Now is the time of year that everyone makes lists.
Here are a few from the brains behind Hijinks on Snort:

Quirky Music I have Purchased and Enjoyed in the Past Year:

*Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, Out of Season. A side project from the singer of Portishead and the bass player of Talk Talk. It's kind of like Portishead, but not.

*Wig In A Box. A tribute album to benefit the group that runs Harvey Milk school in NYC. This is pretty excellent, though the Yoko Ono track made the dog howl.

* Tori Amos, Strange Little Girls. For different reasons, also Scarlet's Walk. It took me a couple of years to get into Tori Amos's cover album, but damn, I'm glad I did! Still, I'm happy that she put out a studio album this year.

* The Sounds, Living in America. A new-New Wave band from Sweden. What else do I have to say?

* Cat Power, You Are Free. Cat Power rocks, even if my pal Janet calls her work ennervating.

* Soundtrack, Princess and the Warrior. This album was made by the same people responsible for Run Lola Run. It's like the chill version of that soundtrack, the kind of music that spins out a party really well.

* Verve's highly successful Remixed albums. And for that matter, their Unmixed companions. I hope that these will generate new interest in jazz, though I suspect that they're just candy for hipsters who've already discovered the sublime nature of Nina Simone and her contemporaries.

* Morelenbaum 2/Sakamoto's Live Album. Their studio album is pretty awesome, but I really love the immediacy of their second album. Also, I love bossa nova, and it's hard to find non-cheesy efforts in that genre.

Other music that's really floated my boat in 2003:

*Coldplay, but who didn't listen to them this year?


*Everything But The Girl's rarities and b-side collection. Even though a lot of those tapes could have stayed on the shelf, the remixes are superb.

*Fantastic Plastic Machine. The perfect japanese pop to rock out to on my little minidisc player while taking public transportation.

*Miss Nina Simone.

*Dave Brubeck. I bought both Red Hot and Cool and Time In this year. Wow.

*Liz Phair. Some people say she's sold out, and her single's everywhere. It's still a good album.

*The White Stripes. I'm not really into "The" groups, with the exception of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Sounds, and The White Stripes. I'm not sure if there's any commonality between them, other than the "the". Oh, and they all rock.


Why Schott's Original Miscellany is Possibly the Best Book Ever

that's hyperbole, of course, but it's pretty damn nifty!

I rented this slim tome by Ben Schott from my local bibliotheque. It was the best use of seventy-five cents on my part in a long time. The book, which I suppose falls under the category of non-fiction, contains numerous facts and trivia. Par example: a table of James Bond films, including the actor playing Bond, the villain, Bond girl and actress, as well as the Bond-mobile. A list of nine Q words without Us (very good for scrabble!). A very complex chart listing many facts about US presidents, including their party affiliation, astrological sign, salary, age at which they took office, whether or not they had red hair or won a Nobel Prize (not really an either/or, but so far, there's np cross-over between the groups), et cetera. I'm also enamored of the sampling of final words from the National Spelling Bee. Some of them seem pedestrian, like lyseum and kamikazi, but that's probably why they don't have twenty-somethings in the bee! My grade school had some sort of screening process as clandestine as the election of the popes. Despite being an excellent speller, I was never allowed to participate in the school bee. I digress. The list of Liz Taylor's husbands, in chronological order, is also amusing. I strongly recommend Schott's. It is clearly worth the $14.95 publisher's recommended retail price.


Last week, as I was driving down the Dan Ryan, I saw an amazing sight. There was a 12' aluminum ladder skidding diagonally across the lanes of traffic, with a sheet of angry sparks. The attendant noise of metal scraping concrete was like the hiss of a great angry snake. I swerved and managed to avoid it. I've no idea where the ladder came from, but it cut across my consciousness as boldly as it cut across the six lanes of traffic. It happens that I am afraid of ladders, but this is the first that frightened me in a horizontal position. What could this errant ladder mean?

I was also bitten by a dog this weekend and had an allergy attack during the middle of the matinee (of a one act show). Other than that, I am fine. The bite is a flesh wound. The allergy attack has passed. I quite unwisely chose to get ripped the same evening of the onset of the attack. It was the worst hangover I've had in a long time. Some lessons must be learned through experience. Never put your body through withdrawal when it is already on the offensive.

The allergic reaction was entirely my fault. And I do know better than to eat foods to which I am allergic. I ate at a noodle shop last Saturday and ordered a dish that had a preponderance of carrots heaped atop it. Unexpectedly. As much as I tried to eat around it, I probably had a couple of tablespoons' worth of carrot. Despite all those allergy shots that were inflicted upon me as a child, I cannot eat even that much.

Yesterday was bookended by piss. I awoke to the sound of a dog pissing very near to the bed where I lay and went to bed very shortly after my elderly cat decided to urinate all over one of my merino sweaters. He's very sneaky. He perpetrated this crime while pretending to peer intently into a nearby stack of LPs. Misdirection is key to that little trick, as it is in ventriloquism. There were also all sorts of snafus with the video equipment as I was trying to finish a project.

It was a shitty day, with the exception of an evening spent at the theatre. I went to see Man From Nebraska with the OFW group. It was breathtaking. The director of OFW stars in the show. I'd seen him onstage before, years ago, but was amazed by his skill. I am so glad that I managed to make it, as I had contemplated calling the box office to release my ticket and sleeping instead. There are few things, in my opinion, that are better than sleep, and this was one of them. Then I went home and slept in my own bed. Ah, bliss. Now, if I can train my mother not to pound on my bedroom door like the Chicago Police... She "knocked" on it this morning to awaken me and my entire body jumped from the bed like a startled fish and just hung there for a moment.

I paid a visit to one of my favorite bookstores in Chicago today. I qualify that because my favorite bookstore remains Prairie Lights. They just aren't in walking distance anymore. Just as my favorite record store is a thousand miles away. I went in to pick up a copy of Sense and Sensibility and ended up buying a tribute album to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It is, as the post-it sign in the store said, amazing. The source material is pretty incredible to begin with, but the covers are fabulously funny and moving. For example, Sleater-Kinney and Fred Schneider (aka the man from the B-52s) performing "Angry Inch" or Steven Colbert's "Ladies and Gentlemen". Yoko Ono's "Exquisite Corpse" made the dog growl, but he's generally cranky. Cranky enough to bite me and wake me up with his pissing. The album is to benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which runs the Harvey Milk school in NYC. I highly recommend it.

Tonight is my first show night without a show call in a long time. It hasn't really sunken in that my show has closed, but as I told one of my friends this afternoon, I suspect that it may this evening. It can be very hard when that evening rolls around, as one gets the itch to go somewhere around call time, that feeling of a forgotten obligation. So, I'm rocking out to Hedwig and waiting for Lewis.


I've done nothing of consequence all week. It's shameful, my ability to sleep all day. Actually, I've managed to finish my xmas shopping and wrap nearly all the gifts. Not too shabby, considering there have been years where people have been in danger of receiving gifts purchased at the 7-11 on the way there. And I've made great progress on the everyday cardigan. Because I knit it everyday. It's at approximately 90% completion. That is to say, the sleeves, back, and right front are finished, and the left front about 75%. That does not include blocking (ugh), assembly, or the dreaded button bands and collar. I've never done button holes before, so this should be an educational experience.
So, I'm beginning to think of the next big thing. I was planning to make the Norwegian turtleneck, but am really not in favor of that neckline at the moment. I'd much rather make it as a v-neck, but cannot even begin to start on the alterations necessary to the pattern. Still, I'd like to make a raglan sleeved colorblock sweater next.
The day that I decided to take advantage of Netflix's free trial offer, I received several coupons from the local video store. Hmm. Am still undecided in this matter. A less that satisfactory search of their site revealed that they don't have An Awfully Big Adventure (one of my top ten backstage films) or A Midwinter's Tale. MT is available on Amazon.com, but Adventure seems elusive. It used to be on Bravo, usually late at night, with some frequency, but that sort of programming has been rejected in favor of all-gay all-the-time. Sigh.


My show has been extended another week. Again. I always get sick around the time that we get the closing notice on a show. We've gotten ours three times. I'm sick and I'm tired. I'm tired of being sick. I found myself using "Ricola" as a verb the other day, and I hate the sort of grammatical sloppiness that demonstrates.
I've officially finished my xmas shopping for the season. Now, I must gather enough boxes of appropriate size in which to wrap the fabulously diverse gifts that I purchased and made this year. Only two of the objects could go commando under wrapping paper, being already packaged in boxes. Perhaps I've said too much.
I rented Dogma last night from the amazingly crappy video store. As I said to my mother, while standing in the middle of the store, the only thing that recommends that place is its proximity to our house. I have got to join Netflix. They don't really have any foreign films and have sold off a lot of older things that I enjoy, such as Parapluies de Cherbourg and A Midwinter's Tale. And forget trying to get the Tricolor Trilogy there anymore. Anyway... Dogma was a great laugh. I love intelligent commentary on organized religion. Surprisingly sharp.
My pinky hurts, possibly from too many NY Times Xword puzzles and knitting in front of the television. I've finished the back of my cardigan and began one of the front panels. I quickly tired of it. I'm also working on a pair of socks for myself (a bit of a novelty these days), for a bit of gauge relief. The socks are striped. I seem to make striped ones almost exclusively. It is my goal to take all of the ends of my self-striping sock yarns and mix them together in one pair of socks. The effect would be unique, certainly. I re-read the Harry Potter books this past week and noted many references to socks that I'd missed the first time round. Nothing as great as Pablo Neruda's poem, but still amusing in a nerdy fashion.
I'm listening to an old Tori Amos cd, From the Choirgirl Hotel. This was inspired by my purchase of her new album, Tales of a Librarian. It's a greatest hits compilation with some new material. I was primarily interested in the new material, as I own all of her albums. I gave it a spin during sound check at work and thought, I already own these albums. Some of the selections seem arbitrary, but I suppose that is always the case with compilation cds. There will always be favorites that are omitted. Not bad, really, but I prefer the original albums. I may make my own compilation, what with all the free time I'll have after my show closes. That's a scary thought.


I cruised over to the PBS website this afternoon, after a disgusted read of their e-newsletter. I don't care about all their holiday extravaganzas. I want to know when the Forsyte Saga will be back on Masterpiece Theatre. It is slated, according to the MT website, to return on December 21st. Check your local listings. I believe that this season has already aired in the UK, as one of my friends dropped a plot spoiler in a letter over the summer. I'm surprised that PBS hasn't trotted the series out for pledge week.


Free at last!
I finished the last of my xmas knitting projects yesterday. So I can go back to something for myself. Well, that's misleading. I've had several me-projects marinating, providing contrasting gauge to the seven stitches to the inch socks. I'm back on the Everyday Cardigan. The second sleeve was ripped out for about the millionth time, though much earlier in the process this time than last. I finally bit the bullet and redid my gauge swatch. I was using the wrong size needles for the job. I'd like to have that sweater finished in time for xmas, but that may be overly ambitious.
I spent almost all of Monday napping. I'm still trying to kick "that thing that's going around" (the actual medical description). Numerous doses of Walgreen's "Oral Relief" have been employed. I was filled with a sense of dread as I listened to the news on NPR. How is the government not trying to screw us over? The laws governing overtime are being overhauled so that millions of workers who now qualify will become ineligible. Talk about a big fuck you from the powers that be. The federal gov't is also moving to force federally funded clinics to notify a girl's parents before giving her any birth control "drugs or devices". According to Bust magazine, experts predict that this bill could devastate efforts to prevent teen pregnancy, as an estimated 60% of teens would stop using clinics if their parents had to be informed. Also, the Bushites are modifying privacy laws as they apply to minors. Doctors may now inform an underage patient's parents of std and pregnancy tests, as well as treatments. They're also threatening to pull school district funding from schools that distribute emergency contraceptives under the "Schoolchildren's Health Protection Act". Because girls don't need their health issues addressed, even though they generally bear the burden of contraception. I wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed permanently. I recall thinking, upon learning that Bush's theft of the 2000 election had gained legal recognition, that it was going to be a long four years. Well, how long will we have to live with the legacy of these dark years? Will the republicans not rest until all American women are chained to a radiator, completely stripped of the right to make decisions about their lives and bodies?!
Other depressing thoughts: the City of Chicago decided against me in the matter of my unjust parking ticket, even though I sent a very nicely worded letter of appeal, with supporting evidence enclosed. I told my mother that she will have to go and appeal it in person, as the car is still technically hers. Also, I don't have a job lined up after my current one. So, as of the end of November, I will again be unemployed. We'll see if my attempts to collect unemployment will be anymore fruitful this time around. Dubious.


We had a really terrible matinee audience on Sunday at the theatre. There was a large group of college students, from a local questionably accredited college. I think a good description is "commuter school". There was a devastating mount of inappropriate laughter, and longer than usual crying on the part of one of the actresses. I was so upset. We have no intermission, so there was no way to kick them out. Sigh.
I took a five hour nap yesterday afternoon. Naturally, I woke up with a cold. Or should I say, another cold. I had one during the film fest. What a drag. Luckily, I still have some Nelsons Cold and Flu. I should stock up at the apothecary before flu season hits. I certainly won't want to haul ass up to Lincoln Square when I am sick.
Today, as I drove to Stitch n Bitch, I listened to a report on NPR about the Iowa Caucus. I've been fascinated by the caucus system for years, yet somehow never participated in one during my residence in that illustrious state. That's another story.... We'll save Cook County voting fraud for another day. At first, I was glad to hear a piece detailing the workings of the humble caucus. Until I heard a misleading factual error, repeated several tmes throughout the report. Their experts stated that only Democrats can participate in the caucus. That simply is not true. Their will not be a Republican caucus in this election, since there is no one challenging the president for their nomination. It is true that voters participating in the caucus must be registered party members (no independents allowed). Republicans, alas, are allowed. I was really saddened by this misrepresentation of the caucus. It's a charming institution. Groups of voters, all essentially neighbors, convene to engage in intelligent political discourse. It's kind of like direct democracy. Granted, this takes place, usually, at someone's house, with the republicans in the living room and the democrats in the kitchen, it's much better than the other 49 states can put together. The caucus works so well in Iowa because of its relatively small population and high level of education. It would never work in a big state like Massachusetts. Damn that NPR! I may send them an email later...when I'm in less of a crazy mood.
I finally got my subscription problems with Tin House straightened out. Too bad this has dragged on since the sub started. Getting on the phone instead of relying on politely worded emails yielded greater results.


Many things have happened since my last post. I've never pretended to be punctual or prolific with this site. Anyone relying upon my blog for the stories of my life will have to read between the lines or pick up the goddamn phone.
I'm listening to Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man. It's a sort of side project for her, as it isn't with Portishead. It's been so long since the last Portishead album, I wonder if they'll ever release another. So I was excited to see that their lead singer had a solo album out. It isn't like her previous work, and yet it is. Some of the reviews described it as alt-country, but it's really alt-alt. When I pulled up its details on cddb, it was classified as general alternative. What a bland description. To what is "general alternative" the alternative? Everything, I guess. It's a beautiful album, whatever you call it.
I haven't been listening to a lot of music lately, which is odd. I listen to the radio during my commute, but don't count that. I haven't sat down and spun the new Dido cd that I bought a month ago. All the music I've intentionally spun has been in the sound design for my current show. And how many times can you listen to "Jack and Jill" without snapping? I'd use lots of sad Carpenters songs in the preshow, but that would imply that it was a period piece, which it isn't.
Oh, that fabulously respectable regional theatre where I am working messed up my paycheck again. Last time, it was lower than the agreed upon amount because I was still on an hourly scale. I hold little hope of having that rectified. This week, they forgot to cut me a check. I'd expect this crap from a little company, but not a big Tony Award winner.
I spent part of the weekend with my good friend Sarafina. We don't see each other that often, which is funny since we live in the same part of the world. So, I called her to have drinks after work on Friday and ended spending most of Saturday with her as well. We went to see the fabulous Die Mommy Die at Piper's Alley. My mother was disturbed by this when I cheerfully recited the title to her. It's a marvellous period piece lampooning the old studio pictures of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. The production design was spot on, and the costumes elicited several gasps. Highly recommended for lovers of camp and high production values.
This past week, I also encountered a bum begging next to an ATM on Clark. I was there to arrange finances for a night of ale, when he asked me for a dollar. Like ATMs dispense singles! He had a crutch, and I momentarily wondered if he planned to trip and/or hit me with it. He did not.
Lewis took me to the apothecary in Lincoln Square. What a delightful, expensive little store! He knows where to take his sickly friends. Afterwards, I met a friend for drinks (the night of the bum) and managed to mispronounce apothecary several times. I tried to laugh it off, but was embarassed as I wasn't even that drunk.

Knitting Progress:
*I have completed a single sock of the pair to be given to my grandfather for xmas. It has invited many questions and admiring remarks at work.
*I am already past the heel of my second sock for Lewis, also a xmas present.
*I knit up my orange and pink felted bag in less than 24 hours. Delightful, but it didn't turn out quite how I expected. I've started a matching scarf in 1x1 rib, as I enjoy the color combination so much. The scarf is slow moving, because of the pattern, but a nicely dense fabric.
*I've picked up the Karabella cabled hat again, and am now actually into the body of the hat. After all the time I've put into it, I hope that this hat looks like a million dollars!
*I found a source for the much sought-after Phildar yarn in my peppermint twist sweater project. I think they're the only source in the US, at least the only ones willing to sell single balls. Oddly enough, the store is an hour away from my summer stock home. Who knows when I'll get to that project, but I will be glad to have all the materials assembled.
*I bought the new Interweave, since it has a good article on gloves and mittens. Hours earlier, I'd been discussing the need for bum's gloves (the kind with the fingers snipped off). The theatre is about as warm as a meat locker. I never take my coat off there. Still, I have so many projecst going at the moment that I dare not start another. I'm relieved that I didn't decide to knit lots of xmas presents this year. That would be crazy.

I'm almost done with my xmas shopping this year. It's a nice feeling. Feeling broke is not so great, but has much to do with my paycheck woes and $135 phone bill. Alas, the three left are two important female relatives and one hard-to-shop-for cousin.

Other things that have made me laugh lately:
*The clerk at Target asking me if I wanted a gift receipt when I was buying hair color and a roll of wrapping paper. What kind of cheap bastard do I look like?
* The "bridge out" sign on the Ryan around 45 Street. The bridge has been torn down.
*The new Garrison Keillor book. Great Minnesota humor.


I spent the morning working on a scholarly essay for The Fatty Arbuckle Incident (it's a joke that doesn't bear explaining, I'm afraid). I wrote about thirteen pages of legal pad on the topic of saints and desperation. It still needs editing, but I hope to get some feedback from my co-editor. Thus far, there are only two postings, both from me, but I am sure she will pick up the slack soon. Besides, my wrist hurts.
I've finished the sleeve redux. I've given up on being a one-woman knitting machine. So now, I am slumped in front of my laptop listening to some Nina Simone. I love her interpretation of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair". Maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old age. I've loved a couple of brunets in my time. I'm also a big sucker for Astrid Gilberto, but that's probably something else.
I helped Lewis strip a door at the studio. It was good vocational therapy. It's funny considering that our production company encompasses so many things, from sound to furniture refinishing. We'd make an excellent foil to Martha Stewart, that's certain. I'd really look like I enjoyed beating things with whips and chains, instead of pretending not to! It was nice, though, to just sit on the floor and scrape away with my little razor blade. It was the first time in ages that I was content.
Now that I've got my cushy gig, I've got to start looking for the next one. I think something light-hearted like Hello, Dolly! would be a good sorbet to this experience. Well, obviously not Hello, Dolly!, since one should avoid shows with exclamation points in the title. They're almost all crap, with the exception of Ah, Wilderness! and Oklahoma! Any show that feels the need to shout on the marquee obviously has problems.


It has been a bad week for knitting. I lost one of the needles out of the striped sock planned as a gift for Lewis. Woefully far from completion, so I gave him theatre tickets for his birthday instead.
Since I was short a needle, I had to sit idly during one of the runs. I dashed up to Arcadia during the break, where I bought the makings of a Karabella cabled hat. Except I forgot to buy a cable needle. A dpn made a good substitute, but I quickly realized that an increasing cable pattern is too complex to knit in the dark.
I started the second sleeve on my cardigan. Shortly thereafter, I realized that the second sleeve was smaller than the first. A careful measurement of the sleeves revealed that the completed sleeve was knit at 3 3/4 stitches to the inch, and the second at 4. Hot damn. The finished sleeve was quickly frogged. I decided that my current projects, with the exception of the super simple sock, will not travel.
Work is good. I like my co-workers, which is a plus. We get a lot of ambient noise in the theatre, like sirens during an intimate scene, or the low rumble of a large car stereo. There aren't many sound cues during the show, so I have a lot of time for quiet pursuits. I found a book of celebrity scandals in the green room at the mainstage and had to appropriate it for the studio space. It's sort of a condensed tabloid, and as addictive as crack.
There's a fascinating issue of the New Yorker this week, on the topic of filmmaking. One of the articles is a profile of B-movie actress Jaime Pressly. I wonder if it will help or hurt her career, given some of the comments that she makes about several of her contemporaries. The photograph isn't exactly flattering, either.
I really enjoyed the short article (part of a series) about sound design for the cinema. It focussed solely on foley recording for an upcoming seafarer epic, pretty amazing stuff. I'm a big sucker for that sort of behind the scenes information, probably because I spend so much time in similar pursuits. I hope that the New Yorker will publish a similar issue on theatre in the future, though they already devote great amounts of ink to live entertainment.
In other news, I've started another blog, for more erudite work. So, now I'll have two to neglect instead of one. The new project is a collaboration with a college classmate. She also has a crazy schedule, but I hope that, between the two of us, we can keep our e-zine rolling.
I didn't go to my last three screenings after I was hit with another round of head cold. I think that I got it from a toothbrush that I keep at the studio, which I'd last used while sick. The sneezing was relentless, so I couldn't go to the screening of Tamala 2010 , which really interested me. But after I sneezed so hard that I felt an odd rip in the back of my throat, it seemed that going home to sleep was a better option. Luckily, it was not a vocal chord injury.
Inspired by the arrival of my paycheck, I bought the new knitting book by Debbie Stoller. You may know her as the founder/editor of BUST magazine and a NY Stitch n Bitch regular. It's well written, with several projects I'd like to tackle. The peppermint striped sweater is on the top of that list, though I should finish some of my UFOs first.
I finally got my hands on a copy of Time In, the most elusive album in Dave Brubeck's Time series. I've pursued it for ages, since I decided not to order it online. Somehow, that feels like cheating when in pursuit of a rarity. I happened across it at Borders, of all places.


Today is my last day at the film festival. I'm a bit sad about it, since I've seen three excellent films in as many days through the organization. It's really worthwhile, but I've got another job that starts on Tuesday. So, I'm hanging out at the old Borders outpost, working on my manager's laptop. The job has its perks: I can read and reshelve all the magazines I want from the bookstore and the cafe often gives us free drinks. We poor public service peeps have to stick together! Still, the management of the store seems peeved with us on a semi-regular basis, solely for being in their store. And there are all the weird customers. This store seems to be a crazy-magnet. We get a lot of questions as to where to find books in the store (I'm working here, but I don't work here), but my favorites are the guy who asked if we were selling CTA passes (nope) and the heavily accented Greek man who wanted to purchase a ticket for Cher. He had to say Cher five times before we realized he was saying Cher, not chair. There's a lot of mockery of customers. When we're in a good mood, we wait until they leave the store. It's funny that they hired a bunch of people who are too-cool-for-school as their customer service kids, but it represents the fest oddly well.
Yesterday, a man stole a big bag full of DVDs from Borders. We sit between the exit and a set of windows, so we see all the sad attempts at shoplifting. This guy was clearly a pro. He ran out, with security in hot pursuit, to waiting cab on Clark. He had a cab waiting for him. The cab peeled out, leaving Mr. Security Man standing on the pavement.
I've been taking public transportation with greater frequency these last few weeks. The CTA is a quirky thing. I ran into two people from my past on the # 22 last night. I can only wonder at the odds of that. Unfortunately, one of them slipped off into the rainy Chicago night before I got a number. Maybe I'll be one of those pathetic borderline stalkers who places "missed connection" ads in the Reader match section. I did a dramatic reading from this week's paper while bored at work the other night. They all sound so desperate, like "You, attractive, lithe blonde on Diversey bus. Me, short middle aged man wearing Cubs shirt. Can't stop thinking about you. Coffee, drinks, more?" Ugh.
I haven't had any time for personal activities lately. I devote most of my waking time to a job that I don't particularly enjoy, eight hours a day, plus transportation, seven days a week. Enough to drive a person crazy. My email account is seriously backed up with my listserv digests. This is the first time in ages I've been able to update my blog. I want to publish with Janet, but haven't even had a chance to email her about strategy. Argh. At least I'm getting knitting time. I knit at work in the downtime. I knit on the train. I finished one giant merino sock, a men's 12 1/2. Just the one, though, with said person's birthday fast approaching. Today, I am working on the raveled sleeve of care: another attempt at the Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan. I got a call from one of their knitters with some clarification on the pattern (or really, my perception of it) and decided to take it back out of the bureau drawer. This has put my x-mas present socks on the back burner, as well as a seriously belated birthday present scarf, and a ribbed scarf in which I've completely lost interest. It's destined for the secret emergency present stash. I make things throughout the year and tuck them away in case someone's birthday sneaks up on me. I emptied it out when I made my recent trip to Iowa. Since Indian Summer will soon be a thing of the past, the sweater has higher priority.


So, to everyone who says I "never" update my blog: I've been off in Iowa City for the past week. Now, I'm not claiming that they don't have the internet in Iowa. I was busy doing other things. I'll try to post about some of them soon.
Other things I've done lately: I went to a really wonderful wedding yesterday with Lewis and Wayne. The bride and groom hired a caller to lead the guests in Contra Dancing, which was quite enjoyable to watch (I was, as usual, tethered to the sound board, but confusingly, not running the sound for the reception). It was very charming.
I've lined up another gig, which bookends the one that starts tomorrow. God only knows the next time I'll have a day off!
So, if you want to know what I'm up to these days, email me. I'll tell you.


I hurt my shoulder last night. Sleeping. I never knew it was such a dangerous activity. Well, my pal Lewis was paralyzed for ages after allegedly injuring himself in his sleep. The doctors never really determined the cause of it, but gave him that old "you should make your bed every day" lecture. So, I slept on the stack o' futons at the studio last night and awoke in the wee hours with unbelievable pain radiating from my shoulder. And, since the futons are as supportive as a sack, there wasn't a position in which I could lie where there was no weight on my shoulder. This was somewhat ameliorated by a trip to the Swedish Bakery on North Avenue and screening a wedding video in the basement. It's odd watching the videos of highly emotional events of strangers, but easier to concentrate on the editing.
I got a call from Peter at Peace Fleece this afternoon. I'd decided to wait to talk to them before making version 3.0 of the sleeve. When I checked the pattern last night for the number of increases in the sleeve, I realized that I'd missed half of them. I had misread the pattern, with disastrous results. Since Peter isn't a knitter, which surprised me (he's the founder of the company, and from all my reading and interactions with the company, pretty cool), he vowed to have one of the knitters on staff give me a call regarding my question. He appreciated my desire to start soon, as it is cooling off in Chicago.
Despite my sore shoulder, I'm driving to Iowa City to visit some friends. It's been some time since I've been to the Hawkeye state, even though I keep getting mailings from the university alumni association extolling its virtues. They keep trying to lure alumni back to the state, to reverse its depopulation trend, but I am resistant to their pitch. How many Chicagoans will fall for the convenience of being "just three and a half hours away from cultural gems like the Art Institute of Chicago"? I'm forty minutes away from it now! We'll not even go into the fact that there are virtually no jobs for people in my profession in Iowa. I'm just going to see my pals.


I'm tired of hearing about the California gubernatorial recall election! I can only imagine how hard it must be for actual Californians...But they need to be informed on the subject, and I don't, really. So, they've decided that they're tired of the way that their state is being run. I decided that about this country a good 15 months ago. My decision didn't bring everyone from former child stars to former porn stars out of the woodwork, though. And, of course, some candidates seem to be getting much more attention than others. What is it exactly about being a former Mr. Universe that qualifies Ahnold to run California? Or is it because he's married to a Kennedy cousin? I am amazed at how people fawn over him, making comparisons to Ronald Reagan (like that's a good thing). I even read someone's statement that Ahnold could follow his path to the White House. That person must have failed civics class; our constitution requires the president to be a "natural born citizen". That is, foreigners need not apply. Voters should also be concerned that he has no policy concepts and told Oui magazine in the 70s that he'd participated in gang bangs.

Congress is close to passing a bill banning so-called partial birth abortions. This will be the first time that congress has banned a safe medical procedure. We've been on a slippery slope ever since the current administration moved to confer "personhood" on fetuses. They don't care about the women carrying those "persons", though. Fucking Republicans. The US government has cut foreign aid that funded women's organizations around the globe, that ran clinics that educated women in family planning and provided basic medical services. Why should women be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies? That's just aberrant thinking!

Other aberrant thought...Like something straight out of Orwell's 1984, Bush claims that the government never said that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11th. Huh? And any inference or assumption to that effect was misguided or incorrect. So, was that a mass hallucination?

Somewhere in the world it's still 1986. Lewis and I went to check out the new H&M on Michigan Avenue, and judging by several of their design lines, that place is Sweden. Neon colors and pseudo-silk Members Only jackets? Supply side economics and Republicans in the White House? Must be an 80s redux! H&M was seriously crowded, so Lewis and I quickly lost each other in the fray. The snippy clerks claimed that they couldn't page people "because the speakers aren't hooked up". They said that with a straight face while loud dance music, coming from visible speakers, pumped in the background. Next time, Lewis and I will have to take walkie talkies.

I started on my Peace Fleece kit yesterday. I was busily knitting away on a sleeve when I tried it around my forearm. Oddly tight, even though the underarm measurement for that size is large enough. The fabric created, which has just a hint of boucle texture, is pretty thick. Good for a Russian winter, my mom observed. Good for a Chicago winter, I hope, since it's starting to get cold here. The next size up is nine inches larger than my measurements at the underarm. Which is quite roomy. Maybe I'll email the people at Peace Fleece for sizing advice, then adjust the pattern as needed.


Rainy days and long pants don't mix. And since I'm 5'-4", all my pants are long.
I went out in search of a new pair of pants, to no avail. I though that I had a promising pair until I headed to the dressing room. I can't really describe the funky way that they pulled, but I blame it entirely on the pants, not my body. Though my body seems made for casual clothing. Sigh...
Why this interest in new clothes when I'm broke? Well, I need interview clothes. I thought I'd get some unemployment rolling in (ha!) and then head down to the new H&M on Michigan Ave. (also known as that storefront that cab drove into about a month ago. Whoops), but then I got an interview for tomorrow. An interview is great, but what am I going to wear? My last workplace was so casual that we could drink on the job, so I don't have a lot of fabulous career-minded ensembles....And I'm a thousand miles away from my lucky Gap outlet.
I tried on a corduroy blazer at Target, designed by Isaac Mizrahi. It was awful. It was oddly boxy, giving one the impression that I was playing dress up in one of mom's suits. That's not the image I want to put forth, so if I land this gig, I'll sink some of the money into a real suit. Or at least a career-minded trip to H&M.
It's funny, when I told my mother about the interview, she asked if I had a good skirt that "we" could put a blazer with. Gave me the impression that she hasn't been paying attention the past 24 years.


I Am A Knitting Machine
Since I've returned from summer stock, I've finished two sweaters and started a third. I've finished a pair of hand-dyed merino socks for my grandmother and started a pair of Bert and Ernie style self-striping ones for myself. I'm already on the second sock! And there was a silk scarf and knitting lessons for a friend...
And, as usual, I have a few projects planned:
*Fix the straps on my cotton tank so that it doesn't gap in the armholes.

*Finish the cotton and viscose tape boatneck shell currently on the needles. It's self-striping, too, but the yarn is a bit odd. The matte areas are all cotton and the shiny areas viscose, which makes for very different textures. The viscose tape is very slippery to work with.

*A pair of socks for my grandfather for either his anniversary or Christmas. They're both in December. It's a joy making socks for him because he really appreciates them. He takes better care of them than I do! I'd pulled a hank of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness, but he told me that he doesn't like the color green. What an odd color to dislike, but I suspect that it dates back to his days in the army. So my mother and I headed up to Arcadia Knitting, where I picked up a more suitable handpainted Wildefoote yarn in Rhapsody. There's some green, but it's balanced by the other jewel tones.

*My long-awaited Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan kit. I didn't have to wait long for it--SAW is very quick--but I've been waiting for the weather to cool off before starting on it. I've admired it for a long time in their catalog and even bought the sample color. Maybe after I make it, I'd like it in another color. I'm pretty fond of the tweedy moss green that I bought.

*Many, many pairs of socks. Lewis pointed out to me that one day all of my socks will be handknit. Ironically, I rarely wear socks unless it's really cold or I want to wear my shit kickers.

*I'm looking for a project for the amazingly luxe charcoal grey Peruvian alpaca that I purchased in SoHo last year. I've got about 1300 yards and it knits at six stitches to the inch. I've been waiting for the perfect project.

In Other News:

I finally got paid for the overhire work that I did in July. The check really was in the mail.

Leni Riefenstahl died this week at age 101. She was a remarkable lady. I wonder when it will stop being so damn controversial to admire her work. As she put it, the Nazi era was a mere 7% of her life (possibly less as she got older). Here's a link to the obit the NY Times ran: Riefenstahl link

I got a letter saying that I've been denied unemployment benefits. I went to the IDES office for clarification, as the reasons given seemed wildly inaccurate. The agent I saw didn't listen to anything I said, couldn't get my SS# right after being told three times, and didn't even stamp my card. I cried. I hate crying in public. So, I'm going to go back tomorrow and try to speak to another agent to get this all straightened out. As I said jokingly to my grandmother, for all the work this has been, it would be easier to just get a job. I'm sure that's their intent.

I went in for my annual and was told that I have to cut back on my sugar intake. I love sugar. I'm upset about this. It'll be another difficult behavior modification for me. I used tootsie pops to wean myself off of cigarettes and now I have to quit the pops too. I asked my diabetic grandmother for advice and she advised all things in moderation.

I turned down a stage management job tonight. The producer was offering $50 for a month's worth of work. With remarkable restraint, I told him that it was financially impossible. Just to cover transportation, I'd need $250!

Someone posted a factory management job on Backstagejobs.com. They were apparently drawn in by the term production management, but didn't read anything before making their post. Are there a lot of steel workers looking for theatre gigs? Or stagehands looking for second shift work?

One of my neighbors has a wind chime that plays the same notes as the ringtone on my phone. Sometimes, it will play them in the right order and make me paranoid about missing a call all night. Some people like wind chimes, but to me they're just noise pollution. Like the other neighbor who uses his leaf blower right outside my living room window everyday. Always when I'm watching something engrossing on TV, too. And if the noise weren't bad enough, there's also the crazy gas fumes wafting in the window. I often have to retreat to the other end of the house, which isn't cool. I wonder what he'll do when there are actually leaves on the ground!


I finally made it to the Social Security office to replace the card that I lost in college. Now that I'm unemployed, I've got nothing but time. Nothing but time to spend waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to grind slowly. There were many people at the Social Security office, and an astonishing number of infants. I thought wistfully of the signs at the unemployment office that command "Please Control Your Children". Most public places could use such a sign. I wiated over an hour to speak to an agent for two minutes, to get a piece of paper stating that I will receive a new card in two weeks. I shall endeavor not to lose that one for fear of a return trip. I then trotted over to the unemployment office for the fourth time in seven days to drop off a copy of the temp card, necessary for the affadavit in process...That was mercifully quick.
Lewis and I holed up in the editing studio and watched the VMAs, under the influence of Pop Rocks. I hadn't thought about them in a million years, until they were featured on I Love the Seventies. I bought two packs and a bottle of coke. The VMAs were hit or miss. Excellent jokes were had at the expense of others. It was a lavish display, other than the disgusting kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears. Perhaps I'll write a critical essay on it, but for now I will say this: that performance was undoubtedly intended to be provocative and sexy, and succeeded only in being cheap and crass. How will this affect Brit's career? Granted, she's been moving towards a more adult image lately, but I'm not sure she wants to look like one of the Vivid girls.
Lewis and I stayed up all night in order to meet Wayne's red eye flight at the airport. There was almost no traffic in either direction on the Stevenson, and after collecting Wayne we all had breakfast at Clarke's. Six a.m. is probably the only time there's easy parking in Lakeview.
Wayne bought a big stack of DVDs in Las Vegas, including several rare ones. I hope to watch The Red Shoes with him soon. The remaster is supposed to be breathtaking. I'll never know the difference, since I've never managed to find a copy of the film before.
I found a couple of websites today that absolutely fascinated me. They both deal with forgotten urban elements in New York, such as abandoned subway stations and streets that no longer exist. The amount of urban archeology--and interest--possible in New York astonishes me. I'd heard that you can see the first subway station, the abandoned City Hall stop, on the 6 train if you stay aboard the train through the loop--which is not strictly legal--but never found myself on the 6 that far south. I'll have to attempt it on my next trip: the station is simply amazing. How sad that the powers that be are all too ready to dispose of such gems and "replace" them with hideous star trekky tile tubes.
After pouring over the New York pages, I looked for an equivalent in Chicago. There is a group of train enthusiasts that does a tour of CTA stations every year. It wasn't half as interesting, but neither is the L. The tour featured the one abandoned underground station in the system, which was as modern and uninteresting as the ugly 70s East Side stations in Manhattan. If we had any interesting, architecturally charming abandoned stations, they'd soon be converted to condos.
Here are the NY links:

abandoned stations
forgotten new york


Well, it’s been an emotional week thus far. And it’s only Wednesday.
Inspired by a flip through a friend’s yearbook (he’s four years older than I am, so the hair was quite humorous), I decided to take mine off the shelf. I hadn’t looked at them in a couple years and have been avoiding it lately. I don’t want to get suckered into going to the upcoming all-school reunion. That is not to say that graduates of all schools are invited, but that anyone who ever graduated from my alma mater (and no, it was not the mother of my soul) can attend. The town will be overrun with green and gold, I fear, and I will be hiding out in my studio on the North Side. Avoidance of chance meetings is key.
I don’t have enough distance between that time and the present to get all misty and shell out the big bucks to go to the reunion. Maybe I’ll go to the next one.

So, a flip through the old Lagoons revealed the following:
*I never smiled in high school until my senior year, after my braces were removed.
*I apparently spent all of my free time tweezing my brows, as they are virtually invisible in all photos in which I am not wearing stage makeup.
*I still hate every costume I ever had to wear in high school. Hate.
*Low-rise pants really do look better than the “traditional” cut jeans we were wearing back in the 90s.
* I don’t think any of the techies pictured in the yearbook is still in technical theatre, nor are the actors acting. But damn, did I have a laugh over that light board!
*Our sets look even worse in retrospect.
And, worst of all, my senior photo, printed in color, features my natural hair color. I thought I’d destroyed all the evidence!

Other exciting things:
Another trip to the Unemployment Office. I still have to generate more paperwork. And I have to go to the Social Security office to get a new card. They’re a necessary object in this process and I haven’t seen mine since college. I looked through my things in the garage, in the hopes that it could be tucked away in my high school wallet, but alas, no. I did find my expired passport, which will come in handy when I go to the Social Security office. It also means one less form to fill out when I want to renew my passport. Natural haircolor there too, but who really looks like their passport photo?

I dropped my laptop today. Well, let me rephrase that: it fell. I tripped over the cord and it fell to the floor, my poor precious irreplaceable computer fell to the floor, open, landing on its downstage edges. It is, as far as I can tell, fully functional. Thank god! However, it has a few largely cosmetic problems. The keyboard has shifted upstage right, so that the alt key is really clicky now. I think it’s too close to the upstage edge of its casing. The purely ornamental frame around the screen has opened in its seam. No, it’s not cracked open. The screen is fine. The seam just opened up a bit. And the little frame around the touchpad was askew, but I snapped it back into place. Luckily, the touchpad is as good as ever.
I can’t help but think that this wouldn’t have happened if I had a desk or a table on which to use my computer. I used to use a little stool, just the right size for my laptop, but my mother took it away and never brought it back. So, I’ve been using the ironing board instead. A bad solution, today’s events would indicate.
So, I called the lovely people at Sony Support. They were very nice. They told me, after several long holds, that my computer was still under warranty and it would be away for ten working days in turnaround for diagnostics and repair. Well, the thought of being without the computer for ten days made me nervous, but I was relieved that the extended warranty would come in handy. A largish sum of money was spent upon that extension. Then they transferred me to the repairs people. A different story was given there. The warranty will not cover physical damage and they estimated $300 in repair costs. I don’t have three hundred dollars and few prospects for getting three hundred dollars anytime in the near future. Well, maybe if the NY group would cough up my check… but I have other plans for that money. I’d hoped to use it to pay my phone bill, but its ETA is unclear and T-Mobile doesn’t take the idea of money. The swell thing about that situation is that it forces me to talk to my ex-boyfriend regarding the checks. I keep it strictly on topic, but it puts the kibosh on never speaking to him again.


I tied hand-dyed silk fringe onto my Tibetan silk scarf. I'm not sure that I like it as much now. The fringe is perhaps too much, as it has become the focal point of the scarf. That was not my intent---I wanted a really luxe scarf.
My ripped out Zodiac camisole is slowly growing again. Discouragement has set in.
Also discouraging-- my trip to the Unemployment office. The person manning the desk couldn't deviate from the script, unable to answer my question about acceptable forms of identification. What was I thinking, asking him to think on a Friday afternoon? Also, they weren't accepting any more applications at the time that I went in. Perhaps they are cooking their stats, or maybe processing the forms takes a really looong time. In any case, he stamped the form with Friday's date so that I'll get credit for this week. So I get to return to the incredibly unattractive neighborhood where the office is located again on Monday.
My mother sewed up the seams on my Cadiz v-neck, my big summer project. I am wearing it now, enjoying its lovely drape and sleevelessness. It's still quite hot here, though I heard that northern Alaska (an oxymoron?) got snow last night.
Hope to go to Stitches Midwest tomorrow, keeping an eye out for a good non-wool yarn. One of my friends is "allergic" to wool and in need of a replacement scarf. The last one, one of mine, was ruined by her roommate's cat. I am highly suspicious of wool allergies. There are so many different types of wool that one can be sensitive--or not--towards. Who can't tolerate a luscious merino? These allergies drive me nuts. I dated a man who was allergic to wool and didn't mention it until after I sent him a big Icelandic wool scarf. He also later used it as a pretext to make me remove my sweater. So you can understand my skepticism.
So what projects do I have in the works? Well, there are so many to choose from:
*Everyday cardigan (in a kit from Peace Fleece) in Hemlock, a tweedy green. I've dreamt of this sweater for years and hope that it lives up to my expectations. Similar in style and color to a chenille sweater that I had in high school.
*Scandinavian raglan/t-neck sweater, colorblocked in green and dark blue auraucania yarn, an organic wool produced in South America. It's scandanavian because the author of the pattern lives there.
*Many, many socks.
*Some xmas presents? I think that I've made a few too many scarves in the past few years, but doubt that sweaters will happen anytime soon. Hmmm...
Basically, I'm going to make some cold-weather clothes. Sleeveless sweaters are all nice and good until the temperatures drop. As they do with great predictability in Chicago.

In non-knitting news, I'm looking for a job. I had to register for an on-line talent matching service to get my unemployment benefits. Totally useless. None of the job descriptions are anything close to what I do. Their suggestions were amusing, but alarmingly far off from my attempts. Apparently stagehands, sound designers, lighting designers, theatre designers, sound engineers, etc. don't apply for unemployment. I ended up not entering one at all. So their suggested matches were far from my field. Thank god for the trades!


Yesterday, I picked up a copy of that annual fashion bible, the September issue of Vogue. Yeah!!! Not that I dress like anyone featured in that publication. I buy it for the photography. It's sort of the Playboy of women's magazines---seldom purchased for the articles. It took me a few hours to work my way through the magazine, which is approximately the same thickness as my phone book, and enjoyed most of it. One of the sittings was quite bad, but it's hard to function at 100% all the time.
I'd been waiting the release of the Vogue brick ever since I picked up the September issue of W magazine in New York. It was different from their usual tack, and interesting timing on their part. The issue featured a fairly large portfolio of images of Kate Moss, by a collection of varied by immensely talented artists. The daguerrotypes (or maybe they were ambrotypes, I don't recall and I ought to) by Chuck Close were really unflattering and quite compelling.

Other items recently read:
The New Yorker (toujours)
Atlantic Monthly
Smithsonian Magazine (AM and Smithsonian were thematically similar. AM featured an article on the popularity of the Founding Fathers, and Smithsonian a fascinating article about Benjamin Franklin. Did you know that one of his sons was the Royal Governor of New Jersey and that they had a falling out over the Revolution? That and so much more...)
Readers Digest
The Barbary Plague (I wanted this to be more like Devil in the White City, which had more suspense. Suppose it's hard to be suspenseful about the bubonic plague. A fascinating but slow read).
A History of Hand Knitting
American Photo

I decided to rip out the Zodiac camisole in progress, since I'd made such a mess of the waist shaping. Also, I'm not so worried about running out of yarn since I made my trip to Arcadia Knitting. They're so damn cool! I'm going to make a contrasting border and straps at the neck in red cotton. It's pretty spiffy with the teal of the body, though yellow would also have made a sharp contrast. Too Swedish perhaps...especially since I have an aversion to the color yellow. I used to have one to the color orange, but I'm working it out with my new Chinese shoes.
I'm going to the unemployment office. Did you know that one of the standards for adult literacy is whether or not the subject can understand and correctly fill out unmployment forms? What does that say about our country? What if I turn out to be "illiterate" after years of voracious reading habits?!


Well, I'm keeping up my bi-monthly posting habit. Much has happened. My contract with the company was shortened, due to their financial problems. The company is land poor, which is a hard thing to swing. They underestimated their operating costs by more than a half million dollars a year. So, obviously, giving me the axe was the solution to that problem! Oh well. I was about ready to get out of there anyway.
So I went to New York for a few days.

Interesting things seen/heard in New York:

* A woman in her late fifties or early sixties walking down 8th Avenue in Chelsea wearing a pair of Lilly Pulitzer capris and black espadrilles---and a black tube top. The top was gravitating towards her waist, as was what she was trying to cover, and she was putting forth a valiant effort to pull it up.
* The woman at School Products arguing with someone in the back room in Russian, then sweetly asking me in English if I needed help or advice. They give good advice there, and have some excellent samples on display. I bought mercerized cotton there to make a chickami. Chicknits
* Watching white tourists in Chinatown. Yes, I know I'm white, and I was technically a tourist, but the throng of mosly southerners that I saw on the sidewalks of Canal Street were so damn stupid/naive. Like talking about the asian proprietor of a stall while standing next to him, as though he wasn't there or didn't speak English. Many cringeworthy conversations overheard.
* An Indian man with a blue MZ-N707 on the E train headed north from W. 4th Street. I so rarely see other MDers, so I was excited.
* A megamix of every hit Madonna's ever had played at H&M in Soho. It was hot, and made me nostalgic for simpler days. Like when I didn't decide to walk all over lower Manhattan in 90 degree heat.
* I discovered that Virgin Megastore (and it is mega) in Times Square cut its tiny minidisc section. Now I have no idea where one might purchase pre-recorded minidiscs. At the same time, I've never purchased a pre-recorded minidisc, so I suppose I can't really complain. I'm just disappointed.
*I bought a pair of orange kicks at Pearl River Mart. They're satin with beaded embroidery on the toes in the shape of a pair of frolicking dragonflies. My grandmother complimented me on them yesterday, which is the ultimate footwear approval in my family.
*I was riding one of the many buses in Manhattan, headed uptown to The Yarn Co., when I began to fuss with my minidisc player. This caused the spare battery that I'd crammed into the case with the player to fall out onto the floor and roll a short distance up the aisle of the bus before I snatched it back up. I casually threw it in my purse. Fifteen minutes later, while browsing yarn, I felt a great heat emanating from my purse, as though my lighter was playing a nasty joke. I thrust my had in quickly and realised that it was the battery! Apparently, its dramatic drop and roll on the bus had kick started a chemical reaction that was throwing off a lot of energy. I quickly got out of the store and threw the offending battery in the trash at street level.
* On Lewis's recommendation, I went to see CAMP at Landmark Sunshine Cinema. An excellent choice. I loved the movie, but I loved seeing it with a theatre literate audience even more. I wasn't ever the only person laughing at a joke. And there were some obscure references thrown in for all the theatre kids out there.

Upon leaving New York, or why am I such a shit magnet?

I got a voicemail from my friend who had given me a lift into the city on Sunday morning. He was visiting friends on Long Island, and it was sort of assumed that we would meet up in the city. I assumed that meant that he would also give me a ride back to the Berkshires. No, no. He decided to spend a few days with his step-sister in Connecticut instead. No apology or offer to help me make alternate plans.
So I decided to take the Metro-North back, and called an acquaintance to ask for a ride from the station. No problem, he said. Well, it was, because I had to wait at the station in Wassaic, the middle of nowhere, the end of the line, for four and half hours. The acquaintance never showed up. I used up my phone card trying to reach him. Of course, my cell phone didn't work there. His girlfriend finally told me that I should find another ride. Incredibly lame. Fortunately, a generous Australian was also waiting and gave me a fistfull of change to make calls. I called my roommate, who came and got me just before it got dark and started to rain.
The only lucky thing about this tale is that I decided to leave New York on Tuesday, instead of Thursday as originally planned. I drove back to Chicago on Wednesday, leaving the Berkshires around ten am and arriving here at about 3 am EST. It wouldn't have taken so long had I not been caught in horrendous construction traffic in Gary. They foolishly did not set up an alternate route or even open the shoulder to traffic, so 80/90 was down to a single lane. All that fuss so that they could work on a piece of pavement the size of my living room.


I've thought of a possible new title for this site. It's an anagram of my name. Hijinks on Snort. Maybe that suggests a crazy, rock and roll lifestyle that I don't lead. Still, it amuses me greatly.
I wrote five nearly identical letters tonight. It was a bit of a drag. My nib kept clogging up with ink, so I had to lick it and scratch away on a piece of scrap paper. Life sure is fun with a black tongue!
I'm slaving away in the studio late again, largely my own fault. I wanted to take a nap this afternoon, so I get to make back up discs at 11 pm. That's still early....and there's no one around to pester me. If only the deck would stop inserting stupid dead tracks that I'll have to edit out later! It's funny how well minidiscs do some things and how poorly they do others.


I had a party in my apartment on Sunday night. The place is still filthy. I hesitate to walk around downstairs barefoot. Still, it was an excellent party. I pulled the touring rig from the studio and installed it in the living and dining rooms. It's a nice little set-up, especially after I dropped a couple of minidisc decks into it. It normally has a cd player, but it's a two sided DJ deck that you can mix between. Hypothetically. The A side is busted, so you can't do any fly spinning on that deck now. I'm going to compile a list of suggested improvements for the person who performs my job the rest of the year. Like another amp. I wanted to string up four speakers, which seemed possible, as the tour cabinets are rated at 150w/300w max. Plenty of room in one channel of the amp for both---except that the cabinets were rated at 8 ohms (a measure of resistance), as were the channels in the amp. So, even though the wattage had loads of headroom, the resistance was too high to gang the cabinets into the same channel. As it was, the two cabinets performed quite well.
The party was pretty hot until the people from the Lear cast came over around 1230. Before their arrival, there had even been a dance-off in the middle of my living room to Peaches and Herb's Shake Your Groove Thing. It was an impressive show by all. None of the Lear people were in the mood to dance and instead totally packed our modest kitchen. There was a request for the Gipsy Kings. Around 230, I threw on The Princess and the Warrior and headed out to the porch.
There, I learned from my boss's boss's boss that they would be running some tech elements on Monday. Monday, which was to be my first full day off in six weeks. Monday! So, I hauled out my laptop and checked all the rehearsal reports, and sure enough, there was a tiny note about it buried deep in the report several days ago that I somehow managed to miss. So, I got up on Monday and called my board op to remind him of the call, then called the designer to see if he had any other needs. Fuck it, I thought, I'm having my day off. So I drove to Northampton to do a bit of shopping. A responsible voice in the back of my head told me to make it back to the theater by 630 (they wanted to start at 7). A very good instinct, as my board-op was a no-show. He just gave himself the day off, without discussing it with me. And ignoring the fact that I had called him in. So, he got his first full day off in three weeks, and I got screwed out of mine for the seventh week in a row.
I got three cds from an excellent used music store in Northampton, Turn It Up, for about what it would cost to get a 2-CD set new. Not too shabby. I picked up a Tori Amos cd that I didn't buy when it came out. I sort of fell out of love with her for a couple years after that shabby two cd set she put out while I was in college. Scarlet's Walk really reeled me back in. I also bought Bjork Debut, to replace a long worn-out tape from high school. Bjork is too brilliant to pass up a $7 cd of her work. I also purchased Beth Orton Daybreaker, which I had elected not to purchase when it first came out. I saw her live in Central Park and nodded off during the concert. What a bad place to fall asleep, no? Actually, it was fine, but it didn't inspire to shell out $15 for the cd. $8 is a different matter. I had a crazy hope of finding some new (to me) Brubeck, like Jazz Goes to College or Time In, but alas, no. All they had was albums I already have or don't care to own. I may have to send off to Europe to get a copy of Time In.
Now, I'm the studio burning my new acquisitions to minidisc. I'm getting spoiled having a studio at my disposal! I'm also burning through my cache of minidiscs much faster than I anticipated. My mother wants to get a minidisc player for herself, in order to make stable copies of cassettes in her collection, so maybe I should stock up again! I got a really good price on them from Full Compass the last time that I ordered there.


Highlights of the past week:
Setting off the fire alarm three times in two days. If they didn't know the way to the theater before, the fire department certainly does now! Unfortunately, they charge for every call, so we can't really afford any more visits from the fire truck.

Actually having the signal to make calls on my cell phone. It only works when I'm mobile, but through some freak alignment of the planets, it worked for ten minutes outside the stage door. I called my business partner.

Going out for ice cream with my roommate Claire. We went to a local non-chain place that makes marvellous sorbets. The pear sorbet tasted just like biting into a bartlett pear, but less messy. I'm going to miss Claire once she leaves. She doesn't plan to stay until her show opens, only through the first preview.

Being able to fix a problem after a good forty hours spent on another problem that I couldn't fix. I haven't pulled an all-nighter on theatre since I graduated college, but I did last weekend. And I didn't get the problem resolved that night. Or the next day. Or ever. I later learned that I'd been wiring a short into the connector, but even after that was corrected, the problem didn't go away. So, I was really relieved that I could fix--well, temporarily fix-- a problem with the speaker in our studio theater. One has been runing consistently weaker than its twin. That wouldn't be a problem if we didn't run stereo channels (that is, the left and right in one fader instead of two). So, I kicked up the level from the amp. Spinal Tap jokes were made. They're balanced for the meantime, but I think that a replacement will have to be put in before the end of the season.

Putting wiper fluid in my car. Yeah, it's mundane, but I felt like Rosie the Riveter as I stood there under my hood in the rain.

Picking up a gorgeous skein of Tibetan silk for a scarf. The yarn is made from recycled silk saris by economically disadvantaged women in Tibet. It has a wonderful hand and great variegation. I plan to make the scarf as a going-away gift for my stylish, witty roommate, Lisa. I suppose I'll have to knit it secretly in my room if I want it to be a surprise.

There was a lot of crap that went on this week, as some of the above entries suggest. I've got a large enough grey cloud over my head already to dwell on them any further. Let's just say that the week has been rough on everyone. More reason to look forward to my party! We work so hard, it's time to play hard.


Talked to vendor number two today. It turns out that the manufacturer didn't have the raw materials to make a cable of the length that I need. However, I can put two fifty foot cables together. They had those. Thank god.
We've been having problems with the phone line in the apartment. We seem to be splitting a line--which we shouldn't be-- with someone who goes online a lot. So, I passive-aggressively boot them off the line. Then, when I get a dial tone, I must punch in the number quickly, or the modem redials while I am in progress. Quel drag! I complained to the head of IT, who seemed only moderately interested, if that. It's bad enough that I can't get an outside line at the office, but if I can't get one at home, where I go to make those business calls, I'm going to be one cranky bitch!

I finally gave in and bought a new shower sponge. It didn’t exactly break the bank. Let’s hope that this one doesn’t go the way of its predecessor. I picked it up on a trip to the pharmacy. Somehow, it took them a good twenty minutes to transfer the pills from a large bottle into a smaller one and slap a label on it. I wondered idly, while standing at the counter impatiently, if they were on a slow-down strike. I hope not to need their services again.
Two emails from Green Eyes in one day! I needed news from the outside world, and he obliged. The theatre is its own floating world, especially with so many shows in, and going into, production. One cannot be on the job all the time, or only talk shop. It is my goal to cultivate other topics of conversation. I suppose there’s always the weather, the mosquitoes, the state of the downstairs bathroom, et al. That’s all so mundane.
Equipment procurement is causing much grief. Made a full round of phone calls Monday trying to get a 100’ MIDI cable, given much false or useless information. I ended up having to call the manufacturer. Discovered this evening that I’ve gotten the run around from a second trusted mail order company on this matter. Suspect that I will have to make another call to the manufacturer, again reiterating that I am desperate for the equipment. I am afraid to ask the designer what should happen if I cannot get it in time. Failure is a terrible thing to contemplate.
I am covered in mosquito bites, all of them in odd places. I’ve tired of the girly-drink smelling stuff that we keep in our apartment, so I bought a can off old-school, take no prisoners repellent to replace it. I suspect that I’ve been scratching at my bites in my sleep, which is no good. I work so hard not to scratch them while conscious.


I've finally replaced the missing letter in my name bracelet. It looks really hot. Unfortunately, I was wearing Dewberry perfume (the scent from the Body Shop that was so popular, it was banned in my friend's high school in Scotland) my first day back of wearing it, so now it smells fruity. In my defense, I wanted a light, summery fragrance and couldn't find one of my scores of tiny bottles of Clinique Happy. It's ironic, considering how seldom I remember to wear scent. It isn't obvious to me, like my glasses.
I got a response from my good friend Ricky and her son regarding the sounds of the Blitz. I'm so glad that I thought to ask her, and very grateful for her son's assistance in the interview. I can't imagine how frightening it must have been to live in Britain in that time period. I've come across some interesting things, tangentially related, while searching for a good air raid siren file online. There were air raid jumpers that people wore, so named for the ease with which they could be thrown on in the event of a raid. They sound sort of like a work jumpsuit, with a big, utilitarian zipper down the front. There's also an odd website entirely devoted to air raid sirens, airraidsirens.com. The proprietor obviously loves sirens and has a lot of free time.
That's not a problem that I have, though I did manage to have the morning to myself. I headed off to a funky little art supply store and picked up a new fountain pen (it's funny how I never lose the one with the scratchy, ultrafine nib, but my good ones grow legs and walk away), a moleskine, and some quirky, marked-down paper. Even luckier, the clerk gave me a discount! A very good morning.
I've finished the heel on the second sock for my grandmother. Woo-hoo! Maybe I can work on it during tech this week.
Which reminds me....tech....I didn't get the road box back down to the studio theatre and loathe the idea of doing it myself later. It's unlikely that I can convince Jason that he doesn't want it....


Yesterday, one of my board ops and I made a field trip to Williamstown, to visit my favorite record store. The trip was quite rewarding. I highly, highly recommend Tunerville Trolley. And I get to go back there tomorrow! I'm still pulling music for my show that techs on Monday. Since I'm the associate, I don't really get to make the big decisions, but I get to make the road trips!
I also have to go back to W'town to get another letter for my name bracelet. I spaced when I was there and bought an r instead of an s. Whoops. Guess I should have taken the bracelet with me.
I love knitting. I suppose that's evident from the themes of this site, but yesterday I had a wonderful evening with one of my roommates. She'd decided that she wanted to learn to knit socks, and procured the necessary supplies in Northhampton. She was well advised at the wool shop. So, we sat on the couch and knit on our respective projects. It was lovely. I'd also recently received a letter from a friend overseas advising on an overly large sweater. I've decided to just live with it large, as an object lesson, but her advice was very good.
I'm still working on the second sock in the pair for my grandmother. Her birthday was last sunday. That's a small problem. She was very kind about it when I called her, but I'd wanted to have them finished ahead of time for once. And shipped off. Instead, my grandmother will have an extended birthday when her presents arrive. I haven't reached the heel yet on the second sock.
Maybe I should befriend people with smaller feet.
I bought a carabiner with a watch in its shaft. That's hardcore. It got appreciative glances at the midnight production meeting last night. Yep, midnight. Mmmm, I love my job. The invited dress rehearsal is tonight.


I have a shower sponge. Not a real sponge that grew somewhere and had a full life, but one of those plastic poufs. A couple of weeks ago, one end of its little cord handle detached from the sponge. So, I've been tying various knots into the handle so that I can still hang it from a little plastic hook in the shower. Because I'm a real techie. It's kind of hard to tie any decent knot in a wet piece of nylon cord, but i've made almost daily attempts at it. You see, all my knots have slipped out. Today, I threw a clove hitch in it. Cloves are one of my favorite knots for their stability and security. It's already started to slip. Impossible! Maybe I need to use a bend instead. The real question is, why don't I just buy a new sponge?


My new employee has arrived. So far, she has fetched things and coiled cable. I haven't thrown the cable yet, so I cannot tell if it was done properly. Still, I have some reservations about her abilities. I plan to give her a chance, as I should, since her position is considered on par with an internship. I've been spoiled by having a highly trained, super cool board op for the start of the season. So, I'm working on making work for the new employee to secretly, or not so secretly, test her skills.
I've finished knitting the back of the Jaeger silk v-neck. The pattern was poorly written, in a stereotypical european way. That is not to say that european knitwear designers are bad, but that they assume a level of knitting skill or sophistication that is not assumed in american patterns. Basically, I needed a diagram for a tricky decrease, which I and my veteran knitter roommate couldn't puzzle out. Eventually I got it, and I'm glad that the decrease is only used a few times in the pattern. It does make me less likely to make any of the other sweaters in the book. I love the drape of the fabric, so I might forget and make one of the other projects in a year or so. There is a lovely cardigan in the book.
I had a chat with my mother today about sizing in knitting patterns. I was looking at a very charming book of rewritten vintage patterns, none of which came large enough to fit my bust size. Did women in the past only have small breasts?! If I were a savvy knitter, I sould adapt the patterns to fit, but with so many lacy and otherwise complicated patterns, I had to conclude that it wasn't worth the effort. I find that to be the case with a lot of the european pattern houses and often with Vogue. They sometimes omit larger sizes from a pattern that are available in the manufacturer's pattern.
I broke down and bought glassware for the apartment. I'm tired of drinking out of red plastic tumblers like I still live in the dorms. How did all of our glasses disappear? So Travis and Lisa and I broke them in on a bottle of four dollar wine. It was kind of like a classier version of Boone's Farm. None of that kid's stuff for us! I happened across a $1 sale on cobalt glass at Pier One and may return soon for more tumblers. They seem the most likely to disappear, and how many martini glasses do we need?
I'm still working on the pair of merino socks for my grandmother. So, they'll be a belated birthday present. After that, I've another pair to finish for my mom's birthday. I was overly ambitious in my yarn packing, but it's hard to predict what I'll want to work on. I've decided to stash the Peace Fleece cardigan kit that I bought. I don't want a million projects going at once. Also, I'm not sure that I'll want to work on a big worsted weight sweater in the august heat. Maybe when I'm spending more time sitting and waiting in tech, I'll be able to knit more. I did some turbo knitting while teching my last show.


I'm just as bad as the person I was bitching about in my last post. He came strolling in unexpectedly around 930 (who knew?), while I was taking a small break from the stresses of show work. That is, I was listening to some music and chatting with Mike online. And I'd left my media all over his work area (that is, the space next to the board, which he has not so subtly angled towards himself). I had the decency to tell him that I'd repatched the minidisc deck and unpatched the crap mac. I don't, however, plan to repatch the computer for him, or drag my ethernet cable back over to it. There are some things this girl just doesn't do! So, I buckled down and generated some paperwork, looked busy until he left. He seemed aware of the fact that I wanted the place to myself. Oh well.
I got a call from one of the assistant stage managers, who charmingly introduced himself by his full name as though we'd never met. He requested a cd player for rehearsal, which is strange, because they got the one that I'd been using in my living room on Sunday and I never got it back. I informed him of that, and he seemed not to know of its whereabouts. I hope that it hasn't walked off, because I had illusions of being able to listen to music at home again. Also, it is the only portable stereo that we have. I'll have to ask around.

It's a word that describes both my work and a period of my work that I dread. The rest of my summer will be filled with both. Yesterday and today, filled with the latter. I feel like I should be invigorated to put up a new work, but instead, I'm exhausted. I *messed* up my disc/deck structure in my show discs and don't have the time to remaster the whole show. There were expletives used when I explained this to the stage manager, who asked me to move every bloody track in the show. I can assure you that such measures are unnecessary. I shouldn't have taken the choreographer's instructions at face value when I mastered the show. She spent so much time and detail on fades out, but never once mentioned a cross-fade. So I didn't build the show to do that. Whoops.
So I got up at an ungodly early hour to come into the studio to repair some cues. The staff designer had moved many of his things onto my desk, which understandably had me more than a little pissed. I don't want his old styrofoam coffee cup on my desk, or his damn little jar of peanuts. He'd also yanked my ethernet cable and repatched the board, so that I couldn't record from one minidisc deck to another. That is essential to my tasks today. I don't like wasting time pulling cable after someone else's crazy repatch. I don't like not being able to do my work in a timely fashion. I am in a grouchy mood now. Just what I need to take into tech with me!
Maybe I'll partake of a bit of listening therapy--- some Margaret Cho or my new Pretenders cd. That is, once I'm done with the ho-hum studio work.


I just like the word.
Today, I finished-for the time being-my analog editing. Analog, as in, done with my own hands. Fortunately, there was only one tricky edit in the whole show, but that took a half an hour to cut instead of five minutes on the computer. I'm pretty proud of the edit, since I had to match the beats. Thank god for all that musical theory in the hazy past.... As much as I joke about being an anachronism because I learned to edit on tape, I'm really glad that my professor used reel-to-reel (ie, manual editing) as an introduction to editing. Otherwise, it wouldn't have occured to me how to do it. I'm also glad that I know the format and minidisc decks really well. My favorite feature: the frame by frame adjustments in track marker placement. Marvellous! My right shoulder and arm are tired now, from holding it extended against the deck waiting to pick up my cues. Well, we all have to suffer for our art.
I talked to my business partner today, which was a great relief. He is, it seems, still on the qui vive, and out of the hospital. I was concerned about him. It's very hard to maintain a life at home and one out here as well. And it's hard to fag-hag long-distance.


Two posts in one day---must be a red letter day! Alas, no. Today has been such a long day. Or I should say, the past couple of hours have been very long. I had to wait for the other designer to leave so I could get some work done, then I couldn't get any work done. It seems that I cannot import any sound files into my free copy of ProTools. This tool a while to sink in, since the mac that the program is loaded on is super slow. I'm sure it was fast at some point, but that wasn't during this century. So, I couldn't do any digital editing for my show. Why not make some rough cuts on the minidisc, I thought. The right channel on the deck decided to finally give up the ghost, after a long period of intermittently working. I tried all of my stupid sound tech tricks (plugging and unplugging it, blowing in the port and cable, turning it off and on, etc.), and finally decided to swap out the deck for one of our other minidisc components. Well, the deck that I grabbed out of storage doesn't want to record at all. Perhaps it had been used solely for playback before. My frustration level was quite high at that point. Tomorrow, my assistant and I will go through and test and label all of our decks. Maybe we'll even send the sick ones out for repair. It's hard to say with these consumer grade decks. You can only overhaul them so many times before you've spent all the money that you "saved" in not buying the pro grade deck that you should have purchased in the first place.
I'm still at the studio, editing a few minidiscs that I burned for Willlie, and trying to relax. It's nice having the place to myself, but I'd feel better about it if I were able to get something accomplished.

So, I haven't been as faithful to my blogging as I have been in the past. I'm doing summer stock. I've got meetings, meetings, and more meetings, not to mention loads of mundane administrative tasks. So, when do I get to do any engineering?
Well, it isn't as bad as all that. I just haven't been able to get much done in the studio, because the staff sound designer has been tying it up. Hypothetically, we could both work in here at the same time, it just hasn't worked that way. I got used to having solo studio time in college, but I had to sign up for blocks of time, usually in the middle of the night, there. I don't feel like I can enforce such a system here. So, even though I need to edit a show whose tech is fast approaching, I can't really work on it while someone else is blasting their work. I suppose I'll have to come into the studio in the middle of the night. It's been a while since I've done that, though I do still keep late hours!
Such as last night, when I went to the bar (again, there's really only one that we go to in town) and drank three martinis. I'd only intended to have one with the new roomie, but it didn't work out that way. All the booze and smokes did little to repel the mosquitoes last night, nor did the girly-drink scented insect repellent that I sprayed liberally about my person. So I really needed a shower this morning.
My blank media shipment arrived today from the lovely cheddarheads at Full Compass. It turns out that they sent me thirty gold minidiscs when I thought I was ordering from the color collection. What a bargain! It also means that I can reimburse myself, since I had to order them using my credit card. Yeah, cash! I can't believe that this company doesn't have purchase orders or a credit card or something. I can't exactly hold up a hundred dollar bill to the phone while ordering.
Maybe I'll go take a disco nap so I can come back and edit later. Sigh.


Girl Eaten Alive in Own Living Room
The mosquitoes are out in full force. I was innocently watching television, unaware that some hungry bitch was biting me all over. Every single limb of my body has mosquito bites on them. My right foot is swollen from multiple bites, making shoes, and going anywhere, almost impossible. So I decided to fight this on several levels. First, I am taking Benedryl internally. It would be a waste to slather cream all over myself. Second, I treated all of the bites with Adolph's Meat Tenderizer. I decided to go with the unflavored version. Third, I employ rubbing alcohol for touch ups, whenever I have a strong urge to itch. Fourth, I broke down and bought insect repellent, even though it seems sick and wrong to need to wear it indoors.
I watched the Tony awards last night. What a disappointing lot of dross. The ceremony was poorly produced and largely predictable. And what happened to the hour long special ceremony for the design awards? That's the main reason that I watch them every year!
In other news, I talked to the friendly ladies at the IRS (no sarcasm, they were unexpectedly nice, even if they called me ma'am a few too many times) this evening. It seems that further refund will not be forthcoming. I'll jsut have to scale back my expectations. I still haven't received my refund from Massachusetts. Massholes!


The rain season in the Berkshires has finally broken. Yesterday was the first lovely day since I arrived. It was kite flying weather, or lie in the grass listening to Joni Mitchell weather. It was also my day off. I went shopping. One of my roommates and I drove up to Williamstown, which is even more beautiful out of season, and visited a few of my old haunts. I bought/made a name bracelet at Where'd You Get That? (no fooling, that's the name of the store. They rock). The letters are reminiscent of the ones used to designate trains on the MTA, and mounted on a slim black band. It's very retro, but not at all like those horrible engraved ID bracelets. We also went to my absolute favorite record store, which is run by an older gentleman out of the first floor of a Victorian house. He knows everything about everything. I picked up a couple of albums for myself and a Father's Day present for my grandfather. I hope that he likes it. It's a Smithsonian heritage project collection of folk songs. He really enjoyed the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, so I suspect this will go over well.
After our daytrip, Nat and I went home and had a lovely dinner. She made an incredible dish of chicken breasts, potato, onion, and untold spices. We also had a bottle of Riesling, purchased from the Store at Five Corners. It was a great change from the hurried nights of ramen noodles.
Other exciting elements of Monday: I had my laundry done, and it came back better than I would have done it myself. It was so neatly folded, with the shirts and sweaters hung in a garment bag. All for the bargain price of eighty cents per pound! Now I have clean clothes to wear, shich shouldn't seem like a luxury, and oddly is.
My minidiscs, purchased from eBay at an unbelievably low price, arrived. I bought fifty of them, so now I can stop being hording the sony minidiscs that my aunt gave me for xmas. This is very nice timing, since I'm throwing together a box to send to Willie in Iowa. I can write minidiscs in the studio, though only at realtime rate. It's fabulous because I have much greater control over the recording level than I do when using my portable. Burning from my laptop is pretty hit or miss, because I usually forget to watch the tiny level display on the portable, or just walk away from it.
Also: I got my palm pilot back online, so I no longer have to rely on the palm of my hand as a reminder system. I had to wait for my cradle to arrive from home before installing new batteries, because all of my records were lost. Thank god I'd recently backed everything up on my laptop.


I'm still sick, and the show goes into previews tonight. I've got a to-do list that spans several pages of legal pad and cramps. Waa-waa-waa. Since I had a cathartic little cry last night, I'm feeling much better. I brought my laptop and printer down to the studio, where I can network them (yeah, ethernet and aol radio!). Sat through another long production meeting, though this one started eleven pm. My time of night, but not on a day that started with a nine am company meeting. The meeting lasted two hours and had a soporific effect. It was pretty much what I expected. They want us to love the company. I'm not sure that I love it yet, but I do enjoy my job, despite its challenges.
I went to purchase a new set of wireless speakers for the show today. They have a lot more power than the current set, and much longer range. They should, since they each require $40 worth of batteries (that's priced for rechargeables, though that's a run budget issue). I haven't given them the long distance test yet, due to the need to keep them close to an outlet...at two yards, they sound fabulous! haha! I'm sending them a feed of AolRadio from my laptop now.
I tripped in the parking lot while carrying my purchases into the production center and skinned my knee. I haven't done that in years. My ego is slightly bruised as well, but thankfully, there were no witnesses and no damage to the equipment. I'll let you guess which concerned me more.


I woke up this morning before six am, covered in sweat. Not exactly my favorite way to start the day, but then, I'm not particularly fond of being sick. I'm congested and achy and my hearing is fuzzy to boot. Luckily, I'm not doing much fine listening, as there is a sound board op for the production currently in tech. So, I get to engineer and administrate instead. It's a strange luxury---and one that I will not have all summer. I had to pull out my copy of Yamaha Guide to Sound Reinforcement last night, which isn't exactly light reading. I feel that I gained something from my college education when engaged in technical reading. We've been having recurrent problems with the RF transmitter, some of which has been corrected by sending the signal through the "spare" channel of the new compressor/gate that arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems that all of the wireless speakers on the market are shitty compared to their wired cousins, so replacement is moot. We're kicking around the idea of wiring up some sort of balanced to unbalanced converter, but none of us want to do the saudering required. Maybe I can practice on paper clips.
On the personal front, I'm taking lots of vitamins and stocked up on juice tonight in the hopes of fighting off this bug. I hate being sick, and I don't have my mom to take care of me (well, fuss over me). One of my housemates made chicken soup last night, which was excellent.
I started knitting a pair of socks with Froehlich Wolle on size one needles. I'd forgotten how tiny they are. I'm still waiting on my package from Patternworks, so that I can get back to the socks in progress for my mother.
Things are much better with Actor Boy. A couple of coworkers had urged me to give him another chance and I must admit they were right: he's pretty cool. Since I engaged him in a conversation about the show, he's opened up a bit. It's almost always safe to talk shop. The new roommate is very nice also. She brought down her laptop and screened a Sex in the City DVD for the assembled dinner party last night. It was a nice diversion.
There is a company meeting tomorrow, of the sort that I often try to avoid. I suspect that my presence is required, runny nose or no. It starts early in the morning, so I'm going to hop in the shower and hop into bed.


I found out yesterday that one of the designers is a good friend of my favorite prof from undergrad. We spent the day together, trading Bryon stories. It's always nice to hear from other people how cool/nice/talented your favorite people are.
Yesterday was a bit of a drag because I had to go to a marathon production meeting. It went on forever, though I heard the last one was even longer. I don't even want to contemplate that! Most of the business of the meeting should have happened in separate department meetings. My boss was taking off after the meeting, so he told me a few things that I need to take care of today. I thought that I would have today off. No no. It seems that he knocked the RF transmitter out of frequency and now I need to put it back. The transmitter and receiver are pretty finicky Radio Shack jobs, so that should be fun. If we can't keep them tuned, I have to find some replacement technology, like an in-ear monitoring system (replacing the ear piece with a speaker, using many 9v batteries for the beltpack). Argh. Why can't equipment work when it's supposed to.
The stage manager declared that she doesn't like cue to cue rehearsals, so we're not going to do one. The thought of not having one, just doing a run instead, makes me want to put a cigarette out in my eye. This is my first tech since I quit smoking. I don't know how I'm going to take it.


I'm spending a bit more time with my roommates now, which is good. I had a really light day yesterday, and another today as well. So, I hung out in the apartment, did a bit of reading, etc. The production barbeque was rained out, so several techies ended up in my living room, playing board games. This was delightful until the sole actor in the apartment came out and informed us that, due to company rules, he was kicking us out. He needed to sleep. Well, the rules say we have to be quiet, not vacate the premises. And I find it very curious that the company rules exclude any time that techies might be home and awake (11 pm to 6 am, quiet hours). I'm lucky to get home before eleven! So, we all mocked him mercilessly after he stomped off to his room. I'd never heard of a Scrabble game being too loud.
After that, I went out to the local bar and engaged in moderately bad behavior. I drank a couple side cars and spent the evening talking to one of the overhire techs. It was intelligent conversation, but I don't really want it to lead anywhere. After being kicked out of the bar, I hung out with one of my roommates on the porch, as to avoid the wrath of Actor Boy. She's really awesome, but it was getting to be late, even for me.
Fortunately, I'd made all of my phone calls before getting trashed. I get an itch in my dialing finger after a couple of drinks that can be a bit embarassing. I had a nice chat with the boy before engaging in wild Scrabble. It was good to hear his voice, even if neither of us had much to say. Even though I'm meeting some kick ass people here, they don't replace my Chicago friends.
So, my room in company housing doesn't have a phone jack. Quel drag. I plan to move my laptop and printer down to the sound studio, where I'll have room to set it up and an ethernet connection. In the meantime, I have to tap into the phone line in the kitchen, as the jack in the upstairs hallway, adjacent to my room, does not work. This is an inconvenience to Actor Boy, I guess, who just came into the kitchen and inquired if my phone jack doesn't work. Actor Boy has the best room in the apartment, you see, so it wouldn't occur to him that not everyone has well-appointed, or even well-equipped digs. I'm glad my presence irritated him, because I was pretty irritated about his kicking us out last night. I suppose we'll be subject to touchy-feely house meetings next, of the type that I frequently avoided in college. I prefer my drama onstage, not off.

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