Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Culture Shock

Undisclosed Location Theater is on a college campus in the middle of nowhere. This makes for one of the strangest environments I've ever been in. It's like a combination of Broadway, college, and summer camp — complete with the diva fits, frat parties, and bug bites. There's nature everywhere and it fucking follows you. I can't shake it, I've tried. That said, I'm writing this from the 2nd floor porch that's accessed from my bedroom (at home we'd call it a balcony — or a fire escape — but this is definitely a porch), plugged into a cleverly placed outdoor outlet, using wireless internet, and I could definitely get used to it.

Technophile that I am, I'm largely struck by how much things have changed in the campus setting, and by how technologically advanced we all are here at theater camp. I got my first e-mail address when I was a freshman in college, and it was 24k dial-up to a Unix mail program. My junior year they put high-speed in all the dorms. That was also when our rooms got put on the same phone system as the offices on campus, and we got the great technological wonder of voicemail.

Here, every single room in every single building has data jacks in at least two locations. I'm pretty sure you can go online from the bathroom. My laptop and Airport Express both had to be registered with the college before I could go online, and I had to change all my outgoing mail servers to the company's before I could send anything. We're told (and as far as I know no one's tested this yet) that if we download anything illegally, they will know about it and will kick us off the network immediately. I don't think the Pentagon is this secure.

In our bathroom there's a sticker with info for the rape crisis hotline. They have Instant Messenger. It makes perfect sense, of course, but something about it strikes me as weird every time I look at it.

Everyone here is on IM. This sounds annoying but it's actually genius. If I have a question in the middle of rehearsal, I don't have to get up and disrupt the work to get an answer. If someone needs to come by on a break, they can find out when we're due and not have to sit and wait outside the room. Because we're all on the college network, I can print from my house to my office a half-mile away. The other day I printed something from the rehearsal studio, and IMed one of my assistants, who was waiting in the office, telling her what I wanted done with the document. All while watching a rehearsal and glancing out the window at the mountains.

Of course, I've had one good night's sleep in the 10 days I've been here, I've forgotten the meaning of the word "gym," and I haven't yet figured out how to run a department (with, at present, a staff of 11, and more arriving as shows gear up) while spending 10 hours a day in rehearsal, but hey, it's just theater/college/camp — it ain't brain surgery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Home Depot, here I come!

I downloaded a new song by the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco this morning.

I think I just became a lesbian.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Draft Dodging

There was an article in Salon yesterday about the evils of dodge ball (okay, it was one of those personal essays that starts out being about dodge ball and ends up being about parenting and childhood and blah blah, but whatever) and it got me wondering, once again, what the big deal is about the "sport."

I was an unathletic kid who dreaded gym, and I loved dodge ball, as well as its more chaotic, every-man-for-himself cousin, "elimination" (same rules, no teams). Only in adulthood did I learn of dodge ball's stigma, and I remain completely baffled by it. You don't need any athletic ability to play it, really. I guess some catching is involved, but it's not like catching a fast-moving softball or even a Frisbee; even four-square (or box ball, as we called it in elementary school) requires more coordination. And if you want to get someone out with a throw, just aim low.

Better still, it is the easiest game in the world to get yourself out of, which should actually make it ideal for the unsporty of the world. Don't feel like playing? Lob an easy ball to someone sure to catch it, or let yourself get hit someplace where it won't hurt. Hell, in the chaos you could pretty much let a randomly rolling ball hit your foot and go sit down. Basketball, softball, football, soccer — games that require genuine coordination and skill, in which teammates depend on you — those are scary. Dodge ball was cake.

I suppose I might feel different about the whole thing if we had played it in high school, which seems to be the standard pop-culture cliché. We only had dodge ball in elementary school, and while kids can certainly be cruel it's more casual, not like the nastiness of high school — not to mention the fact that bigger kids can throw harder! But y'know that's one of the other mysteries of dodge ball for me: It seems like an awfully silly game for 16-year-olds to play! I've always perceived it as a kids' game, and therefore relatively harmless. I think even the mean kids with good throwing arms would have scoffed at it at my high school. Like I said, it's not much of a sport! And therefore I — who managed the cross-country team for a season so I could get out of gym (a wonderfully exploitable loophole in the rule that if you were on a team you didn't have to take PE — something else I learned years later wasn't normal (though it does seem awfully logical to me)), and chose swimming whenever we had an elective so I wouldn't have to compete, be on a team, or sweat — would have surely loved it.

Oh well, we've established many times here that my high school experience was not a typical one. I guess dodge ball is just one of those things, like color wars, field day, and cheerleaders, that I will just never understand.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Update: Beds, Naps, and How I'm Spending My Summer "Vacation"

I realized that after my angry rant about the bedroom furniture I never told you how it all ended. That's largely because we spent the entire weekend sleeping on the glorious new mattress. As Boy put it, "I don't care if we had a good deal, a great deal, or got suckered by the mattress salesman. Our Posturetemp queen-size mattress is amazing!" And it really really is. It's soft and you sink into it, but only a little bit and then there's all this great support (which I need since throwing out my back a few years ago). Boy and I napped and...did other things all weekend long on the fabulous new bed.

Yes, I'm still irked that they screwed it all up (I'm not posting photos until it's complete and correct) but I don't loathe the headboard in person the way I did in the pictures, and it all looks great in the room and with the newly-painted walls. So it'll be even better when it's right, and that's exciting. And did I mention that my dresser has ten drawers? So sleeping, sex, and organizing — my three favorite activities!

I'm generally opposed to Monday holidays. Having never had a salaried job outside of the theater, they're generally just inconvenient. If I'm temping or otherwise employed with an hourly wage, a Monday holiday means a loss of income. If I'm working on a show, I either have to work anyway, or I've worked all weekend and my day off is ruined by things being closed or especially crowded. And I get bitter while people gloat about their long weekends. But last week was perfect, exactly what I needed. I had a long list of things to do, but no schedule at all. I was productive and lazy and it was very exciting.

And then Friday was my last day at Big Financial Company. I have a couple of days off before leaving for...well I can't tell you where I'm going, since it's for a gig and I like to pretend this blog is anonymous in professional circles (though really, how many stage managers are there with a same-named partner and a cat named after a vegetable? For god's sake, I've posted pictures of my apartment!)

Suffice it to say, I'll be spending the next two-and-a-half months in the absolute middle of nowhere. With some glamorous people doing my glamorous job, and no doubt ridding my lungs of lots of nasty toxins, but without my Boy and without my Kitten and without public transportation. I was reading a script on the train on my way into work the other morning and was almost unconsciously thinking about paperwork and props and traffic patterns and I stopped and thought how nice it was to use my brain for work and not just be doing data entry. Then I went and did data entry, and somewhat more consciously counted down the minutes 'til Friday.

Anyway, I don't know what the summer will mean for this blog. I'm hoping to keep checking in — if nothing else I still have plenty to say on pop culture from the last couple of months, and I doubt that being in the country will mean easing up on the stupid people — but I just don't know if I have the time. I hope all seven of you reading this now will keep checking in!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Okay...

And Hit Me Baby One More Time totally doesn't count either. It's a "music event." And it's got Vanilla Ice, Tiffany, and Flock of Seagulls!

Curse you, television!

For five months now I haven't watched any reality TV. Okay, maybe I snuck a peek at America's Next Top Model when Boy was watching it, but if I didn't turn it on myself it doesn't count. And the Michael Jackson trial reenactments on E! are news, dammit.

But I just saw a commercial for Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back and I am powerless to resist.

Those kids in Kathy Lee's sweatshops had it easy!

Yesterday I worked a free outdoor concert we'll call "Singers on the Square." Only all of the sound company's roadboxes were labeled "Singer's on the Square." He is? I thought. Well what about the rest of them?.

They were consistent, at least. One of the boxes said "Singer's on the Square Mic's."

I considered grabbing a Sharpie and crossing out all of the offending apostrophes, but sadly I had actual work to do. And I didn't want to get beat up by a bunch of crew guys. But seriously, how is anyone expected to work under such conditions?