Monday, January 29, 2007

Side Project

So some of you, the more diligent readers, know that I have another blog called Marlowe's Sketchpad and you have all been reading it and leaving comments for me and I appreciate it. But I have been really reticient in posting on it because I have been wanting to finish whole stories and get them up there, but then I realized that I have an overburdened sense of perfection (or dissatisfaction, depending on how I am feeling) and that I have been getting anything up on there. As a result I am missing out on things.

I mean the name of the darn page is Marlowe's Sketchpad. Sketchpad is the operative word. So what I should be doing with it is using it as an opportunity to do things like practice description and sentence structure and dialog and then be using some of those excercises to help me get more confident about the writing that I am doing now but in which I seem to lack confidence.

So I am, not promising, but suggesting that there might something that will be up on the other site and that if you wouldn't mind giving me pointers or comments I would really appreciate it.

I had a funny experience at dinner tonight there was a group of Asians in back of me who were saying they have been a lot of trouble learning to cook pasta. I wanted to say, "Oh it's easy; boil water, add pasta wait seven minutes (add one minute for every two thousand feet above sea level) and then enjoy with a little butter and salt." But then I realized that if you are Korean or Japanese or Chinese that the consistency of the noodles (flour vs. rice) might be just different enough to make boiling pasta diffiult.

Check back later.

Six Sentences

I have a new post up on Six Sentences.

As always thanks to Rob.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Not the way to start the day.

Everyday this week I have woken up and checked the internet news services which I rely on for a bit of my current events. (BBC, CNN, NYTimes, Washington Post.) And everyweek the lead story on the splash page has been dead people in Iraq, or people dying in Iraq, or wanting to send more people - to die or kill - in Iraq. And it just gets disheartening.

The theater in which I work is putting on a production of Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, and it really makes me wish that everybody, EVERYBODY, understood that religious differences aside, skin color aside, sexual preference aside, gender aside, American League East affiliation aside. Everybody in the world is just trying to muster the strength to wake up every morning and go to provide for their family or loved ones. It makes me think of this great quote that I heard the other day. I am going to paraphrase it. Life is everything that you do every day; the wars, the elections, the olympics those are just sign posts to remind you where you standing when you made the eggs.

Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just kids in the kitchen...

So I have had a couple of days in a row where I feel like a grown-up. Which is strange because I am a grown-up, sort of. But on Sunday I was making quiche (or omelet pie, if you are a "real man") and then I made some meatballs in a tomato sauce.

I am going to stop for a second and give a shout out to one of my best friends, Tony. Tony was a very dear friend to me when I was at a very strange time in my life. I had just moved from New Mexico to Florida to New York in the span of a year and I was a pretty unhappy miserable little fucker. Tony and his family, on Christmas Eve, invited me to go to their house in Staten Island and celebrate with them. At the time I had known him for oh... I don't know three months maybe. Anyway, his family was so warm and welcoming and one of the things that I remember about his family in particular was his father, Vinny, who made these meatballs. I almost think that they should be capitalized, Meatballs. Like you would capitalize Paris. Vinny made these meatballs and it was like eating something that you had millions of times, but for the first time you had finally had it prepared correctly. I just don't even know how to characterize the experience. Other worldly. The fact that I can't eat other meatballs without thinking of Vinny and his Meatballs says something to me. Vinny passed away about a year ago and I think I will always hold a special place in my heart for him and his whole family, and not just for the Meatballs, but for the love they showed a total stranger. So, Tony, my thoughts are with you and your family always. Thank you.

On to less maudlin things. While I was cooking this weekend I was thinking about something odd. Pizza Hut. Not for their pizza either. When I was in college I used to like to steal things from places that I didn't think would miss them. Chain restaurants, supermarkets, clothing stores. Pizza Hut had two things that were awesome. One was the big red cup that you got when you ordered a soda. I still have one. Love it. But the one that I love the best was the pizza distribution utensil, it was like a pie cutter but with out an edge and like a spatula but without being particularly wide. It was used to get the deep dish pizza out of the scalding hot little dish in which it came. Now when I took it -- I am fairly certain I was just being a punk but at the time I probably thought I was sticking it to the man -- I thought this is great, but I didn't even know the half of it. I use that fucking thing all the time. If I am cooking, I want it. I can't explain it at all. It is just a perfect utensil. Great for scrambling eggs, flipping omelets, sauteeing, frying, cutting pie (or pizza), I literally haven't been able to stump it for uses. If this thing was a band and we were playing "stumpt the band" it would know everything from Rachmaninoff to The Rembrandts. It is amazing. And I suppose I wanted to let the Pizza Hut in Byrum, CT know that I have the spatulini (that is what I am going to call it from now on) and that I love it and that it is the only utensil in my kitchen that hasn't been voted off the island at this point.

On to a totally other subject. The feeling of being overwhelmed. Christ do I have it. I am not sure how I am ever going to catch up at work and the worst part is that there is a show starting up and from the point it starts I am working straight through to June. Which is a long-ass time from now. I am just nervous that things are going to go really really bad and I don't even really know why, just filled with fear I guess.

Here is the blog o' the day.


Why? Read it and tell me isn't adorable. I especially like the post about the strawberry toothpaste.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

So Much to do...

"Help me Jeebus." -Homer Simpson

That is how I feel right now. Just absolutely behind the gun and under water. When I get like, I like to do this yoga meditation that I learned on the two times I went to Yoga. Basically you lay on your back, turn everything in the room off -- no sound, no lights no nothing, just you and the floor and the quiet -- and you do like a 56 point inspection of your body. Starting with your head just trying to actively feel and be in the moment of those parts of your body you are concentrating on. When I do that and I am in this kind of overwhelmed, overworked space, I have a vision in my head of being under water, and seeing a life raft (from the airplane emergency pamphlets) but not being able to reach it. It is a really panic inspiring feeling. And so to counter it I am going to be doing work all day (today is Sunday) and I am going to be going out of my way to try and get about three things finished so that next week I will have a relative stressful -- albeit less stressful -- next week of work before my life caves in around me.

There, now that all that is out in the open.

When I was a kid (I might be dating myself a bit here) there was this ad campaign, if you could even call it that, that had a slogan that said, Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. I distinctly remember that because when I was six or seven the university in the town I grew up in hosted an attempt to break the world record for the largest group kiss. It sounds really perverse but it was really innocent, it was like 700 people all kissing their friends or family at the same time. It was pretty lame. There was a guy there, however, that had on this red shirt and it had that slogan on it.

Now at the time I happen to love Quiche, still do. Guess I am not a real man, but whatever. I never understood why a guy wouldn't eat a baked omelet in a piecrust. (I think I over thought the slogan.) But seriously, you eat omeletes right? If I called it an omelets pie would you shut up and enjoy the deliciousness of it.



I think I might have lost the point... Oh... Yeah, so in an effort to stall and put things off to the last minute, something I excel at, I am making Quiche for myself to take to work. They are easy to make. I can fill them with whatever I want and then transport easily. What could be more Manly than that?

My friend Amy Guth does this thing on her blog called Mixed Up and it has this fancy title like if it was only socially acceptable to make a mix tape (or something). And it got me thinking that if I was going to make a tape today in my super-overwhelmed state what would be on it. So here it goes:

Mixed Up #1 (title/artist/album)

1. Love on a Farmboy's wages / XTC / Mummer
2. A New England / Billy Bragg / Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy
3. Big In Japan / Alphaville / Forever Young
4. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song / The Flaming Lips / At War With The Mystics
5. The Fallen / Franz Ferdinand / You Could Have It So Much Better
6. Let Go / Frou Frou / Details
7. Panther Dash / The Go! Team / Thunder, Lightning, Strike
8. Life In One Day / Howard Jones / The Best Of Howard Jones
9. Chocolate / Snow Patrol / Final Straw
10. Bright Future In Sales / Fountains Of Wayne / Welcome Interstate Managers
11. Cuscutlan / Frente / Marvin the Album
12. Club Foot / Kasabian / Kasabian
13. Only The Strong / Midnight Oil / 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
14. Sing Me Spanish Techno / The New Pornographers / Twin Cinema
15. Fidelity / Regina Spektor / Begin To Hope

So there it is, a real hodge-podge of songs, styles and artists. But right now my brain is pretty much shot.

So off to the wonderful world of spreadsheets, so long, adieu, to you and you and you.

For the record if I could sneak a 16th song on it would be O Valencia! by The Decemberists off of their new album The Crane Wife.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Getting back on the horse...

You would think after last night that this was my first rodeo on the old computer. But in fact it is not my first rodeo. But sometimes even the oldest of cowboys get bucked by a wiley bronc and that appears to have been the case last night. Before we progress much further, as I was walking to work this morning I saw something that was awesome.

In the retelling of this story it will not seem awesome, of that I am certain. But in the retelling it might turn into a car commercial -- we shall see.

As I was walking to work this morning with my adoring -- now sick -- wife I stopped outside of the dorms on the campus of the college near my house. There was a raquet coming and I could hear it from the other side of the street. So I ducked my head in quiet meditation and listened, mostly because I am nosey. At that point, the aforementioned adoring wife mentioned to me that the screaming I was hearing was not from a dorm room but from a woman SCREAMING at someone on her cell phone. This is at 8:25 a.m. And she was SCREAMING. We are talking about Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween on crack tearing vocal cords screaming it was stupendous. She, at one point, had a string of obscenities that I think included 5 fuckers 4 cocksuckers 3 asses and a partridge in a pear tree (but I am sure it was fucking pear tree). I started moving ahead because the screaming was getting shriller and shriller and I was really terrified that she was going to take it out on us if she saw us stopped. Which made me think, this girl is either really right and that guy or girl is a total bastard for what they did. Or she is CRAZY. Like googly eyes, demon monkeys in the hair crazy.

Anyway on the busstop story which is going to be in the format of a short play.

The scene takes place on Martin Luther King day, it is damp and the air is thick and cold. There are three people waiting at a down city bus terminal depot. They are all standing near each other but not next to each. Theresa is a short, heavy-set black woman. John is a middle-aged man who looks Italian-American, which means his shirt is open one button too many, the hair product places love him and he is wearing a gold chain around his neck. The shirt is a garish color. The other person, V., is a plainly dressed young man in his early thirties. The two men are staring at something ahead of them towards the audience, an ice skating rink perhaps.

Theresa: (on a cell phone) Well you know what she needs. Long-term. That is what she needs, that spin-dry bullshit she been doing just ain't workin anymore. She needs a year, or more, to get all them chemicals she been puttin in her body out. Long-term. Otherwise she just messin around. The judge ain't gonna let her just mess around neither. (beat) Yeah, I know. (beat) mmm-hmmm. Well look I am still waitin for that South-side bus... what you mean why am I goin down there? I told you. (beat) yeah that's right. Okay I gotta go.

(Theres shuts the phone and puts it in her pocket)

(To the other men.) Any of you dudes know when that south-side bus is comin?

V. and John: No. (John shakes his head and V. Shrugs)

John: The sign there says it comes at 1:27 thats about three minutes.

V.: I haven't seen it come yet.

Theresa: Well I have been waitin here for about twenty mintues and I ain't seen no bus yet, and i gotta get to the doctor's. I got a Doctor's appointment. At the hospital. (Looking around) Don't kids got to school anymore?

John: Well I think they are all out for the Holiday.

Theresa: Holiday?

(A bus pulls up and a fat Portugese bus driver steps onto the stage)

Busdriver: Ninety-one Green line trolley to Providence Place Mall and Capital Hill. Green Line Trolley.

Theresa: (To the bus driver) Is this the South-side trolley?

Busdriver: No. The South-side doesn't run on Sunday.

Theresa: (confused) But it's monday.

Busdriver: Right, I know but on a holiday we run a Sunday Schedule and there are no buses to the South-side today. Because its a holiday. You of ALL people should know its a holiday. Martin Luther King day. (shakes his head and exits)

(Theresa starts to exit opposite the bus driver)

Theresa: Great a holiday, I been wastin twenty minutes of my time. I got to get to the doctor's, I got an appointment.

(V. and John look at each other, share an expression of awe and the lights go dark)

That is more or less how it happened. I embellished some of the conversation between John and I. But for the most part that is it. It was amazing I felt honored to have witnessed it. One, is that we as Americans have a long way to go before racism, maybe prejudice, is stamped out in all its forms and it is always refreshing to see it happen, because I don't think it is malicious most of the time, just people being ignorant.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What the ....

So I can't believe I am doing this, but it is 1:12 in the morning and I am about to throw up in my mouth. I had this awesome experience on the bus today -- which I will type up later and repost -- and I was going to throw it on the blog. Anyway as I go to save it, I think to myself I haven't done a blog o' the day for a while so I start surfing around looking for one and just as I go to copy the link into the page: the whole damn application craps out. So stay tuned, I will try to get it up tomorrow for you guys that still stick around.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

This just in, extra. Extra.

I have a new post up on Six Sentences.

Here is the link. How Charlie Chaplin Saved a Marriage

Seriously folks, this might be as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.

Thanks again to Rob for the quick acceptance.

I honestly don't know where the time has gone

Seriously. I know the year just started and I know that it is not even half way through January yet, but I would have sworn that it was April.

First of all, the weather here in Providence has been spectacular. If you are into that whole global warming, the end is near kind of weather. Somebody told me that the Jet Stream is just riding unusually high this year because of El Nino/a, which sounds plausible, but I will tell you the weather is starting to freak me out.

Partly, because I am fairly certain that wearing shorts in January, in New England is something that should only be done by Hockey players, but it has been so nice that I was able to get out and play a little soccer this afternoon (soccer is one of my favorite sports, if not the favorite and I have to mention the Beckham signing in a second). It was great, I was woefully unprepared, this is the first run-out I have had since.. oh I don't know... September and I am feeling it now. Achy ankles, and hips, my shoulders are sore, basically I feel old. But it has solidified my last of the New Years resolutions for me which are:

1. Read ten books by Nobel Laureates in 2007. This just seems like a good idea. I like to read and if I can do this I will get a big chunk of good literature out of the way. I have already finished a book of poems by Octavio Paz and my current read is Somersault, by Kensaburo Oe. Next on the docket is Blindness by Jose Saramago and then probably either Snow or My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk. I have about 10 plays by Harold Pinter so that is 5 right there, not to shabby.

2. Keep a Calendar. I am constantly overextending myself and so this year I have promised to keep a calendar to help me stay organized. We will see how it goes. So far, so good. On Mon. Jan. 8th I had scheduled some time to "just kick it" and guess what -- Mission accomplished.

3. Be nicer to people. Not nice, nicer. That is an important distinction. By and large I think most of my friends would say that I am a pretty nice person, but the average joe on the street might not agree all the time. So this year I am going to try to keep my ego and my sarcasm in check and save them for really appropriate times. So far, this is not going as well as I would have wanted. I have had my cranky pants for the better part of a week or two and I am hoping that I get it out of my system soon.

4. Use the gym that you are paying for more often than you do. I had been really good about going to the gym for about two months, every other day. Cycling through training circuits, and then I hurt my hip and work picked up and I just fell away from it. Which is a drag because I really liked going, but I just got tired and fatigued all the time and I have a pretty low tolerance for pain when it comes to joints so I sort of quit going and well... that is going to stop -- starting Monday.

So that is it. Four resolutions, not to shabby.

Now my two cents on the Beckham to America thing. I really go two ways on this, one is that good for the MLS for attracting a star of Beckham's magnitude; and what was the MLS thinking.

The first reaction is pretty standard I would say, David Beckham is arguable one of the most recognizable figures in sports and he has developed a brand that is second to none. He isn't the most skilled or the most talented, but he seems to have the best marketing team behind him. That, if used correctly, will be huge for the MLS. It will draw attention to the league and it might bring in more players to all the stadiums in which he plays. I can't imagine that have someone on the training pitch of Beckham's caliber will be harmful to the team and it might give them a much needed boost to the lousy season that they had last year.

The second reaction is a little more speculative. First off, the David Beckham they signed is probably past his best and at this point is known more for his ability to show up to majore tournaments for England and make excuses about why he is out of shape and how none of his underacheiving is his fault. Secondly, his brand is contigent on his plying his trade with a powerhouse team in a powerhouse market. He has, to this point in his career, been blessed. He moved to Real Madrid, one of the biggest teams in the game from Manchester United, after coming up through the youth ranks, and went on to be part of a team that won an unprecedented treble (Premiership Title, FA Cup and Champions League) of which there is no comparative master stroke in American sports, but about as close as I can think of would be to have a sports city (Boston, NY, Philly) win three out of four professional sports titles in the same year, preferably the NFL, NBA and MLB. In the US, however, he is playing in a market that favor soccer in a fourth or fifth market share to the other sports. Not to mention that people in Asia (where Beckham is a g-d of epic proportions) probably can't get the MLS on their TVs but they certainly can get the Spanish Primera Division or the Premiership.

So I am not sure if the MLS is thinking that if any of Beckham's fan base transfers over it will be a good thing, but I am not so sure.

Anyway that is my two cents. Which is worth about 1.5 cents actually.