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Monday, October 31, 2005

White Hair

It's Hallowe'en, and I'm sitting in my office dressed as a wizard. It's a pretty good costume, all in all -- pointy hat, long white hair, long robe, so forth.

Times there have been in my life that, would I dress like this, people would come up to me and say "Hey, nice costume! It's clever how you made yourself look so old!"

Today, they're coming up and saying "Hey, nice costume. I always pictured you as Dumbledore!"

Friday, October 28, 2005


Last night I had the theatre class (for which I've been preparing for weeks). I put together a (pretty nice!) workbook, and had the 2 hour session (the first of 4 (or maybe 5)) last night.

The idea behind it was to, hopefully, interest a few young people in the theatre (and maybe get a little work out of 'em in the process). At the same time, we'd be exposing our theatre to a few new families, which is a very good thing. It's a win-win-win proposition -- if we had any kids interested.

I really didn't know how much interest there'd be, but I'd have been satisfied with 5 kids -- and I was actually hoping for maybe 7 (or even 8). If we'd have had 8, I'd have been thrilled -- reaching out to 8 new families is no small deal.

Well, I sat in the theatre (having arrived an hour or so early), anxiously awaiting their arrival. The first kid arrived about 5 minutes before starting.....then a few more the time we began, I had 33 kids (and 3 more who sent a message along that they couldn't attend this first session, but wanted to participate in the subsequent sessions).

Whoa. 33? That's very cool.

Of course, by the time I finished talking and running around and basically leading 33 kids for two unbroken hours, I was energy-drained (and my voice felt like I had gargled battery acid). What a blast, though -- and what a potentially great thing, for the community, the theatre, and those kids.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hitting the Wall

Michael is just like me.

I'm sure he'd be bummed, reading that. On the other hand, since he's just like me, he's unlikely to bother to read his own dad's blog, being as subsumed as he is with Halo or Runescape or some other such mental folderol.

Still, he's just like me.

All through elementary school, junior high, and high school, I never studied. I did do my homework (in a whip-through-it-so-I-can-go-and-play-basketball kind of way), but study? Never. Literally never. I think if you added up all the time I spent studying for a test during those 12 years, it wouldn't total 20 minutes. And I got good enough grades -- not quite a 4.0, but close enough (only the occasional B).

Then I went to college and got my butt kicked. Oh, I figured out the party aspect quickly enough, but had no idea how (or why) to work. Suddenly, I was pulling C's...and D's...and worse. My freshman year was a mess. Once I got behind, I couldn't get caught up.

Michael's rowing that same boat ashore. He coasted through elementary school with all A's, and even in 7th grade he got predominantly A's (by doing little work). Now, however, taking Advanced Geometry and Honors Science and Honors English, he's finding that work is required. He's earning (or, if not "earning", at least getting) C's. Suddenly, he's required to work, and he's not used to it or inclined to it.

He is working harder, now. He's not completely getting it, mind you -- he's still a cork on the waves -- but he's learning how to do the work.

I'm not a pushy/pressure/vicarious-success kind of dad. If either of my kids works to their potential, and that potential turns out to be C's, then that's great. God bless 'em....I just want 'em to achieve what they can.

He's lucky that he's hitting the wall now, when there's still time to recover before college. I really don't want him to grow up like me -- I know me, and I wouldn't want to inflict this on anyone.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Ah, winter is coming to Northeast Ohio. 6(ish) months of unrelenting gray skies, joint-tweaking damp cold, astronomical heating bills.

6(ish) months of water cooler conversation that generally begin with "Can you believe how crappy this weather is?" and end with "Can you believe how crappy the Browns are?"

6(ish) months of all the defensive driving school flunkees being allowed to roam at will upon our highways and bi-ways (whatever the heck a bi-way is).

6(ish) months of my golf clubs complaining that I don't love them anymore. Actually, that one is easier to take, given that, clearly, my golf clubs don't love me, either.

6(ish) months of wondering why my Grandfather -- having just stepped off the boat and knowing no one in America -- decided that Cleveland would be the place to settle. Not Tampa, or Houston, or San Diego....Cleveland. Wacky sense of humor, those Danes.

C'mon, indians. Send us a bit of that special summer you've been secreting away, before we fall inexorably into WASP Winter.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

God, how you mist me

Dawn didn't so much ignite as explode this morning. Sitting in the woods, bedecked in nerdy (yet oddly effective (to a turkey)) camouflage (and yes, I do look better as a bush), I watched the sun light the hillside. The trees are still mostly green, which stunningly sets off the ones that are already blazing with red and orange.

A mist,the ghost of yesterday's rain, hovered just over the trees, turning the sunlight into myriad and dancing beams, almost palpable. On a hillside, I was as dappled as the trees, and it was glorious (the dapplage, not so much me).

So. While I was ostensibly hunting turkey (and humming "kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!"), I encountered nary a feather nor a cluck...yet I had a great day.

A miserable day outdoors is still better'n this whole workin'-for-a-living thing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I'm not sure, exactly, why I named this entry "Slag". It's a good word, though.

I'm betterer than I was earlier this week, although the bar wasn't set all that high. Speaking of the bar, I did have a soda (or 7) with my friends while we (sort of) watched Monday Night Football.

I'm still stressing over all the tasks I need to do, but Stress R Me. Er sump'n.

Last night I sang again, but I'm afraid my voice is not getting any better. In fact, it now hurts all the time.

It's bad enough that it hurts, but it's emotionally draining not to be able to sing well any more. There are darn few things in my life at which I am (or was) actually decently good (in my own estimation, anyway), and singing was one of them. Now that seems to be gone, and it doesn't seem to be limping back any time soon.

Judging by the post, the only thing left at which I'm objectively good is whining.

On the upside front, though, I'm taking a long weekend to do some turkey hunting (or, in my case, sitting alone in the woods). I love turkey hunting (sitting alone in the woods) that will (or should) parse me a little serenity.

Monday, October 17, 2005


I'm wrapped in one of the king of all crappy moods....partly from too much work and not enough fun over the weekend; partly because Bill Belichick sucks; partly from the neverending and utterly joyless fight with the kids over getting them to do their damn homework and not spend every single moment of their day messing up every single square inch of the house....

I dunno. All I know is that today, I feel like cocooning.

And coming out as a butterfly on beer.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I took the day off work. Gonna do stuff (or nothin' ('s gonna be that kind of day)).

In fact, I'm sitting on my couch right now, fingers dancing over my laptop (which, admittedly, sounds dirty but ain't). I'm noshing on a bagel with cream cheese, and on the stereo, Kenny Wayne Shepherd's fingers are caressing his gitfiddle (which juuuust might sound a tetch dirty, as well). All in all, it's pert near as close to Heaven as a morning can get (or, if not Heaven, at least Mount Pilot)(and when, exactly, did I become Goober?).

What I wouldn't give, by the way, for my laptop-flying to be 1/3 the equal to Kenny's guitar caressment. Bet my bagel noshing is as good as his, though.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Good Dad


My son and his friends decided they should toilet paper another friend's house last night.

As a homeowner, I know what a mess TP can be, so I went to talk to them about it. I intended to explain the consequences of their actions, so forth.....

By the time we were done talking, I had given them pointers on how best to do it, tips on how to move silently through the neighborhood so they won't get caught, how to use hand signals so they can do the job silently. "Be little ninjas," I told them. "Surgical strike." Then I provided them with the multi-packs of TP to use.

What a role model I am.

Roll model?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Yesterday was busy/crazy/full/but-not-impaling at work....things are (a bit) smoother with the personnel issues, and good things are getting done.

Last night was -- two in a row! -- a night in which I went home and stayed there (except for taxi-driving the kids around). Relatively pleasant, and I got to chill and watch "Boston Legal" while sipping a (really lousy) glass of tawny port.

Still a kabillion things to do, and I'm hanging on by a cuticle...but I am hanging on, which is better (quantumly) than the host of alternatives.

Tonight? Singing and fixing home computers and laying some more bricks and sipping a nice (one hopes) shiraz.

God, what an affectation: "sipping a nice shiraz". I sound like Hannibal (the cannibal, not the elephant-over-the-alps guy); or maybe half of "Hart to Hart".

God, do I hope it's not the Stephanie Powers half.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why Grumpy?

Well, last night I managed (rarity of rarities) to go home (at a decent hour, too) and stay home.

I thought about meeting my friends for Monday Night Football (and, um, beer), but just didn't have the get up to go. If one of them (geeks that they aren't) had thought to actually beam me there, I'da happily consumed one (or 6) with 'em.

Still, after whining incessantly about never having a quiet evening at home, I got one. So why'd I spend the rest of the evening (after deciding to stay home) grumpy? And why'd I wake up grumpy?

Is it possible that I like being so pulled and stressed (and, um, stressed)? That I like having zero unspoken-for moments?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Home Work

As far as home tasks go, I'm making progress.

The deck has been stripped, sanded, and stained.

The brick path to the mailbox has been (mostly) completed (and it really looks good).

Got ready(ish) to finish the back room and kitchen -- made plans for the back room bookshelves/tv shelf; and got plans together to replace the kitchen counter.

Tonight, I'd like to (weather permitting) complete the brick path. It's a good project.

Murder Mystery

Last night our theatre murder mystery ("Murder at the Mall -- Fashions to Die For") went off -- not, perhaps, hitchlessly, but smoothly enough ('specially when you consider this was our first time to do something like this). And, as a fund-raiser, we ended up making over $2,000 (maybe closer to $3,000), so that worked, too.

It was especially nice that I could go there and not have to do much -- could just basically enjoy the evening (and it was, in fact, enjoyable).

I'm taking notes about suggestions for next time (if there is one (and I'm sure there will be)), but the areas for improvement were minor.

Might want to consider doing our own script next time, though....

Long Weekend

I left work early on Friday....on the way home, Jan asked me if I could stop over at Shirley's and change her flat tire for her. Yuck. I've already changed a bunch of tires this year, and I didn't much feel like it...but of course I went. The garage that had changed her tires the last time had jammed the lug nuts on. By the time I got 'em loose, I had wrenched my back pretty good. Yuck.

Saturday, I felt a little better. I took myself for a 5(ish) mile walk in the Emerald Necklace --in the rain. Um, yuck. Actually, it wasn't bad at all, although my hands started to get cold, and there wasn't any dry place to sit down and rest my legs. Still, I knocked off another leg on the Metroparks Hike goal, and it (surely) did my (aching) body some good. Back still hurts, though.

Fantasy Football Update:
I'll (probably) go 4-2 this week. The Killer A's stand a chance of losing if Hines Ward puts up big numbers tonight (and Aixelsyd stands a chance of winning if Willie Parker puts up hyooge numbers), but most likely I'll go 4-2 (which seems to be my lot). 4-2 ain't bad, though.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Yesterday was ordinary and boringly ordinary, with a touch of ordinary on the side.

Actually, I was plenty busy, but nothing much to note. I did meet with the marketing committee last night, and we reviewed the posters for "The Foreigner" (which came out really nice). We also made plans for the next phase of marketing.

We're learning as we're going -- what to do and when to do it -- but we're getting things done, which is not a bad situation, all in all. I have no doubt we'll get better and more efficient at it as we go.

I hate that the Indians' season is over. And who to root for between the Yankees and the Red Sox and the White Sox? I pretty much hate 'em all.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Last night was (yet another) full one. I went to CompUsa on the way home from work. A couple of minutes off the highway it is. Well, a couple of minutes it's supposed to be, anyway.

People who work on Chagrin Boulevard must be nutty, because it's the most insane street in Cleveland. It took me over 15 minutes to get off the highway and drive the 1 mile to the Compusa. 3 minutes in the store, and then another 15 to get back on the highway.

Still, I got what I needed...but then it was rush home to dinner, rush to the Rec center to swim and take Michael to play basketball.

Then I rushed (although it was fun and worth it) to meet Mike H. for a beer (or 3) and watch Monday Night Football.

Tonight I have a theatre marketing meeting. Rush rush again.


I saw a vanity license plate over the weekend, and I had to think about what it meant.


Finally, it clicked....the driver was an Educator.

Apparently one with a misplaced (if not overtly lousy) sense of spelling.

Maybe (probably) they were simply being ironic, choosing a phonetic plate. Either way, though, it looked objectively dumb.

Lights and Tunnels

Yesterday was pretty depressed. Well, "yesterday" itself was probably lark-happy, but yesterday I was depressed.

I know, I know. It's only sports. It's not life, or (in the case of Cleveland sports) even very commonly entertaining....but The Indians lost, they're out of the playoffs, and it makes me sad. The thing is, opportunities like this come along so very rarely, especially in the insane, out-of-control, major-market loving world of Major League Baseball.

We had the opportunity -- we were playing out of our heads, we had the momentum, and the lead, and no reason whatsoever to miss the playoffs. In fact, the most exciting thing was slicing the lead that Chicago had, and making a legitimate run to win the division (and hold the best record in the A.L.).

But no. Never. This is Cleveland. More importantly, this is Cleveland in my lifetime. Which means no one is ever going to ever win, ever.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I pushed myself to get a bunch of things done around the house this weekend (before the long winter sinks its fangs into the calendar). Worked out pretty good.

I had hoped to have the deck done by the end of Sunday, but I finished it on Saturday. My back was a massive knot of tight muscle, but the job was done.

Sunday, I planted grass in the the triangle next to the drive; bought (and laid out) bricks for the rest of the driveway (and for a nice, attractive path to the mailbox). I mowed, and pulled rocks out of the yard, and generally accomplished a lot.

The major tasks remaining before winter are simply to second-coat the deck; clean the garage (yeah, that's not done yet); and lay the bricks (and, of course, take care of the leaves when they fall). That's not too too daunting a list.