here's a great article on Sarah Palin.

09 September 2008

Laurens, IA

We buried Sarah's grandmother Virginia today. She had a long (almost 92 years) and happy life, with a devoted husband, two great sons, and an assortment of daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren-in-law, and step and non-step-great-grandchildren. She also left behind a town that came out in force to say goodbye to her in a service this morning that was beautiful and surprising. There were a number of moving parts, but the most surprising section was when a family friend stood to read selections from letters she had written in decades past. The woman who wrote the letter was erudite, witty, pithy, quick, and very funny, a big change from the older woman in mid-dotage that I met a few years ago. It was a real treat for me to hear those words, and it made me wish that I had known her in her more spry times.

I've been toting a portable audio recorder around with me for about a year now. I usually use it to record nature sounds (storms, waterfalls, insects, etc.), but this weekend, I bought it to record family conversations. This weekend, when the family gathered for meals, etc., I'd set it up inconspicuously and record the conversation. Sarah's grandfather is full of old stories, and the family can really get going after a long day. I made about four hours of recordings over the past few days, and I'm going to edit and log them for future use. I know we'll enjoy listening to the conversations in the future, both to hear old stories, and also, years from now, when some of us are gone. Sarah's also getting interested in creating an archive of geneaologic information, and these audio recordings can become a part of that.

Now we're in Kansas City for the night. Tomorrow, we fly back to LA, where Sarah has a meeting in the afternoon. After that, we'll head home and get back to our lives, with fond memories of saying goodbye to a great lady.

06 September 2008


So, if you or anyone you know is moving to Chicago or moving within Chicago, please check out my sister's condo. She's got a 2-BR unit, and she's looking to rent the second bedroom. There's a craigslist post here.

04 September 2008

Palin, again

There's been some concern that because of my defense of Palin's college photo with the inappropriate photo, I support her candidacy. Let me clear that up right now.

I think she's an awful pick, and I won't vote for her. Terrible. Terrible. No way.

I just think that there are better reasons to oppose her than an ignorant shirt she wore 20 years ago.

01 September 2008


Hey, can someone give me any sort of accurate number as to how many protesters there were in Denver, how many were arrested, and what kind of violence was involved (either by the protesters or by the police)? Also, is there a place where we can find the same information about the RNC in St. Paul?

Amy Goodman arrested and Donna Brazile pepper-sprayed in St. Paul? Really?

I heard they were going to exhume Pope John Paul II, bring him to St. Paul, and then beat him with billy clubs.

Also, were any of arrests in Denver of people who were press or bystanders? What's wrong with St. Paul?

well, soon-to-be grandmother, in any case

Okay, so the new baby is Palin's, since Bristol is currently pregnant, and therefore couldn't have given birth so recently. So, Palin isn't guilty of any sort of weirdo coverup; instead, she's just proven the effectiveness of an abstinence-only sex education policy.

On to the violence and unlawful arrests in St. Paul. Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy Now (one of the great lefty radio programs) was arrested, along with two of her producers, at a demonstration in St. Paul. There's a video of Amy's arrest. All she appears to be doing is talking to the police when they decide to arrest her. I've been listening to Amy for a few years now, and she's very mild-mannered and cordial. I find it hard to believe that she was inciting riot at all... Apparently, Amy's arrest was part of a group of 100 arrests. I guess that's the new crowd control method in the Twin Cities: lock all the lefties up.

Sarah Palin, grandmother

There's some significant conjecture and evidence coming around, saying that Sarah Palin is not the mother of her youngest child. That honor, apparently, belongs to Gov. Palin's daughter Bristol (who is, I believe, 17). You can check out links here and here.

From a family perspective, I don't really care. If it's true, then it's a family issue, and I don't have a problem with a mother trying to protect her daughter. Bristol went and got herself pregnant, and now Gov. Palin is trying to let her daughter have a normal life. That would be a family matter, and it's no business of mine.

Of course, this is far from a family affair. Who can really separate the mother in Sarah Palin (ie caring for her daughter and grandson) from Governor Palin (who needs to show a strong family with good conservative values)? If this is true, then it's another step in an increasing list of questionable behavior on the part of the Governor, including the investigation into abuse of power as governor and the near recall of her as mayor of Wasilla. Is she really this ruthless and conniving? Isn't this kind of secretive and vindictive behavior what we're already used to in the White House? Outside of changing the gender and dropping 20 years off of the VP, how is this any different from Cheney? She allegedly fired those Wasilla city employees because they woudn't support her run for reelection; do I hear the cries of US Attorneys in my mind?