Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Political Graveyard, a mishmash of trivia and factoids about politicians. Did you know there were 17 politicians who were former slaves? And six who were in space? Fucking hell.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The problem: You're broke, but you want the bar experience. Substandard food, reprobates for company, a cold bottle in the hand.

The situation: Ten beers in the fridge and a barely-functional boom box.

The solution: Wuss rock marathon in the kitchen.

The result: Splitting hangover Sunday morning after drinking until 4:30 a.m. Tso passed out in the next room until noon. No energy to grade. No motivation to read the paper. No strength to do anything but stare at the television and reminisce about listening to Steel Dragon on a tape deck.

Outstanding. Nothing I want to make a habit of, but there's one for the memoirs, by far.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My curtain call

Acting on a Sunday is tough. For one thing, there's work that needs to be done. For another, I don't like being in a public school on a Sunday. It's supposed to be either a day of rest, a day of catchup, or, in my case, a day of resting-while-you're-supposed-to-be-catching-up, all complete with a healthy dose of light reading, Sunday newspapers and Bloody Marys.

Instead, I shuffled through my lines, delivered in a deathless monotone to a three-quarters-full auditorium. No euphoric rush at the end of the evening since the lesson plans I was supposed to do were buried in a rush to meet my cue of "I wish an Army guy would come and tell us what to do."

Of course, tomorrow morning, I'm going to wake up realizing that, after the final bell rings, I have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do but schoolwork.

Enough. 'Twas a nice career while I had it, but I think I'm going to hang up my musical career for another decade or so.

Today's newspaper ire: students bribed to go to school. It had to happen. Teachers get pay raises in certain districts when standardized test scores go up (can you say grade inflation?); administrators write themselves checks against inflated budgets. Now, little Jimmy has a car or a Nintendo to work for instead of an education.

I need to become a politician and protest this kind of thing.

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Big Opening

Been fighting a cold for days now, and wouldn't you know it, I woke up Thursday morning with my head swimming and unable to speak.

Oh no. No, no no. I did not forego sleep and lesson planning all week just to crap out now. About thirty hours to go before the show, and I needed my finely-tuned baritone in tiptop shape. So I called in sick (it probably would have gone smoother if they'd been able to make out a word I was croaking on the sub hotline), hit the couch and slammed lemon teas like they were Harvey Wallbangers. By noon, I was asleep. By three, I was rasping, rather than croaking. By five, I was nervous about expending energy grading, so I watched more TV and rested.

By Friday morning, I felt more or less functional. But by the end of the day, I was back to square one.

I went to talk to the Director about four hours before showtime, croaked out "Once more into the breach, dear friends," and waited expectantly.

She looked at me nonplused. "So what. Go get your uniform on and quit whining."

"But it hurts to talk," I grumbled. "I need to sound tough, not terminal."

"Then we'll mike you."

This didn't exactly sit well with me. Being microphoned would mean I'd have to engage in some crazy game of musical chairs with a microphone with as many as four other people. All for the express purpose of making my asthmatic wheeze audible to the cheap seats as I rumble, "Hey everyone, get down the road and get to work." Somehow, it didn't seem worth it.

The director shifted her clipboard and looked around the theater, where about a zillion things were going wrong. "Figure something out, will you? Because it's almost curtain call, and I'm damned if I'm going to recast you just so you can slink back home and watch the forty straight hours of South Park you taped while you were at work."

Dammit. She's psychic.

Fortunately, a special ed teacher kept me plied with cough drops while another one added DayQuil to my can of mushroom soup. It didn't fill my head with any extra energy, and it didn't improve my acting skills any, but somehow, when I wasn't whispering hoarsely off stage, I was bellowing on.

It worked out pretty well, I must say. I might have a future as Second Fiddle in Two-Bit productions. Though my stage time was minimal, I managed to insert some character into my entrances, exits, and barked orders. Afterwards, I got some quick side reviews from some colleagues, students and former students:
"Man, what a stick up your ass when you march. Is that that back problem you've been yapping about?"

"Were you supposed to have your fly unzipped up there?"

"Hey, we tried to cue you the line you forgot, but you ignored us. Just for the record, you don't pronounce 'eschelon' like an Arabian curse."

"Who did you play again? Daisy Mae?"
I jest, of course. It was fun. In retrospect, I'd probably do it again, even though I have to haul my ass out there again on Sunday afternoon and whip through it all over again. That's if my voice at least retains its present quality. I went straight home after the reception and downed another pot of tea in an effort to heal myself, which is why I'm not currently out getting blitzed with my co-stars.

Anyway, one down, one to go. Hold the applause.