Dianna's Inconsequential Year in Review

My Lame Year-End blog post -  Hurrah!

I’m not nearly the prolific blogger some others are, but I occasionally have some nuggets of humour and truth. I’ve read over most of my entries for the year (it is REALLY slow at work), and here are some of the highlights of 2009.

- I still get a little misty, reading over my blog entry about New Leaf’s production of “Touch”. “..I told her I was so sorry for being so out of sorts, and she just held me and stroked my head while we fell asleep…”

- The photographic evidence of my annual “slip and fall on the ice”. This year’s was a doozy. Well, actually every year is usually bad, but I had a trusty iPhone to take my embarrassing pictures, so maybe this year’s just FELT worse. Who knows.

- One of my favorite entries of the year – taking a personal topic and putting something shitty I did out into the wide open. And while the results aren’t what I’d like, it’s not for me to push the issue. It’s certainly better than it WAS and that alone is wonderful.
- Also in March, I chronicled my stupid month-long healing process from my slip on the ice. I should be put into incubation whenever I sprain something – I’m just a danger to myself in the healing process.

- Hahahaha! My entry about my root canal! Hilarious!

- The blog entry where I take the date of my father’s death and kick it to the curb. Love it.

- Ah yes… the “Sara decided she doesn’t want to move to Florida” post.  It still bums me out a little. Mostly because it's sub-zero temperatures right now.

- Wow…. July I was on a roll with the political rants:
        o My own personal health care costs
        o My thoughts on the arrest of Professor Gates
        o And then my disgust at the Birthers movement. Blech.

- I did, however, have some enjoyable times, like our trip to NYC. One of my best times all year. Loved that vacation. Best part was that Sara had never been, so I was able to experience the city again through her eyes. And it was July and MILD fer crissakes. It was a miracle.

- Anniversary post wherein I make an amusing parralel between photography and the steadfastness of a relationship. I know, I'm a nerd.
- Saying goodbye to Teddy Awful. 'nuff said.

- I appear to have opened a show that month? I have a couple of blog posts about lack of sleep as well as trying to not eat a million things during tech week

- My most prolific month of the year – 12 whole posts!!!! That’s an average of more than 2 a week! (hahahaha) Anyway, I am particularly fond of my post with the pic from my Bro’s wedding. I still think I looked smokin’ in that dress.

- Love this post about a poster that Jenn had when we were in college.

- And then I round out the year with my take on the utterly depressing and absolutely magnificent film version of “The Road”

2010 hopes to be a year of some changes. Sara and I are moving to a smaller (cheaper) apartment, with the motive of saving as much money as possible for a down payment for a house. We have some neighborhoods in the city that we like, and we think we’ll be able to snatch a good foreclosure or short sale property and get some bang for our limited bucks.

Many babies on the horizon…. Sara’s sister is currently pregnant with twin boys, so we’ll have nephews coming out of our EARS (When they’re born, that’s “Nephews 5 – Nieces 0”, not that we’re keeping count). Plus, our great friends Mace & Thales are expecting a baby girl in early summer. Hooray for lesbians having babies!!!

Sara will be entering year 2 of college – with the added bonus of having more responsibilities at work (she got a big raise & promotion a couple of months back). I’m sure it’ll be stressful, but with someone as charming as ME at home, how could it be all bad???

I artistically start off the new year on an incredible high note…. We open “The (edward) Hopper Project” on 1/15. All signs point to awesomeness on this one.

I have a couple of other possible artistic ventures in my pocket, but until they’re definite, I’ll just keep them there in my pocket.

In a little over a month I’ll be 35. I haven’t had any problems with that number until very recently. And it’s not even really a problem, more like an itch in the center of my back that I just can’t get to. I mean, time marches on, so what…. I just want to be sure I’m doing things I love to do and spending time with people I love to spend time with. Period.

So a toast to 2009, and a tip of the hat to the coming 2010.



Yesterday, in the comments section of Don’s blog, I was referred to as a “foul-mouthed fatty from Boston”.
That is such an accurate depiction of me, I’m really not sure I can pissed off at it.
(although “fatty” is a tad harsh… I prefer “tubby” personally)


Hopper's got a poster

As I head off into the holiday season, I bring this FREAKING AWESOME PICTURE.
(set your calenders folks, Hopper opens in 24 days)

poster design by Regan Davis


Back in the saddle again....

So I kind of took a flying leap off the Weight Watcher wagon over Thanksgiving. It was a whole week of trying our best but failing miserably to say no to everything.

"wanna go out for dinner?" "sure!"

"want some more sweet potatoes?"  "Sure!"

You see the pattern here....
Anyway. I gained back a little bit of what I had lost. Then it was hard to get on the wagon again, as it were. So here I am, almost a month after my last RECORDED weigh in, and I finally shed off the few pounds I put back on AND came out the other end with another pound and a half lost. Best part? it FINALLY put me over the 30 pound threshold. Woo hoo!!!!! (check out the updated tracker to the right--> )

It was a little depressing trying to get back into it over the last few weeks, but I just did the best I could and finally have some positive things - hooray!

Now, Christmas is looming. However, it is just a 2 day bump in the road as opposed to a 10 day gluttonous road trip. And honostly, after our 8 hour christmas cookie baking session at Sara's mom's last weekend, I don't want to see another christmas dessert or sweet for a LONG time.....



"You have to keep carrying the fire"

Back in October, I posted how excited I was to see the upcoming movie version of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer-Prize masterpiece, The Road.

So, on Monday night, Sara and I got our tickets and sat in a quite empty theatre (thank god) and beheld the depressing tale. I actually warned Sara in advance, as she hadn't read the book - I told her it was pretty depressing, and if she wasn't interested, I'd understand. She was all for it.

The movie is (overall) very loyal to the book - I only spotted maybe one or two things out of place (tiny) , plus the expansion of the wife character while not in the book was actually pretty welcome. The juxtaposition of the wife, who would do anything to get away from the apocalypse, and the husband who would hear of nothing but trying to survive it, it helped really show both sides, and makes you contemplate - in that situation what would you do? Would you give up, or would you always have one thread of hope?
The loyalty to the book was tested in one haunting scene. The book describes, in morbid detail, the Man discovering a wealth of half-eaten bodies in the basement of a home. The thing is these "people" are still alive (gotta keep the meat alive and fresh), and they have parts that have been hacked off one at a time to be eaten by the home owners who have resorted to cannibalism. I was so afraid they wouldn't show the scene in the movie, or back off it some and not give the full impact of what he had found. They didn't. It was haunting, visceral, bloody, and awful...and it had to be there.

There was so much I loved, it's hard to digest it all - my "cry" moment was after the Man made the thief strip down and give him all his clothes - and he left him there, shivering. The brutality of the moment was awful, and yet I also understood his reasoning for doing it.

Viggo is great, Charlize is surpisingly great and the boy is killer.
(there's also a couple of great cameos I had fogotten about - people who were transformed so well that I could only recognize them by their VOICE)

If you loved the book, you won't be dissapointed, I promise.

"I told the boy when you dream about bad things happening, it means you're still fighting and you're still alive. It's when you start to dream about good things that you should start to worry" - the Man


How Effing Exciting is THIS?

I mean come on, how often is it that the show you're working on has those cool BANNERS put up on the lightposts by the city? Well, when you're doing your show at the DCA, I guess that can happen!!!!
Hooray! I guess the only thing cooler is if you're Mary Jo Bolduc or Erin Orr, who are IN the picture and now have their FACES on those lampposts!!!!!


Outside....looking in.....

THIS to me is what Hopper will be all about.

(image from Rear Window, 1954)


Leaving for points due east

Tomorrow morning, Sara and I are leaving to drive to Boston for Thanksgiving. I'll have my laptop with me, but I'm sure I won't post any blogs.
I always say I will and then I never do. I'm sure I'll be posting pics and travel updates to facebook and twitter, so if you follow me there then you'll be a-ok.

Looking forward to this vacation - I've only had small doses of Boston over the last year, and I'm needin' my fix!

We leave tomorrow with hopes to be on the road by 6am at the latest. The cool thing is as soon as we cross over into Indiana, we lose the hour, so we're ahead of the game! The first day, we'll drive till we get to Syracuse (about 12 hours) and spend the night there. Then we'll sleep in a little on Sunday, and drive first to Sturbridge to spend the night. An old Salem buddy of mine runs a country inn there and has comped us a room for Sunday night (working for hotels rocks some of the time!), and we have plans to try and hit some of the nice antique shops from that area! Then, on Monday we drive to our hotel right outside Boston, where we park it for the next 6 nights. Hangouts with family, friends and a couple of bottles of wine will take place over those 6 days (plus, throw in some gambling and we're all set!). Then on Sunday the 29th, we leave early in the AM and drive for 12 hours - this will get us to Cleveland, where we'll spend the night Sunday. Monday morning the 30th, we'll wake up and drive back into the city, and then we're back to work on Dec 1st.



...and on a COMPLETELY seperate note.....

This poster excites the SHIT outta me....
The rumor is that the premiere will be 1/20....
I have a huge TV.....
Who's coming over????????

Speakin' my language

Don's post today is all about my FAVORITE THING.

Swear words.

Don says: "Favorites include "douchebag," "asshat," "shit stain," and, of course, any variation on the word "fuck." The Irish can use these words like Yo Yo Ma can play an arpeggio and I consider myself a near virtuoso."

I have often told Don that his speech just goes over my head, much like the TV show 'Deadwood'. Back when it was on, I would talk to people that would say "Oh that Deadwood - I just can't get past the language, it's so coarse and vulgar!" And honostly - I don't hear it. I spent my life listening to a group of intelligent Irish souls (my family) weave obscenity into conversation like an oriental rug maker. Swears were just a part of my vernacular. I never actually realized how much I swear until I moved to Chicago. Not that it has changed anything - I still swear like I never moved.

Next week, I return to the mother ship for the holidays - and I promise that when I return to Chicago not only will I probably be swearing more, but my speech will lose all of it's "r"s. But that's a post for anothah day.


Reminiscing on a poster

Today, I was emailing back and forth with my pal Dennis, and I referenced a poster that Jenn Adams used to keep on her wall back in our college days. We used to discuss it often back then. The poster was called "How to Be an Artist" and it had a bunch of cool things on it like "swing high on the swingset" and "hug trees". Totally hippie, right? We would laugh at some, and fiercely embrace the others. The one that we would quote back and forth to each other all the time was the one "Do it now. The Money will follow".
I was only referencing it in the first place because Dennis was laid off recently, and I was trying to let him know that sometimes as long as you're passionate about what you're doing, the rest is just gravy. And then it reminded me of the poster, and of some of the fun times we would have sitting around and reading off the "How to's".

Now, in me and Jenn's case we would use the phrase all the time on each other as a basis for choosing one thing over the other.  Should I call in at work? Should I buy this sweater? Should I forgo paying this bill so I can do something more fun?
Sometimes stupid, and sometimes inspiring, we would still quote that line to each other even years later, after college, after we'd moved from Massachusetts out to Chicago together.

I know that Jenn is married and has 2 kids and has to be uber-responsible now and all, but a small part of me hopes that she still approaches some small parts of her life in the "Do it Now. The Money will Follow" kind of way.

Now pardon me, I'm off to build a fort with blankets.


"Nothin' worth having comes without some kind of fight..."

I'm so Angry I could punch someone. For reals. I even capitalized Angry.

You were SOOO close Maine. You and Iowa were set to duke it out as which state was the most surprisingly forward thinking. I've visisted you a kajillion times. I've enjoyed your beaches, your quaint cabins, your seafood restaurants, your beautiful forests, and your salt-of-the-earth people.

Now, it's over. You blew it. I will never again spend another dime of my heard earned money in your state (which will be difficult, as my own mother lives there). LL Bean outlet store? suck it. Shops in Kittery? suck it some more. Every mom and pop outlet leading from the highway to my mom's house? suck it, suck it, suck it some more.

How can you look at me and the love of my life and say no?
How can you honostly say that my happiness 1,000 miles away from you in Chicago has ANYTHING to do with the "sanctity" of your marriage?
Nearly 53% of you think that somehow protecting your marriage is more important than MY RIGHTS.

look at this picture, Maine

Does this picture of Love and Devotion spell out hellfire and damnation for you?
and if so, why?
How can you see anything but true love here? and how is that wrong by anyone's account?

I've tried over the years to understand where YOU are coming from, but now I'm done doing that, I'm done trying to be NICE during what constitutes a removal of my RIGHTS.

In fact, you know what Maine? FUCK YOU.

1:58pm 11/4 EDITED TO ADD:
Peter Sagal posted a link to an editorial piece by Andrew Sullivan that helped soothe the beast inside me. Let me be clear...it soothed, but did not heal.
It's a good read: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/the-pain-in-maine-ii.html


Closing Weekend for 12 Ophelias!!!!

only 2 more chances people..... get with the program!

An "extraordinary paradigm shift that should not be missed!"
-Venus Zarris, Chicago Stage Review

"fiercely sexual and expressionistic" --"Far more surreal and twisted than Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"A visual and sonic feast!" --"12 Ophelias provides moment after unique moment of unique observation and delight"
-Brian Krist, Chicago Free Press

"Verbally kaledidoscopic"
-Catey Sullivan, Chicago Magazine
"an erotic dreamscape"
-Kerry Reid, Chicago Reader


The answer

“The whole answer is there on the canvas.”
- Edward Hopper


A gentleman and a scholar

So I'm doing this show, it kind of kicks ass (plug, plug: http://www.trapdoortheatre.com/). We've been getting great reviews, great turnout and GREAT audience response.

Last night, after opening the house for patrons to sit, I noticed a guy come in to pick up his tickets.


It was Tracy Letts. If you don't know who he is...seriously, google the dude for crying out loud. The man has pretty much taken Chicago by storm, then packed it up, brought it to Broadway, took NY by storm, won a pulitzer... you know....slow couple of years for him.

Now, please understand.... I wasn't freaked out to meet him, I was freaked out that I would call the show terribly. It's kind of the same feeling back when Brian Dennehy & Eric Bogosian came to see their pal Stacy Keach in King Lear at The Goodman. Sure, I wasn't SM back then, but I was positive something awful was going to happen that day. It didn't, thank god....

So back to last night. I was freaked the whole show - I don't think I've ever been as in tune to listening for cue lines, etc. Holy crap. Well - it went smooth, the show went VERY well - great night for the performers! When the show was over, Tracy went around to all the performers, introduced himself and told each person how much he enjoed the show. What a guy. I got to shake his hand as well.

I was thinking about it today, and it reminded me that he posted a hilarious blog post on the Steppenwolf blog awhile back all about "audience ettiquette' The shit is funny...and sadly, very true.
Take a read if you've never had the chance:  http://blog.steppenwolf.org/2007/04/30/1-of-you/


Can't tell which picture is better

"You gotta have a goal, have ya gotta goal?"

New weight loss goal explained herein.

Usually when I have figured little weight loss goals so far, I take the avergae weight loss I have had so far per week, and multiply that by either the DATE I want to shoot for or the weight I want to shoot for.

Now, my next goal is 2/6/10, which is my 35th birthday.
It would be freaking AWESOME if I was under 200 lbs by then. However, if I do the math: 15 weeks till my birthday multiplied by 1.5 pounds per week average = 22.5 pounds.... and that only gets me to 211.3. In order to hit the "under 200" goal in 15 weeks I'd have to average 2.26 pounds per week, and that amount just isn't healthy.

So, my goal is at minimum to hit that 211.3 by 2/6/10. If I can over reach that goal just a little, and maybe stretch to 209 or 205, that'd be awesome. I don't discount the aggressive goal of 199, though...I just don't honostly think I can make it there and still stay healthy (I'll hit that goal week halfway through the run of Hopper - I'm sure there's bound to be some missteps during tech, not to mention the ubiquitous opening night beer and wine, etc.).

So we're shooting for the middle. Literally.


Busy day

....but just wanted to be clear how much I love this picture! :-)

Daniel Driscoll & Jennifer Jacobs (Driscoll)
October 2, 2009


"To Respect the Code"....

"What's the code?"
"Unit, Corp, God, Country"
"Excuse me?"

So there was a "Storefront Theatre" summit held about a week ago. I wasn't there, but a few bloggers were, and so far the info I've heard has been a little mixed (at best). I withold judgement on the actual substance of the meeting, as I was not present.
However, during the meeting, they broke up into smaller brainstorming groups, and one of the topics that was floated in a group was the idea of a "Code of Ethics". At first, I couldn't explain why, but my back bristled up at the mere thought of a code. It has taken me a few days to formulate a "why" for the back bristling, but here is what I posted in the comments of RebbecaZ's blog:

"Here's how I feel about the code...

In the same time period that we are challenging each other to do more "dangerous" theatre, to take risks and do things outside the box, we're also considering putting together a list of rules and regulations as well?
It all seems counter-productive to creating great art.
Let me be clear, though. I'm not suggesting that creating dangerous theatre includes un-ethical things (actors being late or dropping out, designers not completing work, etc etc), I'm saying that the whole NOTION of a code of any kind, no matter how harmless it may seem in the germination stage, will feel like a stranglehold on the art, IMHO.
I think if a certain idea comes out of the summit, for example 3 theatres teaming up for a festival, and those theatres want to put to paper some regulations for each other for that PROJECT, then have at it.
One of the things I love about Chicago theatre is that we don't fall into a pigeon-holed category. There is a little bit of sum'thin for everyone. I think the idea of all of us agreeing to a set of rules threatens to homogenize us.
I'm now going to go off and find more ways to create thoughts that include "germination" and "homogenize" in the same paragraph. Perhaps a haiku."

Here, however, is the promised haiku.
The first one I've probably written since I learned about haiku in the 4th grade.

Seed germination

A code of ethics. That sucks.
We homogenize


Spelling errors

At work, we post the daily cafeteria menu on our "intranet", so you can be either excited or forewarned about the chosen cuisine of the day. Much like high school days, fries and pizza gather the crowds, and chop suey day usually has people running across the street to Potbelly for a different option.

This week, the hotel is celebrating it's 20th anniversary (yay!), and as a special treat, we've had free breakfast provided all week, and we've also had special lunches all week as well (salmon, sliced turkey, yesterday was a great risotto).

At the top of today's menu is our special celebratory entree: Roasted Pork Lion

Dude, talk about the new white meat.


Tony has a great post today dicussing the GOOD that can happen in saying NO to a project. This is defintely a topic that should be taught to young artists (actors & techies alike). Don't like the play? Don't like the part you were offered? Too much on your plate?
Release yourself from the stress and simply say "no".

Haven't we ALL taken a project, that either gave us red flags, or we felt uncomfortable about in some way, and it all just bit uss in the ass? Next thing you know, you're staring aty yourself in the mirror, counting your worry lines on your face and saying, "I should have said no". I know I've had those moments.

Lately, I have been able to be much more selective - it's a little easier since I have a well-paying full time day job, and I'm no longer affiliated with any theatre companies. Easier to pick a project when there aren't any on the horizon. :-) I'm enjoying the "work from show-to-show" pace I have going.
(I should scan a page from my planner from back when I was working full time, helping Speaking Ring produce, working part time at Blue Man AND trying to do outside projects. I must have been crazy - and I know my schedule wasn't even NEARLY as bad as it can be for plenty of others)
Right now, stage managing for Trap Door....Next up? Stage Managing "Hopper" for WNEP. Days off in between gigs? 10.  Thats like a year back in the old days... now it seems really short. We'll only be rehearsing 3 days a week, which rocks my world --- and the DCA theatre is pretty darn convenient for me, since it's a 10 minute walk from my job, and when shows are over it's walking distance to the red line.

wait... I got off on a little tangent here... sorry....

Anyway, being selective has really paid off - the last few projects I've worked on have been so rewarding. Metaluna, The Lost Shakespeare Play, 12 Ophelias... There's just nothing LIKE these projects out there, so I'm psyched that I've been a (small) part of some really wonderful art, something that was sometimes missing from those crazy days a few years ago. (Although as a side note, I love how I actually kind of just STATED that I would be stage managing "Hopper" to Don. I never really asked...I just TOLD him I'd be doing it. To which Don didn't bat an eyelash and simply said "Rock 'n Roll")

I completely agree with Tony, though. If someone doesn't take you aside and tell you it's ok to say no, this is something that can take years to be comfortable with. I know it took me a long time to do it.


"The Road"

I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to this movie. Yes, it's going to be ridiculously bleak and depressing....bring it on!

There's more info at their IMDB page. It's released on 11/25.

Who's comin' with me?


Rainy Days & Mondays....

Today has been a nice quick 1-2-3 punch of suck

1. cold & rainy

2. It's Monday, so you know, that whole WORK thing

3. period

I got a Chai at Starbucks a little bit ago (non-fat, of course...), and it helped a little bit, but I have to say I'm very disspointed in my ibuprofen's perfomance thus far. We may need to double up and take a couple more.

stupid cramps.


There's no great loss without some gain

So, last week, I didn’t update my new total weight and weight loss for the week in my handy-dandy little tracker to the right ----->

The honest-to-god reason? I was a little disappointed in my self…. I had gained 1.4 lbs. I know, I know, in any weight loss program there will be times where you lose very little, you maintain, and even some times where you might gain a little. Well I had already had my maintain week, and I had a couple of weeks where I only lost .5 or .8 lbs. This was my first week with a gain, and I was bummed. It was AWESOME to head into tech weekend in that frame of mind. Big fat slob who had to hoist her fat ass up the ladder to the booth about 40 times. I was operating on little sleep (see also: last blog entry) and I was trying SO HARD to stick to my points. Do you know how hard it is to not snack during tech? Especially in a cast this size (12) where someone is always bringing in a bag of candy or a batch of cookies or whatever. I was exhausted all this week, and just simply stuck to my best points routine, mostly because it required so little thought and I had so few brain cells to spare this week.

For this morning’s weekly weigh in I had only one goal. I wanted to have at least lost that 1.4 I had gained the week before. Any additional loss above that would just be icing on the cake. I stepped on the scale, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and then looked down.

Not only did I “re-lose” the 1.4, I also lost an ADDITIONAL 2.6 pounds!!!! 4 pounds total! I nearly danced a jig in front of my poor cats.

I have exactly 3 pounds to go until my 235 goal; for next week, for my brother’s wedding. And I totally think I can do it, I’m feeling VERY good right now!


Of course.....

....the busiest week I've had at work in what feels like months would OF COURSE co-incide with tech week for me.....

I'm working on a maximum of 5 hours sleep a night, I'm pounding until 5pm to get it done, no overtime allowed at work anymore, gotta get it done by five, have to run to get a bite to eat, swallow down the salad with the lowest points at Potbelly, hop on train to get to theatre by 630, pre-show starts at 745, run of show done at 930, notes in the house for about 15ish, clean up and put away, lock up and head to bus or train at 1030, home by 1130, put away work clothes from my bag from earlier in the day, pick out work clothes AND show clothes to bring with me, refill water bottle, clean out bag and fill with things for the next day, change into PJs, set alarm for next day (630am), hop into bed, kiss Sara good night, roll onto my side and pet my cat Maxwell (who always curls up next to me in bed) while I stay awake for another 15-30 minutes agonizing in my head "have I forgotten anything?", HOPEFULLY fall asleep before 1230am......

alarm goes off at 630am....do it all over again.....



Let me get this straight.....

A young woman makes gang rape allegations against 4 guys at a Hofstra University Dorm. The 4 guys in question are immediatley arrested and their faces and names are plastered ALL OVER the news. This was a rape on a campus about 1,000 miles away from me, and even I knew the details.

Fast forward a day or 2.

"Young Woman" in question recants her story, right after there is evidence gathered (a cell phone video) which confirms it was consentual sex. She admits to police the sex was consentual.
The charges are dropped, and the young men are released.

The police have said they aren't releasing the woman's name.
The reason????

"I believe that it is a question of potential safety for her, and the investigation is ongoing," [Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen] Rice said."

What the HELL kind of double standard is THAT?

Now, I'm all for protecting the rights of the victim, but only when they were actually a VICTIM. This woman is now the criminal (it's against the law to falsely accuse of a crime), and we're sheltering a CRIMINAL'S identity?

And what of these boys who did NOTHING wrong? Who was sheltering them?
The whole thing pisses me off.


September 13th

In years past, I have written some silly blog entries for Sara's Birthdays (we've celebrated 8 together now), but this one is a personal milestone for her, so I'll dispense with silliness this year.

Happy 30th Birthday sweetie! I love you more and more every day, and I love the family we have become. Each day I have with you is a treasure, and the fact that you put up with me shows you have the patience of a saint!

I love you!


Coming your way 9/24

The Mid-west premiere of…
12 Ophelias: A Play with Broken Songs
Written by: Caridad Svich
Directed by: Kate Hendrickson
Original Music Composed by: Caridad Svich, Alison Chesley, & Nicholas Tonozzi
Arrangments by: Alison Chesley with Nicholas Tonozzi

Cast: Casey Chapman, Geraldine Dulex, Noah Durham, Jen Ellison, Joslyn Jones, Nikki Klix, Mildred Marie Langford, Kevin Lucero Less, Emily Lotspiech, Judy Loyd, Alyson Lyon, Pamela Maurer

Shakespeare's Ophelia rises up out of the water dreaming of Pop Tarts and other sweet things. She finds herself in a half-remembered land where Gertrude runs a brothel, Hamlet is called Rude Boy, and nothing is what it seems. In this mirrored world of word scraps and cold sex, Ophelia cuts a new path for herself.Combining original music with poetic and colloquial language, 12 Ophelias is a theatre song-poem about being broken by society and love, being lost and finding yourself again.

Assistant Director: John Kahara
Choreographer: Camille Kuthrell
Arranger-Composer: Alison Chesley
Music Director & Assistant Arranger-Composer: Nicholas Tonozzi
Lighting Designer: Gina Patterson
Set Designer: Joseph Riley
Stage Manager: Dianna Driscoll
Fight Choreographer: Mathias Maloff
Graphic Designer: Michal Janicki

Opens: Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 8 PM.
Closes: Saturday, October 31, 2008 at 8 PM.
Runs: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM.
Admission: $20 (2-for-1 on Thursdays)
TRAP DOOR THEATRE, 1655 W. Cortland Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
Info/Reservations: 773-384-0494
To purchase tickets online: http://www.trapdoortheatre.com/


Absolutely Beautiful

How beautiful is this chick?

I mean look at her... beautiful smile, glowing skin, gorgeous hair, and that little belly is sexy.


yeah, you heard it. BELLY = sexy

There's some controversy because this pic actually appeared in the pages in (gasp!) Glamour magazine. Untouched.

The peeps at Glamour have stood behind the pic 100%, and have a whole blog post dedicated to how proud they are of the conversations coming out of it.

There are commenters on the blog that are calling her obese. It just pains me to hear it.

Maybe because I'm heavy I'm a little jaded, but I just don't see anything wrong with her at all. In fact, I throw down the gauntlet right now. The model in the pic, Liz, is a size 12. If I can make it down to a size 12....no...wait.....WHEN I make it down to a size 12, I'm posing for a pic just like this one. In celebration of the event, I'm gonna get a big tattoo on my once-large belly that says "Here lies the remains of my former broken self image"
(I'm warning in advance, though.... my boobs are about 10 times the size of this chicks.... I'm jus' sayin'.....)


15 Theatrical Experiences that Will Stay WIth Me

Awhile ago, Bilal did a meme on this, and Don did a version as well.

The criteria was “15 theatrical experiences that are always going to stick with me, either as a participant or an observer”, and to try and list those 15 in no particular order.
I've been working on mine for awhile. I had the list, but wanted to take the time and describe each experience seperately, whether I was participant or observer.

My apologies for the length.

1) A View From the Bridge (Salem State College Theatre Department, Fall 1993). After 4 years of High School Drama Club, my mom told me I’d be killer in radio (I still think I have the voice for it….), and she encouraged me to do a Communications major instead of Theatre. I think she was afraid I'd be poor my whole life! My first semester in college was rough. I was living with my Aunt, commuting a long distance to school, working a crap job, had just broken up with my boyfriend a few months earlier, and was estranged from my best friend. The ONLY thing I had that was fun was my chorus class. That class alone will need an entire separate entry for another day. Anyway, my chorus pal Todd was a Theatre Student, and I kind of had a crush on him, so when he suggested we go to see the Theatre Departments fall show “A View From the Bridge”, I was totally in. When I walked in the theatre, my first time inside the SSC Mainstage which I would spend thousands of hours in over the next few years, I was initially blown away. The set design (H/T to Jim Fallon) was a perfect rendition of a Brooklyn tenement area. Stairs going up the side of the proscenium to mimic fire escapes – it was amazing, and I was awestruck. Todd leaned over and whispered to me “See those stairs? I painted them.” He was so PROUD to have been even a small part of what was being presented, and it showed. I went to the registrar’s office the very next day and changed my major to Theatre. Thanks Todd…

2) Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Salem State College, Senior Directing/Acting Thesis’ – Feb of 97) – This was the senior directing project for my pal Peter Sofronas, as well as the senior acting project for my best friend Jenn Leavitt (Chicago peeps will know her as Jenn Adams, Founder of Halcyon Theatre). As a group, I think we had a blast. I had never seen Jenn & Peter work so hard on something before, and it was inspiring for sure. Also, it was the rawest performance I had ever seen Jenn give. I was so proud of the places she got to in that role (I still am). To this day, if I hear the music, I instantly think of this show. And as a side note, this show proved once and for all that working with real food props SUCKS! Someday I’ll tell the amusing meatloaf incident. It’s a classic.

3) Guys & Dolls (SSC, Spring of ‘99). This good ‘ole musical holds several places in my heart and mind. This was (and still is) the biggest production I have ever stage managed. I had a cast of about 30+, a full orchestra of about 20, a crew of about 15, and *3* (count em, 3) ASM’s (and let me tell you, I needed every one of those ASMs). It was HUGE. It was also my final show I Stage Managed at SSC, I moved to Chicago about 4 months after the show closed. I worked with some of my all time favorite college chums on that one, plus DAG was directing/choreographing, so it was fun too. Dude, I can still hear Matt singing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat”, Eric & the boys singing “Luck be a Lady”, and of course, Bri singing “Till There was You”.

4) Anything Goes (Everett High School, Everett MA – Spring 1990). First show I was ever in. I was in the chorus; I spent a sum total of about 10 minutes on stage, but had the time of my life. I was hooked.

5) Coronado (Steep Theatre - fall of 07) from the moment I read the play, I knew I wanted to work on it. I begged my friend Kevin Gladish to be his Assistant Director. He let me because he took pity on me (Not true, I asked, he said sure, it was great). WHAT AN EFFING CAST! I was always amazed by the performances they gave. And you want to see raw? You should have seen the performance from Karyn Morris (now Brownlee). She astounded me, from the moment she read for the part up until she took her final bow. Amazing.
(Also, I had worked in that space several times with SRT, and had also seen plenty of shows there (Steep and others), but this was the FIRST AND ONLY TIME that the music from the honkey-tonk bar next door blended in so well. )

6) Metaluna…And the Amazing Science of the Mind Revue (WNEP - July/August 2008). ::sigh::
What can I say about working on this show? Such a mixture of emotions. Overall, the best show I’ve worked on in Chicago, thus far. I was amused and entertained all the way up until the final curtain call – those guys were still making me laugh on closing night. And as a Stage Manager, that’s a tall order. I mean, I had been with this material for months, had see it all performed so many times (we’ve all been there before, when the show loses its luster after a couple of weeks.), and I never was bored. It was my first introduction to DADA, and I guess you could safely call it “DADA-lite”? Still some crazy DADA poetry, but a little more plot than the usual DADA plays. I adored working with every one of the cast members, including some pretty freaking superb understudies who got tons of face time (Scotty, H.B. & Regan, I’m looking right atcha!)
For a process that began with Jen Ellison propositioning me to SM Metaluna over a glass of wine at the closing night reception for Raw, and ended with Don Hall giving me what is affectionately known as “the clapper”, this was definitely a crazy ride. I love all my Metalunites. And to them I say “Hairmp!”

7) Soiree Dada, Schmuckt Die Hallen (WNEP - December, 2008). If you never got a chance to see Jen Ellison’s DADA Dabo reign supreme over her rag-tag troupe of DADAs, then you truly missed out. I paid to see this show twice, actually. I went on opening night, and then again on closing weekend. Some moments will be there forever. DADA Grizzle’s speech about his name, DADA Nip’s uncomfortable moment with the baby doll and the audience member, DADA Flutter’s heart-breaking sugar plum fairy dance….but nothing can emotionally prepare you for the final moments. Watching Dabo remove all the makeup, and pack up her things….I cried like a baby each time I saw it. It was powerful and painful.

8) Touch (New Leaf Theatre – Jan 2009). This one is going to stick with me for quite some time. The palpable sense of loss that Dan Granata was able to create in that role was just ….awesome. About 15-20 minutes in I started to cry, and wept silently for pretty much the rest of the show. Then I went home and cried some more. In fact, I was so moved by the piece, I blogged about it (http://allthingsdianna.blogspot.com/2009/01/trust-me-i-was-touched.html), which doesn’t sound crazy now because I’m blogging more these days, but I was a little more infrequent about it then. Anyway…this show was fantastic, it furthered my love for New Leaf Theatre (what’s not to love, really?), and solidifies the fact that Dan Granata is a crazy talented actor and Jess Hutchison is one of the most talented directors out there. Period.

9) King Lear (Goodman Theatre – fall of 2006). This one will be controversial for the Chicago folk, mostly because tons of people hated this show. And you know what, I don’t give a shit. I adored this show. Granted, I’m not one of those Shakespeare enthusiasts who has seen a bunch of Lear before – this was in fact my first time seeing a stage production of it. Where people thought it was “overdone and too lavish”, I said it needed to be that way… how do you compare the world that falls apart for Lear with the opulence of his life before it without seeing some visual aids? Yes, Goodman has more money – but they also had Stacey Keach – who I thought was wonderful, Edmund Gero, and freaking Steve Pickering – who was the heart of the show in my opinion. And the music – I still hear some of the “keening” music during the war scenes in my head. I was on the edge of my seat for a show whose first act was almost 2 hours…. That’s amazing, I think.

10) Little Shop of Horrors (EHS – Spring, 1993). The best show I worked on in High School. And it was the FIRST time, when auditioning for a musical, in the slot that said “If the role you are interested in isn’t offered to you, would you accept a chorus role?” – I filled in “NO”. Needless to say, the fat chick played Audrey. The best part – on the day of opening night, we would always do a ½ hour – 45 minute “preview” of some of the songs for the school. We did “Skid Row” – I’ve never had applause like that for me in my life. I spent all day going to class with people stopping me in the halls to say what a “wicked awesome” singer I was. My favorite hard-ass teacher applauded me when I got to class… it was the best day of my high school life. I still smile thinking about it.

11) Young Mr. Ryan’s Ambition (SRT’s Vitality Playwrighting Festival – July ’05, Around the Coyote Festival – Aug ’05) This one always makes me laugh. The triumphant return to the stage after about 10 years!!! Hahahahah!
It was a ten minute play, and I played the mute, cuckolded wife and mother. It was awesome. I can still picture Austin as the douche-bag son, and Gladish as the slightly retarded hit-man. This show was so much fun to be a part of….and it was all directed by Adam Webster (Artistic Director of the side project). Awesomeness.

12) Rising (SRT’s Vitality Playwrighting Festival, July ‘07). My directorial debut – what a great show! Introduced me to Delaware's hidden gem, Kristyn Robinson (her plays are great). I had 2 great actors, I picked a simple, straightforward script, and I tried to make it as realistic as I could. The festival it performed in was "judged" to select the best play, and the playwright won some dough. Mine won. I was so excited for Kristyn (seriously, find a short play of hers and READ it fer crissakes), and if she ever decides to grace Chicago with her presence, she'll ghet a long overdue hug from me. (Side note, my piece was highly praised by 2 judges whose work I was familiar with but I had not formally met yet - Jen Ellison & Don Hall)

13) Death and the Maiden (Red Wolf Theatre – Spring 2001)
It was the first (and only) time I’ve quit a show I was working on.
I was the stage manager for this show up until about 5 days before it opened. This show was a tough lesson in “How much Dianna can take until she can’t take anymore”. I can still taste the cigarettes I smoked in response to my panic attack. Long story.

14) Crucible (SRT – Fall of 2006)
This show was ambitious in some ways – fool hardy in others, but overall had sequences in it that still give me goosebumps when I think of them (Best opening sequence to a show EVER). We set the whole thing to drums and added in movement for the scene transitions. We had minimal set, but an excellent lighting and costume designer who created visual beauty, a sound design that set the mood in no way I’ve ever heard before – and it all was staged in a church with huge stained glass windows so you felt the wrath of God on you at all times. We got some of our best reviews for that show, and it felt great. (and to that I tip my hat to the notoriously hard to please Jack Helbig)

15) Blue Man Group Chicago (March 2007 – December 2008)
The purists out there call BMG a commercial production devoid of much merit. I completely disagree – sure, I worked there, but this isn’t a “drink the kool-aid” feeling. There were parts of the show that I could watch over and over. The themes of isolation, group mindset, alienation, how to “follow the crowd”; these are all universal themes, and I always thought that BMG handled those with such an artistic flair. Sure, they cover you in toilet paper and spray wet stuff onto the audience, but it’s the WAY they do it that’s ….awesome. And there isn’t a better live band at a theatrical production anywhere. Hands down.
After I had been working there awhile, people asked me what it was like to work there, and I would say without hesitation that it was like being able to work at a rock concert every night. This show fulfills 2 categories I guess. As an audience member, I loved it, and as an employee I loved it. Anyone feel like going to see it some time soon? It’s been awhile, and frankly, I miss it.


Time may be up for TimeOut Chicago

I have some bones to pick with TimeOut Chicago. None of it has to do with the reporting, which I find to be top-notch (especially the theatre coverage)

A couple of years ago, I bought a copy of the fairly new TOC on the newstand. I was lured in by their sexy color pages, and their EXPANSIVE theatre coverage. At least one major article a week to lead off the section, plus a ton of reviews, and some pretty comprehensive listings. Plus, those sexy color pictures of shows either being reviewed or already in performance. What's not to love?

So I subscribed. And I LOVED it. I relished getting that copy a full 24 hours before other people. Whether it was a friends show I was anxious to see the review on, or one I was working on, it was nice to know I had a mini-insider pass to see what was thumbs up/down first. Plus the rest of coverage is great - specials on Chicago neighborhoods, new restaurants, new movies, books, music...Every Wednesday after getting home from work I would devour the copy from cover to cover.

Since becoming a subscriber I've had 2 big moments of pause.

First, about 2 years ago, they were running a special for NEW subscribers. $9.99 for the year, sign up now, limited time offer. I went to renew my subscription not long after that.... still the usual $19.99 (which yes, is a BIG savings from the newstand --- but there's something to be said for trying to maintain your current subscribers, you know?). Well, I wanted to support the one publication that I thought was giving the most comprehensive theatre coverage, and so I bit my tongue at the time and paid my $19.99. And since that time, I've renewed at that price again. Yep, no specials for the long time valued customer.... oh well what can you do?

The second....
This one is tough because it's a BIG direct crticism of my favorite section - theatre.
It's not content, word count, or coverage...
It's the exclusivity I used to enjoy by BEING a subscriber that is now gone.
Every Monday, when I hear that the latest reviews are up at TOC.com, a small dagger pierces my heart. And the daggers pierce again on Wednesday, when I get home, pick up my new copy of TOC, and I know that THOUSANDS of people were able to read those reviews before I did, and they were able to do it for FREE.

TOC, I love you, and I love your coverage.
And Mr. Vire, sir, you know that I think you (and Chris before you) do a BANG UP job of getting the maelstrom that is Chicago Theatre tamed once a week so that it's pleasant to the eyes.

However, when my current subscription runs out, I won't be renewing.
Why pay 20 bucks for what others can get for free?

I agree that online content is the wave of the future, and is a completely necessary item. I'm not looking for that feature to be taken away by any means. But making your content available to non-paying customers before the paying ones is seriously a slap in the face. Why can't the online reviews be posted at midnight on Wednesday? or first thing Thursday morning to conincide with the copies being on the newstand?


Saying Goodbye to The Lion

"...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die..."

- Senator Edward M. Kennedy
August 12, 1980,
Democratic National Convention

****and as a side note, Massachusetts is now in your hands Senator Kerry. Try not to fuck it up.


Just hanging...

If my commute to work is timed correctly, there's a guy I pass by about 2 or 3 times a week. As I walk east on Grand from the red line station, I invariably will run into him as he walks west on Grand to wherever he's going. He's a husky guy, wears glasses, looks to be in that late 20's early 30's range, always has the ear buds in.

My favorite thing? The way he holds his cigarette in his mouth. No, it's not sexy, by any means, it's just....different.

He holds it in the corner of his mouth, always on the left side and it just....hangs there....

A lot like this, except his is lit:

I've never seen him inhale, or for that matter EXHALE smoke.... so is it just for looks? Is his a private detective, or a gumshoe reporter from the 30's? Does he watch too much Mad Men?

I'm telling you, this guy intrigues the shit outta me.

I think I may need some new hobbies.



I work in a minefield. Seriously.

Anyone trying to lose weight or change their eating habits that works in an office can completely understand where I'm coming from.

There's always someone buying bagels, or bringing in homemade something-something that just has a big EAT ME sign on it.

Well, my work has those things plus a seperate special layer of suck. I work in a hotel - there's food EVERYWHERE. Not as bad as a restaurant, to be sure, but it's on level of stinky.

Earlier this week, the skinniest girl in my office had a craving for Lemon Bars the night before. She made a whole batch, had a few, and then brought the rest in - to sit on the table that is 5 feet from my desk. Today, Sales brought in bagels - not just bagels, but the Cosi "squa-gel" (square bagels), of which the Asiago Bagel is my personal favorite. I abstained. Then later, the catering staff sent out an email to my floor titled "Meeting notes & FUDGE!". Someone just got back from a trip and brought back a big box of fudge. Once again, I abstain. Lunch today? Leftovers from a meeting, eaten standing up in a back hallway. Mashed potatoes? yes I love you, but I'm going to have the chicken instead. Bit size fruit tarts? No thanks, I'll have some slices of cantalope.

And you should see the looks on peoples faces! So dissapointed the fat girl doesn't want their fudge! Sorry dude, trying to live a better life, one day at a time. And one abstained land-mine at a time.

To help combat this, I have a "bag of tricks". Nothing sexy, but some acceptable salty or sweet snacks. Better for me, low in calories and fat, high in fiber.

Someone has chips, or pretzels? I assault you with my WASABI PEAS! or I can also bombard you with my MINI RICE CAKES!!!!!

someone have a candy bar or something sweet? I pelt you with my PITTED DATES!!! or my HANDFUL of CRAISINS!!!!!

But the biggest lifesaver.... it's filling....it's sweet...it's HIGH in fiber (9g) and it's my favorite flavor in the whole world.... CARAMEL.

Dude, the Fiber One Oats & Caramel bar..... I love you man, you save my life almost every day.


"I'm yours...."

I think the barometer of how good a couple you are is how WELL one of you can hold out the camera and take a GOOD shot of the 2 of you as a couple. (Nothing worse than asking someone else"could you take our picture?", I mean, any old schlub can do THAT)
If you can't hack a good picture of the 2 of you on your own, it's not meant to be.
That being said, I think me and my partner in crime for the last 8 years do a pretty fucking awesome job of taking pics together (Although to be be fair, Sara does the picture taking - but its a logistical thing, the girl's almost 5'10" for cripes sake!)
Anyway, I guess what I'm TRYING to say is, I love you sweetie! Happy Anniversay!
Meeting you a little over 8 years ago was the best thing that's ever happened to me. No one makes me laugh more and there's no one I'd rather be with.

Jason Mraz might say it best, though:
"Well open up your mind and see like me...
open up your plans and damn you're free ...
look into your heart and you'll find love love love love ...
listen to the music at the moment people dance and sing with me ...
We're just one big family...
And it's our godforsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved"

(...and now some examples of how much we belong together)

(Brownlee /Morris Wedding, June 2008)

(Beach Preserve area at Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA - Feb 2008)

(Boat Tour of Lake Eustis in Tavares, FL - Feb 2009)

(On Liberty Island, NYC - July 2009)

(Top of the Empire State Building, NYC- July 2009)

(Weekend getaway to Saugatuck, MI - Nov 2007*)

(*that last one is the best, and one of my favorites... I can't remember whose idea it was to look at each other...but it was a great one)


My kingdom for the snooze button

Dennis has a great story today about trying to relate a story to his dad... and then waking up.
Love the story.

It reminded me of the time I had the most vivid dream about my dad. I was walking down the street somewhere, don't remember exactly where, and a ways off I spot my dad! He sees me to, and he waves me over. We hug, I'm sure I'm crying, and he tells me he's so sorry that he's been away so long. He explained that he'd been in the witness protection program, and that they'd had to fake his death, yadda yadda yadda. We sit and have coffee and I start chatting about all the tings he's "missed", only to find out that he's been keeping regular tabs on me and has been following all that me, Danny, Sean & Heather have done. (This was before Sean passed away, too). When I say it was vivid, I mean I could hear his VOICE, I could see the twinkle in his eye, he even smelled like him! (weird, but true) We were having the best time - laughing and joking and telling stories...it was all going so great!
(beep, beep, beep, beep, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP....)
That was the sound of my alarm going off - I shut it off, looked around, realized that it had all been a dream - and my heart just broke. It almost felt as if he'd died all over again. I cried and cried. It was awful.
This may sound weird, but I wonder if it sort of explains my fascination with the TV show "In Plain Sight", which is all about the witness protection program....


some of my favorite peeps

me and Erin Orr

Me and Emily Gann

Me and my big bro, Danny (we're a little drunk here)

Me & my cuz, Martin

(I couln't decide which pic I liked more....)

Nick Keenan, Dan Granata & Me
(about 3 minutes before "Devils Don't Forget" began)


I was going through some pics and came across this one, which I love.

This was taken last summer, during rehearsals for "Metaluna".

It's all our shoes outside the rehearsal room - I can't describe why I love it, but I do.

(photo by Michael Brownlee)

Well, this should help the weight loss...

Friday when I got home from work, I felt kind of sick to my stomach, and kind of crampy.

The feeling continued throughout Saturday, reprived a little on Sunday, and then hit me again hard this morning. Now, I pulled myself together long enough to brave the CTA to get to work. I'd been through this situation before, but it was in the OPPOSITE direction - ridiculously clenching while running from the train to your house PRAYING you'll make it to the bathroom on time. Today it was the other way....

I was on the platform at Jarvis, watching as the train approached, and a wave of nausea (and a little bit of light-head-ed-ness) hit me like a ton of bricks. I actually had to hold on to something.

I popped a piece of gum, hoping some saliva in my mouth as well some fresh spearmint flavor would douse that nausea. It did. Thank god.

I made it to work, I punched in and promptly found a bathroom.
I feel a little better now (albeit a bit cleansed), so here's hoping.

If I don't feel better by noon I'm out of here.



The centerpiece of any good, robust political system is healthy debate, and part of that debate should be questioning our leaders. While people who don't "like" Obama drive me nuts, I respect the fact that they have every right in the world to dislike him, and to question him when he does things. (you know, unlike when Bush was in office, and those who questioned him were considered Un-American) I welcome it, actually. QUESTION our leader. We put him there, but it is his responsibility to lead us and do the things that are right for us, so when he's going down a wrong path, SPEAK UP for heaven's sake!

Ok, that being said, there's a small group of nutjobs that just chap my ass every time I hear them given press time. You know who I mean... the people who claim, nay, INSIST, that Obama was not born in the US. They are discussed in the press so much that the WH has given them a NAME! They are known as the "Birthers", and completely believe that he was born in Africa, not America. The WH gave in to the stupidity about a year ago, and posted a copy of his Birth Certificate online, they have recieved witness accounts from hospital workers, etc, and have even pointed to a local NEWSPAPER in Hawaii announcing his birth.

There's a great blurb on the CNN.com ticker today about Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shooting down the "Birthers". (article is HERE). In the comments section was a response so TRUE and hilarious at the same time that I was nearly crying with laughter over it:

posted by: Yo morons! on July 27th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

"His grandmother did not say he was born in Kenya–it was his step-grandmother who said that about 40 years after the fact, AND she was not present at his birth.
I feel silly indulging this nonsense; it's like trying to prove a negative. Birthers, can you prove that Bush is not satan? Can you offer me one shred of proof that he is not satan? What's that? No proof?
Can you prove that Rush Limbaugh does not survive solely on the consumption of human flesh? Do you have any proof whatsoever?
Can you prove that Laura Bush is not a robot? And I don't mean your run-of-the-mill wire and steel robot, but a high-tech cybernetic organism designed to conrol your thoughts? C'mon birthers, prove it! I will not be satisfied until you prove it!
The certificate is out there and has been vetted. For god's sakes, devote your energies to helping your communites, or alternatively, learning how to read and operate "the google".
Otherwise, take another swig from your clay jug and remember to holler for Pa when the vittles is ready!"



Ever since Professor Gates was arrested (and then released) the other day, I have tried to apply a huge grain of salt to the whole affair. Yes, this is easy to do for me becauseI am white and have never experienced racism - HOWEVER, grain of salt nonetheless.

While it is certainly likely that the officer was simply doing his job and arresting an unhelpful combatitive man, it is also just as likely that the cop was racist and just profiled the whole situation.

And while it is likely that the officer was asking unneccesary questions and not answering Gates' simple questions, it is also equally as likely that a man who has probably experienced racism before approached the entire situation with his OWN prejudices against the cops and wasn't gonna be helpful no matter what.

I was not there, so I'll never reallyknow what happened, so again - grain of salt for everyone involved.

Now, every piece of reporting out there I've seen have all said things like travesty, racism, profiling...no grains of salt from anyone.

Except now.....

Read the following article from Dr. Boyce Watkins (originally appearing on the website thegrio.com). Watkins says: "What is abundantly clear is that this is NOT the case of a poor Black male being exploited by the racist, classist power structure. "

And then there's the picture....

I see a policeman with his hand out trying to calm Prof Gates down....I see Prof Gates look like he's yelling "Help".....I see a black officer in the foreground....I see him cuffed in front (which is actually a sign from the cops that they didn't really feel threatened by him)

what do you see?

ETA - I was just reading over this entry and realized I didn't link to the article.... idiot..."DD"

A loophole just big enough

Some friends of mine (like Don) have blogged recently about the big "affordable healthcare" issue swirling around politics right now. Sometimes within the debate, the amount of numbers and statistics thrown out there make my brain fry...just a little...
However, I was thinking earlier about my own personal healthcare, which is not bad as far as I'm concerned. I get paid every 2 weeks, and from each paycheck I pay 3.11 in dental, 15.29 in medical & 4.04 in vision.
Sara is on my insurance as well - we are VERY lucky that my job offers partner benefits - and thats for everything. So, there's an additional line item where an added amount for dental, medical & vision is added on just for Sara to pay for HER coverage.

Here's where it gets nutty - follow me....
(in the following paragraphs I am simply being critical of the PROCESS, this is by no means a judgement of my employer - I respect the fact they are doing best they can)

Ok, so since Sara is not a taxable dependant, my job does not cover the TAX incurred with her coverage, so that charge is passed on to me.

Let me 'splain. After my gross earnings are calculated, there is a charge for my employers cost added to my "earnings". And then, my taxes are figured off of THAT total. Then under the deductions area, that charge that is ADDED up above, is subtracted down below.

So, I am TAXED at a higher rate just so that I can have Sara covered. If I were married to a man, I would just qualify for a family plan, and not only would I not be taxed at a higher rate, our coverage could be deducted pre-tax. (right now, my coverage is deducted pre-tax, but Sara's isn't...).
This isn't my job's fault, there is no law in place that guarantees coverage for my spouse. Beause let's be honost - Sara isn't my girlfriend or my "life-partner", she's my WIFE, legally she is my COMMON LAW WIFE. In about 3 weeks, we are celebrating 8 freaking years together. That's longer than either one of my mom's first 2 marriages. We're working on the baby thing (once she's done with school), and thankfully she has decent medical coverage so that we can get good pre natal care, and once the kid(s) are born, they'll qualify for coverage as well.

But I'll be taxed higher....


Favorite images from NYC trip

Unfortunately, when you're on weight watchers, this is as close as you can get to "the best bagels in the world" ::sigh::

Imagine what the musical world would be like now if this memorial mural had never had to be done.

yeah.... first time face to face with Frida.... kept myself together long enough to take a good picture. Then I sat on a bench across the room and looked at her for about 10 minutes. amazing.

Top of the Empire State Building at sunset.

There's a placque in front that reads:
"For three decades this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled "The Sphere" , it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol fo world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructable spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
The eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honor of all those who were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

"Statue of Liberty! I crush your head! I crush your head!

Right near the "registry room" at Ellis Island, they were restoring some support columns when they uncovered a bunch of handwritten notes and pictures scribbled on thecolumns by the immigrants while they waited to be processed. Most things were in a completly different language -but the emotion certainly showed through.