22 May 2008

A Reenacted Life

Just like I don't want to have my own restaurant, I don't want to be an actor. My job, of course, already entails acting; the usual schedule is three performances, three days a week, before audiences comprised of undergraduates in various states of interest, indifference, stupefaction or slumber. I do it all without much of a script, no special lighting, rarely any sound equipment, shockingly little make-up and a questionable wardrobe. I've considered getting a $29 dollar laugh track and applause machine that can be operated by foot pedal (sold as kiddie props for puttin' on a show!), but the downtime for laughter breaks might seriously cut into my lecture time, and we can't have that.

What I could really dig would be gigs as a Reenactment Actor for different history and real-life story TV programs. This is the easy street of thespianism if ever there was one. Think of it - what's called for are regular people in regular roles, with little or no dialogue! You need absolutely no special characteristics other than a free few days to repeatedly play dead in a recreated peasant village, or run hysterically through the house as the "tornado" approaches. The people you see in these shows are just like you and me, and the neighbor, and the guy at the mini-mart, and the lady who walks her dog every day at noon, and your high school gym teacher, and on and on. Their very regular-ness is what is valuable. You don't picture Angelina Jolie as Displaced Visigoth #17 on the History Channel or George Clooney as Blizzard-stranded Insurance Agent on the Weather Channel's "Storm Stories." You picture Chuck, the guy who rotates your tires.

Oh, I have no delusions about landing plum roles such as Attila's Concubine, or Thomas Edison's mother, or (dare I say it?) Madame Curie, or Caligula's sister, Drusilla. But I'd be a damned servicable nomad, bystander, housewife, victim. Considering my age and the demographics of most periods of history, I'd be fated to play matrons, not maids. No matter. I'd relish every moment where the menacing Roman soldier approaches me and evidently asks for directions... I stop grinding meal but keep my eyes averted as I sheepishly point a direction for him. Of course, the narrator and various experts provide the voice-overs and all we actors need do is pantomime. No blowing lines! Sure, the exasperated director might yell "Cut! No, no, you have to look MORE sheepish. OK, let's take it from the meal-grinding again...", but otherwise, it'd be a sweet run.

I would particularly love to do scenes of tragedy or disaster. "Animal Miracles" would show me as the Lost Hiker, hammishly dragging my body along with two broken legs, covered in stage blood. My big moment would be my one line, uttered as my collie comes to save me, call for help, and drag me the remainder of the five miles. "Sadie! Good girl! Good...girl....Sadie..." For Haunted Reenactments I could run around in a panic mewling "Who's there?! Is anybody THERE?! Just STOP!" (which rather resembles my real life, except my real life lacks the poltergeist).
My wildest dream, though, is to be a peasant mown down in some kind of uprising or pillage scene, or felled by plague. How satisfying it would be to collapse clumsily onto some straw, my crudely woven basket of root vegetables flung from my grasp, my coarse burlap shift flopping loosely around my soon to be lifeless body. Fake blood, again, would be essential, and some festering bubous would just about take the cake.

That right there is a pretty compelling reason for me to love something I wouldn't want to do.

16 May 2008

Adventures in Restauranteering

Loyal fans, I'd love to have all of you over at one time to sit at my kitchen table, but I've been busy and unable to attend this site. It's a heavy job grading papers, making up final exam extra credit questions based on the lyrics of Queen and replying to students who "didn't realize" the final was (fill in date).

You know how so many people say they dream of one day opening their own restaurant? Are they retarded? "My cousin's girlfriend really liked my 7-layer taco dip, so I'm taking out a home equity loan next week...." While I've never harbored these aspirations myself, I have thought it would be fun to have a down and dirty diner or similar low-rent hangout - less a place to eat than a place to get out of the rain that happens to have food inside.
Many people remember my ideas for an all grilled cheese restaurant (surely there are several already pocking Manhattan) and a few even remember my Ring Toss Diner business plan. Upon entering, instead of a menu patrons would be handed a few rings and directed to toss them onto a large pegboard. Each peg signifies something different - some good, some bad - and you have to abide by the peg during your visit. Free Lunch. Liver and Onions. You Pay Twice. Decaf Only with Meal. Bus Your Own Table. Free Muffin. Sit Next to Restroom. I envision a small but loyal clientele, one both daring and determined enough to improve their motor skills in their spare time. But alas, the days of fantasizing about opening "Cheeses Christ" and my combo Mexican-Greek "Hey Zeus" are long gone.
In light of our increasing paranoia regarding food-borne illnesses, I've left restaurant conceptualization to others and decided to focus on naming. Oh wait... maybe it's "branding"...? Damn me for not getting an MBA! It would be SO incredibly useful now! Anyhow...
here is a partial list of up and coming hot spots:

. . . ecoli (pronounced EK-oh-lee, and yes, all lower case is mandatory)
. . . Cafe Listeria
. . . Sam'n'Ella's Deli
. . . Mama Botulisma's
. . . The Tow Main Grill
. . . Giardia Tratorria (specializing in "wild-caught" waters of the world)
. . . Kholera Kountry Kitchen

The list could go on, but I'm quite busy. I've got to go set some food out in the sun.

12 March 2008

Limburger Hit and Run

I've decided not to ditch this blog after all.
By wild popular demand (2 or 3 Etsyians), I will relate one of my limburger stories. That I have more than one gives pause. This one involves what I might almost consider familial treachery - but without intent - so ultimately, I could accuse my mother of little more than Negligant Assisted Limburger Consumption in the 3rd degree (probably more of a misdemeanor).
Several years ago, my mother bestowed on me a package of limburger she'd picked up while shopping. I'm not one to ask questions about handouts, so I took it home and we ate some eventually. Days later, a thought blossomed... Why would my mother buy a package of limburger, which she doesn't eat, just to give to me, not even knowing if I'd eat it?
At my next visit, I asked why she'd bothered to buy the cheese. She replied in a quite offhand manner, "Oh, I didn't buy it. I found it in the parking lot." !!! When pressed for details, she freely offered them. My jaw hung open and I can remember only a few pieces of her explanation....phrases such as:
"It couldn't have been there that long" and
"It was in the slush, but I cleaned it off" and
"The outer box was fine, there were no marks on it" and
"Well, the other car hit it, but it wasn't driven over" and
"It looked fine" and
"I figured it was fine."
(Was she sure she mentioned that it was fine?)
I might have felt bad about eating it, but after hearing all that, I began to feel more sorry for that poor boxed limburger, much like one pities an abandoned family pet. I imagined it having been dropped in a cold, slushy supermarket parking lot, then getting hit by a car, languishing for who knows how long before Mom had the heart to take it in, clean it up and adopt it out. It might have even had to spend the night out there - alone in the dark!
One of my father's many sayings was, "You have to eat a bushel of dirt before you die." I've got at least a few more tablespoonsful to go.

21 January 2008

The Art Card Diaspora

Here they are, all eleven of them. Making the cards as a batch was both a challenge and a blast, and I wouldn't have gotten anywhere if I didn't have them all spread out in from of me, ideas and images materializing simultaneously. I've got a new way to work now. Look them all over and find yours - and no complaining ("hey, I like THAT one better... why couldn't I have gotten that one...!") And remember to leave your comments, if you have a moment. Thanks to everyone for your interest and inspiration.

14 January 2008

Junking It, Part 2: The Reckoning

It's taken a few days to recover from the shock, but it's time to let it go... After one of my thrift adventures last week I was shuffling through some things in the back floor of the truck. Spotting what I thought was a Lego piece, I picked it up and mentally scolded the boys for leaving parts/pieces everywhere. It appeared to be the clear plastic windscreen "mask" to a Lego-man helmet that had popped off. I picked it up to examine more closely, turning it this way and that, thinking "hmm, it sure got dirty." Then the sickening realization set it like a many-pronged fork - it was a huge fingernail clipping, which could not have originated from our family. Much too large, thick and dirty. I could only assume it rode in on the thrift store finds. Unfortunately, in my horror, I didn't think clearly enough to fling it outside the truck - I simply flung it away from me and somewhere back into the truck's interior. Since then I haven't been able to locate it. It's....still....there...somewhere. You know though, you DO get a lot for your money at those stores.
(Walking Fish Pharoah courtesy of SonWon)

10 January 2008

Junking It

It's a case of junk itch. Untreatable with fungus ointments. For reasons unclear, I've been back at the thrift stores speed-trolling for treasures. I purposely visit when there's a time crunch so as to limit myself. I'd abandoned this pursuit some time ago while trying to purge my life of years of excess crap, but as many of you know, this isn't something that just goes away. The stores have been inexplicably crowded, too... maybe people are cruising for post-Christmas cast-offs.. so it's a bit of a turn-off. It's a bummer to see Volvos in the Goodwill parking lot. Even the As-Is section of Sally Ann was bustling and we were dodging each other left and right through the urine-scented air.
Most of my loot has been books ripe for the chopping block... now if I could figure out what to do with them. Years of Catholic schooling has paralyzed me to the idea of cutting, ripping, writing in or in any way disfiguring a (cue the organ music...) BOOK. Well, I do it all now anyway, but only once I've got a clear plan, which is an awfully constrained way to approach "creativity." I managed to get through all of college never once marking or highlighting a textbook. Then grad school.... with minimal underlining and lightly penciled margin notes. Call me wild.
If this thrifting continues, I may end up with platform boots, several fish bowls and some Herb Alpert LPs (and nothing to play them on).
(Siamese Birds courtesy of SonToo)

08 January 2008

Canine Exemption Clause

Notice in the previous post there were no self-imposed restrictions for blabbing on about my puppy.
To spare all of you except for the hard-core boxer lovers, it's suffice to say that we are still in the D & D Phase: Defecation and Destruction, which rarely fall under the cute umbrella (and here, hard-core boxer lovers may disagree). Thankfully, the errant tootsie rolls around the house are becoming rare (but much larger), though we've seen enough disemboweled Santa ornaments to last a lifetime.