Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A postcard from Hell

Mrs. Z and I were recruited during the run of Jekyll & Hyde to be in the theater's Christmas show. The vocal director, begged us to be in it. We agreed.

Then, we found out the show didn't have a rehearsal pianist. Or a costumer. Or a props person. Or a light designer.

What it did have was a cast full of ... spirited ... children and a handful of veteran actors.

Then, three weeks ago, the schmuck who dragged us into the show quit. So, we've been trying to learn music without a vocal director or a pianist. We have, on the bright side, found a costumer and a props person, and we have a bead on a possible draftee for light design. But we don't have a light or sound board operator, several cast members are struggling mightily with lines and music, and the show is running about three hours.

Oh, and did I mention we open a week from Friday?

Almost makes me long for the days of my UTI.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Disquiet on the Midwestern front

In one month, I went from planning what might have been the best family trip ever over Thanksgiving to teetering on the brink of a Thanksgiving dinner apart from family altogether.

First, this disclaimer: Mrs. Z and my mother generally have quite a good relationship for a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. However, on the rare occasions when conflict occurs, fireworks follow. This is made even more difficult by my mother’s emotional fragility.

So it was incredibly bad timing when Mrs. Z. made a joke that Mom took in a completely wrong way over the weekend. An awkward silence ensued, and by the next day, Mom was suggesting maybe we should celebrate Thanksgiving separately to avoid any chance of further conflict.

On go the kid gloves …

Between some warm words of encouragement from me and some trademark grace under pressure from Mrs. Z, we were able to establish a truce that should last through the holiday weekend.

Add to that the fact that I’m mired in a show that is my equivalent of a theatrical good deed, and it’s been looking like I was going to have to go deep on my “What I’m Thankful For” list … all the way down to #347: that I don’t have a shunt valve sticking out of my head. Or that my days of riding the little yellow bus are far behind me.

Oh yes, dear readers, I was a prisoner of the short bus in my childhood. And since tales from that time have always been popular with friends, I have decided I may have to commit them to cyberspace. Stay tuneded.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thoughts set to ‘shuffle’

Well, fall has officially come to central Illinois. And by fall, I mean winter. That’s the typical way of things ‘round here, where autumn generally lasts from 10 a.m. on Oct. 30 until sometime later that week. This morning, I was greeted with a flurry or two and this icy wind that ripped my breath from my chest.


And then there’s the issue of my newly-shorn head. I keep meaning to get a picture up on the blog, but I haven’t had a picture taken since I went bald. It looks cool as hell, but it feels much, much colder. I had to break down and buy a stocking cap on lunch to replace the one that’s lost in my winter clothes black hole.


Speaking of “Lost,” there’s a fascinating episode on tonight that traces the first 48 days on the island for those who were in the tail section of the plane. Truly, must-see TV.


Of course, I have to tape it because I’m in rehearsal for “Santa Claus: The Musical.” I wish I could say I’m having a better time with it, and that what started out as a favor has turned into a labor of love. Unfortunately, I can’t say that. The book and lyrics are cute enough, but the music annoys the crap out of me, the show runs too long and, all in all, I’d rather be preparing for the holidays at home.

But there’s this “commitment” thing that I have to honor. And honor it, I will.


I read that 73% of babies born with spina bifida (the condition that rendered me a “wheelchair user”) end up with an allergy to latex. As far as I know, I’m part of the 27% that aren’t, but I’ve never been to a fetish club, so I guess I can’t say for certain.


It’s interesting that folks like her and her are pondering why people blog. I’m three weeks away from hitting the one-year anniversary of “Graduate Level Sykesology,” and I’m still figuring it out. More introspection along those lines in … say about three weeks.


As the film opening of “Rent” nears, I must confess: I've never seen the show. Moreover, I never had really had any desire to see it. I know. I'm an infidel.

This was mostly due to the "Everyone says it's an awesome must-see, so crew the herd" mentality. I rebelled. That, and "Seasons of Love" always sounded kind of show choirish to me.

However, the trailer for "Rent" has kind of sucked me in, and now I'm looking forward to seeing it. And don’t underestimate the Rosario Dawson Factor.


Speaking of Rosario Dawson, do yourself a favor and rent the “Josie and the Pussycats” movie sometime. It’s not nearly as bad as critics indicated, and in some cases is actually howlingly funny. There are particularly solid performances from the aforementioned Dawson, Alan Cummings and Tara Reid (before we realized she wasn’t really performing at all).

Rachel Leigh Cook also perfects the hot-looking-in-a-sweet-way thing here, and I’m not sure why her career never really went anywhere. Oh well: “DuJour means seatbelts!”


One more thing: get ready for White Trash Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Urethra Laurifer

No need to break out the Latin dictionary, Sykesology fans. You probably recognize the first word, and the second translates “Triumphant.” Yes indeed, dearly beloved: Mr. Firehose is back in business. It’s amazing what some horse-choking Cipro will do for you. Mostly, it’s allowed me to leave a restroom without crying.

One more quick thought, while we’re on the subject of restrooms: do you or have you ever worked in a multi-floor facility where the restrooms on each floor have identical designs? Have you ever had to use such a restroom on a floor other than your own? Isn’t it a little like visiting a parallel universe?

Yes, I’m better … as better as it gets for me.

Peace out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Owie! Owie! Owie!

Let’s just get the TMI disclaimer out of the way right now.

I’m going to the doctor tonight for what I am 99% sure is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). As if making an acronym out of it makes it any more pleasant. I’m about to split from work to crash until then.

I say that to say this: you’re probably reading my last entry for a while. Instead, I’ll be spending much of the next few days looking down and yelling: “C’mon Mr. Firehose, you can do it. You’ve never given up on anything before, so live, damn you, LIVE!!!!!”

That is when the fever doesn’t compel me to sing the guitar part of “Kashmir.”

Think good thoughts, kiddies.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Long before there was a Graduate Level Psychology, I had (and still have) a regular cyberwriting gig at Finheaven & Co., the pre-eminent Miami Dolphins fan site. For the first couple of years, I diligently wrote columns weekly or, at the very least, every other week.

Then came last year’s disastrous 4-12 season. It’s tough writing about a team that can pretty much be counted on to lose week after week. But still, I was relatively faithful.

Now, the team is, despite its losing record, a lot more fun to watch than it was last season. The Dolphins are only a game out of first place in their division. The new coaching staff has fans really excited. And yet, it’s been an eternity since I wrote a column.

Meanwhile, I’ve averaged a little more than a post a week on my blog. Hmmmm …

It feels like I’m cheating on my girlfriend.

Monday, November 07, 2005

This just in! Two more for "The List"

Sometimes one urge trumps another.

Friday, November 04, 2005

My To-Do List

I'll have some chewy political stuff next week, but it's freaking Friday, people! So, because everyone else is doing it, why not me? Here are the celebrities on my current agenda, provided I ever get enough time off work to properly pursue them.

Evangeline Lilly
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Amazingly, the grungier this Lost star gets, the hotter she gets. Which isn’t to say the occasional scene depicting her cleaning up isn’t hot as well. Either way … grr, baby. Grr.

Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon
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At the same time. In an empty room. On a mattress in the middle of the floor.

Liz Phair
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She sings about playing X-Box and ... well ... you know. Awesome.


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I know this pick probably will rob me of all credibility with many of you, but I can’t help it. As a singer, I am entranced by her wholly unique vocal instrument. And her kewpie-doll face, when combined with her borderline-wacko persona, seal the deal for me.

Pauley Perrette

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I’ve never watched a full episode of Navy NCIS. In truth, the only exposure I’ve had to it is the five minutes I usually see of it right before The Amazing Race. But I’ve decided I really need to get into it, if only for the delightful punk princess Abby Sciutto, as portrayed by Ms. Perrette. She’s a punk. She wears schoolgirl clothes. She solves crimes. ‘Nuff said.

Devon Aoki
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If you saw her kick ass and take names in Sin City, you’ll know why Devon has captured my … ummm … heart. She fits nicely into the genre of hot women who could kill me and leave me a happy corpse.

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The older she gets, the more attractive. Have you seen her latest video? Of course, she’s as annoyingly self-important as ever, but damn …

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Today, I am Surly Duck

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And now, some good reading that my many left-leaning friends may not appreciate. But it is apparent that Iraq intelligence was flawed long before George W. Bush took power and that the support/criticism tide for the war has ebbed and flowed with its political advantageousness.

I'll shut up now.

Glenn Reynolds and Harry Reid's Exploding Head

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