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Less productive than ever

Captain Jack Harkness making out w/ a dude on Torchwood

I bitch about work a lot. Well, mainly the hours that I work, but for all that bitching, my job is actually pretty decent.

I listen to Day to Day. I listen to All Things Considered. I've got to hear Lakshmi Singh at least once a day. If I'm so inclined, I'll make room for Diane Rehm. Sometimes I'll listen to This American Life. I do the crossword. I listen to and download music. I bring my Netflix movies with me and play them on my Mac. Now, to detract from working even more, Netflix is streaming their movies for PC users. So I have an entire library of movies from which to choose. I recently watched The Hours (holy crap, that movie sucked!) and Gay Sex in the 70's (holy crap, that movie sucked!). Plus, there's this site which has allowed me to catch the ever-dreamy John Barrowman in the spin-off series to Dr. Who (think Men In Black meets the X-Files). But I still do my work. I still meet my deadlines--and our "on-time" report has increased since my promotion. So I'm allowed these little perks, right?

Last Friday was fiesta Friday. I made some pretty killer fajitas (marinate chicken in canola oil, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalepeno and serrano for at least 8 hours before cooking). We have a skillet here and I reheated the chicken/onion/peppers on it. They sizzled in a corner of the lab while we poured margaritas. You heard right, margaritas. After the meal, my four co-workers and I took shots of Hornito's and then took turns taking siestas.

Even on non-fiesta nights, most of us take naps.

But, yeah, I complain a lot still (I mean, I only get to see Phil like 2 days a week).

And truthfully, I would probably process many more images if I didn't constantly distract myself with things--things like this blog . . .

But until my schedule allows spontaneity, I will continue to be less than optimally productive.



Wednesday night I had the pleasure of viewing David Lynch's newest film, INLAND EMPIRE at the Cinerama. Mr. Lynch was in attendance and fielded questions afterward from effusive fans.

What was my take on the movie?
Well, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was intimidated by the run-time, but made sure I evacuated my bladder and bowels minutes before the film began. And what it film it is. This is Lynch's first film shot on digital video, and the textures, color and lighting are beautiful. My only issue with the vidoegraphy comes from the handheld bounciness. Other than that, Lynch is able to create images as you know he's always imagined them--blacks so black that you don't realize they're grey until a darker silhouette moves through the frame, highlights so overblown that you can feel your retinas tingle. And his imagery is so stacked and belongs so thoroughly to him--Its hard not to think of
Guild Navigators when all you see of an overlit face with mouth ajar is its uvula. Its hard not to think of Angelo Badalamenti spitting out coffee onto a napkin when Laura Dern is vomiting blood onto the Hollywood walk of fame.
I have said before (and I maintain) that spoilers do not really exist. The art of film (and literature) does not come in the story, but in the telling. A film is not ruined merely because you know that the main character is already dead going into the film. A professor of mine and I had a discussion once about Hitchcock. We got onto the topic of Psycho and he talked about Hitchcock's brilliance for forcing the audience to relate to Norman Bates after Janet Leigh is killed off. I said that I, and most like a majority of my peers, could not watch the film that way. Before we even saw the film, we knew that Norman wore his mother's clothes and killed the guests at the inn. Does that make Psycho any less powerful of a film? I truly don't think so.
If I told you that Laura Dern plays a prostitute, a wife, an actress, and an abuse victim, and that all of them might be roles an actress is playing, or all of them may be different aspects of the same person, you don't really have a context to place that information--but that is really all you know. Lynch gives you everything early on. Themes and situations recur with different tones and moods, and before you know it, the end credits are rolling. The film sits on your subconscious like a firecracker snake lit by a madman, and as it expands, it smolders.
On my Lynch-o-meter, I would put it behind Fire Walk With Me, Mulholland Drive, and Eraserhead but in front of Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart.


Thoughts in other places

I have a couple posts in the draft stage, but for some reason I can't get around to finishing them. One is about David Lynch's newest film and the other is about my favorite tracks from 2006. Yes, both are long overdue. Then there's a whole 'nother post about my date with that sweet, romantic guy on Friday. I haven't even started that one.
But I wanted to take this time to talk about how blogging has affected my life and how relating stories pulls us closer together in our modern age. To paraphrase my good friend Joseph Campbell, religion is literally a link(ing) to the past. Of course, the way we link to the past is through our stories and our mythologies. I'm not a religious man, but the more I write, the more I relate to and merely relate stories and, as a result, the more pious I become.
Some of my closest friends keep on-line journals. I have met people I otherwise never would have known if it weren't for the stories they told. I will continue to because of their willingness to share their stories.
I don't remember how I was introduced to Aaron. I knew almost instantaneously, however, that he was someone to whom I could relate. He felt the desire to expand the dialectic of the gay experience, and his voice belied a sensitivity that so few people possess. He told me about his softball team and his volleyball team--how he began to fell less isolated through his interaction with other gay men. He told me how he cooked bacon outside to prevent the smell from permeating the house (to which I replied, "Why would anyone want to conceal the smell of bacon?"). Once, he told me about a co-worker of his who hugged him on a regular basis just so she could feel some sort of connection. It made him question the human conditions of solitude and lonelines. I told him one of my favorite quotes--"We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness"--and hoped that those words would provide some solace.
Recently, his boyfriend began telling his story. I know Casey even less than I know Aaron, but if I lived in Minneapolis, I would be their annoying friend. The one who calls everyday. The one who asks if they need anything. The one who tries to distract them. The one who pretends that nothing is awful. Luckily, it seems that they have many people in their support system who can tell them stories and make them feel connected.


That 80's Show

I know you've been all atwitter wondering what gems from the 80's the Men's Chorus have culled for the spring show. Well, you're lucky to know me, because I have the inside scoop.
Here's the only catch, if you read the list of tunes below, you are obligated to attend a performance. Even if you live in Boston (or are on sabbatical in Boston). You are even more obligated if you live in the greater Seattle area. Are we clear? Good.
So here's the line up:
Opening medley - Mr. Robato/I'm So Excited/Celebration/I'm Coming Out/Let's Hear It for the Boy/Ready for the 80's
The gym medley - Physical/Muscles/I Know What Boys Like/Don't You Want Me/Another One Bites the Dust
Gentlemen callers medley - Who Can It Be Now/Smooth Operator/You Should Hear How She Talk About You/Call Me
Sweet Dreams
Cars medley - Drive/Cars/Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car/Freeway of Love/Pink Cadillac
True Colors (a capella)
Science medley - Weird Science/She Blinded Me with Science
Rock Me, Amadeus
Video medley - Mickey/Maniac/Whip It/Heaven Is a Place on Earth/Addicted to Love/Thriller
Movie medley - Xanadu/Flashdance/We Don't Need Another Hero/It Might Be You/Let the River Run/Up Where We Belong/Wind Beneath My Wings/Arthur's Theme/Making Love/Fame/Ghostbusters
Girls medley - Material Girl/Uptown Girl/Rich Girl/Rosanna/Billie Jean/Bette Davis Eyes/To All the Girls I've Loved Before/Venus/Simply Irresistible/Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Anthem (from Chess)
Closing medley - Shout/Karma Chameleon/Walk Like an Egyptian/I Wanna Dance with Somebody/Hungry Like the Wolf/Never Gonna Give You Up/Ready for the 80's (reprise)
It's Raining Men
Holy. Crap. That's a lotta music! I hope I learn it all--well, if all else fails, I'll just sing the melody, cuz lord knows I know that!


Mock me with praise

So, you know what my favorite musical is.
Next in line (and not too-distant a cousin musically and lyrically) is Sondheim's Company.
I was just telling Risa and Keith about it this weekend at dinner. It introduced a little-homo Jeremy to an alcohol-drenched Elaine Stritch. Even as a youth I connected on some level with her version of "Ladies Who Lunch." (Little did I know that it was a staple for drag queens the world over.)
Anyway, the newest version of Company on Broadway has been getting lots of hype. Its directed by the same guy who recently brought back Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." Yeah, you heard about it, all the actors double as musicians. So they're all on-stage all the time and people like Patti LuPone have the chance to wow you even more by displaying their prowess on an instrument.
So that's the same set up for the new version of Company. Some people
like it. Others, not so much.
The cast album doesn't come out until March 6th, but some pirate-y type person has taken it upon themselves to upload video clips of the newest production to YouTube.
Below is the show's centerpiece--"Being Alive." In bad productions of Company, Bobby is merely the hub around which the cast of zany Gothamites rotate. In a good production of Company (and this to me, looks like a good production), Bobby's inability to break free from his bachelorhood is the reason the rest of the cast appears so zany. So, I guess what I'm saying is, Bobby is the lens through which the rest of the cast is viewed--so by the time we get to "Being Alive," it either resonates because Bobby was portrayed well, or just falls flat, because, who really cares about this 35 year-old bachelor who can't commit.

Anyway, that's just my take on the whole thing.

So, here is the amazing Raul Esparza taking a huge bite of the number. Enjoy!


I know, I know

Hey, happy new year and stuff!
I know, its been forever. I apologize if I worried you, but fer real, get a grip, I've got to have a life, too. The past two weeks, or so, were my downtime. My return to me time.
Its like Geoffrey Jellineck would say, "I'm not pushing you away. I'm pulling me toward myself."
So, I deleted all your emails (sorry). Didn't return your phone calls (my bad). And haven't posted in a coon's age (is "coon's age" racist?).
My parents didn't even hear from me until Saturday, if that makes you feel any better--my own parents, I tells ya!

So today marks my return to proper society. No more extended stays in bed. No more ordering pizza. No more putting things off because I can.

I've got choir practice tonight. I know, I thought it was over, too. I did, however, promise them a year of my life. Rehearsal tonight is for the spring show which is "That 80's Show." I'm not too sure on the song line-up but I know we're doing a medley of "She Blinded Me with Science" and "Weird Science." Hopefully Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" will surface. I just learned over the weekend that she's Welsh (thanks, VH1). So it kind of killed my personal fantasy of Kim Carnes and her in some biker bar in Arizona doing whiskey shots and saying stuff like, "Guuurrrrl" and, "He done you wrong!" They would be wearing leather chaps, natch.

Anyway, the advent of choir practice marks a return to world. Happy new year! Here's how mine looks thus far:

Old Joy" is in town until next Thursday. I've been excited for this film for quite some time. I hope to make it up to NWFF before the run ends. They also have a short run (1/12 - 1/18) of "51 Birch Street" which I would like to see, but common sense tells me I'll be luck to catch just one of these gems.

Next Wednesday is, of course, David Lynch at the Cinerama. Only one thing will keep me from this--death.

Friday the 19th is the opening party for
Make Your Own Life at the Henry. Phil and I are going to hit it up after a lovely dinner overlooking Elliot Bay at Anthony's Home Port.

Oh, speaking of good dinners, Risa,
Keith and I went to Peso's this past Saturday (after Risa and I saw Dreamgirls). I had a killer fried stuffed chicken breast. It was stuffed finely diced portabellos, tomatillos, onions and sage. It was a little dry, but the whole thing was served on a pillow of garlic mashed potatoes and drenched in a an amazing jalepeno, roasted red pepper cream gravy. And we were at Peso's. And it was a game day. And there were shiny-shirt guys. And I didn't even care.

Oh so speaking of Risa and Keith--their day is nigh. February 17th they'll tie the knot. I've been working on what exactly I'll say (if you've been keeping up, I'm officiating the ceremony). So that, coupled with Matt's birthday will be my February.

March will be Tennille's birthday, plus a weekend long retreat with the chorus. This could actually be my breaking point with the organization, but we'll see.

April is Phil's birthday, and that's it.

May is home to Texas for an extended stretch. The old man will turn 70. I can't believe it. My parents are still the same as when I was in high school in my mind. In reality, they are getting old.

So that's the way the year is shaping up.

My only resolution for this year is to dance more. I used to go out dancing at least once a week. Now, its once in a blue moon (which is June 1st if you're keeping track).

I hope to add some much needed structure to the blog. Like Friday posts will be pop culture/out-on-the town. Monday posts will be a glimpse at my fractured psyche, and Wednesdays I'll post about other bloggers' posts or something.
Knowing me, this idea will be chucked.

Ok, so, that's it. Its good to be back. I missed you, too. I promise I won't be so distant.