Sunday, October 31, 2004

Three Days Left

I guess we ought to get in all the campaigning we can before we potentially have to load up the truck and move to Canada. Maybe Mexico would be better than Canada. I think my money would go farther in Mexico, open up a little shop, work in the parking lot. "Subino, build this." Could be nice.

Today I checked my messages and it turned out that Spike Lee had called, again. I guess since he had to leave a message the first time he thought he ought to give it another try. That makes two Spike Lees, a Bill Clinton, and a P. Diddy - oh and Marisa got another P. Diddy on her cell. Would it surprise anyone to find out that this type of direct telemarketing is exempt from the "do not call" list? I don't remember if that is true or not, but I wouldn't be even the least bit surprised.

I tell you one thing though, I would vote for George W. Bush if he would make it illegal to have a machine call you on the phone.

This had never happened to me until I lived in Las Vegas. That was the first time I started getting calls from recordings. It occurred to me then that the best way to make sure I absolutely would not buy your product or vote for your candidate was to have your machine call me. Which ought to suggest to you just how much I want Bush to lose, because even after all these annoying phone calls I am still going to vote Democratic.

Everyone ought to be clear on this point though: telephone calls are not a broadcast media. Someone actually has to answer the phone. Maybe they are in the shower or on the toilet or something or fumbling with their keys outside the door, or driving down the street. What with placards, bumper stickers, billboards, print, radio, TV, email, and people actually knocking on the door you would think that the marketers in this world could give the phones a rest.

Oh yeah, as long as I'm doing election stuff...

Hey "W" put on a tie already. You're the president of the United States. I'm certainly not going to worry about wearing jeans to teach class if this is the standard being set by the head of our government - and I shouldn't wear jeans. So clean up some, we all know you're a businessman - might as well dress the part. You're not fooling anyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Katy gets crafty

I got a homemade birthday gift from one of my students:

Its a foam star with Melissa marble pushpins on one side and Marisa marble magnets on the back. I think its cool.

Thanks Katy.

Reader survey

Although Peg gave her unqualified "go David go," it sounds like quite a few readers may think that political posts on this page are "more boring than the normal boring posts."

Now, part of the whole blog thing, I think, is that I can just put whatever I want here. But there is a part of me that does want to give the people what they want. So what do you really think?

Best wishes

and a speedy convalescence to Peg's dad. My thoughts are with you.

More homeowner issues

What happens if you don't rake up the leaves? This was something that never really concerned me in the apartment. Today the procrastination was finally overcome and I got out and got going on the lawn. First off I have to appreciate the size of the lot I grew up on. Today only took me about 90 minutes to do 2/3 of the property. Back in HP, 90 minutes might have been long enough to do maybe 1/6, if that.

I got to talk to our talkative neighbor, Patricia. She had lots of good information for me: no, it's illegal to burn leaves in Forest Hills, yes, they pick up yard waste on 11/1, no, you don't need special bags for leaves but most people just blow their leaves across the ditch in the back anyway.

Tomorrow I may have to go buy a leaf blower.

I think the woman that lives on the other side was checking me out the whole time I was working. I wonder what that was about.

Anyway, 90 minutes later the front and the upper level of the back were clear. I wasn't able to do much with the driveway. Made me really wonder what we're going to do with snow, but that's an angst for another day. Today I need to determine if its worth it to clear the bottom level. This brings me back to the original question: What happens if you just leave the leaves? And if the answer is just that they're there in the spring - I'll take it. I wonder where this is in my homeowner manual.

I'm sure it will wait. Now we have to go get candy together.

I had a dream

a dream about you: Baby.

(I swear, musical theatre has ruined quite a few English phrases for me. Every time I hear someone say "Don't push me" I hear a little dada-dat orchestra sting in my head.)

This morning I had a lovely dream. It was something about being fired from my job because I didn't like Martha Stuart. I was at the track (?) with some unknown friend - I think I may have been in the movie "Let it ride." We'd just moved from our crappy seats into some really nice box seats when my cell rings, except its not my current cell, its my old cell (this I believe has something to do with Marisa dropping her cell into the Allegheny) and the person on the other end says I really ought to get back to work because I am in real trouble. So we leave the races and I go to work, and I am in my bosses office when someone shows me what is supposed to be my cell, and on the screen it says "Martha Sucks." At this time I am informed that I will have to leave my job because Ms. Stuart simply won't stand for that sort of thing.

The phone they are showing me is this impossibly small thing that I have never seen before. So I tell them that its not my phone, that they should call me and they would see that it wouldn't ring, which they do, and it doesn't. Well, actually it does, but its my regular cell and its in my pocket. Then we pull the battery off the tiny phone and call the company to find out who the real Martha hater is - at which time I am restored to my job.

Too bizarre.

Sometimes sleeping through the day can be more entertaining than being awake. I just wish I could have that kind of sleep at night. I never seem to remember these bizarre things except when I am dozing during the day. Something to work on anyway.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Look in his eyes, its all lies


Not really sure what to say. I hope the anger here does manifest in votes and that its not needed after the 2nd.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bush stuff

I've had this scrap of paper in my bag for like two weeks now. Its a list of things I think people ought to be talking about with regard to the election but just aren't. I realize that the public is more easily energized about current events, but I think that this race ought not to be about flu shots or an Iraqi ammo dump when there are much more significant issues.

Truth be told, in the interim I have heard some of these cracking through. I would be nice if the level of discourse were such that we heard more about this type of thing, but it isn't, and we don't. So if I were a news director (well, more than news director of "There are no bad ideas") here's what we'd be talking about:

1. "Enemy Combatant"
Jeez I wish someone would have asked a question about this at even one of the debates. What on Earth is an "enemy combatant?" I understand POWs, and I understand criminals, and on some level I even understand detainees, but "enemy combatant" as used by this administration really just seems like a way to work in secret and is, to me, a national embarrassment.

2. Civil Rights
Although it comes up from time to time in rhetoric, we haven't heard any real concrete and specific ramifications of the Patriot act. Kerry has said that there are people that want to change it, but he hasn't really said what. I really believe that if given specific examples of the kinds of things that are currently legal under the legislation that there would be an undeniable chilling effect on the election.

3. Labor Bashing
This administration is heir to a lineage that goes back to Reagan and PATCO. I just recently got myself an IATSE Local 1A for Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker. The Bush administration has consistently ridiculed and maneuvered against organized labor, as well as simply slanting workplace rules in favor of employers and against labor - regardless of unions or not. This is the administration that hat sat on minimum wage and that tried to strike down overtime for huge groups or American workers. In general if you are a regular working person, George Bush does not have your best interest in mind.

4. Military Subcontracting
Like no time before in our country's history the Bush administration has structured normal military operations to depend on independent contractors. We have hired an inordinate number of independent security experts (read "mercenary") to undertake military operations overseas. This is bad for so many reasons. One that you hear is that these people are not accountable to chain of command in a normal way - leading to abuses like we saw in the Iraqi and Afghan prisons. An issue that you don't hear much is that if this kind of contract labor is available there is no real incentive for highly skilled, experienced military officers to stay in government service. It actually makes it to their advantage to retire and then take work as a contractor, sapping one of the real strengths of our armed forces. The Bush administration has also awarded millions of dollars in contracts to independent commercial, profit making, companies to provide support roles that have traditionally been provided in house. This creates a profit motive to keep us at war.

5. Corporate Cushiness
What happened to the pre-9/11 corporate scandals and prosecutions? Right under the rug. This administration is way way way too friendly with business. They fostered an environment of win at all costs and then really never followed through with the disgust they portrayed in the media. At the same time they have cut the tax liability of the corporations and their officers, and had officers of corporations write the legislation for their own governance. Just dirty. Did anybody see the Frontline on international lease agreements? This is when US corporations lease subway cars from cities in other countries so that they can deduct the depreciation against their American taxes. Disgusting. Legal, and unchallenged under the Bush administration.

6. Fear Mongering
I'm tired of being told to be afraid and how the world is different since 9/11. The world was exactly the same prior to 9/11, this administration (and many Americans) were simply blissfully unaware. But just like the law, ignorance of a condition isn't an excuse. The world will be just as scary with a republican or democratic administration, to insist otherwise is simply fearmongering. What's worse, religious supporters of Bush have actually been telling their congregations that they will go to hell if they vote for Kerry. That's clearly not the politics of optimism and inclusion.

7. Disingenuous-ness
I have never felt as much like I am getting a sales job than I have from Bush. The whole run up to Iraq felt like a pitch for a series. This group is consistently trying to name things such that people won't pay attention: "Clear Skies Initiative" one of the weakest environmental policies in history. "No child left behind" for a program that actually closes schools rather than fixing them. Its like those right to life groups that pick names that sound pro-choice. What happened to people supporting you because you had the better ideas, not the better sales job.

8. Health Care
We keep arguing about legal reform when what we need is insurance reform. But lawyers are not a deep pocket corporate interest like insurance is. The problem with health care isn't the law, its the money - the profit motive. Some industries, health care and insurance being two, aren't really a good match with making money. Its like my lifetime suspicion of toothpaste makers, its ultimately in their best financial interest to sell you a product that doesn't work. If you are a company that exists to make money that treats people or makes drugs or settles insurance claims, it is quite probably in your best interest to do a bad job, keeps you customers paying more. These are the people this administration values. Why would they do anything that takes money out of their pockets. We need to move the discussion from prescription drugs and doctors to corporations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and insurance providers.

So that's my rant. Please please take this conversation to anyone you know even leaning toward George W. Bush (yes, that's you Mark). Please please find your polling place, bring redundant ID, and go early.

If you can take more of this, today or another day, these people do a better job than me:

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Another year older and deeper in debt

So my birthday came and went. I am now closer to 40 than to 30. That makes me sound so old. I can remember thinking when people who were in their 30's seemed ancient. Most of the people I work with, the ones that were here when I was a student, they seemed so young then. They must have been as old as I am now. The thing is, I still see them as they were when I was here. I wonder why that is. Part of me still sees myself as I was when I was a student here. I wonder if that's a good thing, a bad thing, or a thing.

This isn't a complaint, but it wasn't a banner year for gifts or celebrations. I did get a lot of good wishes from people around school. That was nice. My parents, as is a family tradition of sorts, went bananas with birthday cards, sending like six cards on six days. The Vegas trip sorta whacked things off balance. Still, I've never been much of a party guy on these occasions.

For like the last 8 years each year has been another year older and LESS deep in debt. This year, for the first time in a long time - with the help of the home purchase - it is the classic another year older and deeper in debt. It always sounded like that was a depressing thing, but being in the position it seems to me to be a positive thing. My dad always said that you look at debt different when you buy a house. That up until that time its a bad thing, but after you buy a house that somehow it switches around to being a good thing. At least for the moment I think I agree with him. Being another year older and deeper in debt doesn't feel all that bad.

Mid-Fall Honor Roll

I figured I would use this space to run my own personal honor roll for my classes. So, as of Mid-semester, fall of 2004, here is the David Honor Roll:

Sylvia Fellin
Taylor Harris
Jennifer Henn
Adam Koch
Ian Schwartz

Congratulations. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

How would I know that?

There seems to be some question as to just how I would know that you can have live nude dancers direct to your room in 15 minutes or less. It goes like this. While you walk down the strip people try to hand you little flyers for their dancers. It must be effective, because they've been doing it for quite some time. When I lived in Las Vegas the city actually went to go to court to try to ban the practice where there were likely to be tourists. They lost.

Anyway, April's man Josh apparently has one of the flyers on a bulletin board claiming to provide a dancer within 20 minutes. Josh apparently thinks its cool that someone would promise anything in so little time. So this visit to Vegas we had to take a flyer from every person trying to get one better than 20 minutes. And so, viola:

This of course precipitated the following conversation:

BrownEyedLady89: do the live, naked dancers that arrive in 15 minutes to your hotel room bring pizza too?
BrownEyedLady89: or does the pizza still take 30 minutes in Vegas?
DBoevers: I asked that same question
DBoevers: its still a mystery
BrownEyedLady89: so you didn't call to find out?
BrownEyedLady89: "hi, I'd like a Caucasian brunette with big boobs, a large cheese pizza and a small supreme thin crust"
BrownEyedLady89: "sir, we can get the girl in 10, but the pizza will be an extra 20 minutes after she arrives"
BrownEyedLady89: "uh... Can't the girl just bring the pizza?"
BrownEyedLady89: "no sir. We only guarantee the girls in 15 minutes, the pizza actually has to be cooked"

Just another fabulous thing about Las Vegas.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A random Vegas sampling

My totally pimped out room at Bally's:

The view out the window of the 25th floor:

Something new from the folks at Gala (have to show I went to the convention afterall):

Dave and Monica's new Xmas Card:


I'm back in Pittsburgh... I believe American air travel is unraveling... Is it too late to talk about Peg's Yankees??? I saw a street in Vegas named "Palmyra"... No matter where they are, my friends are busy people... The Disco Elvis offense is packed in too tight... People are not talking about substantive election issues... People in Nevada are real curious about how people in PA are going to vote... Are fundamentalist Christians as bad as fundamentalist Moslems??? Thanks to Kelly, Amy, Michael, April, April, Frank, Eric, Dave, Monica, Alex, Sue, and Fritz, and to Tracy for trying... You can get live, nude dancers straight to your room in less than 15 minutes... You can't use a cell phone in a sports book, I'm not sure why... When making a breakfast date, you should be sure the restaurant didn't close 10 months ago... My shoes are shot... We should be teaching Vectorworks, although I'm not sure when, how, or where... The school did not grind to a halt without me... Vegas can't get their monorail going... The Wynn casino looks cool... Internet costs $15/half hour in Vegas casinos... The Gala people actually had something new this year... Cirque appears to be in a major hiring phase... I can teach class without sleeping the night before, from someone else's outline, and still sound coherent... Liz said she wanted it to be harder to get an A... Cell phones still aren't quite right for reading email... I am now part of the ETSA Tech Ed Publications and Assessment committee... You have to bet money to win money... 8 days equals 227 emails not counting spam... I went more than a week without blogging or email or cable.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I'm outahere

Off to Vegas for a week of meetings and classes, and hopefully for some friends and frisbee. Don't know if there will be blog update opportunities available, so we may be going on hiatus here for a week. Guess you'll just have to tune in to see.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Unhappy With Election Coverage?

Then check this out:

That'd be John Stewart on "Crossfire" taking the hosts to task on the absolute uselessness of their "debate" show. My favorite part is when the hosts start to complain about content on "The Daily Show", Stewart reminds them that the show before his is puppets making phony phone calls.

If you have cable, you should watch "The Daily Show." They've got some of the best criticism you're going to see on TV these days. Every now and then they go really far afield, but for the most part they really hit the nail on the head.

I'm really very encouraged as far as this year's election by the fact that the book "America (the book)" has been the number one best seller. Now we just have to hope that everyone that bought a book remembers to vote.

By the way, Stewart is dead on target in his critique during his appearance. I'm uncertain he will be asked back.

It's beginning to look a lot

like Christmas?!?

I've talked about this earlier (see: but I feel compelled to mention it yet again. Marisa and I went to the pharmacy the other day to get stuff for her mangled shoulder. I was all set to try to convince her that it would really be in the spirit of our neighborhood to get a skeleton or a spooky scarecrow to put out front in a lawn chair for Halloween. This particular store had lots of great stuff I had seen earlier.

So we go in, and I have my argument all ready, and low and behold what is the first item we see walking in the door? A six foot illuminated candy cane Christmas tree.


Someone must need a review of the rules. After the fourth of July retailers must make due with "back to school" as a sales concept. After that they get Labor Day sales and then Columbus Day sales. Halloween merchandise may not be shown until after Columbus day - and it should stay on display until Halloween (doesn't seem too complicated). After Halloween, like it or not, the theme has to be harvest or Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations MUST stay in the basement until at least Thanksgiving. Those are the rules. Nobody needs more than two and a half months to prepare for Christmas, ok MAYBE the Macy's parade people, but aside from them everyone should just relax.


I swear, if the people on my street take down their Halloween decoration and put up Christmas decorations (they're really into decorations, one of them had a 6' Easter bunny when we were looking) in the same weekend, I might run for office on the "Its not time for that yet" ticket.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Budgeting Phase

So work on the ACME Fiance Trap continues. I sat down with the drawing today and did a little estimating:

Being that I will be out of town next week (there may be an entire week without updates - gasp!) I figured if I am going to get this done I will have to job it out. I ran the project through an old spreadsheet and came up with a price just South of $7100. I'm not sure I have that kind of money to spend on this project. Even if I was able to get the inside rate, it would still be more than $5000. So I'm not sure its going to happen.

Plus, after reviewing the idea with my project manager hat on I've discovered a couple of significant problems. The first problem is that there is no food, and no "facilities" in the laundry room. So if the trap activated while I was not home, Marisa could get real hungry, or have to make an embarrassing mess. The second problem, and this could be more fundamental, the trap will place a steel gate between us with me on the wrong side and being that she has been locked in the laundry room she may not want to see me when I get there.

I think I am going to have to rethink the whole plan from the beginning.

From the people at ACME:

Friday, October 15, 2004


Has anyone out there seen my fiance?

I know she's still around somewhere. Its clear her side of the bed has been used. But when I go to work in the morning she isn't there, and when I come home from work she isn't here. When I go to bed there appears to be something under the covers, and there is definitely someone using the shower before me in the morning. Someone is eating the Hot Pockets and taking cans of soda. So I think there is compelling evidence of her presence even though I cannot testify to it myself.

I think this is all the fault of my boss and a former student. My boss is a producer of The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, and a former student under the guise of Cope, Inc. is doing all the tech. Said student hired Marisa to be lighting supervisor. Like two weeks ago she told me that and I haven't seen her since.

Maybe I should set some kind of trap. Maybe something just inside the garage door with a spring loaded gate? Maybe, but Alan says if you're doing it with springs you're doing it wrong. What would be good fiance bait? Perhaps a stack of "The Knot Pittsburgh" magazine? Maybe I shouldn't be thinking fiance bait but just Marisa bait. Something like a life size picture of April. Oh, Oh, I've got it: April holding a copy of "Brides" magazine. That would work. I could rig it like the tiger trap in "The Ghost and the Darkness." She would come in the door from the garage see the picture, walk up to it to investigate and then the door would slam shut behind her. That won't work though. Too many doors from the basement. I need a room with a single egress. Maybe the laundry room. I'll have to think about this some more, maybe do some drawings, make a prototype or something.

If anyone does see Marisa, could you please let her know that she is being missed at home?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Have you heard the one about...

The girl that tried to catch a piece of pipe end on with her shoulder? Its really good, but its kind of a long story. Here's how it ends:


Still, think of the benefits. No more wondering if that's 1.5" or 1.25" schedule 40 pipe - not with this handy guide right here on your back. Although it is a little hard to see.

We met a very nice doctor, who curiously knew the entire CMU Drama musical theatre staff, and there was a physician's assistant in training who Marisa thought had very nice shoes. In the end all was well and Marisa could even smile a little.

Now off to get the BIG ibuprofin.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

You asked for it

"gosh. i would like to see pictures of this home you ostensibly own.
# posted by Anonymous : 9:03 PM"

We aim to please.

More Animal Tools

Last night I kept waking up like every 10 minutes with another animal tool. Then today for extra credit on an exam I gave one point for each animal tool they came up with. Plus I got a few via the comment route. So today's animal tool update:

Bridge Crane
Bull Sander
Carpenter Square
Chain Lynx
Dovetail Jig
Gnumatic Piston
Jay Bar
Lambinate Trimmer
Llamanate Roller
Pig Iron
Polemur Plastic
Rabbit Plane
Ratchet Straps
Right Angull Drill
Sharpening Stone
Spider Wire
Wolf Lathe
Wood Chuck

I really hope this wraps it up, at least as far as my contribution. I really need the sleep. I am particularly proud of "Sharpening Stone" and the visual that goes along with "Polemur Plastic" would be fun: a down on his luck lemur having a credit card rejected. Too much fun.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Blog goes wide

So its been 57 entries so far and it looks like I will keep going. Today I told a bunch more people the address. Maybe now three or four people will read what I am writing here. To anyone here for the first time, welcome. Enjoy, be sure to leave comments.

Animal Tools

For the theatre technology book that will likely never be written, a list of tools, hardware, & equipment that could be accompanied by humorous illustrations:

Bull Winch
Butterfly Knife
Cable Mule
Dog, Knife & Receiver
Duck Bill Shears
Ewe Bolt
Fish Tape
Fluke Meter
Marlin Spike
Mole Fan
Monkey Wrench
Pipe Snake
Rattail File
Salamander Heater
Saw Horse
Scenic Turtle
Tiger Saw
Valve Seal
Whole Hog
Worm Drive Saw

Can you think of any others?

Monday, October 11, 2004


I have to admit that for quite some time I had been quietly hoping to see Christopher Reeve walk again.

One of my favorite movie memories was going to see Superman 2 with my dad in Estes, Colorado in the middle of a cross country trip on July 4 when I was 12 years old. I can still hear my dad in my head saying "Not God, Zod!" It cracked him up. (ok, it might have been July 3rd, and it might not have been Estes, it was 24 years ago.)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I can't believe I ripped the whole thing

So the new computer, like most new computers, has prolific hard drive space. Now after something like two months, with a complete disregard for disk volume, I have finished ripping every CD I own. All in all it currently amounts to roughly 14 gig of storage for 3465 tracks. Figuring a conservative 4 minutes for each track on average that yields a little over nine and one half days of uninterrupted music.

Another, more depressing way to look at it would be an average 10 tracks per album for 347 albums at an average of $14 each or mortgage payments for six months - roughly. Reminds me of the time of Sex in the City when Miranda explained to Carrie about down payments and shoes. Well, its not that bad, I know for a fact it's less than 210 albums. Still, makes it easy to understand why teenagers are such fans of Napster and Gnutella.

In my user profile here I list my favorite music as:

Melissa Etheridge, Genesis, Chicago, Indigo Girls, Patti Griffin, Lonestar, & Sheryl Crow

Musicmatch says that the seven top artists in my library are:

Genesis, Melissa Etheridge, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits, Indigo Girls, & Pink Floyd

So I guess I might not be the best auto-biographer. You have to count down 29 acts before you have all seven of the ones I initially list above. Do we learn anything from this? Well, one undeniable fact is that Lonestar's songs are all real short. Another might be that I have passed the CD buying prime of my life, which by the distribution of acts must have been around half way through undergrad. It also seems like Chicago might really suffer from being an early favorite as the largest number of their recordings I own are somewhere in my parents house on cassette - or even (gasp) on vinyl. Am I really that old?

What else? Dollar for dollar the best album value is absolutely "What is Hip" by Tower of Power, a double album clocking in at over 150 minutes. Ironically I believe I bought that album for the title track alone. Another undeniable conclusion is that although we moved into the house in July, I must not be finished unpacking as there are a few titles conspicuous in their absence.

Now of course I have caught myself looking at mp3 players. The other day in Bestbuy I gave a hard look at this Linksys 802.11b Wireless Music System which gives you wireless access to audio files around the house, either with its speakers or as an auxiliary component in a traditional system. Might be a good way to hear Air America outside of my office too. The IT guy at work is trying to convince me that rather than have all these files on either my computer at home or at work that I should just buy an iPod and bring them with me wherever. I wonder if Mitch gets a company discount.

Understand, an iPod is the very end of my list, and I'm not someone that spends their time burning CDs or composing custom playlists, still it's kinda fun to have all the tunes at my fingertips at one time. Now where did I leave that "Rites of Passage" CD? Must be in one of these boxes.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


It seems to me that I would never have thought I would be writing this many recommendation letters. Every year I wind up writing letters for Preekies applying to college, undergrads applying to grad school, graduates for their portfolio files, colleagues for RTP, and all kinds of people for awards. There really does seem to be a whole different scale for measuring this type of language. Thank goodness for the thesaurus, otherwise I would certainly run out of superlatives and lapse out of "recommendation letter speak" into normal English.

Would you give your award to this person?

It is my privilege and great pleasure to nominate Joe PM for the 2005 KM Fabrics Inc. Technical Production Award. Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to observe Joe PM as a student, and employee, and as a working professional. I can think of no individual better suited to receive this award.

Joe PM has been an excellent student. From his first day at CMU he has been laser focused on becoming a complete Production Management professional. Joe PM is particularly talented at recognizing the resources he needs and then working diligently to access and assimilate those skills and information. He has undertaken an impressive range of coursework, not shying away from any management or technical content regardless of complexity or production discipline, performing with distinction in classes from Physics of Stage Machinery to Costume Shop Management (the latter being a course he had us create for him). It has been extremely gratifying to watch him absorb, apply, and synthesize the content of his education. I have not had any other student who has made better use of their time in our program.

Joe PM is an outstanding and professional Production Manager. He has an excellent grasp of personnel, schedule, and resource issues. He respects the contributions of his team and sees himself as an artistic collaborator as well as a manager. His communication skills are superb and are flexible to best fit the people and situations involved. I've observed him in action on projects from small theatre through large concert and festival events. On projects of all kinds of scope Joe PM creates intelligent plans, manages smoothly, makes solid decisions on the fly, treats his people well and is able to motivate them to perform at their best. He is a tremendous asset to any production in which he participates.

I have watched Joe PM grow from a student assistant to an integral part of our departmental production operations. This past year on my recommendation the School of Drama contracted Joe PM as our Assistant Production Manager on top of his regular responsibilities as a graduate student for this season. Truth be told, I've recommended trying to tie him up for as long as possible under the kind of draft day logic that when you have the chance you take the best player available, and that this was that type of opportunity. I feel the same way about this award. You could not find a person more worthy of this recognition.

Cross your fingers!

We came, We saw, It sank

Last night was the kickoff of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts (PIFOF)

The festival is running concomitant to the Carnegie International

The Carnegie International is this festival run by the art museum every couple of years to bring the newest most cutting edge visual art to Pittsburgh. It was started ages ago. Andrew Carnegie thought it was easier to bring the world to Pittsburgh then it was for Pittsburghers to get out and see the world. PIFOF is being presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Carnegie Mellon Drama and is supposed to apply the same theory to theatre arts. My boss put together the festival and booked several cutting edge mostly visual (read non-text) companies.

The lead off event was Theatre Titanick

Their show "Titanic" is about the building and subsequent sinking of the liner. Last spring my Tech Design class spent a significant amount of time doing some preliminary work on the show before the festival had any technical staff. The show is hard to describe, but there is live music, a lot of huge props/apparatus, fire & pyro, and something like 8000 gallons of water. This time to make it more interesting they performed the show on a barge in the Allegheny river moored just off of Heinz field. Most of the local tech and management was provided by former students.

I guess because my class had done the advance work I was invited to see the show as a guest of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. While the regular audience of the show watched from a grassy berm by the stadium, Trust guests got to watch from a Gateway Clipper boat on the river. It was kind of fun, lots of people kinda dressed up for the opening (I don't think anyone really knew what was appropriate), and there was an open bar. If you wanted to you could stand on the top deck or one of the walkways below, or there was seating inside the boat, which included heat. At first the boat parked itself kinda far away from the show and it was hard to see and hear, but over the course of the show the captain managed to sneak us in closer and I think by the end we really did have the best seats in the house, but for a while it was a little disappointing. There were a lot of chatty people on the boat finding the show hard to follow. That was unfortunate too, but I bet that was true where ever you watched from. A couple of those people spent quite a bit of time arguing if the water was deep enough for them to actually sink the boat. I believe they may have been disappointed by the application of theatrical illusion.

I think the most fun moment for me was when our boat was pulling up and we saw that there really was a respectable audience. Since this is a free event, and the first event, there was no way to know whether anyone would show up. Because the weather has been turning colder and the material is a little avant-garde for Pittsburgh everyone with the festival had just crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. The weather last night was fine, and as we pulled up you could hear little cheers of "they came, they came." That was fun.

Anyway, good show, fire, water, and pyro by Zambelli - and its free. More shows tonight and tomorrow. If you're in Pittsburgh you should check it out.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

VP Debate

I guess I should say something about the Vice Presidential Debate. I have to tell you, I've actually gotten to the point where I can listen to the President, but the Vice President, I just want to reach through the screen and smack him.

So, the VP Debate, I fell asleep.

I did watch The Daily Show coverage though and they had some lovely Dick Cheney moments. First, Cheney asserted that as President of the Senate for the last four years that for some reason he hadn't met John Edwards until the debate. Which Stewart followed with a photo of Cheney sitting next to Edwards on a panel several years ago. Do you think Cheney just forgot? Which would be worse, forgetting or lying outright? I think lying outright is worse because that means he thinks we are so stupid that we wouldn't remember - or even check. I also think that's what it was.

Speaking of checking, later in the debate the Vice President in an effort to deflect charges about Halliburton suggested that viewers log onto the the net and check out as they had the true story. The headline on that site is:

"President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests, and undermining American values."

Since redirects one to a site run by George Soros I think its more likely that Mr. Cheney meant to have people look at although I'm uncertain that was a good idea anyway as the lead the following day on that site was:

"Cheney got our domain name wrong -- calling us "" -- and wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton.
In fact, we did post an
article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right."

Maybe the VP should just lay off the hip internet references. Although it may explain something. I mean someone that mistakes ".org" for ".com" could easily mistake "Iran" for "Iraq."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Where to begin

At the end of the Sunny Randall post I suggested that one might want to read 40 Spenser books before reading the most recent Parker offering. After some thought it seems like that wasn't a good suggestion. So, first up, a link of the day:

That's a complete Parker rundown, with all the titles for all the characters. There's good information there too. I just learned that the spark for the Sunny Randall character was Helen Hunt calling Parker and asking him to write a character for her. I wonder why the movie never happened.

So back to the 40 Spenser books. The first book is from way back when and is called "The Godwulf Manuscript." The only thing I can recall about it is that I have read it. Realizing that I thought back to why I became interested in the character to begin with and remembered that it had more to do with Robert Urich than Robert Parker. Urich and Avery Brooks stared in "Spenser for Hire" on ABC when I was in high school. They even spun off Brooks onto his own short lived show "A Man Called Hawk" but it didn't last. The roots of my interest are more from the television show than from the early books I read, and to this day the actors and design choices from the show color what I see in my head when I read the books.

So, for someone just starting the series, I don't think I would begin at the beginning. I think actually that it might be better to start at the beginning of the Sunny Randall books (there are now four). That way you could get the feel for the style and not feel like you're missing all the backstory. The first Sunny book is "Family Honor."

Of the Spenser books, my all time favorite is "A Catskill Eagle." The book puts Susan in danger and shows what Spenser is willing to do to save her. I can still remember specific scenes out of that story and I must have read it over ten years ago. It's not a good first read though, as you want to have an appreciation of Spenser's relationships with Susan and with Hawk before you dive into this story.

The other titles, looking at them I can often remember stories, but not which story goes with which book. "Potshot" is good, but not a good first read as it's a consolidation of all the tough guys from all the other books. I liked "Hugger Mugger" and "Small Vices." "Walking Shadow" is fun because the story centers around a theatre company. Those are all later titles, earlier ones I think I would look at "Mortal Stakes", "Promised Land", "Looking for Rachel Walace", and "Early Autumn."

But really I love them all, and all three characters, and even the Wyatt Earp book "Gunman's Rhapsody." I haven't read the baseball book yet ("Double Play") but I'm sure its good too. In most cases its not the plot that makes the books good, its the details. Its in the personal code that all of his characters define their lives by, and its in the conversations between friends and the internal monologues the character's run while alone. It's in Boston, which is like another character in all the books, and the other people in the background: the friends, the cops, and the crooks. Along with that its in the clothes and the cooking, and the food and the drinks, and the bars and the gym, and in Pearl the wonder dog, the other Pearl the wonder dog, and Rosie Randall.

Just great stuff, all of it.


I think that it is very interesting that the spell checker built into the Blogger app does not think "blog", "blogger", or "bloggers" are words. That would seem like an oversite.

Blogger says...

The Blogger dashboard page has suggestions about how to make your blog more interesting. Recently it said that you should post asking readers what they would like to see in your blog, or more specifically:

"I started trying to track down the origins of this idea but then I realized that my sweater was completely unraveled. Still, a bunch of bloggers with cameras are having fun with it so here goes: Ask your readers to think of three photos they'd like to see posted to your blog. (Things around your house or whatever.) When you have enough requests, post them! See: How to post pictures for help. Have fun!"

So ok, I'm game. The editorial management of "There are no bad ideas" is officially soliciting suggestions for content. Let me have it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Melancholy Baby

A Sunny Randall Novel

Last night, far too late last night, I read the new Robert Parker book cover to cover. I can't remember what book was the first one I ever read like that, in one sitting but I think that if I had been encouraged to do that more that I might have read more.

This one is as good as any of the other Sunny Randall books, although for a few pages I thought I had read it before. Somehow Sunny seems to wind up with the client living in her loft fairly often. I admit to being predisposed to liking these stories. If the count I saw today is accurate I've read something like 40 Spenser, Jesse Stone, & Sunny Randall books all together.

I was a little bit disturbed with the way the book started. Sonny's ex Ritchie has just remarried. Parker had worked some parallel constructions for the main characters and their relationships. Spenser and Susan, Jesse and his ex-wife (Jenn I think), and Sonny and Ritchie, all of them bound together and yet unable to be together for some unexplained reason. So Ritchie's new wife breaks this format a little. I guess this is ok though, as some of the other character development more than makes up for it. Sonny goes to therapy in this book, and her therapist turns out to be Susan. Since I read the first Jesse Stone I have been wondering when the grand unifying Parker novel will be written. Something where seemingly unrelated PI cases bring both Spenser and Sunny into Jesse's jurisdiction. The other books have always been on the edge of this. Jesse Stone has met Glen Healy, and Sonny has met Tony Marcus both of whom are from the Spenser books. This time Sonny meets Belson and spends quite a bit of time with Susan. It really tied things closer together between all the stories. I guess I'll have to wait a little longer for the Parker 3-way story, but this little taste reinforces my thought that it will be great if he ever writes it.

Anyway, its a good book and you should check it out - although you might want to read 31 Spenser books first, and you might not want to start this one at 1:00 in the morning.

Monday, October 04, 2004


Spotted recently in the Yale School of Drama Alumni Magazine:

That'd be four party crashers at the Yale Booze & Schmooze. In fact four CMU Drama party crashers.

So Dino, Jason, Nick & Jason, congratulations you've made the big time. You've now been in the Yale Alumni magazine one more time than I have.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Pundits agree: Just kill me now

Well folks, It's "Wait till next year time" again on the North Side. But really, did anyone actually expect anything else? It's nice how some things are dependable in life: the rising of the sun, the changing of the seasons, and the collapsing of the Cubs.

I actually have a different theory. I believe that George W. Bush is responsible for the Cubs late season slide this year. The Bush machine knows that with yet another devastating disappointment that Cubs fans everywhere will be dropped into an (annual) deep depression and will be that much less likely to come out and vote after yet another world series without their team. Have any doubts about this scenario? Just look at who did win the wildcard. It wouldn't be a team from the President's own home state would it?

Day of dismay at Wrigley Expect better. It is manager Dusty Baker's pledge to himself as much as to those Cubs fans who had the highest of expectations for the team when the season began.

Dusty still in denial on 'choke' Cubs manager Dusty Baker disputes the idea in some circles that his team choked. ''That's just a word for not having another word,'' he said. ''It's sort of disheartening that people feel that bad, but you can't stop people from how they feel. Is everybody that doesn't win a choker? We played a lot of games in a short period of time.''

Collective groan follows Cubs' collapse They knew it was a long shot. But maybe the Cubs could pull this one out and maybe fate would curse some other teams for a change and maybe the Cubs would keep winning.

Players rue little things that led to '04 collapse The Atlanta Braves beat the Cubs for the second straight day Saturday to eliminate them from playoff contention. But Cubs catcher Michael Barrett couldn't get it out of his mind that the Braves were fearful of a division series clash with the Cubs.

Baker hopes to keep focus on field in '05 Some Cubs officials were not pleased to read Steve Stone's comments in Saturday's papers in which Stone said he regretted nothing when asked about the fallout from his critical remarks about Dusty Baker's managing.

They just plain blew it How else to describe a star-studded team falling so short of such lofty expectations?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Not sure this will help

A link of the day:

You know where I stand on this election, and I'm glad to see anyone pitching in. Perhaps this particular group ought to have just sent a check. But they didn't.

I heard about this on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR this weekend. A group of adult entertainers has put together a film for fundraising purposes. They are donating 100% of the profits from their film "Fahrenheit 69" to "fortify Kerry Campaign efforts in the crucial battleground states!"

I really don't know what to say. I guess when an election is this tight you don't turn down any help. Do you think Al Franken has ever in his life thought he would be depicted in a porn flick? Well, perhaps this will energize a previously untapped demographic of unlikely voters - now if they could only be sure they will leave the house on election day.

I know what Don King would say.

"Only in America!"


Larry King does this in his column, I wonder if it is for the same reason... The Cubs lost again today, they are pretty much out of it baring a miracle... Kittens are more fun when you are wearing pants... It sucks to be sick, but not as much as it sucks to be sick and living with someone who is sick... School programs are destined to have the same battles over rules with students every year... The Star Wars DVDs are quite cool even if they are a guilty pleasure... Would a Cubs miracle be too much to ask for... Academia is a good place for people challenged by early mornings... There's little that seems reasonable amongst many reasonable accommodations... I don't think Kerry changed any minds last night... Melissa has a new DVD and live album out, Amazon delivered them yesterday... One of my students is recording her show progress here: George W really is awful... Marisa could really use some electricians for the next few weeks if you know any... a student I wish I could claim more credit for sent me their new web-page here: Does anyone know where all my money went... Even if they make the playoffs, they'll only lose again... "Shift-F7" may be one of the greatest things ever invented by Microsoft... I eat too much from The O... You can't really use the "<>" symbols in an HTML environment... My hope for Best Man left me a message a week ago and I've yet to return the call... Everyone seems to be updating less now that the academic year is rolling... It takes a very long time to get anything done at a university... I can't make them care about their thesis project, they have to come to that place themselves... No matter how much time there is, there isn't enough time... Yesterday I actually wondered what to do about crab grass... Peg is obviously not from Chicago - or Boston...

Friday, October 01, 2004

Just kill me now.

Last week the Cubs and the Giants were pretty much in a dead heat for the NL wildcard and the Astros were forgotten. The Cubs next two series were against sub .500 teams and the Giants were playing teams that were over .500. Today the Astros and the Giants are tied for the wildcard and the Cubs are at least 1 1/2 games back.

Somehow the Cubs managed to lose 5 out of 6 to the Mets and the Reds.

Finding a way to lose. It's a Chicago sports tradition.

At least I won't have to go through all that playoff stress I did last year - all for naught. You think I would have learned by now.