Saturday, January 31, 2009


  • 11:58 All about loose ends #
  • 13:38 Crap. Forgot something #
  • 13:49 Ok. Take two. #
  • 18:19 First stop: #
  • 20:50 Five minute break. #
  • 22:26 Down safe. Car smells a little lived in. #
  • 00:50 I am so tired, fatigued, wiped out, exhausted, drained, broken down, consumed, tuckered out... you know - pooped #
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Friday, January 30, 2009

My Friend is Cross

Stylized LogoImage via Wikipedia

Maybe you should be too:

Open letter to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh Board of Education

Mayor Ravenstahl:

I am sure you are aware of the planned delay scheduled for Pittsburgh Public Schools this upcoming Monday, February 2.

I want you also to be aware that, happy as I am for the Steelers, this is in no way appropriate, and I am livid, and disappointed beyond belief, with the people in charge of my child's education.

I am the parent of a second-grader and a kindergartener in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system. My children have had at least three previous snow/cold days this winter, and at least a couple delays. Inconvenient though these may be, I fully understand the necessity of keeping our students safe, warm, and protected from the elements and/or hazardous road conditions.

But to schedule a school delay because of a football game (however "important" and exciting it may be)? The event is the NIGHT BEFORE, not during school hours (not that I personally think that would be ok either, but that's neither here nor there.) I am beside myself with anger and astonishment. We are tacitly condoning any sort of immature behavior that would affect parents' and employees' ability to do their jobs the next day- to get their kids to school, and to transport and teach our students. Worse (in my opinion), we seem to be expecting this sort of behavior from people to whom we entrust our children, and I for one think it's insulting to my sons' fine teachers and aides to assume they can't be responsible enough to perform their jobs the next day.

How can PPS continue to try to lure parents to the public school system, using, among other things, the Pittsburgh Promise, improved test scores, and incentives such as the IB program, and then delay school because of any or all of the above reasons? How do you expect the students to take our efforts as engaged parents and educators seriously? What sort of example does this flagrant disregard for the importance of education set for our children?

Also, we must consider the impact a school delay has on many parents who struggle to obtain adequate childcare for legitimate delays. To force a parent to juggle these issues for a football game is insulting.

In addition, my son will miss, for the third week in a row, his scheduled gifted education program. I plan to look into how these district-enforced absences impact his IEP, and perhaps the tax dollars received by the district due to the services they are supposed to provide due to those IEPs.

I have emailed everyone in charge I can think of and asked them to consider canceling this delay. I have asked them to please consider impressing upon our children how very important it is to be mature and responsible about the privileges of education.

And you as Mayor of this fine city should know that if you intend to continue to improve Pittsburgh's public school system, this sort of disregard for educational standards is completely unacceptable.

Thank you.

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  • 19:41 @karanlyons how do you know? #
  • 19:41 May have just found a little bit of a Stonehenge in our favor #
  • 21:56 ok, just about to the end of the usefulness of this trip #
  • 01:08 packing, packing, packing #
  • 11:58 All about loose ends #
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Everybody's Doing It

Did you hear the former Illinois Governor speak to the Senate today? After deciding not to appear as a witness where he'd have to actually answer questions, he decided to make a closing statement. After he finished the newsmodel for CNN said that the theme was "the ends justify the means." I guess that's one way to interpret it; he did use that expression as part of his speech. I thought he was looking at something a little different.

At one point in the explanation he talked about how if he was impeached then about a half dozen other governors would have to be impeached, and some US Congressmen, and the Presidential Chief of Staff. His point was that they did the same kind of things he did, or at least the same kind of things he chose to talk about. At another point along the way, talking about the secret tapes of him in evidence, he said something like "you've all heard the tapes, you know what it takes to run, you know what we have to do..." That's not right, but it's close.

So what does that sound like? Sounds like "everybody's doing it" to me.

And you know what, I think by large measure he's right. I mean, I don't know if the members of the Illinois State Senate are nearly as corrupt as the former Governor probably is, but it does seem like quite a bit of what he's being accused of is fairly par for the course for our elected representatives. I guess that's probably cynical, and I will say that I hope for and aspire to be better than that, but politics is about favors, quid pro quo, and influence peddling. Finding the line between legal and illegal is probably difficult. Finding the line between moral and amoral is probably fairly easy to self-sabotage.

Still, it looks like standing in front of a group of politicians, saying "but you all do it too" isn't a reliable means of lobbying them to let you off.

With all the money in the system, and having to move in the circles of people will so much, we set up the game to reward people who cheat and get away with it. So while this impeachment is probably a good thing, we would be remiss if it isn't simply the foot in the door for a series of measures designed to bring about a change to the political culture.

If not, then really all we're doing is punishing someone simply for getting caught.


  • 12:59 Social Security was way too simple and convenient for me to have not screwed it up #
  • 13:23 aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhh one of the bags that came home from the hospital had a sandwich in it #
  • 16:14 Lunch - Cosi. I'll get my Mickie D fix Friday. #
  • 20:44 Not really getting anywhere today, or maybe I just can't see the forest for the trees. #
  • 01:54 Mmm. Top Chef. #
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


  • 12:34 in Chicago to cancel things... any idea what I should be canceling? #
  • 16:09 lunch break - back to the storied HP eateries #
  • 16:10 @aerdin huh? #
  • 20:11 @aerdin oh #
  • 20:11 Dad is making dinner, not like he is trying to prove anything #
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Congrats to the Heinzes on their first production... Where do I send my voucher for stimulus funds? I'll get right on it I promise... The ending to the Robert Parker book I listened to in the car seemed like it was missing a chapter... The Governor of Illinois is clearly missing a few of his marbles... I'm not sure I have thought of everything I am supposed to be doing in Chicago... Of course the Israelis killed Gazan civilians, there's a war on. Not like the people firing rockets into Israel are aiming away from civilians... The car needed a shower today but the first place I went the door was frozen shut... Will pushing the TV changeover back several months really help? I think things would move along much more quickly if they went as scheduled. Nothing woul dmake people upgrade faster than not being able to see TV... I was supposed to be at motor school today. I wonder how it went? I hope it was cool... Really, REALLY nice to hear official plans to close the "enemy combatant" camp... Have you heard of "the Paradox of Thrift?" That saving is great all the time, except when you really need people to spend, then it's not. Bizarre... I've been thinking about writing a post about TV, but I decided I really don't want people to know how much TV I watch. It's not pretty... I hope the city of Pittsburgh gets the money to finish their tunnel. Would suck to wind up with nothing but a hole. Can't think of anything more "shovel ready"... Around Toledo, OH, I drove past an airport runway and got buzzed by a pair of F-16s doing touch-and-go's... I have had more than enough of this weather... The last Westbound rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike is lame, I will have to remember that when it's the first rest stop going Eastbound... I wonder if Obama is going to personally greenlight every expenditure made by companies getting TARP funds... My TV at home is really nice, High Definition, 16:9, with surround. Makes it bittersweet to get invites for movies or sporting events. Everyone ought to come watch by me... Congress wants digital cameras to have to make sounds to keep kids from snapping dirty pics. Somwhow I don't think that will stop them... I keep expecting to see my parent's cat, and forgetting that he's now one of mine and hundreds of miles away... Too bad about superbowl ad rates, I bet they were really looking forward to the $3 million per ad... Today it struck me that my boss' boss' boss just announced to the entire world that I will not be getting a raise for more than two years. I think that sucks... Octuplets, man are those parents going to be tired... I just bought Mrs. TANBI a Kindle, so naturally they are about to drop the Kindle 2...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Buyer Beware

Shopping: Avoid Getting Fleeced at Liquidation Sales: "Last year SuperPow television company released the SuperPow H9000 HDTV. The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) was $2500. It was sold at HappyBox electronics stores for $2200 when it first came out and as newer models arrived it was eventually sold for $1250. HappyBox has a bad run and ends up filing for bankruptcy. Their inventory is now controlled by a liquidation company. The company responsible for the liquidation advertises that products in the store are deeply discounted, some things are even 50% off already! You walk in to check on the SuperPow H9000 and see that the price is $1250. You remember the TV was really expensive and that seems like a great deal for a nice TV, after all it's 50% off! The only problem is that you're getting 50% off the MSRP, which nobody paid even when the TV was the hottest model on the market. It may be a month or two into a large liquidation before that TV is actually marked down 50% from the actual street value to a wallet-friendly $625—and most likely someone not realizing they aren't getting a very good deal would have bought it well before that."


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Monday, January 26, 2009


  • 14:58 errand with the missus - waterfront #
  • 16:28 The snow is sneaking up on us this time I think. #
  • 18:46 laundry, packing, maybe it will snow a foot and I'll stay home - not #
  • 01:35 High gas bill last month = cold house this month. I wonder if it will matter #
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Sunday, January 25, 2009


So its come back to me that there's some burbling at work about rules. It makes sense as this week is School of Drama Playground and Playground is one of the more difficult seas to navigate in terms of rules. The gist of the complaint, as pretty much always, is that the rules make no sense and that nobody knows what the rules are, and if you ask three people to clarify the rule you'll get three different answers.

So, how would I answer this charge? I believe I would say "Yes. Welcome to my world."

I can tell you first hand, many of the rules make little sense, often many people don't know what the rules are, and nearly always multiple inquiries get you multiple answers. It has been my discovery, much to my chagrin, par for the course.

Well, why is this? There are a couple of reasons. First we're not a true hierarchical structure; although the school has a head, there's also the Dean, and a bunch of other Deans, and a university administration and often it is difficult to tell who's particular set of rules governs a particular situation. Also, the same thing applies within the school as options and individual faculty are given quite a bit of latitude to run their shops. Within a classroom a teacher has *almost* unfettered discretion to do whatever the darn well please, only running up against others' policies when someone chooses to elevate a complaint beyond the classroom door. So, often I have known what I thought to be the rule only to discover it was an "option only" rule and that the school or the university knows nothing of it.

Is this a problem? Well day to day, minute to minute it can be; chasing down multiple players and finding consensus can be frustrating. It can however also allow for a much more customized experience, so in a stupid way you could look at this like an advantage and a weakness.

Another reason? Institutional drift. It would be one thing if we were doing the same thing over and over with the same people, but we aren't. The students, and what type of people they are, are perpetually changing - now we're getting to know "The Millennials" (I hear they are renaming themselves "Generation O." Good for them.) Faculty and staff turn over too. I can't tell you the number of times we've set out an agenda only to be told by someone who has been here longer that it is in opposition to some existing policy. The curriculum and classes and policies change too. We have an online handbook which we often refer people to for information. I have to confess that often I feel that the one thing you can be sure of is that if you read it in the handbook that's *not* how we'll be doing it. Many university publications are only revised every three, four, or five years. Something like that is simply gauranteed to be out of date by the time anyone actually reads it. In this environment it often feels to me that if you can put something down, static, and it doesn't moot soon, well, then you're doing something wrong.

So how does this work? Let's look at playground since it seems to be front and center. First we should say that we haven't done playground forever, so there are many people currently in the SOD that don't remember a time before Playground - and so wouldn't be first hand party to the policies surrounding Playground at its incepion. Students used to CONSTANTLY propose independent projects of all kinds and flavors to take place all over the building at all times of the day with all kinds of ramifications. Although it was something we desperately wanted to support it started to become a real drain on resources and there were any number of conflicts on the calendar and in the spaces. This lead to a very high threshold that needed to be met in order to get an independent project approved, and then lo and behold a year or so later an advisory board told us that there were insufficient opportunities for students to do independent work. As a response to that criticism, and in a fashion that got around all the conflicts, the decision was made to roll all the independent projects into a single week, cancel everything else in the School of Drama and call it Playground. Peachy.

So where's the participation rule wrinkle? Well, prior to Playground, any student not currently in good standing could not propose an independent project. So, since Playground was the current manifestation of all independent projects, the rule followed the change and students not in good standing could not participate in Playground. The thought was that students in academic distress would be able to take the time during Playground and right themselves prior to classes beginning again the following week.

But Playground isn't really the same as the way we used to look at independent projects. It has an ethos of its own. And, really, School of Drama commitments are supposed to be lifted during the Playground week. So an argument could, and would, be made that Academic Actions take a week off with classes. That would mean that even students in trouble ought to be allowed to participate. Take that point, along with the institutional drift to the independent project implementation, add in some new people, disagreement from the start and presto you have a rule enforcement problem.

What is the rule now? I don't know. I do know it has changed each of the last three years. I think right now the application is that students on action may not propose Playground pieces, but may still participate in a piece, if, at the time Playground falls in the semester, that student's advisor and option coordinator concur that the student is at that moment not in academic jeopardy for that semester.

Clear, yes?

The most interesting dimension to me about the whole rules thing is this: most of the rules are there to insure people are as successful as they can be within the program; they're there to enable and facilitate, not to restrict or punish. And in that framework I guess none of them would be necessary at all if people used good judgment in prioritizing their experience. Here's what the Playground rule (or the work for the school rule for that matter which also gets a lot of derision) should be:


That's all. The problem is that given a free choice often people choose what they like over what they need, and in our environment that would lead to summations like "It's really too bad such-and-such failed their classes and had to be dropped from the school, but did you see their magnificent Playground piece." Now, maybe we're all adults here and we shouldn't slant the floor to prevent things like that, but my experience leads me to believe that really isn't the case; the university, parents, and even students expect us to erect these barriers to assist people in making the right decisions for themselves. Still, I believe much of the ambiguity people perceive in policy or application is due to a residual desire to just let things take care of themselves rather than to interfere at all. Maybe that can be a comforting thought the next time any of us are trying to unravel a policy tangle of one kind or another.

There's another dimension to this as well, but it's probably a topic for another post, that goes like this. Even when the policy is clear, the people governed by the policy inevitably think there is some reason why they are a special case and the policy doesn't apply to them. Which I guess is my way of saying to those who long for more defined rules that even when the rules are defined the application becomes hopelessly muddled. Or maybe: "You're in Drama School, not a military academy, sometimes art is messy. Learn to deal with it."
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  • 14:18 Really I've never liked Gaeta. I don't think I am going to start soon. #
  • 17:16 mmm Qdoba, much better that Chipole or Moe's #
  • 17:18 @aerdin but there's all that shouting, I don't like shouting #
  • 18:28 Wasn't expecting THAT much of a gas bill, ouch. #
  • 01:17 I wasted that day pretty well, not to prepare for tomorrow. #
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Saturday, January 24, 2009


  • 13:18 Meet the new boss... #
  • 15:20 Thawing out. Feels good. #
  • 21:08 under a 5% across the board cut, with 95% of budget being fixed expenses, doesn't that mean having to cut 100% of everything else? :-( #
  • 01:08 OK, BSG ON DVR #
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Friday, January 23, 2009


  • 13:27 well, that was a spooky meeting #
  • 19:50 "Jared and Maureen Cohon invite you and your guest to join Carnegie Mellon newly promoted and newly tenured faculty at brunch" - is that me? #
  • 00:16 downloading free apps - why not #
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Thursday, January 22, 2009


  • 14:32 hangin with Freya again #
  • 16:22 just dropped a whole bowl of soup - I am now nicely seasoned #
  • 22:02 LOST with the missus. She sure likes her LOST. #
  • 00:45 Trying to debug my SlingPlayer installation on my laptop - fairly unsuccessfully #
  • 01:20 Heard Kevin got THE CALL - here's hoping everything comes out ok #
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Laptop Slingplayer not working. I...

  • checked the firewall - ok
  • shut down the firewall anyway
  • connected with tech service
  • ts has me reinstall the Slingbox firmware
now I should at this moment tell you what I told them, that the players on my desktop and Mrs. TANBI's laptop work fine. Drama school troubleshooting training suggests to me that the problem is with my laptop, but I go with it anyway...
  • ts has me cold boot the slingbox
  • ts has me cold boot the router (which terminates the tech service session)
  • complete the cold boots and restart the laptop for good measure
  • reconnect with tech service since it still wasn't working
  • ts resets all the settings to their originals
  • ts fails
  • ts tells me Verizon sometimes squeezes bandwidth - I tell them it shouldn't matter because its all in the home network
  • ts tells me to check the system requirements for Slingplayer
  • say goodbye to tech service
  • check the system requirements, the laptop is fine
  • delete and re-install the player software, this was an upgrade but didn't fix the problem
  • check the functionality while wired - WORKS FINE, hmm
  • check the wireless network connection
and here we find what seems to be the problem. I mean the connection "linksys2" is slow, but connected - but our network isn't "linksys2." Seems that when my laptop boots it defaults to connect to some crappy neighbor network. Who knew?
  • disconnect and block crappy neighbor network
  • connect to our wireless network - PRESTO!
Can I tell you how happy I am that I am not a tech service operator? How far down their question menu do you think they have to go before they ask "Are you sure you are connected to your network?" I mean "are you connected to the internet?" is obvious, and also impossible in this scenario as the TS is chat based, but "are you connected to your network or some crappy neighbor network?" That would be some seriously phat technical support.

So, the new and improved list of completely ridiculous and yet totally necessary tech support questions are:
1. Can we please first verify the power light is on?


2. Are you sure you are connected to your own wireless network?
You know, when they say life has become unnecessarily complicated, they might actually have something.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


  • 13:16 Yes, watching. #
  • 14:02 @scoutfinch2271 nice to see him go, nicer would have been seeing him arrested #
  • 16:29 Trying out the office a little, just a little #
  • 19:24 that might have been a little too much #
  • 23:01 My wife just got a paycheck that was wrong by a factor of 100. NOT COOL. #
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Writing for Writing, Again

Three "shorties" posts, and no more obits or Newspaper links to post; I guess I should write something. I could talk about the trials and tribulations of my Dad, maybe something about Big Love or L Word or BSG, maybe something about the adjustment my folk's cat is making to our household. I used to write quite a bit about the news.

Did anything happen today?

Ah yes, today was the official end of the national nightmare that was the Bush administration. A promise of the restoration of constitutional rights, science by scientists, international diplomacy... hope instead of fear.

I watched a little bit today, everything on the dais anyway. I thought the benediction was an improvement on the invocation - although I appreciated hearing the Schma in English. I wonder if that detail was lost on most people that were listening. I thought the instrumental was better than both vocal selections. It isn't really fair to make someone sit in the cold and then get up and sing. It's one thing to do the National Anthem at a football game when you can stay in the tunnel until two minutes before. Sitting on the dais for an hour and then having to sing must just suck.

Do you think we ought to dock Justice Roberts' salary for this week? If all you have to do is a couple of lines you'd think you'd be prepared.

I liked his speech. I thought it had the right tone. He couldn't be too victorious, there's so much to do, he had to use the opportunity to continue to try to galvinize us for the challenges ahead. Was it odd that he delivered a throwdown challenge to terrorists from behind what had to be bulletproof glass? Those Secret Service people and their silly precautions, probably I was the only one that felt any irony.

It's just, as much as today was special, just like ages ago on September 10th before 9/11, the country is still the same country today as it was yesterday. Certainly many, MANY, of the pieces have changed, and that is a wonderful development, but the structures are the same, all the non-government players are the same, the corporate interests are the same, the other countries are the same...

Still, rather than fearing what our own leadership will do next it is nice to be looking forward with hope, even tempered hope. Maybe just a little bit I can feel a brand new day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


  • 15:27 Hangin with Freya #
  • 15:27 @CarnegieMellCFA bad link #
  • 23:57 @scoutfinch2271 bummer dude, that sucks ass #
  • 23:58 I think I will be unable to get Dad to accept full time help. Not sure where to go with that. #
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Monday, January 19, 2009


  • 13:54 ORD-->PIT #
  • 16:40 PIT. Down. Safe. #
  • 18:43 Nothing says "welcome home" quite like 8" of snow in your driveway. #
  • 01:10 So I guess now we have to start thinking about a Superbowl Party #
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Sunday, January 18, 2009


  • 21:55 Red Star Tavern - Deerfield #
  • 21:57 @scoutfinch2271 I guessed the fifth. I did not guess what's up with Thrace - although I guess I could still be right. #
  • 23:17 home, winding things up #
  • 01:22 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz #
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Bubbleworld Ellipses...

When it gets to 20 and that seems warm, then it has been real cold... All of a sudden it doesn't seem like anyone is talking about the governor... I think I am going to miss the Steelers game... Can I tell you how glad I wasn't on that plane? You can probably figure that out yourself... I sure hope the truck starts tomorrow... Death Notices are not the same as News Obits. Death Notices are $7/line/day... So much for Circuit City. I never really cared for it much as it happens... Really, that was a lot of food... I knew Ellen was the fifth... My mom had a lot of clothes, I had to call in a crew... I miss my cats... I am fixing to get ready to learn a whole bunch about parent finance... Really, I think there's nothing wrong with a car with a key, and maybe there is something wrong with a car without a key, maybe... My Facebook has been something really interesting over the last two weeks... I thought I had spent more money, still plenty of time... Obama is a big thing, but I think I will be ok watching it on TV... First Class seats on a flight that lasts barely an hour seem like a waste... There just isn't a good answer to "How are you holding up?" or "How's your dad?" I've given it much thought and can't come up with anything... It's a bummer when the soda from the fridge in the garage turns out to be frozen... There ought to be something more momentous about dropping off a person's entire wardrobe at the donation center, but there isn't... I believe I have nearly depleted my bottle of "I got that"...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Theater productions in the suburbs of Chicago rank with the Chicago theaters. Apple Tree Theatre artistic director Eileen Boevers was one to make it so. --

Theater productions in the suburbs of Chicago rank with the Chicago theaters. Apple Tree Theatre artistic director Eileen Boevers was one to make it so. -- "I spent some time last Sunday night perusing the Chicago Tribune's archives, looking at the production history of the Apple Tree Theatre of Highland Park. The suburban company's founder and artistic leader, Eileen Boevers, had died earlier that day. I was pondering her remarkable artistic legacy."

Guest Book - Eileen Boevers

Guest Book - Eileen Boevers: "In high school, Eileen Zelznick Boevers was a force to be reckoned with and was an inspiration to untold numbers of impressionable teens. Through her, a world of possibilities opened as we learned to push our limitations and exceed our comfort zones."

Eileen Boevers, Apple Tree Theatre founder, is dead at 68 :: News :: PIONEER PRESS :: Highland Park News

Eileen Boevers, Apple Tree Theatre founder, is dead at 68 :: News :: PIONEER PRESS :: Highland Park News: "The recipient of many awards for her work in the arts and education, Miss Boevers was honored last fall with a special Joseph Jefferson award for lifetime achievement."


  • 14:14 out to lunch #
  • 18:10 And now, round two #
  • 02:21 so, that was a little over the top, yes? but it looks like I nailed number five - maybe #
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Friday, January 16, 2009


  • 11:02 waiting #
  • 12:24 Snot freezing cold - been a long time for me. #
  • 17:48 Well, I got through all three pages, almost without stopping. #
  • 21:57 House full of people - LOTS of food. #
  • 01:38 Hedy, it's "Marisa" not "Mariassa" #
  • 01:39 @aerdin hang in there, we feel for ya! #
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Chicago Reader Blogs: Onstage

Chicago Reader Blogs: Onstage: "A memorial service for Apple Tree Theatre founder Eileen Boevers will be held this Thursday, January 15, at the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Road, time yet to be determined. Boevers, 68, died January 11, after a long battle with cancer."

Eileen Boevers, Apple Tree Theatre founder, is dead at 68 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Obituaries

Eileen Boevers, Apple Tree Theatre founder, is dead at 68 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Obituaries: "When a big revival of 'Oklahoma' opened on Broadway in 2002, Eileen Boevers strode down the aisle of the Gershwin Theatre beaming with pride at the fact that her daughter, actress Jessica Boevers, was about to play Ado Annie. Her pride was understandable, of course. But those who watched Eileen Boevers stand guard at the opening of scores of shows at her Highland Park-based Apple Tree Theatre -- the theater she founded in 1983, and nurtured ever since -- will tell you that she brought the same maternal glow to every production she oversaw there. For she considered every actor, director, musician and designer who worked at her north suburban stage to be part of her family."

What I Said Today

Jessica wrote a lot of it too. I got most of the way through without hitching, but the last few phrases were really a push...

There are so many obvious reasons to be proud of our mom, Eileen: She was a devoted daughter, a loving wife, a nurturing mother, a prolific artist, and a successful business woman. She gave to us a one of a kind family life, sharing with us an extended family like no other and committing herself to supporting our formative years. She was a pioneer of the working mom, dashing from job to job, but also making certain we always had dinner together around the kitchen table. Once we were able to fend for ourselves there was her career as a teacher, director, artistic director…the school and theater she founded, cultivated and fought so hard to sustain…the countless awards, newspaper articles and various accolades.

I have the memories I am sure many people have of their mothers. I remember themed birthday parties. We have super 8 of a train party and a pirate party; I remember a bowling party and a pinball party. I remember a Muppet birthday party she made for Jessica that featured a real live Big Bird – my cousin Jeff in a costume. The kids we so scared that they all hid behind the curtains and we had to shoo the yellow feathered menace into the back bathroom. I remember day trips and vacations. We would go to Long Grove or to the Milwaukee Zoo. We’d fly to New York to see the Seidens or drive, and drive, and drive, and drive from site to site. There’s this picture of my mom at Harper’s Ferry – we did this driving tour to Washington DC that included a jumbo helping of revolutionary war and civil war sites – Harper’s Ferry is a civil war armory; and there’s this picture of my mom that could have the caption “What in the world am I doing at Harper’s Ferry?” I’m sure she logged more miles and saw more historical sites than she’d ever imagined she would.

Looking back though I would say what stands out the most has been the commitment to family. We’ve been fortunate enough to have two families – two HUGE families. The first family has been the Boevers and the Seidens and the Gotteiners and the Koopermans and the Bauers, the Sarrots, and the Friels. Family holidays in our world could swell up to 50 people. Early Hanukah parties were a never ending obstacle course of family kisses that had to be completed in order to take full possession of a gift. It’s been an environment of unbelievable love and support. Layered on top of that has been Mom’s other family, the artistic family from the Wilmette Park District to the Children’s Theatre of Deerfield to the Performing Arts Workshop to Apple Tree we’ve been blessed to be part of a dedicated, talented family of artists. Jessica and I really grew up with this family. I know every nook and cranny of the Jewett Park Community Center. Instead of overnight camp, Jessica spent her summers in Gilson Park. It was a crazy, creative, exciting world and her bringing us there has had an undeniable impact on our lives. I can remember one particular overlapping occasion, a Rosh Hashana dinner at our home – the one where mom sent my then Girlfriend Stevie to the hospital with anaphylactic shock, but that’s another story – there was this dinner where I looked down the table saying it was a house full of Koopermans and Thesbians; a gathering of our entire, strange, wonderful family.

Probably what we are most proud of is her heart and the love she shared for you. You her friends and family, the loyal and close friends she kept since high school and college or you, the students she shaped and influenced. You the colleagues she collaborated with on so many adventures and inspired to jump off a cliff or two with her. You the young actor, director, musician, designer; the technician, manager…the artist, she felt exhilarated and lucky to have discovered and blessed to work with. You whose gifts she fostered and provided an artistic home in which to take risks. You the fellow artist she invited into our home to share a holiday, celebrate an upcoming wedding or baby or even to move in and live for a while as part of our family. You the collected community who gave so much because, sometimes to her astonishment, you believed in her vision.

We could not count the number of times when someone has stopped us all over the country and said, “Eileen Boevers is your mother? Oh, my God, your mom was such a big part of my life…” or “Your mom got me through the hardest time” or, “I still remember so many things your mom taught me”…or, “I used to sit in your mom’s kitchen and talk for hours.”…or, “I’m so grateful to your mom for giving me my start.” Each and every time is a reminder of the far reaching impact Eileen had in the community.

The last few months have been difficult ones for those of us who loved Eileen. The experience has been a real challenge for her entire extended family. I have to say though that I also witnessed something simply astonishing. While I was unfortunate enough to have to watch her body weaken I was also constantly revitalized be the strength of the love of her family and friends: cousins, colleagues, new friends and old, angels all who sat by her bed for countless visits and countless hours over the past few months. The outpouring of love we’ve witnessed has been simply remarkable.

If a life can be measured by the love of your friends then Eileen Boevers, your friend, our mother, was truly a giant.

And every one of you should know, she loved each of you with such passion, such depth, such drama, and such wonder. She told us, her children, countless times how much she loved us and how proud she was of us. We are proud to have witnessed how much love she shared with all of you through her work, her words, and her life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

For theaters in the suburbs, Eileen Boevers wrote the roadmap | The Theater Loop - News from America's hottest theater city

For theaters in the suburbs, Eileen Boevers wrote the roadmap | The Theater Loop - News from America's hottest theater city: "I spent some time last Sunday night perusing the Chicago Tribune’s archives, looking at the production history of the Apple Tree Theatre of Highland Park. The suburban company’s founder and artistic leader, Eileen Boevers, had died earlier that day. I was pondering her remarkable artistic legacy."


  • 10:21 Packing, packing. #
  • 11:36 Flight cancelled, of course. Trying another airport at three. #
  • 14:20 Another flight, another airport. We have boarding passes. Have I mentioned I hate flying? #
  • 16:06 On a plane. In a seat. Fingers crossed. #
  • 19:44 LGA-->ORD. Down safe. Finally. #
  • 21:45 Late dinner. Sushi. #
  • 00:24 Back at Dad's house, getting settled for tomorrow #
  • 02:34 editing eulogies - now THAT'S the big fun #
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


  • 11:18 Should be an interseting day today. #
  • 15:18 Here I am: #
  • 23:51 Churning over impossible parent options #
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


  • 11:29 packing, packing #
  • 13:59 ORD ---> HPN #
  • 18:29 Hitting the first curves at the bottom of that first hill. #
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Memorial Update

The New York memorial is tomorrow (Tuesday) at Sharon Gardens Cemetery in Valhalla, New York at 2:00pm.

The Highland Park memorial is confirmed for Thursday (1/15) at 1:00pm at the Highland Park Community House.

On Chicago Theatre: Eileen Boevers, 1940-2009

On Chicago Theatre: Eileen Boevers, 1940-2009: "I am very sad to report the death at age 68 of Eileen Boevers, founder of the Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park. Chris Jones' obituary is here."

Eileen Boevers, 1940-2009: Founder of Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park --

Eileen Boevers, 1940-2009: Founder of Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park -- "Although she officially resigned last year from her leadership position as her health declined, Ms. Boevers led Apple Tree throughout its history and was integral to all its creative endeavors. The theater was especially known for its contemporary plays and small-but-bold musicals, many of which Ms. Boevers directed herself."

Chicago theater giant Eileen Boevers dies - Chicago Breaking News

Chicago theater giant Eileen Boevers dies - Chicago Breaking News: "In 1970, Ms. Boevers founded the Eileen Boevers Performing Arts Workshop, a training institution that is still going strong. In 1983, she followed up with a professional company, which she dubbed the Apple Tree Theatre, starting off in the same Highland Park church basement that also launched the Steppenwolf Theatre Company."


  • 12:38 Just got the "you might want to come down right away" call #
  • 13:57 Well. That's that. #
  • 00:14 uphill or downhill from here? I have no idea. #
  • 00:36 @JoseSPiano thanks for your kind thoughts #
  • 01:23 @scoutfinch2271 thanks Stevie #
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

And Another One

Playbill News: Eileen Boevers, Influential Director and Teacher in Chicago, Has Died: "Eileen Boevers, a Chicago-area theatre educator and director who influenced several generations of theatre artists, and who founded Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, IL, died Jan. 11 after a battle with cancer, according to her colleagues in the Chicago theatre community."

That Was Quick

Eileen Boevers, a giant of the Chicago theater, dies | The Theater Loop - News from America's hottest theater city: "Eileen Boevers, the founder and longtime leader of the Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park and a major force for decades in the Chicago theater, died Sunday morning due to complications from breast cancer, said her son David Boevers."

Obit Draft

Still have to nail down the time & place for the local memorial - so that's tentative for the time being...

Eileen Boevers (nee Gotteiner), 68, beloved wife of Gerald, loving mother of David (Marisa) and Jessica (Matt), and devoted sister of Lois passed away quietly Sunday morning concluding a protracted struggle with cancer. Eileen was a long time resident of Highland Park and a graduate of Senn High School in Chicago as well as Indiana University and Northwestern University. An indefatigable artist, Eileen was a Drama and English teacher at Niles West High School, and then a regional director working multiple seasons with the Wilmette and Deerfield Park districts amongst other companies. She was the founder of the Eileen Boevers Performing Arts Workshop where she touched the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of faculty for over three decades. Surpassing even the Workshop, Eileen was the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Apple Tree Theatre. Her work with the workshop and the theatre yielded dozens of awards and special recognitions culminating with a Joseph Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement which she was able to accept this past October. Eileen will be laid to rest in a service at the Sharon Gardens cemetery in Valhalla, New York, Tuesday at 2:00 PM. There will be a public memorial service Thursday, January 15th at 1:00 PM at the Highland Park Community House, 1990 Sheridan Road, Highland Park; visitation at the family home Thursday evening and Friday until 8:00. In lieu of flowers memorials to The Actors Fund (212.221.7300 ext. 127) or Behind the Scenes (212-244-1421) would be appreciated.

See anything that needs fixed?


  • 14:07 Driveway shoveled. Now, hospital. #
  • 16:09 Seems like mom is taking the day off. #
  • 17:42 Break time - NBC. Figured it would be clear #
  • 02:03 end of a long day #
  • 02:59 ok, now REALLY the end of a long day #
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I'm sitting up late typing, why not ellipses? Seems as good an idea as any... It dumped like 8" of snow in Chicago today, look out Yinzburgh... We went to see Bride Wars even though the reviews were brutal. The movie isn't as bad as the reviews make it look... I think IIAPA and LDI might be together in the fall. I hope we send everybody... The hospital today was really uneventful, except for the part where someone ripped off Mrs. TANBI's purse... I miss my cats... Sounds like the US Congress and the Illinois Supreme Court are playing volleyball, just both looked at each other and said: you take it... One of mom's friends wants me to delete a picture on my Facebook, I think maybe she's not ready for Facebook, although I guess I could be wrong... My current situation is not letting me enjoy the end of the Bush administration at all, make sure you take it all in... Dad took the bus to the bookstore yesterday, not like he's trying to prove anything... The end of Stargate Atlantis was wishy-washy, the season finale of Sanctuary was at least as good as the rest of the episodes, but neither match the rerun of The Library episode of Doctor Who I just watched on BBC America... What are we going to do with all this stuff? There's room after room of year after year of it... Big, big Steelers game tomorrow, I hope they're ready... More shovelling today, more at my folks house this winter than at my house all last winter... Could it be that in the opinion of the world it's just going to have to be ok that rockets get fired on Isreal from Gaza? Doesn't seem like it should be, but I think operationally there might not be much else... I keep looking around for my Dad's cat, and then I remember it's in Pittsburgh... I have one thing life to do before classes start that I didn't cover or defer, I guess I better do it soon... Mrs. TANBI and I may have eclipsed our together time limit today... There's no Plaxo app for the iPhone, that (and a slingplayer) was something I was looking forward to... Each day longer it seems like she'll hang on that much longer, but I bet that's not how it'll really happen...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


  • 12:44 @scoutfinch2271 swell, thanks. I think we're covered for the moment. #
  • 12:44 Whitehall billing fiasco dealt with - check. #
  • 14:54 And now, hospital. #
  • 16:42 Mmm. Walker Brothers. #
  • 17:54 and back to the hospital for the afternoon shift, big fun #
  • 17:55 @aerdin we just found out his name: tivel, actually means Devil in yiddish. Self fulfilling prophesy. things are... the same :-( #
  • 22:36 pizza time #
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Friday, January 09, 2009


  • 15:33 More hospital, more morephine - no, not for me. #
  • 23:10 Mom checked out of the rehab in December, so naturally they billed us for the entire month of January - well done Whitehall. #
  • 23:11 Mom checked out of the rehab in December, so naturally they billed us for the entire month of January - well done Whitehall. #
  • 00:34 @KatyK don't worry about the food - you won't be eating any. #
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Thursday, January 08, 2009


Another attempt to keep the "Shorties" from drowning us all. I'm sitting in the spare room in my folks house, well really in my sister's old room; my dad is in what used to be my old room, there's nobody in what used to be my parents room. I'm pounding through my RSS feeds that have piled up through the day while I was at the hospital.

The whole experience is a sort of bubble world. Days go by so quickly it is astounding, but the hours poke by endlessly. More quickly than you could think possible you lose track what day of the week it is. My dad keeps asking what day it is, and for a while we were sure it was because he was totally wigged out on pain-killers, but really that's not fair because maybe half the time if you asked me I couldn't tell you what day it was and I haven't taken anything - maybe I should.

Hospice at the hospital is surreal. Mom has a nearly endless parade of supportive friends. Today there must have been 10 different people not counting my wife and I, my sister, my dad and the caregiver we've forced on him. Her friends have been great. I wonder if I would put forth nearly the effort they have were I in a similar situation. We sit and talk and watch mom's face. She doesn't speak much at all anymore, so we listen to her breathe, or more accurately listen when she isn't breathing, and we watch for her to wince or grimace or show any other indication of pain. When we do see something we tell the nurse and they give mom a morphine push. Sometimes hours go by with nothing. One stretch today she got three pushes and a drip increase plus a sedative in 60 minutes. It's swell.

Around that I try to get my dad to go to the doctor, to the physical therapist, to a counselor, try to make sure he's eating, fix his television, check out his bills, and generally try to get him in a headspace where he'll be prepared for the death of his wife of more than 40 years. Even without mom's cancer he has his own suite of problems and under these conditions it's impossible to tell what is physical, what is cognitive, and what is emotional. As much as what's going on at the hospital is depressing, watching what is going on at home and trying to figure out what will go on at home after is staggering.

So we set up for tomorrow: fix the overbilling at the rehab, nail down the arrangements between the hospital and the two funeral homes (it's a multistate tour - would you expect less for my mom?), come up with an obit, take down a cristmas tree, maybe, maybe try to do the spring stagecraft call calendar, and spend some time at the hospital.

Unless the train goes over the top of the hill, have to wait and see.


  • 10:05 Pit-ord #
  • 13:17 Down safe. #
  • 14:50 Back at the hospital. Big fun. #
  • 22:15 Done with today's hospitaling- no change #
  • 00:28 @aerdin thanks much #
  • 00:29 @KatyK that sucks, I hope it all worked out #
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009


  • 13:45 Taking devilcat to the vet. #
  • 17:51 Looks like it's back to Chicago in the morning #
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009


  • 15:08 Office. Slowly. #
  • 16:05 Detour. Juniper Village. It's close and it's expensive. #
  • 16:45 ok, NOW office, remote desktop configured - begin canceling things... #
  • 18:02 @aerdin how much ya got? More importantly: what's the due date? #
  • 20:47 About two thirds done canceling. Now: Don Pablo's #
  • 01:14 @thespophile becasue its the HAIR that makes the show - of course! #
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Monday, January 05, 2009


  • 16:35 Who cares if he's a white male? How about that he isn't even 25? How can one not old enough to have finished Medical School be Doctor Who? #
  • 00:51 Guess I'll have to try to office tomorrow. That sounds exciting let me tell you. #
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Happy Birthday

to the Company Management braintrust. I miss you guys a lot!

Young, thin, and in charge! Nice to be 23 and know everything.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

From Facebook

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

1. I now have six cats.

2. I used to play the trumpet pretty well.

3. I miss playing ultimate a lot a lot.

4. I really did like living in Las Vegas.

5. I want to be one of the next generation of Rigging Seminar guys.

6. I make quite a bit more than I thought I would when I decided this would be my gig while in college.

7. I watch WAY too much TV and spend WAY too much on cable.

8. I never had a one night stand.

9. I am a PC.

10. I grew up in a huge extended family.

11. Really I think someday I should run for office, but I don't think it will happen.

12. I never had a cavity until I was 26.

13. I am a little bit of a control freak.

14. I am fairly disappointed Orson Scott Card isn't the person I thought he'd be.

15. I have three screws in my wrist.

16. I am a fairly early technology adopter.


  • 14:11 BW3 Monroeville - some semblance of real life #
  • 17:32 Playoff. Woohoo! #
  • 20:20 Frost/Nixon. Waterfront. It's kinda busy down here. #
  • 02:08 I cannot even contemplate what life will be like 60 days from now #
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Saturday, January 03, 2009


  • 14:28 My get up and go has appeared to got up and went. #
  • 19:37 clearing my January :-( #
  • 00:03 SGA was lame. #
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Friday, January 02, 2009


  • 15:27 New Year lunch Rock Bottom #
  • 00:56 Dull day. Packing it in and trying again tomorrow. #
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mrs. TANBI Does It Again


  • 14:29 home, for what it's worth. bundling for first night. #
  • 20:15 First night. Lights look good. Damn it's cold! #
  • 20:43 The missus does not like the cold: #
  • 00:15 Fabulous Thunderbirds at First Night Pittsburgh #
  • 01:06 Happy new year!!! #
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