Monday, September 29, 2003

The CIA is developing a video game to teach their agents to think like terrorists...

I'm not kidding.

And I don't know what it is - but there's something VERY WRONG about this...
Ken's weekend...

I'm a little out of it this morning. I awoke at 5am from, you guessed it, a dream about Rosa. In it, she was driving us through a residential area and we were both looking for something. (I want to say a YMCA... but that segues in a direction I refuse to take this...) As she drove, she told me about how we could never be back together again.

Folks, I already know this! She's made herself clear enough in my waking world!

Anyway, so at 5am, I awoke. I looked at my alarm clock - and was rather impressed to see that I'd woke up at 5am exactly. Normally, 5am wouldn't kill me... except that I'd gone to sleep after 1am. I didn't go back to sleep, though (as much as I wanted to), but instead stared at the ceiling, thinking of Rosa.

I looked up at the ceiling until 7am, exhausted, knowing I had to go to work... God, I miss Rosa.

Anyway, so how was your weekend?

Mine ended up being a family weekend. My family is kind of spread out so it's very rare to talk to or see more than one of them at a time. Well, this one was different. And I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to introduce you to my family.

Keith. My oldest brother. Keith's has not been an easy life - and he wants things to be easy. He's a recovering addict. Sometimes I think he wears that a little too proudly. Keith is going to be 42 in October. He has two kids, so there's two things he has that I'll never have. He also has one failed marriage under his belt... but that's a family curse.

Keith and I went out to Garf's Friday night and I mostly sat back and listened to him talk. Keith has a way of monopolizing a conversation and I have a way of giving up. So, I just sat back with my beer and my smokes and listened. (The irony in this is that I'm sure my friends feel the same way about me. Well, they've been trumped!)

Audrey. My oldest, and only, sister. Audrey is about two years older than me, also with two kids and one failed marriage. (Sensing a trend?) She lives in Oregon with a man who takes city-folk out hunting for sport (yep, I hate him) and grows marijuana on her porch. Like most of my family, she thinks she knows everything, has all the answers, and is, for the most part, completely full of shit.

Audrey and I didn't talk this weekend. Actually, we haven't spoken in nearly a year. Oh, we've passed messages back and forth through my mom. See, we were going to start writing letters. Last year, I started with one I sent around Christmas... and that's about as far as it went. She won't use a phone and doesn't have a computer so, until she writes, I'll just assume all's well.

Dad. My dad. I talked to him Saturday morning and agreed to get together on Sunday. (What did I do on Saturday. Well, faced with a mountain of housework... I played Diablo II and watched a movie and relaxed.) We got together Sunday afternoon and had lunch together. My dad, like so many of my family - but the primary cause - thinks he knows everything, has all the answers (they're wrong, but...), and is, for the most part, well, you know. Only he knows how many children he has and that number is probably too low... the same with his count of failed marriages. But he's my dad and I love him so there you are.

Blanche. My dad's wife. If he blew this one, he'd have a few people beating him in the head. Blanche is surprisingly normal in a family full (to bursting) with abnormalities. She's always been there with a kind word or a hug - she's swell.

Visiting with them is always strange. I've always felt that Dad and Blanche's side of the family (as opposed to my Mom, Keith, Audrey, and I) were like reality once removed. There just a bit off from reality - and I sometimes have to remind myself of this. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad they are a bit off from reality. Reality stinks and drives people over the edge of the Grand Canyon.

But it is nice seeing them. All the family angst got used up with Keith, Audrey, and I (and my Mom, too, which may be where it comes from...) so Dad and Blanche are quite refreshing. It's like visiting happy people... if you can remember what that's like...

I came home from visiting with them and transplanted a plant Rosa had given me many years ago into a larger pot. It's nice to garden, even in this "once removed from reality sense" where I'm gardening with potted plants and not in my back yard where I used to grow vegetables. Keith had left a message, rather upset, so I left him a voice mail - but I never heard back. I don't worry about things like that, though. People call when they're ready.

Finishing my gardening, I started cooking dinner.

That's when Dwight called.

Dwight. My younger half-brother. It's hard to think of my half-brothers as "half" but they are by definition, after all. They're Dad and Blanche's kids. Dwight is the oldest of the two. He's an accountant but I think, like Dad, he'll hit late-middle-age and realize he hates it. He talks about wanting to be creative and I wonder, "How did you end up in accounting?" Dwight has no kids and one failed marriage. (He also thinks he knows everything, has all the answers, blah, blah, blah...)

After his marriage with Debbie ended, he met Jennifer.

He was never desperately in love with Deb. He married her for the same reason he went into accounting, because he felt he was supposed to. But, when he met Jen, he fell head over heels (a phrase I never understood because, most of the time, your head is normally situated over your heels).

Yesterday, he called to tell me Jen had broken up with him. He told me many of things that he felt and concerns he had. Well, so much of it sounded very familiar. I've been there. For nearly four years, I've been there. I didn't try to give him any of the volumes of advice I've been given, though. I told him, "Dwight, I don't know what to tell you. I don't know if things will get better. I don't know if this was meant to happen or if it's for the best. I do know that you can't think about any of that. That stuff will work itself out in the end. Right now, you just do what you gotta do to make it to the next day."

I'm no big help.

Richard. My youngest half-brother. For the longest time, I was the youngest - the Bobby Brady of the family. Then, after Richard, I became the Jan. That sucks.

Richard and I didn't talk but he was very much on my mind after talking to Dwight. (I got off the phone with him because my dinner was done.) Richard was the wildest of the bunch and, in a lot of ways, I look up to him. He never seemed to let his neurosis get the better of him - He did what he wanted to do. He had no failed marriages but, then, he's still very young. Actually, he just got married to a very nice girl named Teresa. He's very much in love and what better way to be? He and I don't talk nearly enough (note to self).

It was nearing 8pm and I still had plenty of housework to do.

So, I called my mom. (No, not to ask her to do it!)

Mom. My mom. My mom's a good and decent person... and a bit crazy. But, then, who in my family isn't? Three kids, one failed marriage. Presently, she's married to Joe... about whom all comments are withheld. Joe and I don't get along very well because Joe hasn't liked me much from the second he heard of me. Actually, Joe doesn't like anyone much and, if he ever met God, would be heard to say, "Don't think you're hot stuff, cause you're not." But I endure his existence so long as my mom loves him and he makes her happy. If that ever ends, all bets are off.

Okay, so this is only a very short introduction to my family. I will say that, to a person, they're all crazy - and basically nice folks... just like everyone's family.

After I got off the phone with my mom, I still had all my housework to do. I went outside for a cigarette. (Hey, I'd cleaned my patio - very nicely, thank you - and transplanted the plant. I was bushed!) I could feel myself staring down the barrel of my 38th birthday and November, when Rosa would give birth to her baby. I had said to Dwight that, though I was a step away from the edge back in July, now I was three or four steps away. Sure, I was doing better but I was still too close for my comfort level.

Something had to give.

I went inside at about a quarter to one in the morning... and went to sleep... and dreamed about Rosa...

Friday, September 26, 2003

At least, it works in theory...

Try this one on and see if it fits: I am over Rosa.

Yep. That's the theory I'm throwing out there today. I am over Rosa.

I'll say it loud. I'll say it proud. I AM OVER ROSA.

... so, why would I say such a thing? See if you can follow this. I'm miserable. Right? I think we can all agree with this. I've been miserable for years now. I've been miserable for so long, I've forgotten how it feels not to be miserable. Since I've forgotten how it feels not to be miserable, there's every chance that I might not be miserable and just not know it.

Dig it. I could actually be absolutely fine and have no knowledge that I am actually absolutely fine. If I'm fine, that would mean that I am no longer miserable over Rosa. If I'm no longer miserable over Rosa, then I'm over Rosa.

Following me so far?

Now, the fun part. Since I can't tell what a lack of misery feels like, I think it best to think positively and conclude that I must lack in misery. Lacking in misery, I don't feel miserable. Not feeling miserable, I feel fine. Feeling fine, I am no longer miserable over Rosa. No longer being miserable over Rosa, I am over Rosa!

Make sense?

... Can you explain it to me?
Movies - Good and Not So Good...

So, as I previously mentioned, I stacked all of my movies in order of preference (ascending) and will watch them in that order. Well, I noticed something very odd.

Why does Bergman's The Seventh Seal find itself lower on the totem pole than Ephron's You've Got Mail? How could the TV series Soap (first season) be rated higher than Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan? How could these obvious errors in judgement - nay, errors in justice - have occured? I mean, look around! The critics couldn't agree more! The Seventh Seal is a better film - obviously! Spielberg kicks ass over Soap! Doesn't he?! Huh?!

Yep... it was a dilemma. I mean, looking at it objectively, I'd made some serious errors.


Well, perhaps not. After all, movies are art. Crappy or not, they are an art form. Therefore, they are subjective. There is no way to look at movies objectively. Saving Private Ryan makes me depressed - no matter how good the beachhead scenes are! Soap is light and quick-witted. Sometimes you just prefer the one who is easier to be with. The Seventh Seal is profound and holds some of the most amazing moments in cinema. ("I'm playing chess with death!") You've Got Mail is not only light to the verge of meaningless but it also was one of Rosa's favorite films. So, how could I possibly prefer Ephron's movie to Bergman's? Maybe for that very reason. Maybe Rosa's connection raises my opinion of it.

We can't always figure out our own motives. The hell with figure out those of other people; we very often don't know what drives our own machines! Very often, there's more than one motivator or reason for doing something. But, we do. We do what we do.

And if none of this has meant anything, consider this the capper: George Romero's Day of the Dead made the top five!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Levi's & America...

What could possibly be more American than Levi's? The iconical garment worn by cowboy and president, laborer and movie star alike - Levi's have been right up there with apple pie and slavery for things America stood for...

Until today.

Yes, that's right. From now on, there will be no more American Levi's. Levi Strauss is moving the last of its factories out of the U.S.

Another sign of the times...
Acting is easier than living...

Last night began the big AFTER SHOW PROJECT... all things considered, I'd like to go back to the British Bogart, if you don't mind...

I started working when I got home last night and didn't stop until late in the evening. I washed dishes, ironed clothes, dusted bookcases, put books aside for donation, made room for DVDs, and threw out a lot of garbage. Then, I took all of my DVDs and categorized them by rating (on a scale from A to D) and genre and stacked them best to worst. This wouldn't be a big deal - except that I have over 200 DVDs!!!!!!! So, now I'll be watching them. I'm weird that way. I like categorizing things - it keeps life manageable in some way... The first movie (being the worst), just so you know, was The Phantom Menace.

I also made a list of all the things I'll have to do to get my place in order. I'm sure it's an incomplete list but it's workable. The list contains 29 items - 29 things I have to do to get my apartment in order! If I do one thing each day... I won't be done for a month!!!!


My first "free weekend" since the show will be this weekend. Dad and Blanche may be coming into town this weekend. I haven't seen them since Richard's wedding back in March (or April). When I think of all I've been through since then - I want to puke.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

After Sam...

As you might know, "Play it Again" ended on Sunday... had I mentioned that?

Anyway, I've spent the past couple days doing something I hadn't done in a while - RELAXING! Yep, I've been watching movies, playing video games, talking on the phone, laying about... oh, it's nice...

Now, it's time to start getting back to life. I've got an apartment to clean, things to put in order, comics to try and sell, a letter to Rosa to write, mizzenmasts to be swabbed! Yeah. Sure. Right away. Uh huh.

It's a weird state to be in.

The other day, I began to consider that my life may actually be back to normal. Consider: my life's been hell for so long, maybe I've forgotten what normal is. If I've forgotten what normal is, my life could be perfectly normal and I wouldn't know it. Spooky, huh?

But look at this email, for instance! No wailing. No gnashing of teeth. Just me babbling on... which is one of the only constants in my life, now that I think of it.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is two months away? My birthday is LESS than a month away! I'm thinking of throwing myself a birthday party... but my apartment would need to be clean... hmmmm.... don't hold your breath. Getting through October shouldn't be as hard as I'd thought - considering that we're almost there and I hardly noticed. November, on the other hand, with Rosa delivering and all... well...

But it's time to face all that, including the horrid mess that is my apartment, and start making some sense of it, my place in it, and what affect I'll let that have...


Tuesday, September 23, 2003

A little fire retardant for baby?...

With Rosa due any minute, I'm sure you can understand that I've been keeping my eyes on any news about pregnancy, child-birth, newborns, etc. Though Rosa won't allow me to be in her life... my mind's there.

Well, after researcher's found DDT in embryonic fluid a few years back, this should come as no surprise to anyone, really.

That's right. Fire retardant has been found in the breast milks of American mothers.

The frightening thing is that, while no one seems to be questioning the results, they are question what harm there is in feeding your baby fire retardant...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Free Tommy!...

Tommy Chong - imprisoned for nine years for making glass!

Help Set Him Free!

'Nuff Said.
SHRUB LIES... a continuing feature...

Last Wednesday, I made an entry about Shrub admitting that Saddam was in no way responsible for 9/11 and then asked how American could have ever got that idea.

Could it be because Shrub told us - as this letter from the White House clearly states?

Next time someone calls him the "Commander and Theif", remember that he's a lying theif.
Anything else? A review...

I saw Woody Allen's new movie, Anything Else, this weekend. As with his previous film, Hollywood Ending, I saw it alone. Before that, I was with Rosa. In that context, I look at these movies as being akin to one another.

I shouldn't.

Hollywood Ending was a movie about love and struggle, hidden behind the jokes. But Woody seemed to say, "Keep at it. Hit your marks. Do your work. Be true. Things will get better." I walked out of that movie with a sense of hope.

Anything Else speaks in a language so bleak I couldn't make out the words. I'm going to have to see it two, three, maybe four more times before I can hear over the jokes and cynicism, wit and half-wits, pain and paranoia. My initial thought is that Woody is saying to us, "Look out! Be afraid! People will only disappoint you in the end!"

Yes, this movie is painfully dark but, like any good car crash, you can't look away. I wanted to but kept thinking, "Where's he taking us?" But from joke to joke and insight to insight, we went down the rabbit hole.

Woody turns in his best performance in years. This man says he can't act almost like I do - in self-defense! Christina Ricci is amazingly unlikable, a very hard thing to do as an actor - I mean to be both amazing and unlikable! Stockard Channing.... pardon me whilst I melt! And Danny DeVito is positively insane - I loved him! The star of our show, however, Jason Biggs, is one of those actors about whom you can only say, "He tries really hard." Maybe a more competent actor could have turned Woody's jabs with a more comedic turn but, coming from Biggs mouth, they just make things seem more sad. Woody was directing, of course. Maybe that's how he wanted it...

Anything Else is paradoxically beautiful to behold. Woody shoots New York the way a lover caresses flesh. Just as with Ricci, Woody makes sure you can't turn away. I couldn't.

And, mind you, I HATE unhappy endings. Cannot stand them! It was torture as Woody teased me with another insight or another joke or another gorgeous shot of New York as only he can - KNOWING that we were not heading to a good place.

... In the context of my own life, I guess I could say that it left me with some similar feelings - familiar feelings.

It's a difficult movie to watch. This is true of many good films. It challenges you.

And is not like anything else.
Closing weekend...

The curtain came down on "Play it Again" this weekend... which is funny because the theater doesn't actually have a curtain... anyway - it's all over. Our final weekend was quite smashing. Yep... smashing. The audiences were wonderful, which really helps because they do half the work. I thought I'd peaked once but I went beyond that level closing night. In fact, at one point, I received about a minute of sustained laughter. It was quite a thrill.

But there is life and there is art... and life doesn't hold much allure. Now that the show is over, I've promised myself the next few months to try and figure out where I'm going and who I am. How does one do that? How does one begin to think about how one does that? I don't know.... but I've got three months.

I start immediately. After a few recent emails with Rosa, I decided things were going nowhere (as always). I couldn't convince her to take me back and figured it would be best just to send her a letter - a letter for her to open after the baby is born. Why? I think it's because I'm beginning to realize I never will get her back. She has the life she wanted and it doesn't include me. So, I'm writing a letter not just for her but for me, to provide some punctuation on that chapter of my life. She's gone. She's been gone for years. It's time to say goodbye.

Not that being single has worked out for me. Oh no. In fact, I did ask Lisa out and was rejected so hard I got whiplash!

This brought up a question at the cast party last night about redefining yourself in terms of a new relationship. I pointed out that, in my case, I don't have that luxury, and it really is one. I have the task ahead of me of redefining myself in terms of being alone. I mean, let's face it, that's the truth. And that doesn't make me a "strong person" or a "survivor" (as some have said). The simple fact is that I don't have any choice. This is the life I'm left with. Though the one I'd always wanted was torn from me, I'm still alive. (Try as I may...)

Friday, September 19, 2003

Play it Again... three more times...

Yep, we close "Play it Again" this weekend, just three shows to go. I've grown surprisingly fond of this show, considering how much I hated it at the beginning. I say "surprisingly fond" because I'm actually only moderately fond of it - but I never expected that! I never thought I'd see the day when the sound of a British Bogart didn't sicken me!

It's probably a good thing it's ending, speaking for myself. You see, last night, I peaked. I'd been putting on a pretty funny performance (as always, I was cast in the goofball role) up until then but last night I had the audience so far in the palm of my hand I could have killed them all with one clap. There's nothing quite like that feeling. Though I've never walked on a tightrope, I'd say it's a lot like that. You're treading dangerous and unknown waters - and loving it! One misstep and you lose them. Well, I didn't lose them - I worked them and they loved me. I was on fire and everyone - especially my fellow actors - knew it. Now, I know how this works. I'll never be that good in this show again. Rarely, do you peak twice. I'm just glad it happened before the run ended.

As some of you may know, I've already made some plans for what comes next. It won't be another show. I've got to work on me: Ken.

You'll hear more about that next week. For now, I'm going into the closing weekend and plan to wring whatever pleasure if can get from it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

SHRUB LIES... Wait, that's not news...

Today, Shrub admitted that Saddam was in no way responsible for 9/11. (Which is fitting because only Shrub and his criminal posse would know.)

How could America ever have gotten that idea? How? How?

This little entry is dedicated to all those who blamed me for "not being patriotic" these past couple of years - - - STOP BEING SHEEP!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

That's my Shrub!...

My life has been rather sad of late... so let's focus on more upbeat things! Like Shrub!

Read this following excerpt from Michael Moore's site (I don't think he'll mind if I share):

The first paragraph in yesterday's New York Times story on how Bush has taken a record surplus and demolished it into a record deficit was one of the best lead paragraphs I have ever read in a newspaper article.

Here's how it went:

"When President Bush informed the nation last Sunday night that remaining in Iraq next year will cost another $87 billion, many of those who will actually pay that bill were unable to watch. They had already been put to bed by their parents."

Bingo. Gee, I hope the kids thank us some day!

Here's the next paragraph (my emphasis added):

"Administration officials acknowledged the next day that every dollar of that cost will be BORROWED, a loan that economists say will be repaid by the NEXT generation of taxpayers AND THE GENERATION AFTER THAT. The $166 BILLION cost of the work SO FAR in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has stunned many in Washington, will be added to what was already the largest budget deficit the nation has ever known."

Every conservative friend of yours should weep when they read that, and then you should hug them and tell them that it'll be okay, once we all do what we need to do.

Feeling upbeat? Well, then, try this out for size - more information you'll love to know thanks to Michael Moore:

If you can't get through this list without wanting to throw up, I'll understand. But pass it around anyway. This is the nail in the Iraq War's coffin for any sane, thinking individual, regardless of their political stripe (thanks to and the Center for American Progress)...

To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons about what $87 billion means:

$87 Billion Is More Than The Combined Total Of All State Budget Deficits In The United States.

The Bush administration proposed absolutely zero funds to help states deal with these deficits, despite the fact that their tax cuts drove down state revenues. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

$87 Billion Is Enough To Pay The 3.3 Million People Who Have Lost Jobs Under George W. Bush $26,363 Each!

The unemployment benefits extension passed by Congress at the beginning of this year provides zero benefits to "workers who exhausted their regular, state unemployment benefits and cannot find work." All told, two-thirds of unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

$87 Billion Is More Than DOUBLE The Total Amount The Government Spends On Homeland Security.

The U.S. spends about $36 billion on homeland security. Yet, Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) wrote "America will fall approximately $98.4 billion short of meeting critical emergency responder needs" for homeland security without a funding increase. [Source: Council on Foreign Relations]

$87 Billion Is 87 Times The Amount The Federal Government Spends On After School Programs.

George W. Bush proposed a budget that reduces the $1 billion for after-school programs to $600 million -- cutting off about 475,000 children from the program. [Source: The Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee]

$87 Billion Is More Than 10 Times What The Government Spends On All Environmental Protection.

The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included a 32 percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition and conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council]

What can I tell you? It helps keep my sadness in perspective...

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Another sleepless night…

I’ve been up all night… wondering.

As early as two years before the divorce, Rosa was itching for a way to end it. And I could see it coming. I could see the entire house of cards that was my life toppling over. And I fretted and I panicked and I tried everything I could to hold the marriage together, even as it fell apart in my hands.

Rosa replied to my most recent email, if only to tell me that I should stop holding out hope. Out of a fifteen year relationship, the only thing she remembers about me was the fact that I ended it… she doesn’t remember her constant pleas for me to do so or the pain I was in when I did.

How long, then, have I been falling apart? How long have I known that my life was ruined?

… I gotta get some sleep. It’s just so hard to do when you’re on the verge of tears – but they won’t come. I’ve cried until my eyes were blackened (yes, literally) – I’ve cried enough.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Decision: Auditioning now would be crazy...

As you can see, I've come to my decision on the auditioning question. You're probably wondering why I've decided against. Well, here's a short list of things I need to take care of that I won't if I get cast:

1) Clean my apartment. Living alone, my apartment falls into a shambles during a play. If I get in another, it'll be three months before I can clean it. Folks, it needs cleaning.

2) Bodily Injury claim. After my car accident and subsequent whiplash, I never resolved the claim with State Farm. We're talking money here, people. Money that's just sitting around, waiting for me to claim it. I should.

3) This They Call Freedom. 1984 meets Monty Python - folks, it needs finishing.

4) Comics. I need to get this mountain of comics sold off and open up some room in my apartment. I won't do that if I'm in a show.

5) Thanksgiving. I haven't seen Tim and Autumn in a year. It's time to take that trip up and see them.

6) Stress. Let's face it, folks. My stress level is high already. I should de-stress.

7) Lastly and not leastly - Rosa. She's going to be delivering soon. When that day comes (and I'm sure I'll hear from Sean when it does), who is to say what I'm going to do? Even I don't know. One way or another, I doubt I'll be in any position to be responsibly.

So, folks, there you go. I've already had quite a busy year. I play written, half of another play written, three staged readings and one play acted in, and one staged reading directed... I think it's time Ken worked on Ken.

... yeah... let's see how that works...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Osama been Prompted...

Okay, am I the only one who finds it terribly coincidental - and by "terribly coincidental", I mean "planned" - that "new" - and by "new", I mean "fabricated" - video of Osama has turned up and supposed "threats" of terror are springing up right around the anniversary of 9/11/01?

Say what you want about the Republicans - they're NOT original. I'm not afraid of any of this, of course, because I'm pretty sure Shrub's gang of criminals has been behind most of it.

That's why I'm not - as so many others are - writing any kind of remembrance of 9/11/01 because the memories of those who died in New York have long since been overly defiled, by the popularity polls in which Shrub rose and the thousands of dead upon which he's stood.

You wanna see someone evil? Look in the White House.
What do you do after you "work work"? "Work", of course!

Well, we're in our final couple of weeks of "Play it Again". The British Bogart will soon be a thing of the past, the parties will be over, and it will be time to figure out what happens next.

As I've recently mentioned on this Blog, my life since Rosa has been filled with meaningless structure. I work, then I work, then I work some more. None of this is meant for some goal or to, somehow, make my future brighter - it's just to fill time, time that would otherwise be spent... thinking of Rosa.

After she and I first split up, I figured I'd be okay, my schedule adequately filled, if I performed in two shows each year. In 2001, I was in just so many: "Dial M for Murder" and "40 Carats". In 2002, I was writing as well as acting. That year, I finished writing "Everything Changes", wrote "Atheists", and acted in "Three Days of Rain" as well as the staged reading of "Everything Changes". I was slightly busier... but laughably sedate compared to this year. So far, in 2003, I've written "Whatever Happened to Me", written half of "This They Call Freedom", acted in the staged readings of "Atheists", "Love and Politics", and "Whatever Happened to Me" as well as "Play it Again". Yep. I've had a busy year.

Now, I'm considering auditioning for two shows on Monday and Tuesday.

This is troubling me - and I suppose I'm soliciting opinions here - Where's the balance? On one hand, we have the activities that help me not focus on Rosa. On the other hand, we have the free time necessary for rest. Should I keep myself busy, trying to obscure the thoughts of Rosa, costing me sleep and relaxation or should I take it easy during a time when all my thoughts are focused on Rosa, when I should be working?

Find the mean. This was Aristotle's advice and words I lived by when I was with Rosa. Since losing her, I've lost my way so far I can't begin to recognize the mean. It's lost to me, foreign. Maybe that was the first casualty of losing her...

Anyway... what to do?

Let me know if you have any thoughts on this.

In the meantime, I'll keep a coin ready to flip...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

This is why you don't doze off...

Okay. I guess I was sleepy. Anyway, I dozed off here at work.

I dreamed I was coloring with a young girl... we were talking about something, I don't remember what...

When I awoke, it hit me that she was probably Rosa's daughter (after all, how many young girls would be on my mind?) and that's something that would never happen.

So, it's official. I'm a mess. I admit it!


(And you wonder why I drink and smoke!... You should wonder how I've been able to keep away from the ice cream!!)
It's all Tim's fault, really...

I was doing so well for a while there...

Tim came over and got me talking about Rosa - and my stupid, broken heart - and the next thing you know, I'm a quivering mass of tears. I wrote to Rosa that night and, shockingly, she wrote back.

Now, I'm not going to mention what she wrote but here's a brief version of what I read: I SO don't want you back! I wish you'd stop writing! Ghah!

So, I wrote back. I'm not going to mention what I wrote but here's a brief version of what it said: Please! Please! Please! I'll be good! I promise!

Oh, yes... I'm coooooooooooooooooooooooooool...

Now, I keep crying - ALL OVER AGAIN! - and I can't seem to think.

What am I going to do?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

And what a weekend it was...

Okay, it's been a few days. I know! It's been a few days! But you'll be happy to hear those days were not spent idly or without care... though they did end in a hangover...

It's the Return of Diablo II

Yep, after months of having that game off my computer, I've reloaded the old Lord of Destruction and am having a ball with it... well, as much a ball as one can have with a Lord of Destruction, at least. It's pretty much how I spent my Saturday. And, after all, I needed to rest, right?

We had a good show Saturday night. All weekend, we played to sold-out crowds... more on that later...

Party-time... Take One

After the show Saturday, Kerry had a party at her house. Kerry and her husband Chris are nice people... but a bit odd. Let's just say they float above the realm of reality like a balloon floats over a child's head. The string is all that keeps them here. And, since they're a couple, I say, "Good for them."

I was the first from the show to show up at the party. The people already there were in Kerry and Chris's circle of friends, and what an odd bunch they were. All in their thirties and forties, they all seemed very preoccupied with dressing in the latest styles, listening to the newest music, keeping current - NOT BEING OLD!!!!! I met this neurotic obsession with youth like a cold front (with patches of showers). Let's face it. I understand the meaning of my age. It took me this long to get here - I know I'm not 20. Though they couldn't see how silly they looked (nobody 45 should pretend they're still in high school - it's embarrassing), I was enjoying it. Oh, was I!

This fascination with staying young went up to and right over the edge of absurdity. In paying so much attention to what was important to a sixteen-year-old, they missed things like politics, philosophy, world-events - not one of them had children and all still seemed to need to rebel against their parents. Let's face it: the balance of their lives were fashion-dominant and wisdom-poor and I had outgrown that long ago. Along with that out-dated streak of rebellion these folk had, came the idea that you couldn't have a party without pot. (I'm talking ganja, weed, marijuana, grass... you know... funny cigarettes!) Now, my sense of propriety is skewed enough from years of depression and loneliness - you bet I smoked some, too! But there's some and there's some and everyone else seemed to leave some... actually, they didn't leave some anywhere - they smoked it all there! It was strange. It was panicked... It was desperation! After I took a couple of hits, I sat back with my beer (and lit up a Camel so, when someone tried to pass some my way, I could say, "I'm already smoking this.") and watched as these sad, middle-aged people tried desperately to recapture their youth.

And I'm just trying to recapture my early-30's...

It was pretty tame, really. I mean, beer and pot do not a den of iniquity make. I just felt sad for people whose lives were so empty they grabbed on to anything for reassurance lest they become transparent.

... I've been there.

Of the group, Kerry's the only one trying to really do anything. And you can see her looking at the others as though she were the only one to step outside of the cave. She is, forever, apart.

The laughs began when the next guests arrived. (Yep, about two hours after I got there.) The next guests were Bruce and Danya, also in the show. Bruce is an attorney and, once whispered word of this spread, there was a flurry of activity clearing away the ashtrays, unsmoked joint (just one of about ten that were originally rolled), roaches, etc., etc. Now, the funny thing is that Bruce is a patent attorney and no more involved with law enforcement that my cats are. (Though they've taught those toy mice a lesson!)

That made things more comfortable for me - as those who wanted to smoke some more went elsewhere and Bruce and I (the only two in the show with some background in theatre) were left to talk shop.

And, then, Tim arrived...

The next morning, Sunday, I awoke early. Tim from San Diego had called and said he'd visit, taking an early train and calling early once his train pulled in. Well, 8am turned to 9am and I started playing Diablo II. Tim called at around 11am. (To think! The sleep I missed!!!!)

He wanted to talk about my life, what had been going on with me. I told him, "The show. Work. Resting. Same old stuff." He was rather insistent... but the time came to go to the show.

They taped the show on Sunday and I had a pretty good performance. Tim says that, despite our British Bogart, it's a good show. I think he's crazy... or just, plain wrong!

(A little update on the show: Lisa still hasn't noticed that I exist... how many people does this surprise?!)

After the show, we went back to my place. First, we stopped off at Petsmart. Tim works at Petsmart and gets a discount... SO... well, we shopped. Tim was so nice. He loves the cats and bought them tons of treats and toys (such as the toy mice). It was all very generous of him. Then, he took me to Claim Jumper, even more generous of him! Thanks, Tim.

Of course, Rosa and I had been to that Claim Jumper many times (for those who might not know, Claim Jumper is a mid-scale restaurant, nice while not too nice for jeans, ya know?) and Tim seemed to want to hear about it.

Now, by this time, I was getting irritated. I knew how much I sounded like a broken record and was tired of sounding like one. So, I told him, "It's the same, old thing. I miss her desperately. What can I tell you?"

Party-time... Take Two

After we got back to my place - who wants to guess? - yep, Tim and I started drinking. It's what we do. We didn't drink much but I guess my combination of exhaustion and irritation got the best of me because I was hammered after two highballs and three martinis... which, I guess, would be a lot to anyone else. (Truth be told, Tim makes very strong drinks.) Tim kept wanting me to talk about Rosa and, after a while, I found out why. Tim, it seems, thinks I'm in some kind of denial - as if shutting up with make it go away. (I can hope.) He said, "You're not talking about it and if you don't talk about it, it just festers inside you." So, we talked. We talked about how I've been trying to replace meaning with being busy, joy with distraction, Rosa with cigarettes, booze, video games, and St.-Jons-Wort-balanced-sleep. Later, he said, "Either you're going to get back together with Rosa or you're going to kill yourself."

I answered, "I can't get back together with Rosa. She doesn't want me."


At some point, after a lot of tears, I passed out. Before I did, though, I sent Rosa and sappy and sad email, again telling her how much I love her. She didn't reply to the last email I sent her, so I'm not expecting her to reply to this one. The sad truth is, she'd moved on - to some place where she never wanted me to be.

The next morning... you wouldn't have wanted to have been there... hung over... badly... I got Tim to the train station by noon and went into work late.

I've since recovered... from the booze, at least.

More play news...

Last night, I heard from Andy (our "Producer"... right...) that we have a sold-out show. "Your show's a run-away hit," he said.

This is the second show I've been in that has been a "run-away hit" that also happened to SUCK. I've been thinking, "How does such a thing happen." I've come to this conclusion: there's no explaining it. Plenty of terrible movies become hits, plenty of no-talent hacks get best-sellers, plenty of bimbos get triple-platinum records. There's just no accounting for taste, people.

... oh well... some things just don't make sense.

Friday, September 05, 2003

We don't need no stinking WMDs!

WMDs. Remember WMDs? Weapons of Mass Distraction, er, Destruction. I know Americans have been stereotyped as having ant-like memories (that is to say: SHORT) but, surely, you must remember that. Shrub told us we were going to war in Iraq because they had WMDs! And they were pointed at us! And they were going to destroy the world! And take away our bagels! And mess up our TV reception! And, and, and... bring back NEW COKE!!!

Of course, there were no WMDs. Not a one. Never found one cause they never existed. (Keep this under your hat - neither did Osama.)

Now, John Bolton, undersecretary for the Department of Nepatistic Hiring Practices and Miniature Golf - seriously, he's such a minor official, I probably outrank him - says that WMDs were beside the point! "It really isn't an issue," he said. It seems that the US was justified in wholesale slaughter because Iraq COULD HAVE POSSIBLY MADE WEAPONS SOMEDAY! Obviously, Shrub is testing this theory with a lower-scaled official before he starts sucking that foot. Americans have short-term memories, anyway. So, the idea is that we'll forget who said it first.

Pre-emptive slaughter. Folks, hang your heads in shame.
Brown Thumb? Check!

And now, an update on the gardenia front.

As you might know, I recently bought a gardenia bush. It was so cute, with its shiny, healthy leaves and blooming buds...

Okay, now, I was really busy this week. I went three days - THREE DAYS - without watering it! You'd think it could get along for three days - BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I went out to my patio last night and the damn thing was all shriveled up! If it was a snail, I'd swear someone poured salt on it. A lot of salt!

Now, I have to try to nurse that back to health. Crap!

Well, our one and only review of "Play it Again" is in. I say "one and only" because the review is of a local rag and the big papers never go to this theater. It's just too out of the way, small... insignificant!

I'm guessing the review was deaf... blind... dumb... comatose... brain-dead...

Or, perhaps, the reviewer was Steve, our director.

The reviewer raved about our Bogart, never once saying something along the lines of, "Funny. I don't recall Bogart being British...) I couldn't believe it.

Oh well. Strike another one up to Ken being just too demanding - or see the show for yourself and find out just how right I am!

Here comes the weekend! Talk to you soon...

Thursday, September 04, 2003

... softly hummed a Cole Porter song...

(Beware! Ken's rambling again!)

Shortly before Rosa asked me to get out of her life, I took on a fondness for Cole Porter. I couldn't get enough... mostly because you can't find good Cole Porter cds, well, anywhere! Sure, there are Cole Porter songbooks but nobody records Cole Porter anymore. Why is that?

Now that I'm back in theatre, I wonder why this love of Cole Porter hasn't translated into performing in a music. Why? Well, probably because most musicals suck. You know they suck because of the powerful wind you feel when you walk into the audition. Worse, nobody does Cole Porter musicals - say, like, "Kiss Me Kate" or "Anything Goes". (I'll have you know I just pulled those off the web. I couldn't remember one single Cole Porter musical because nobody puts them on!) They keep doing the same, old, tired, once-a-hit-so-long-ago-your-grandma-was-hot-then musicals that I couldn't care less about!

But I'd love to perform Cole Porter's songs. He had such incredible wit and a real sense of fun! I'd love to go on stage and sing:

You're the top! You're the Colosseum,
You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum,
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss,
You're a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.
You're the Nile, You're the Tow'r of Pisa,
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop...

Can you get the rest?

I'm often wondering what the hell I'm doing these days. Oh, it's the same as always. I work. I've been assigned more commercials to write. I act in this... wonderful play. I go to the gym when I'm not smoking, which isn't often, and drink when I am smoking... which is. I do everything I can to place Rosa far, far from my head... and it is in those times when I realize that what I'm really doing is making time pass until I'm dead. Until I won't think of Rosa any more. So, then, is that what I'm doing? Just using up time?

If I act in a musical, what difference will it make? Everything has lost its flavour. Nothing thrills me as it used to. With Rosa gone, I feel dead inside. Will that end? I don't know but it's been going on now for three and a half years.

I've got about a month until my birthday. That's going to be painful, spending it alone as I so often do. Then, a month later, Rosa will be delivering. That's going to kill me - and I can't let it. I can't imagine how I'm going to get through those events and, on top of that, then I'll have the holidays to get through - alone. Knowing all of this, I still manage to make it from one day to the next - this amazes me; I don't know how I do it. As one wit once said, "Habit."

What does this have to do with Cole Porter? I guess I can tie anything back to Rosa...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

At least when I hit the bottle, there's Scotch in it!

Is anyone out there still entranced by the myth of bottle water? Do you still believe the water to be crisp and pure and, dare I say it?, healthy?

Then, perhaps, you should read this article. Here's a quote:

Further, while EPA rules specify that no confirmed E. coli or fecal coliform (bacteria that indicate possible contamination by fecal matter) contamination is allowed in tap water, the FDA merely set a minimum level for E. coli and fecal coliform presence in bottled water. Tap water from a surface source must be tested for cryptosporidium, giardia and viruses, unlike bottled water, and must also be disinfected, unlike bottled water.

Mind you, with fecal matter in our meat, what's the fuss???
"I'm not sure my optimism is justified."

As many of you know, I consider environmental issues as top priority. You've probably seen me try to cram that down your throat a bit in the past.

Well... open wide.

Bill Moyers was interviewed recently regarding the Shrub anti-environmental policy and had quite a few intelligent things to say. (Don't let it frighten you.)

Here's an excerpt:

Doesn't it seem inevitable that this tremendous discrepancy between the Bush administration's actions and words will be exposed?

Moyers: There is always a backlash when any administration, liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican, goes too far. In this case, all the scientists that I respect and all the environmentalists that I listen to say to me, "What's different this time, Moyers, is that it could happen too late." Let's say by 2008 the consequences of all these policies become clear and the public rises up in protest. We don't have between now and 2008 to reverse the trends; it will be too late then.

What do you mean by "too late"?

Moyers: Every policy of government that is bad or goes wrong can ultimately be reversed. The environment is the one exception to the rule of politics, which is that to every action there is a reaction. By the time we all wake up, by the time the media starts doing their job and by the time the public sees what is happening, it may be too late to reverse it. That's what science is telling us. That's what the Earth is telling us. That's what burns in my consciousness.

Consider the example of Iraq. Once upon a time it was such a lush, fertile, and verdant land that the authors of Genesis located the Garden of Eden there. Now look at it: stretches upon stretches of desert, of arid lands inhospitable to human beings, empty of trees and clean water and rolling green grasses. That's a message from the Earth about what happens when people don't take care of it. No matter what we do to Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains a wasteland compared to what it was. American policy makers see only the black oil in the ground and not the message that all the years of despoliation have left.

The irony is that despoliation doesn't just wipe out the verdant land, it makes it impossible to have a healthy, diverse economy.

Moyers: It stuns me that the people in power can't see that the source of our wealth is the Earth. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a capitalist. I don't want to destroy the system on which my livelihood and my journalism rest. I am strongly on behalf of saving the environment [in no small part] because it is the source of our wealth. Destroy it and the pooh-bahs of Wall Street will have to book an expedition to Mars to enjoy their riches. I don't understand why they don't see it. I honestly don't. This absence of vision as to what happens when you foul your nest puzzles me.

Do you consider yourself a pessimist?

Moyers: I once asked a friend on Wall Street about the market. "I'm optimistic," he said. "Then why do you look so worried?" I asked. And he answered: "Because I'm not sure my optimism is justified." I feel that way. But I don't know how to be in the world except to expect a confident future and then get up every morning and try in some way to bring it about.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

What did September ever do for anyone, anyway?

Well, we're in September, the month with the unnecessarily long name - and, while I'm at it, "unnecessarily" is also unnecessarily long! September has a bad attitude. Just because it marks the end of summer, it feels it has to sound more like an Autumnal month: October or November. Summer has these short names that make writing checks easy: June, July, August. Even Spring helps out: March, April, May! You get into the colder months, you're just asking for trouble, my friends! Who wants to pay bills in a month where the name of that month won't even fit on the check?! Then, you have to decide if you're going to abbreviate - and is it me or does "Sept." just sound lame? - or mark it numerically - you write 9/2/03 and people are going to think you don't know how to spell or even how to abbreviate!

If you were born in September, don't get all worked up over my hatred for the month. It's not your fault you were born when you were - It's your parent's fault! Find them and kill them!!!!!


I'm sorry. Where was I?

Well, another week has started, bringing with it the promise of hell in a cubicle. Oh, I love my job! Wait... no, I don't. I hate it. I really hate it! I'm amazed that I've been here so long, hating it as I do. I'm amazed I haven't come in with a couple of shotguns...

Why do I hate my job? Ah, it's like asking why the sky is blue or why Shrub is President... but it's more like asking why I hate my job... and there are so many reasons... well, okay, here's one. It is generally recognized here that I'm that senior writer, that I know what I'm doing, that I can string words together to simulate meaning. While this is true, I routinely have my writing "proofread" by those whose language of origin, language of use, nor language of comfort are, were, or will ever be English and am told to write in the "Pidgin" form of said language. When I refuse to, when I insist on doing my job, I am severely chastised. When I say, "Fine. Whatever. I don't care." I am applauded.

It's enough to make you want to plunge your head through the monitor...

In other news, "Play It Again" had its opening weekend and, to be bewilderment, the audience was very forgiving of our Bogart's British accent. I didn't understand it myself. They generally seemed to be enjoying themselves and, thus, weren't very picky. So, maybe it's me. Maybe, I'm too picky.

... NO! NO! NO! Bogart should NOT be freaking British DAMMIT!!!!

... I'm sorry. Where was I?

This weekend, progress was made on the Lisa front. You remember Lisa. She's the 36-year-old hottie with whom one of my fellow cast-members is trying to set me up. Well, there was no denying it this weekend, it was certain, there was no doubt... Lisa has no idea that I'm alive. She's not aware of me in the least. If she tripped over me, she'd forget upon regaining her balance.

This is probably a good thing. After all, Rosa delivers in two months and I wouldn't want to be happy when it happened. It's probably for the best the I remain alone and depressed for when Rosa gives birth. I wouldn't want to forget that I lost her and that I'll never get her back. (For those keeping score at home, that rate a 92.1 on the Sarcaso-Meter.)

I have a little time off now that we're between performances. Since I worked all last week - hell-week and all - my apartment is the biggest mess ever. I'll be using all this "time off" cleaning my apartment. Fun, huh?

And, on top of all this, some British astronomers have detected an Extinction Event - a massive asteroid "2003 QQ47" that could collide with the Earth in 2014. Cool, huh? I gotta wait 11 more years... at least my car will be paid off... (Odds of collision are 1 in 909,000. Your results may vary. No purchase necessary. Operators are standing by.)

One last note, I'm a little back-logged on email these days and have received a couple to which I'm not, yet, replied. If you're wondering why I have not replied, keep in mind that I'm a stupid flake with the brain of a brine shrimp... but I will be writing soon. I promise.

So... how have you been?