Saturday, August 16

Dangers of Asking

(This post totally rambles because I have, yet again, had too much coffee.)

Asking people out is scary. It just is. I have had people tell me it should be no scarier than going on an audition or a job interview. But that's clearly not true. At an audition you at least know they are looking for something and we all accept that if you go a job interview you are looking for a job. Saying "I would like to work at your company because I want to pay rent and eat" is different than saying "I would like to date you because you make my heart skip."

Asking someone out on a date is a whole other thing. I suppose if it a random person in a bar (something I haven't/won't/can't do) than it carries a lot less weight. "Hey, I know nothing about you but I find you at least interesting." Rejection just means, "I don't know you and I see nothing yet to find you interesting" or "I'm already involved." Even if it is "You disgust me," it has little weight because you don't know the person so you gives a rats ass. Bim bam boom done.

But I never ask just random people out. I ask friends out. Here you're in a very different place. You've gotten to know the person and they have gotten to know you. Maybe not super well but enough. Suddenly you are opening yourself up. "I've gotten to know you and want to spend more time with you and want to slowly wake up next to you on a Sunday morning." Rejection means "I've gotten to know you and, well, I've seen enough to know that I don't want to wake up next to you on a Sunday morning. But, hey, we can go see a movie."

I suppose this is the reason to not to try dating friends.

Over and over I have thought that junior high has a great system for the whole cupid-thing. We used intermediaries to get the message out there. "Besty Ann likes you" note passed in the back row of Social Studies. So simple and easy.

Okay, okay. I understand there is nothing attractive about being cowardly. What woman wants to date a man you can't even get the balls to say, "I would love to take you to dinner." (And I would argue that it is silly for men to find it attractive of a woman who does crap all to make her feelings knows but that's just me.) But as soon as you ask a friend out, you tweak the relationship. Either the friendship is new and light and you have suddenly put weight on it because they now feel uncomfortable about spending time with you, or the friendship is a close on and you have torqued it for the foreseeable future.

And perhaps that is the thing that has tweaked me on this in the past. I value my friend and working relationships too closely to tweak on a whim. By the time I get to the point that I want to ask someone out, I've gone through a fairly long process on it. I start to analyze their every interaction looking for signs they feel the same. (I don't want to ask someone out and have them say, "That never occurred to me. Um, sure. Impress me.") Yes, I build them up. I start to think "Fuck they are so out of my league" (again not an attractive thought) and need a crap load of positive evidence that they are interested. Less because I don't want to face rejection (which is there) but because (1) I don't want to make them uncomfortable around me and (2) I don't want to be placed in a pile of "boys who have asked me out."

However, I agree that everyone (boys and girls) should just suck it up and ask.

Anywhozits, if you are a woman and want a boy to ask you out because you don't want to face the chance of rejection yourself, here are my tips.
• Many boys are stupid and clueless. Don't be surprised if they don't pick up on subtle clues.
• Find ways of being around them. This isn't stalking (unless you show up at their homes or work). Just be around so they (1) think "Hey, she had no reason to be here except to see me" and (2) gives them an opportunity to ask you out.
• Don't play hard to get. Seriously. I know of no guy who find it attractive to be ignored. No, it's not cute. If you are both at a party and you make sure you never talk to him, that just says you don't care.
• Eye contact and touching. This is the biggest cliché but so so true. Looking n their eyes and lightly touching an arm may seem silly and cheesy, but it works wonders.
• Treat them different. The amount of women who have said to me, "I can't understand why he isn't getting the hint! I've been flirting with him all night," only to receive my response, "You flirt with everyone!" astounds me. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with flirting or being a flirt. Just realize that if you normal "joke" flirt with your friends, it is going to take something special to get your point across to that special person. Try extreme listening. Try flirting with out dismissing it with laughter at the end.
• Don't complain about not being asked out if you never ask them out. I put this up with people who complain about politicians but don't vote.
• Don't listen to me. Really. I have a horrible record on this account. My relationships I have all had more to do with luck and good timing and booze than any effort on my part. I have zero perspective on how I am viewed by the opposite sex. I am always in shock when someone finds me attractive. At best I view myself as Lloyd Dobler (as do 80% of the boys in my age group). Remember everyone thinks Lloyd is great but no one seems to view him as dating material for themselves. He ends up with he girl who hasn't dated anyone.

(Note: I have never known anyone named Betsy Ann. Mine was Michelle.)

Saturday Afternoon

I don't like golf. Oh, it is fine in the abstract. The mental game, blah blah. But I don't like watching football on TV so I sure wouldn't chose to watch golf. Except I do. It's that stupid Saturday afternoon, folding laundry thing. Turn of the TV and nothing is on except golf.

I just spent 30 minutes watching a special about the Metlife blimp. 9 minutes about one camera man you specializes in golf. It was very dramatic with dramatic music (including Bruce Springsteen's The Rising). I totally forgot that the Olympics are on. I could have watched that.

Anna invited me to get on I'm on similar thing on Facebook but it is such a pain there. So I am enjoying trying to remember every book I've ever read and putting them in. I was searching for Thunderstruck and found Thunderstruck (Harlequin Nascar). I didn't realize therewas a whole line of Nascar romance novels but it makes perfect sense.
If Mick Churchill thinks he can buy out half of Shelby Jackson's family-owned race team, she's got news for him. So what if Mick's the most famous soccer star on the globe--with cash, connections and charisma? Fuel line? Finish line? Shelby doubts the Brit knows the difference.
I bet Mick and Shelby get together at the end.

Danger Zone is the highest rated Harlequin Nascar book on Amazon.
On NASCAR owner Buck Buchanan's fortieth birthday he blew out the candles on his cake thinking of Jenna Williams, his love from twelve years ago. Later that night, Buck gets the shock of his life when Jenna rings his doorbell. Jenna's daughter has been kidnapped and she needs Buck's help to get her back.
I should start writing videogame romance novels. Or roleplaying romance novel. I would write improv ones but that would just be sad.

I am enjoying the song Ikea by Jonathan Coulton.

The coffeeshop/ice cream parlor/childcare place down the block was madness this afternoon. I really wanted a milkshake but the women behind the counter had just finished cleaning up the mess she made from th previous milk shake and I felt bad so I just got coffee. Not as satisfying. Maybe I should have asked for a child.

Tonight we are going to a bowling alley/bar in Williamsburg to celebrate my teammate/friend Matt's birthday. I've been wanting to go there for awhile. I miss bowling. Bowling is hard in NYC. Bowling alleys just take up so much space. Per square foot, it is probably a horrible entertainment value.

I like adding two spaces after my sentences but I just realized that Blogger likes to change them back to one. That's weird.

I hope Monday is a good day and not a sad one. If it is a sad one I will go to Maude Night at UCB and be a horrible audience member. I'll be grumpy and frustrated.

Thank You, Robot had a decent show last night. We're working on stretching our abilities and getting out of our comfort zone. That sometimes leads to some difficult moments. It's a process.

Quoted without permission because I think it is both funny and amazingly sweet.
Adam: that's a huge stretch
Anna: you're a stretch
Adam: you're a sketch
Anna: yep, I'm a ridiculous premise heightened to the point of absurdity created for people to laugh at
Adam: and enjoy


I just realized that I don't have any shows for three weeks (baring a show that pops up out of no where with often happens). My first response was sadness. Then I got excited because I would have all this free time. But then I realized that shows actually end up taking very little time. It is all the meeting and practices and such. So then I got sad again.

But it does mean I have more nights free. I must come up with good plans to fill them.

I won't be there (I have a class) but you should go to System Error tomorrow night. 8pm. Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston). Free kick ass improv including the magic that is The Whitehouse Server Cluster.

Friday, August 15

Things I hate

• MySpace and all of its flashing ads and confusing chaos.
• Any page that automatically starts to play music. This includes MySpace pages and blog and, for some reason, higher class restaruants in NYC. Look, I can play my own music. I am playing my own music. I don't want to hear your music. At least give me a frackin' option before you start playing it.
• People looking at me to decide where we should eat. Because I will pick. I'll give you options. But chance are you are a lot pickier than I and I have no desire to just keep listing things until you find one you like. Here is my theory: As soon as you nix one of my ideas, you have to put up an option of your own. Same thing goes for seeing a movie.
• Public radio pledge drives. I'll deal with them but I still hate them.
• WNYC's new show The Takeaway. Who in their right mind thought that morning news needed to be dumped down. Oh, right. America.
• Manta rays. Yes, still.

More Books

As soon as I finished the last post, more books began to occur to me. (Note: these are absolutely in no order and leaves out a lot of the more obvious choices.)

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
I have enjoyed all of Stephenson's books but Cyrptonomicon is by far my favorite. Jumping from a mathematician/cryptographer, a bad-ass Marine and a Japanese solider (all during World War II) and a programmer (in the "present"), it is one of those rare books that manages to be extremely education and extremely entertaining. And weird. It also has some ties with Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.

The Scar by China Miélville
I list The Scar because it is my favorite but you should read the others in the series too (starts with Perdido Street Station). He's not the best writer when it comes to plot and characters, but his world creation is the best I've seen bar none (except perhaps Tolkien — whom Miélville described as "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature").

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
Speaking of Tolkien, brings me to another comic. A manga to be precise. You may have seen the 1984 movie of the same name (Hayao Miyazaki is also the maker of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away). The film was made 10 years before he finished the manga and there is a world of difference. Insanely epic sci-fi/fantasy. Guns, airplanes, giant insects, a world on the edge of destruction. It falls prey to the problems with most manga, mostly in the last act – old science, in the name of saving the human race and forcing it to evolve wants to lead humanity to its destruction. (Drop two nuclear bombs on a country and it does a huge number on their psyche.) But it is an incredible tale of a dying world at war. (It is also a world I would most like to run a roleplaying game in... some day.)

Spook Country by William Gibson
Gibson is a funny fish. His writing is getting so much better the older he get AND the further away he gets from science fiction. Besides being a crazy spy story, Spook Country, in a subtle way, examines the techno-brand name-fetishized world we live in.

White Jazz by James Ellroy
Nothing gets me in more trouble than when I tell people (specifically women) that I love Ellroy (of L.A. Confidential fame). His characters are misogynistic and violent. Heck, there is strong evidence Ellroy is misogynistic (read his book My Dark Places for that fucked up story). But his uber-noir is like an acid scalpel followed by a 10 pound brick of heroin to your face. American Tabloid is a great sprawling take on the Kennedy assassination, but White Jazz is just like the title. It reads like scalding jazz, spartan and sharp, rhythmic and driving, full of silences and bangs.

To Reign In Hell by Steven Burst
In ingenious fantasy take of the Fall of Lucifer and the creation of, well, everything.

One for the Morning Glory by John Barnes
A very over looked fantasy book in the vein of The Princess Bride.

A History of God by Karen Armstrong
A stunning book on the development of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, mostly by focusing on how they have viewed their God and the nature of that God. Dense and academic but not so much, it is a most read if you have any interest in the subject.


For some reason, books in a lot of conversations in the last week. Perhaps my friends are all trying to better themselves. Maybe we are all just sick and tired of talking about improv. Who knows?

Here's my recommendations off the top of my head.

Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
This is PDK's masterpiece. Some of his other books are more daring (A Scanner Darkly, VALIS) and some will mess with your head more (Ublik), but High Castle is wonderfully crafted and not as self-indulgent as a lot of his stories. (Side note: PDK not only used the I Ching as a major plot device, but used it as he was writing to make choices about where the story would go.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Love, romance, and a messed up family of circus freaks. What's not to love?

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
It's a dense book but very rewarding. Don't try to think too hard about it while reading or you'll just get confused. It all adds up (except where is it doesn't). Another messed up family, addiction and consumer culture in the near future. I once lived in a house and we hung a sign with "Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est" on the wall.

Bone by Jeff Smith
Yeah. This is a comic book but a masterful one that is often skipped by comic nerd because the art looks all Disney-ish. A great epic tale.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
For my money one of the funniest books ever written. But then again, I have always found the Apocalypse funny.

Bunny Modern by David Bowman
I actually like his first book Let The Dog Drive better, but that is in part because I read it when I was young and confused and it struck a cord. Bunny Modern is a slim book with weird ass ideas. Maybe it is not a great book but it is wholly original. Make sure you read the About the Font in the back.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Hilarious, cutting and still current. The suburban Great Gatsby. Proto-Simpsons.

Devil In The White City by Erik Larson
Fantastic tale of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and a serial killer. Non-fiction. This is my favorite time period. The clash of the industrial age, with all of its wonderful inventions and ambition, leaving a dark smear of soot and darkness. Also read Larson's Thunderstruck about the development of the wireless telegraph and also murder.

Pandora Radio: Songs about animals

They Might Be Giants radio gets you a lot of animal songs.

Super Short Stories. Pt 1.

(I've decided to challenge myself this afternoon. Different genres. 100 words or less. Feel free to give suggestions and feel free to be as specific as you want.)

Spot Speaks (horror)
It wasn’t the discovery that, after all these years, Spot could talk the disturb Jack the most. It was that Spot was saying grace over Jack’s half eaten leg.

Answers (sci-fi)
As Alice was led into the starship, she was in awe of the beauty of the moment. All those years wishing to have proof of life beyond the bounds of Earth and here it was. The alien, grey-green skinned, eyeless smooth face, asymmetrical limbs where there should have been limbs.

Alice geared herself. “Please,” she whispered, “I wish to know the answers to the Universe.”

“Crap,” squished the alien. “I was hoping you’d know.”

Subway Choice (romance)
They stood in the rain at the subway entrance. He shifted uncomfortably in the silence that had settled on them. She stared at their feet on the wet sidewalk. What was in her head, he thought. What is she thinking? All he wanted to do was kiss her. That was all that was in his mind. No thoughts of today or tomorrow, just the moment.

Without looking up, she gently touch a button on his coat. “I should go home.”

Damn. “Yeah. So should I.”

She tilted her head up, grinning. “Yeah. You should come home with me.”

Senator Obama – Xtreme!

(AP photo via Huffington Post)

I want to see...

• At least 45 people in the audience at Under St. Marks tonight
• Monday evening
• You wearing one of my shirts
• The perfect cracker
• A movie
• 29 hour days
The Silent Rave on Sunday
• Someone delivering me breakfast right now
• Lovecraft's Crafty Love: A Musical

Thursday, August 14

Ernest Borgnine: Doin' The Dirty, a dozen times a day


So I finally got around to really playing around with Pandora this week. I'm not a big music guy. I like music. (Really. Who doesn't like music? Saying you "like music" is like writing on your online dating profile that you "like kissing." Is there honestly anyone out there who doesn't like kissing? If so, THAT would be important to put on a profile. "I like deep discussions, dogs, and the Mets. Oh, I also hate kissing. Ick.") I just don't pay much attention to music. I hear something I like and I bop along to it. I don't really follow artists and their careers. I have a horrible memory for lyrics. I let a song hit me, wash through me and go out the other side. Or I will play one song over and over for two hours. So up to now Pandora has been a bit difficult. I just couldn't think of something to type into the field.

But Abra of Thank You, Robot discovered what we refer to as the "Phil Collins Hack." And, yes, Phil Collins radio is pretty darn sweet. It as if Mr. Collins is a nexus of awesomeness, a vortex of 80's/early 90's kick ass.

Pandora also has the band Pooka which I have been unable to find for years. They were a two women group from the early 80's. I first heard them as a barista at a coffeehouse/record store in Minneapolis. They came through town and played a set there. I believe there were three people in the audience counting me, the woman at the record counter and my friend Matt who was therw to play gin rummy with me. They were, um, über-cute and weird. Matt and I played their album tons in '93-'95 (often as background for roleplaying). Sadly their second album is all electronica and their Pandora station bores me.

But I mainly find myself listening to Liz Phair radio. I honestly don't want to know what that says about me. Actually I have a theory: I listen to music not as if I were the singer but as if it is being sung to me. And I like women with an edge and a sweetness and a sense of humor. And who swear.

Here's a fantasy I'm willing to share with the internets:
A smoky cabaret. I sit at a table over to the side, drinking a beer (even though there are people crowded up to the stage, dancing). The lead singer is tight on the mic stand, cupping the mic with both hands, holding it tight to her face. She's sweaty and has slightly running black eyeliner. Through most of the song her eyes are closed, the emotion of the song channeled through her hands and face. Until the last verse. Then she opens her eyes, locks them with me, and just sings. It's the sort of look you can't break away from for anything. Her band is wailing away, tearing up the night. The crowd a fury of dance and bodies. But across that void of chaos, there is a cord that attaches us to each other, her words shooting down it straight into me.

(Yes. We later have sex in the bathroom, but that's not the point.)

Del Close Marathon - Thank You, Robot!

More pictures of me. The full set can be seen here along with tons of great photos from Del Far. 35 shows worth. Monsterous!
My monologue during the opening. A touching moment. See, Jeremy is mocking me with fake tears in the back.

I think I may be chastising John Robert for making his attacking baby masturbate. Love those neck vanes.

All of my detectives smoke Sherlock Holmes-style pipes.

Me and my Christian sock puppet. I can't tel if Del Close is looking approvingly or thinking "Oh god. All my work led to this?" Matt looks amused at least.

Wednesday, August 13

Del Close Marathon - Veal!

I have tons of thoughts which will filter out in posts over the next few weeks. I'm still processing.

But until then pictures of me performing with Veal. There are too many good photos by Del Far over on Flickr to post them all. (Thank you so much, Del Far. You rock my socks.) Go look at your conveince. Right now here are some of my favorites of me.

Me trying to decide whether or not to get it on with the dangerous hot girl.

I swear it looks like we're doing Grease here.

I am convinced we are doing Grease.

From our group game. Andy is such a joy to match. Also Ashley loks like an angel on the left and on the right we have Frank. Man, I love Frank.

Me realizing sex is messy and icky. Not my best move ever. Kristen is so fun to play with because I know she's on board for anything. And her characters crack me up.

See? Sex is icky.

Doug and I re-enact Apollo 13. I bet I would work in an Apollo 13 reference in every show I did if I could.

This photo is actually out of order. It was from our opening. This is improv to me. Support, trust, surprise.

And it makes me feel like Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tuesday, August 12

Purely for keyword potential

This post is slightly pathetic. But I figure someone out there might search for Seth Lind with This American Life. They might add in Fear of Sleep or Thank You Robot or even The Shining.

If you did and ended up here... hi! You can see Seth and his "comedy troupe" this Friday at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, New York, NY) at 10:30pm. He'll be doing some long-form improv. So will the teams Jurassic Park and Iron Ruckus. Talk to Seth afterwards about This American Life and sleepless nights. Only $6.

(Yes, this is a plug.)

If you were looking for something else, I apologize. I'm off to eat sushi so yell at me later.

Monday, August 11

Barack Roll

(via Michelle D)

This American Nightmare

Go listen to This American Life episode "Fear of Sleep."
Specifically the last act (around minute 45).

DCM Body Count. Day 5...6...7...

Note: My notes are horrible and were written while drunk or sleep deprived or just while laughing really hard. And there were the times I just didn't take notes. And I think I lost half of my notes. So this is also by my (faulty) memory. Don't hate me if I miss some or get them wrong. Just correct me.

MySpace - body count: 3
Pedestrians snipered by the Mayor of Austin - 3
Police Chief Rumble - body count: 15 (approx.)
Assorted, especially by sniper at scene ends - 15 (approx.)
Baby Wants Candy - body count: 7 (?)
Bureaucrat dies - 1
Dog shot to become ghost so bureaucrat won't be lonely - 1
Everyone else shot - 5 (?)
The Satellites - body count: 2
Double suicide by cop and criminal during hostage situation - 2
Death By Roo Roo - body count: 2
(note: I only caught the tail end and could see or hear well so this may be very wrong)
Crazy man with retard strength by some sort of suicide - 1
Estranged father of UFC fighter shot repeatedly by diner owner - 1
Revolver - body count: 1
Neck broken by ninja master - 1

Total for Friday, Aug 8th: 30
DCM Total to Date: 63

Wicked Fuckin' Queeyah - body count: 3
Woman killed in McDonald's (I forget how she died) - 1
Mantzoukas, on backline, scene painted as "dropping dead" - 1
Improv Verité - body count: 3
Double homicide by gun - 2
Suicide by gun - 1
Thank You, Robot - body count: 5
Man nummed by babyies (O.S.) - 1
Suicide by gun so would not have to get nummed by babies - 1
Nummed by babies after they got into house - 2
Suicide by tampon loaded into a gun (O.S.) - 1
Bad Data - body count: 2
Teacher died of tuberculous and/or STD - 1
Grampa Pirate fell out of boat - 1
The Wilhelm - body count: 1
Suicide of janitor at law firm (gun) - 1
The Stamp and Coin Club - body count: 2
Boy with ball hit with car twice, dosed in oil, crush by R/C airplane - 1
Runway worker hit by airplane and/or bus - 1
Veal - body count: 1
Woman sucked out of airlock - 1
Scherer, Schiffmann & Schick - body count: 2
Deaths of Mae West and Mae East - 2
Improvised Shakespeare Company - body count: 10
By executioner (axe) - 2
By suicide INSTEAD of by executioner - 3
Faeries by disbelief - 3
Witch (I some how forget how) - 1
King beheaded by daughter/father of unborn child - 1
DeCoster - body count: 1
Disintegrated by robot - 1
Code Duello: Hamilton & Burr - body count: 2
Fake sabertooth taker by neck snap - 1
By duel - 1

Total for Wednesday, Aug 9th: 32
DCM Total to Date: 95

Ragnarock - body count: 5
Double suicide pact carried out by hanging while an a capella group sang "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" - 2
Run through with sword by bride for interrupting wedding - 3
Bedtime Stories for Kidnapped Children - body count: 3
Husband shot by wife - 1
Woman cut into tiny bits by husband after third party cuts off and steals her fake breasts - 1
Superficial high school girl gassed - 1
Beauty Love Truth - body count: 2
Stabbed with wooden stakes by alien - 2
Rogue Elephant - body count: 18 (aprox.)
Assorted murders in bad part of town - 18 (approx.)
Monkeydick - body count: 1
Rocco died at some point but I forget why or how - 1
5 Dudes - body count: 2
The boy who cried fire in Duane Reade shot during chess/bingo/Life/etc game - 1
Ironing board/Zach Woods - 1

Total for Friday, Aug 10th: 38
DCM Total to Date: 126

Sunday, August 10

Doctor, meet the Captain

"Yes, yes, Picard. You may have traveled through time on more than one occasion. Big whoop de doo.
I'm a mother fucking Time Lord!"

(Photo from The Guardian. Inspired by Neil Gaiman.)