Wednesday, April 30, 2008
First, we see that clearly Darth is from the "make fun of the crying baby" school of parenting:
Then, he just takes the opportunity to chew out Luke for being such a disappointment:
Vader turned out to be a bit of a practical joker, too:
But sometimes, Vader just felt the blues, and had to express it:
And finally, all good books and movies eventually find their way to the musical theater stage, and Star Wars appears to be no exception:
Since we're obviously stretching out ETL to the rest of the week, I've decided to make it a little more interesting.
Presenting: The First Ever ETL Reader Challenge!!!
The Rules: You have to convince people to lame on with us. In their post, they must link back to both you and me.
The Prize: The reader who pulls in the most ETLamers will get their very own post on PBB, of at least 500 words, possibly with pictures, about any requested subject. It could be a loveletter to your favorite TV show, it could be a critique of some social or political policy/event, it could even be simply a tribute to that special person in your life. Pretty much anything goes.
(My only caveats: nothing profane or sacreligious, and nothing against my Cubs--which technically would fall under the first two categories.)
So go forth, my ETLamers, and multiply.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Happy Fourth Annual (Inter)National "Embrace the Lame" Day!!! (UPDATED with a few more items, and the HALL OF LAME!)
If you're new to PBB and ETL Day, I'd point you back to my original ETL post from 2005.
My previous ETL Lists are here:
2005: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
2006: Part 1
2007: Part 1 Part 2
I'd also like to remind you that the official greeting of ETL Day is "Lame on!" So make sure to use it liberally in all written and verbal communication today.
My 2008 Embrace the Lame List:
1) Two words: Neil Diamond. I have succumbed to the cult of Neil, and now that I've heard his songs, I'm a believer. I watched "The Jazz Singer" with my dad a month or so ago, and then started listening to the rest of Diamond's catalogue. I'm impressed, man. I'll never mock the man again. Well, try not to, anyway.
1b) I heard on the radio on Thursday that Neil will be coming to town on my birthday, and for a second I thought, "Oooooh." Then I realized I was getting excited about seeing Neil Diamond on my birthday. It was too much, too soon, so I changed the channel and tried to forget about it.
2) I think I'm developing a reputation on one of the "Smallville" fan-forums as being a perpetual naysayer. Hey, I can't help it if I take the show very seriously and am often critical of its lapses of character motivation. Okay, maybe I *can* help it--but I won't. I demand quality from a show I've invested several years in--even if the show is technically considered a prime-time soap opera these days.
2b) By the way, did anyone see the episode "Descent" two weeks ago? Wasn't it AWESOME?
3) Speaking of television, I got into watching "One Tree Hill" again this year, but I lost track of it when they switched nights. I'm going to have to netflix the last 8 or so episodes when it finally hits DVD.
4) Speaking of netflix, my current titles: The Monkees, Season 1 and Battlestar Galactica, Season 1. It's official-- Dave=nerd.
5) Okay, I admit it: I got really into having longish hair. Thus, the embarrassing multi-photo post. What can I say--I like my hair, really, it is pleasant to the touch. I toss my hair a bit too much. It doesn't move, it simply sits, I make a part... Anyways, moving on. (And I'm chopping it off next weekend, because it occurred to me that I live in freaking Houston, and it gets hot here. Go fig.)
6) Have I mentioned I'm into musical theater? Have I mentioned that I have SWEENEY TODD TICKETS for June?!? Woohoo!
7) Not only do I still use "righteous" and "rad" liberally in conversation, I find I've added "boss" to my vernacular. (Thank you, Juno McGuff.) And I think my new "it" word is going to be "awesmo." No reason, I've simply decided this.
8) I dance. A lot. In public. Nothing flashy or flamboyant. Just a little jiggle and jive, a twist and shimmy here and there. The thing is, when it comes to that stuff, I don't get embarrassed. But my sister does. Which is hilarious.
9) I'll catch myself using funny voices for no reason--even when I'm alone. I may have mental problems. But it's like the schizophrenic poem says: Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I'm not crazy, and neither am I.
10) I love love love lame jokes. Bad puns. They make my day. This comes from the genes on my dad's side of the family.
11) I laugh loudly. Not as loudly as some folks I know, but pretty close. And my laugh is also a little higher pitched than I'm really comfortable with, but so it goes.
12) Although I've worked hard to be taken seriously at work, I still find myself trying to be comic relief during the stressful periods. This includes walking in front of a coworker's open door and then freezing in place until he/she notices. Usually my pose takes on an exaggerated runner's stance. Other times, I'll walk up, and without a word or a smile, start dancing in the doorway, then turn and walk away. Keeps things light around here.
13) I'm pretty into my "MLB '06: The Show" video game (that's right, I still rock the PS2). And when Derrek Lee or ARam cranks a homer into the left-field bleachers, I throw both of my fists in the air and celebrate the moment, with maybe a little trash talk thrown in. When I'm at home by myself. [Remembered thanks to Will]
14) One more video game lameness: The only proper way to play Guitar Hero is to be standing up in your living room, with plenty of space cleared. The guitar is slung low, and you're assuming a classic "power stance." Feel free to make lots of rock star guitarist faces as you shred, and feel free to walk around a bit, and get into the moment.
Not that there's anything wrong with rocking out.
And One more Scrubs video from that same episode, because it's awesmo:
That's all I've got for now. I'll add more later, but some of us have to work around here.
If you're participating in ETL, drop me a note in the comments, so I can add you to the 2008 Hall of Lame. And don't forget to advertise this on your own blogs, so your friends can join in the fun too!
HALL OF LAME 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The "Chasing Andria" Mix
Side A: Bargaining/Denial/Depression
1) "Wave Goodbye," Chris Cornell
2) "Stay (Faraway, So Close)," U2
3) "Forever Young," Bob Dylan
4) "Everyone Says Hi," David Bowie
5) "Pictures of You," The Cure
Side B: Depression/Acceptance/Anger
6) "Forget Her," Jeff Buckley
7) "Goodbye," Plankeye
8) "When Your Mind's Made Up," G. Hansard & M. Inglova
9) "You're Gonna Miss Me," The 13th Floor Elevators
10) "Walk Away," Franz Ferdinand
[Secret Bonus Track]
(Don't read anything into this, just enjoy the tunes.)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
But then there are moments when the show reminds me why I loved it so dearly from the beginning. This Thursday looks like it will be one of those episodes. From the look of these three clips, it could be one of the show's best.
[I know, too many videos. I'll write when i have something to say. Lately there hasn't been much time to think.]
Monday, April 14, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
(Heh. Lyrics from "Hair." Photo from a few weeks ago. It's a bit longer now. I promise, that's my last bit of narcissism for the day.)
[Post updated on 4/15/08 because having that many pictures of myself on one page suddenly became too embarrassing.]
Monday, April 07, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I’d been looking forward to seeing “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” for months. I made sure to call and get an aisle seat up in the balcony, so that I could enjoy myself with a little more comfort. Weeks of anticipation, until finally the night of the show arrived. No matter how bad work was today, I was ready to enjoy myself.
I read last week that a few audience members are selected before each performance to be contestants in the “bee.” I couldn’t pass up a chance on that, so I made sure to get to the theater early enough to sign up. There were a few short preliminary interviews. I gave my name, occupation, a little bit of background info. Then the waiting began.
Thirty minutes of waiting, before the participants are announced. Thirty minutes of heart palpitations. Thirty minutes of sweating. Throat constricting. I have flashbacks to those uncomfortable afternoons before callbacks and cast lists were posted. I try to read my book, but find my eyes running over the same half-page about ten times. I can’t focus. I’m sweating. I’m thirsty. I grab a bottle of water. I tell myself that it’s no big deal and I probably won’t get picked out of the dozens that sign up.
Finally—finally!—the theater workers return to the “Spelling Bee Sign-in” booth to announce the selected contestants. A bearded man. A middle-aged paunchy guy. A young boy of about ten. And? AND?
A woman in her fifties. Not me.
I’m disappointed. Well, disappointed AND a little relieved. It would have been an incredible experience, but at least the interminable waiting was over. I take the elevator up to my seats in the upper gallery. I joke in the elevator with another passed-over patron that they must have realized my genius and didn’t want a ringer in the show. She said she was an English teacher, so obviously they stayed away from her. We two spelling heavyweights got off at our respective floors and made our way inside to relax and enjoy the show.
I showed the usher my ticket and was about to turn and climb the stairs to my seat, when a female voice behind me said, “Excuse me, sir.” I turned.
“Are you here by yourself?” I said I was. “Well then, I have an upgraded ticket for you, if you like.” She handed me the ticket and told me to go back down three floors in the elevator and head toward the front of the floor section.
I looked down at my new ticket. “Orchestra Pit Center, Row B.”
As in, SECOND ROW CENTER. Seventh seat in, only a couple chairs left of dead center.
I get to the row and freak out. I was reach-out-and-touch-the-actors close. And the seats were comfy, with non-constricting armrests and plenty of legroom.
I settle in, and begin watching the show. What a hilarious show. If you’ve never seen or heard “Spelling Bee,” I highly highly recommend it. It was brilliant, and the actors in this production were amazing. I wish I could recount for you every moment, but suffice to say, less than halfway into it, I was laughing so hard that I was wiping tears from my eyes for several minutes.
A few particular moments:
--There is a LOT of interaction between the actors and the audience. I love that. The actors sold it so well, picking out audience members to be their “parents.”
--There were several Houston-specific jokes throughout the show. I’m sure they do that for every stop, but it was still fun to hear—the theatrical equivalent of a rock band saying they always love coming back to *INSERT CITY HERE*.
--The song “M.U.E.” (if you’re familiar with the show, you know which one I mean) was even more hilarious than I expected. Chip came out with the box of snacks strapped around his neck and slung low, and started in with his dialogue about having to sell snacks. Then he said something like, “Screw it,” and started walking up and down the aisles, singing the song and angrily tossing the candy and other snacks into the crowd without really looking. The whole lower section was assaulted by junk food for the entire number. There were several hip thrusts and wagging around of the box. The climax of the song involved holding up a bag of popcorn in each outstretched hand and popping them over the front row. We had white popcorn rained down on us. Yes.
--The audience member participants were awesome. The cast interacted with them well, and included them in some of the choreography. The woman was out first, and then the next few rounds with the AMPs were easy words like “jihad” and “Mexicans” (definition: a label given by Texans to anyone from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, South America, Spain, and/or Alaska). These were some of the words that trigger the song, “Pandemonium.” Then, after a few more tough rounds, the two adult guys were gone, and only the boy was left. They gave him an impossible word, and to the astonishment of all (including the boy!), he spelled it right. Chaos ensued. The cast of spellers was visibly shocked and amused. The “vice principal” overseeing the “bee” was flabbergasted. The crowd went wild. Then, the VP said, “Um, okay, well, Ryan, come back to the microphone and try it again.” The boy obediently came back to the microphone and started spelling the word again. “NO, no, another word, hang on.” The audience was rolling on the floor. An even more impossible word was chosen, and the boy finally misspelled it; after about 3 letters, the relieved VP cut him off, saying, “No, it starts with X, thanks for playing!” At this point in the show, the “care counselor Mitch Mahoney” sang his version of the “goodbye” song that starts, “My friend, you will be missed/But now go with dignity/This ends, but first on our list/You can go with pride…” And you could tell that the whole cast sang this one sincerely. The boy got a long ovation as he left the stage.
One particularly bizarre event: The character playing William Barfee seemed to physically transform about halfway through the show. After the song “Magic Foot,” an entirely different William came back on stage. This new (red-headed) William finished the show, and then after the curtain call, the actor playing the vice principal announced that the original “William,” Eric Roediger, blew out his knee at the end of “Magic Foot,” and the understudy, Jeffrey James Binney, took over the rest of the show. He was fantastic, and very aptly carried the rest of the show. Even with the pressure of filling in for one of the most important characters of the show (SPOILER ALERT—he wins the bee!), Binney pulled it off with panache. So, well done him!
Amazing show. Just so much fun. BUT the fun didn’t end there.
At the end of the show, the “Vice Principal” announced that they were taking donations and selling memorabilia for donations to the Broadway Cares organization, which works to fight AIDS. Well, the show ended, and I went up to the swag booth to get a souvenir, but they were closed up. I went downstairs, and there were cast members at the doors with buckets. “Mitch Mahoney” was giving away hugs and juiceboxes for any donation. (Of course, I did.) And there was Andrew Keenan-Bolger (“Leif Coneybear”), holding a bucket and two broken pieces of plywood—one of the boards that “Marcy Park” karate-kicked in half. The two pieces were each autographed by the cast, with little hand-drawn pictures. I told Andrew how great he was and what a great time I had. I think I also gave him the short version of the “Upper Gallery to Orchestra Pit” story, which he graciously listened to and replied, “Wow, that’s awesome.” Then I asked about the boards, and procured one for a donation to the fund.
So there’s my amazing night, the best night at the theater I’ve ever had. A second row ticket, an amazing show, getting a hug and a few minutes to talk to some cast members, and an autographed show prop. I’m still reeling. Unbelievable.
[Thank you, Father God, for such an amazing time. Your goodness to me knows no bounds.]