I googled myself today. What a disappointment. There were six pages of results, and none of them were about me. Who knew that there were so many people with my name out there in the world. Of course, my last name is incredibly common, but my first name isn't. There was even another person with my name working in theatre. Luckily, we work in different areas of theatre, so I doubt that there will ever be any confusion. At least, I hope there won't ever be any confusion.

I read a book about historic English-language autograph manuscripts. Well, I mostly looked at the photographs and read the detail-rich captions. It was very interesting. I discovered that there was one almost universal characteristic to great English-language authors: none of them had nice penmanship.

What an old-fashioned concept, I know, but I'm old-fashioned in an odd way. I am a liberal politically, but a conservative grammatically. I hate when people use apostrophes to make nouns plural. I dislike finding grammatical errors in publications (though I was once thrilled to find one in the New York Times several years ago). Hell, my school paper in college often had typos and errors in the headlines. I still think of language as prescriptive rather than descriptive, even though I doubt many schools still promote that idea. I'm in love with the printed word. I'm in love with words, full stop. I learned the word in French for "the clap" this week, and it gives me a little intellectual thrill. The beauty of collecting words or ideas or knowledge is that they don't clutter up your house. There is a seemingly infinite supply.


I've decided to engage in more intellectual endeavors. To that end, I have checked out a collection of recording of Richard Feynman's famous "Six Easy Pieces" lectures. He only delivered them once at Caltech in the early sixties. My physics TA in college called Feynman the only great native American physicist. By this, I think he meant that he was the only genius that we didn't import.

I read a biography of Ted Hughes that one of my friends in New York lent me. It was a little dry, but interesting. It concentrated on his intellectual and romantic involvement with Sylvia Plath. The author really flogged this to death. Hughes outlived her by decades and went on to do a great many things after her death, but their marriage is usually in the first paragraph of any article about him. The book reminded me of an honors seminar that I took in college that examined the intellectual exchange between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. It was fascinating.

I've also decided that I would like to improve my French. I've basically neglected it since college and fear that I may lose all comprehension of the language if I do not act. I took an online test and scored in the intermediate range. I suppose I should be thrilled by that, since I haven't had to speak French every day since 1998. However, I did put in the equivalent of six years of study of the language. I've been chatting with some francophones online and pondering the old Berlitz tapes at the public library. I should give my old instructor a call to see what kind of maintenance/refresher she suggests.

The new Sigur Ros EP is amazing. Amazing! It sounds like the soundtrack to a dark, sophisticated, sexy foreign film. Not surprising, considering that it was composed in collaboration with Merce Cunningham. I highly recommend the EP to any soundtrack, ambient, or Scandi fans out there. I recommend buying it from iTunes instead of going out and buying the disc, if you can. It cost me less than three dollars online, after I saw it for eight bucks at Borders! I am discovering that a lot of albums are cheaper online, though I am still torn about digital music vs. physical recordings. I still get a thrill out of going to the store and buying an album and taking it home to listen to it for the first time. Of course, I occasionally still slip and call them records, so that should give you an idea of my tastes.

I listened to some amazing music by Jobim Gilberto's daughter online today. Naturally, it was bossa nova. I would be very surprised, what with her parental influences and all, if she put out a rap album. Warm days call for sunny music like the bossa nova. Today was a lovely, lovely day. The cherry blossom trees outside the public library are in full bloom and very fragrant. I happened to glance at one out the window of the reading room and was transfixed by its technicolor pink against an equally vibrant blue sky. Ah, spring! I was also giving the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a spin on my MD at the time. That is a really great album. Not at all like the aforementioned Gilberto recording, but very strong in its own right.

I made my friend Bob Marcus a hat out of lovely variegated cotton and merino blend yarn. It's my usual little rolled-brim stoner hat, but in cotton instead of wool. I love it. He and I have the same size head (which is funny, when you think about it), so I've been wearing it for quality-control purposes. I don't want to give it away now and will probably end up making another one.


I thought that Apple had some crazy-genius method of categorizing my itunes purchases. They were in such an eclectic line-up (just like me. I'm a real Pisces). At least I thought so until this afternoon, when I went on a little itunes spree. Maybe half of my cousin's gift certificate remains, and all of my pepsi caps are used up. This afternoon, I headed over to the local Borders to use a fast wifi connection instead of my slow as molasses dial up to download some music. Fabulous, except I'm having problems with my wifi.... Luckily, the people at T-Mobile are really nice when I call with my dumb questions. So, I bought a bunch of tunes, including the new Sigur Ros EP, and what many radio formatters would refer to as "golden oldies". The Drive is practically a permanent fixture on my radio dial, so it doesn't surprise me that I have Bob Dylan and The Darkness in the same line-up, Dusty Springfield and They Might Be Giants next to each other. I happened to look at my list after my spending spree, wondering how my songs would be categorized, when I realized what kind of crazy-genius order they're in. They're alphabetical by the artist's first name. My playlist is a little soft right now, very much in the spirit of these lovely, lazy spring days of late. This kind of weather really calls for lying in a sunny spot in the grass, flying a kite, and listening to Joni Mitchell. Vanilla candles and patchouli optional.

I am going stir-crazy. Climbing the walls. Bored to tears. I’ve read my back log of New Yorkers, Tin House, Granta, and Money Magazine. I spent hours in bed yesterday, thinking the big questions: What am I doing with my life? Why am I here? What is going to become of me? I’ve recently accepted that I do not know what is going to happen.
I do know that I need to get a job. Not strictly for financial reasons, but because I need something to do. This feeling usually takes a month to set in, but it’s taken less than two weeks since I left the playhouse.
So I’m pounding the virtual pavement again, making the usual round of phone calls. I’ve looked at jobs that I wouldn’t normally touch with a barge pole. Companies I’ve never heard of, in fly-over states, which offer weekly rates that probably don’t even equal minimum wage. Argh.
I took off my St. Christopher medal for the first time in a month. It feels odd. I think that he’s becoming one of my favorite saints. More optimistic than Jude, less arty than Genesius, and less verbose than Augustine… I do travel often. I asked the nun at the religious bookstore where I bought the medal about the de-listing of St. Christopher. She told me that we just have to take him on faith. Luckily, I didn’t laugh until after I got out of the store.
I took on an ambitious project this week: a fairisle hat knit in the round. It started as an adaptation of a Rowan Big Wool pattern, worked at a much smaller gauge, but that was quickly abandoned. I’ve never done fairisle before. The ease is surprising, though it isn’t as mindless as my usual projects. The hat is goose shit green and slate blue, with ear flaps.
I got a phone call from my friend Bob at last. We’re playing permanent phone tag. He left a charming, rambling message and I responded in kind. He’s at the playhouse for the rest of the season. It’s a living, I guess.
I celebrated my friend Harlie’s birthday, with very short notice, on Monday. We met at the diner, neither of us feeling any pain. I was clad in a neon pink wig, bubble gum pink Burberry knock-off raincoat, and $6 worth of vintage jewelry. A couple of gentlemen mistook me for a lady-of-the-evening as I waited for Harlie, which was très amusant. I was standing on the corner at the time.
Harlie recently had a party at her apartment, which is one of many recent parties to which I’ve not been invited. I think the last party that I attended was the one that I threw last July. Maybe I’m predestined to a life of Saturday nights at home with the Sunday Times.


My trip back to Chicago was a little less enchanted. It rained and rained and rained. There was fog and sleet and a general funk. There were unexplained lane closures, bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of nowhere, and many, many trucks. I dislike driving near trucks even in good weather, but especially in the rain. It took me about eight hours to get across Pennsylvania when it should have only taken six. Then I hydroplaned in Ohio and was almost blown of the turnpike by a semi. I decided to pull over and take a nap at one of their amazing rest stops. I ended up sleeping several hours in the cramped backseat of my Ford while trying to wait out the rain.
I was prepared. I had blankets, pillows, old New Yorkers, a Maglite, and my walkman. What else could a girl want? Well, I wished that I were shorter or the car wider. I had to curl up into the tightest fetal position. One of my friends who is from Ohio gave me a call. It was very pleasant. Then I woke up around five am and drove to the next rest stop, where I took another nap and visited Starbucks. I was so relieved that the rain had passed. The second day was much easier. It also had a high hick factor. I stopped a couple of places in Indiana and was amazed by how different it is from its adjacent states. I saw a woman at McDonald’s wearing an openwork crocket tank top on a sixty degree day without anything under or over it. That’s a bold choice.
When I got home, I had three New Yorkers, a Tin House, and a copy of Bitch awaiting me. Huzzah! I’ve been home a couple of days, and I’ve read everything but the Tin House. I am so enamored of the printed word, especially sparkling, witty, liberal printed word.
I dragged my mother out to purchase a wifi card for my laptop with my federal tax refund. It is the bee’s knees! I wish I’d done it sooner, but if I had, I would have gotten one of the older ones. I purchased a Belkin 54g card, which fits smartly into the slot in my laptop. Now I can take the Viao out to Starbucks, Borders, and McDonalds (supposedly, they’re going wifi in the next six months at 18,000 locations. I’m not sure that I want to use my laptop someplace full of screaming children, grease, and creeps), and network at Frisky’s, since he has a wireless router. Yee haw! The rates for the hot spots are kind of high, though I can get a good deal if I commit to a monthly renewable plan through my wireless provider. I’m not sure if that’s best for me, given the unpredictability of my income. I’d also like to avoid being nickel-and-dimed to death. So, I’m going to try this out for a month and evaluate how often I use it. It may be worthwhile to go unlimited for $19.99 (plus tax). I don’t know. It certainly is nifty to take the laptop out for a spin.


It has been nearly a month since my last blog because I have been away from my home base. I have been away from my computer as well, which is an odd occurrence given that I use a laptop. I left the laptop at home and brought along my tablet pc. It’s pretty neat, but I didn’t have access to a phone line where I was housed. Yeah, no phone line, no access to computers at work; I was completely dependent on the ancient pc at the public library and the eMacs at the local internet café. In either location, there was no way to print and an eye on the clock. It was very, very frustrating.

My job was a three week gig in Eastern Pennsylvania. I won’t name names, though it may be fairly evident to anyone who’s talked to me lately. The housing was in the middle of nowhere. The theatre was falling apart. It was a “character building experience”. Except it wasn’t.

The wireless mics kept dying on me, even though they were always fine during sound check. There must be some nice technical term for that, but I don’t know it. It certainly led to many “oh shit” moments. One of the actors sweated like a pig and killed two mic heads before I realized the cause of the malfunctions. Medical tape is always cheaper than microphones.
One day, I got a bad batch of nine volt batteries. Half of them died before we’d even finished the first act of the show. The stage manager, who is not really a stage manager but an electrician, was on my ass about it for the rest of the run. She badgered me about changing the batteries for every performance—which I always, always do---even insisting on changing them herself for the last matinee. I hate being treated as though I am incompetent or don’t care. I do care. I want to have a good show. I hate having train wrecks. I hate feeling as though I am not in control of the show (at least the sound elements), which happened several times during the run. I was lucky that the actors were very flexible about mic reassignments and really saved my ass on more than one occasion. Actors should be kind to their sound engineer. We can make them sound like a million dollars or the worst hack.

The highlight of this sojourn east was a long weekend in NYC. I spent the three days off between our Sunday matinee and Thursday evening show in Gotham with friends. It was wonderful. I pounded the pavement everyday. My legs ached. My feet were blistered. I was in my element.
In New York, I did the following:
•Continued my tradition of buying a Manhattan Portage bag from their tiny shop front on West Broadway in Chinatown. I purchased the flight bag, in black, which is a very good size, sleek, and very practical. I wore it out of the shop.
•I made my usual pilgrimage to School Products for giant cones of yarn. The proprietor, an Eastern European woman who’s been knitting for about a million years was unusually attentive. I ended up purchasing three cones of mercerized cotton, very similar to Karabella’s Zodiac yarn, in ice blue, camel, and red. Very, very classy color combinations. When the owner fussed over my eye for color, I was surprised. It wasn’t until later that I realized she was surprised that someone wearing a neon pink wig would have such discriminating taste.
•I went to a movie. I realize that we have movies out in the sticks, too. I like to see something different when I’m in the city. This has included the following in the past: Camp, Huit Femmes, and Drunken Angel. This time, I went to see Triplets of Belleville at the Chelsea Clearview in the late afternoon, on the recommendation of a good friend. There were only five people there. The other four sat directly behind me and talked throughout the film. When I realized that it was a mother and her young children, I couldn’t work up the nerve for a good “shut the %%## up”. I was still irritated. I recommend the film, nonetheless.
•I went to The Beauty Bar, a highly anticipated visit. They’re known for their ten dollar manicures and cocktails in a tiny, dimly lit former beauty parlor. They weren’t doing nails the night that I was there, but they did have a nice happy hour. It was the cheapest cocktail I’ve ever purchased in Manhattan!
•I paid a visit to KnitNY, about which I’d read many things on the stitchnbitch listserv. It’s a nice, glossy store, but they were a bit understaffed when I was there. I ended up helping a beginning knitter put together a project while the sales clerk was tied up with other customers. I’m such a girl scout. They had the perfect elements for a gift for Lisa, who is learning to knit, and let me use their swift, so I really can’t complain. Also, I enjoyed calling information for their info and asking for “New York, New York”. I’m such a nerd.
•I had lunch with friends. I say had instead of did because there were no cocktails or reservations involved.

It was a good trip, and just the right length. Of course, I didn’t want to go back to PA at the end of it, but my things were there. And there was the small matter of my contract. So I went back, all of my purchases in tow. I had to make half dozen transfers on the subway to get from Greenpoint to Astoria, since the G only runs out there nights and weekends. Argh. Luckily, there was a very helpful man sitting in front of the map in the car on the Q who helped me find the local N station. Sadly, this involved walking several blocks while toting all my luggage, but I got there. I chalk it up to my St. Christopher medal. I think that the gentleman in question wanted to strike up a conversation anyway….but he gave good directions.

I had one good show of Superstar. I was pretty frazzled by shit that happened before the show, what with arguments over batteries, mics going haywire, etcetera. I managed to squeeze in a trip to the local Starbucks. Considering my allegiance to wonderful indie coffee shops, you’d think that I’d hate Starbucks. I don’t. You always know what you’ll get at Starbucks. It’s the overpriced McDonald’s of coffee.

Anyway, the intern decided that she’d “fix” one of the mic packs by spreading the battery contacts with her car keys. She demonstrated that it worked by turning the pack on and showing me the tiny LED light on top, rather than checking for signal to the board. I told her I wouldn’t put it in the show because I wasn’t confident that it would work during the show. She must have said, “I don’t know why you won’t use it in the show. It should work now” about five or six times before I just walked away. I wanted to scream at her, “because you’re the f$^#ing intern!” She’s still in her teens. Maybe she’ll outgrow it. The show was our best, sound wise, and it was our last. The producer never came to see it. Oh well.

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