Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seriously, Let's Stab!

BTW, if anyone is interested in taking that rapier and dagger class with me, please let me know.

The usual suspects who might have said yes (DeCoster, the people I role-play with, my long-suffering girlfriend, Dick Cavett, etc.) have all declined, and I'd much rather stab someone I know than a stranger.

Note: It's about $75 and although they provide a helmet, you should wear a thick, protective sweatshirt or the equivalent, since I assume you don't own a proper fencing jacket.

Let's Grandma!

One of the things about living in a world full of entertainers and would-be entertainers is that there's a lot of talkin' the talk but not so much walkin' the walk. Like, I hear this phrase a lot: "I'm gonna do a show about ______?" And then, 99% of the time, it never comes to pass.

That's life, though, and I'm guilty of this as well. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything we want. But when it DOES happen... well, I've got a special place in my heart for when people put a plan together and make their idea a reality.

Case in point: Grandma and the F*ck Yous: Last Show Ever!, the Riot Grrl show written by my friends Lynn and Betsy. We had our second test performance last night, and I have to say it went pretty well.

They'd been working on it (mostly IMing in character) for about thirty years, but it's one thing to just joke around, then another to write an entire show. And that alone is commendable! But people forget that there's a lot more work involved: casting nine people (which is pretty big for a comedy show), organizing rehearsal schedules, gathering 30+ props and transporting them to the theater, and finally making sure there's an audience. And most important, keeping it fun for everyone involved. This is comedy, after all, and if you're not having fun doing it, then there's no point.

So good on ya, Grandma and the F*ck Yous. In the words of Dora the Explorer, "We did it!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Stab Each Other!

I was very excited to learn about this event happening on Saturday...
This workshop will offer students a chance to explore the Rapier & Dagger play of Swetnam as a martial art rather than be in the format of a traditional stage combat class. The play will be brisk and sudden, contact WILL happen.
Swordplay that isn't staged? Yes, please! It's been literally hundreds of years since I got to use a sword for fighting, so you better believe I signed up for this mammajamma. March has been a dull month, blog-wise, so I figure it'll be nice to kick off April with the noble and worthy science of defense (read: violence).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's Twilight?

I'm getting a lot of conflicting advice regarding the last two books in the Twilight series.

On the CON side, Omaha Jesse says, "PLEASE don't cave like I did, and waste your time finishing the series. The last book is such a joke. If you were frustrated by the lack of plot, and her deciding to throw in a few plot elements 2/3 of the way through the first book, then you will most definitely be pissed and want to burn the 4th book after reading it.

"Also, Stephanie Meyer treats the audience like they are functionally retarded."

Whereas Heather leads the PRO side with: "Kirk, please read the rest, if only so I can see you go face-meltingly apoplectic at the last one like I did. Really, I could not shut up about those books by the end because they made me so fuuuuuurious. But
it was a delicious fury."

So I'm torn. I enjoy hating these books, and they've given me more pleasure than The Elegant Universe, which I'm currently trying to read so I won't appear functionally retarded in front of my scientist friends.

Life is too short for bad things, but I've always been kind of keen on crappy experiences as long as they're interesting (case in point: one unforgettable visit to The Holy Land Experience). Twilight, for all its flaws (of which there are many), is at least interesting BECAUSE it's so shitty.

Eh, who am I kidding? I know how this is gonna end. I'll read them, eventually. Probably when someone lends them to me or when I see them at the library.

Don't cry for me, I'm already dead.

Friday, March 20, 2009

(Tell Me Why) I Don't Like Twilight

Last night, while riding to WrestleSlamMania IV tech rehearsal, I finished the second book of the Twilight series. And as I turned the page to discover it was over (the dozens of remaining pages are a preview for #3), I looked up, my mouth popped open in this comical look of surprise, and saw my stupid reflection in the subway window.

That's when I realized I'm an idiot for reading the Twilight series.

The first book was incredibly bad. Like, the writing was laughable. And I'll cut Stephenie Meyer a lot of slack since it's her first book, but it sounds like it was written for a middle school audience. If Christ died for the sins of the world (AND HE DID), a lot of his suffering had to pay for the shittiness of Twilight.

These books MUST belong in the Young Adult section, right? I have never cringed (literally cringed) at bad writing before, but this got to me...

"Aren't you hungry?" he asked, distracted.

"No." I didn't feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full -- of butterflies.

Seriously, that's something I would have Duncan write in an episode of Cakey!, and Duncan's intelligence is retardedly below average.

If I was smarter, I would've marked all my favorite lines (one about how the main character is so meek, she makes the Cowardly Lion look like the terminator... yet the word "terminator" isn't capitalized for some reason), just to relive the wonder.

But wait! There's more! I also hate the characters. They're both sulky, self-obsessed, whiny, and though the protagonist is supposed to be like this ugly duckling, EVERYONE falls in love with her ALL the time. Yeah, buddy!

It makes me imagine a girl who has a boring, plain, miserable Mormon high school life, and she thinks, "Wouldn't it be nice if a vampire fell in love with me? A beautiful vampire? And everyone likes me? And we have adventures and fall in love? Sigh!" And then she writes a book that the world inexplicably goes gaga over.

I get it, wish fulfillment is fun, and we're all guilty of it to some degree, but come on!

And then I guess their "love" (for the first two books at least) seems to be so much teen angst and fighting over "I want to be a vampire!" "Never!" that I wonder, when do these two have fun together? What do they enjoy about each other? Other than the LoveLoveLoveLoveHeSmellsGoodThisIsLOVE that gets hammered into us time and time again, what do they have in common? When do they make each other laugh? How can she not be annoyed with him being a prick 19 pages out of 20?

I just don't get it, but then again, I'm not 14 anymore. And I feel bad for the youth of today who might take these two as role models for what relationships and romance should be like. Being a teenager is ridiculous. It is. That's life. But this is such a caricature of a caricature that it makes the Zach Morris/Kelly Kapowski love affair look like the Corey Matthews/Topanga Lawrence relationship.

Oh, and there are these references to Romeo and Juliet, and I'm like, "Really? You're gonna go there? You're gonna quote Shakespeare? And put yourself into Juliet's shoes and throw in another character as Paris and gagagooey?"

Last gripe (and I hate to be a hater, I'm more of a celebrater): The books are about 66% angsty crap, then 2/3 of the way in, it turns into an adventure. Like the editor was like, "Uh-oh! We forgot to add a story! Throw in a danger!" And it either gets taken care of or it doesn't, who cares, they like to sit and hold each other, and maybe, MAYBE something will happen next time.

So what does this have to do with the Year of Yes?

As I stared at my stupid face in the subway window, outraged over the weak-ass ending (weaker even than Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Hagrid gets a standing ovation for... not being guilty?), I decided that enough's enough.

I'm not gonna read the rest of the Twilight series. It'll be hard, because I really enjoy hating them, but I can't do this to my mind and soul and imagination. It the exact opposite of only eating Dunkin Donuts waffle sandwiches.

Sure, I'll read the Wikipedia entries so I know what happens, but I'm not gonna waste any more time and eye strain on Bella Swan, my least favorite protagonist ever (is that a true statement? I think it is! I can't think of someone else that I'm like, "Who the eff are you, and why should I care about your so-called suffering?").

Sometimes Yes means No, and in this case, I'm freeing myself from the drek that's happening in Forks, Washington.

(I still might put the movie on my Netflix, though. I just have to see how it turned out.)

And before you say "Haters gotta hate," Stephen King agrees with me! And that man wrote a helluva great vampire story.

Oh, and his interview reminded me of another thing: They can kiss, but (because good girls don't, I imagine), they can never have sex. They never talk about her getting all hot and bothered, because this is for kids, after all. Even if vampires are about sex, they downplay the passion of their kissing so it's really pure Love and it makes me wonder if the author had any experience with making out as a teen.

It's almost like all the awesome and vibrant possibilities of a vampire love affair have been neutered by Mr. Revise of Jack of the Fables (an odd reference, I know) and turned into this treacly, weak-ass, PG-rated poem with hearts dotted over the I's, so that it no longer has any power or meaning at all.

No, thanks!

So Say We All!

Terry: Interested in a Saturday morning/afternoon Battlestar Galactica Brunch? I could make a waffle sandwich.

Kirk: I would be VERY interested, even if you are not serious about the waffle sandwich.

Finally, a Year of Yes moment that I can really sink my teeth into. Gagagooey! (I also like to use that phrase for anything involving dentists or taffy or vampires... see next post.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hey (Who's That Playing?)

My fingers are burning, which means I pulled out the ol' Seagull and started playing guitar.

I was mostly inspired by the disastrous American Idol results show. Any time someone I really like gets voted off one of my stories, I get very upset. Who will I root for when the Hobbit-eyed girl gets booted from America's Next Top Model? What's the point of The Amazing Race when the deaf kid and the redheads are gone? Reality TV is nothing without honeys and people overcoming adversity, since it's so rarely about talent (exception: The Mole).

So despite wanting to throw my waffle sandwich at the judges' table, I held back and ate through my tears, then decided to pour my pain into some music. Also, the song sung by Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis ("I Told You So") was pretty, and it made me want to be just like them.

I was also pretty psyched to see "Tiny Doctors" added to the TMBG four-chord page. After playing for about fifteen minutes, I was able to do the few chords I knew without looking at my hands. They sound jangly, but the little muscle memory I created last year is still with me.

I wish there was more to report, but Year of Yes moments in March come few and far between. WrestleSlamMania on the 21st? Gotham Girls Roller Derby season opener on the 28th? Grandma and the F*ck Yous: Last Show ever on the 30th?

Sure, all that's happening, but I spend most of my lonely days playing with gerbils, revising DZ chapters, watching Disney films (still got The Little Mermaid and Monsters Inc. sitting here) and eating waffle sandwiches. Which isn't bad, but it isn't exactly blog-worthy, you know?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tooth or Consequences (Gerbil Style)

Some people think I'm kidding about this, but we have pet gerbils. Three of them: Swiper (the oldest), Rowdy and Chewie (brothers).

Earlier this week, Chewie fell off the couch or TV table. This has happened before; he's kind of stupid and sometimes misgauges his jumps and... accidents happen, no matter how hard you try to take care of them. I expect it's similar with human children, too.

His teeth got messed up (see below) and he was having trouble chewing (which is vital for a gerbil, because they have to grind down their ever-growing teeth), so yesterday I took him to the vet.

It was pretty stressful for him. I felt bad. He was fine until the examination, but then he freaked out at being held so tightly. Sometimes he'd escape from the vet and jump out of his hands, and I was afraid he'd fall off the table and onto the floor. Man, that would've sucked.

It's never fun seeing a pet get scared, and there's nothing you can really do about it. At least with a dog, you can comfort them and be like, "It's ok," but I don't think gerbils have that level of comprehension. He'd just scatter and desperately look for someplace to hide, and then get picked back up.

They decided to gas him (what?!) and grind down his lower teeth with a drill - that's supposed to be safer than just clipping them. So I was told to hang out in the waiting room while they did the mini-surgery, even though I wanted to watch.

(While examining his mouth, they used this light which illuminated his whole mouth, kind of like sticking a flashlight into your mouth and making your teeth glow. It was pretty neat, and Chewie didn't seem fazed by it at all. So I wanted to watch more gerbil surgery.)

So I hung around until the doctor called me in. I wish he had prefaced his speech with, "Chewie is all right. He didn't die," because his tone and the story made me think the worst had happened.

Instead, it was just something sort of bad that happened. Chewie had snapped out of his delirium, right in mid-grind, and he jumped out of the doctor's hand/whatever contraption they had him in. The drill cracked one of his upper teeth (it later either fell out or was cracked so high we can't see it), and cut his mouth, but at least the bleeding stopped. And so the vet decided to use the tooth-clipper (they got rid of 30-40% of his bottom teeth. That's a lot!) after all.

So Chewie was one-toothed, half-drugged, bleeding in da mouf, but alive. Really, the only thing that seemed to bother him was that his fur was wet (gerbils hate that!).

He's 30% lighter than his brother, which isn't good. I dunno if he's just been thin since the first accident, or if he's lost a lot of weight this past week, so I spent a lot of time this morning feeding him by hand. It's still hard for him to chew food, but I've made sure he swallows his seeds down. And he spends a lot of time sleeping, which isn't abnormal. They're pretty lazy.

I think he was staring wistfully at the toilet paper roll in his cage (they love chewing those things), but he didn't seem to be up for it. Just yet.

So get well, Chewie. You did good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let's Barkada!

Traditionally, March has been a weak-ass month for Years of Yes (last year it was the month with the least blog posts), and it looks like I'm following the pattern in 2009.

It's not entirely my fault, I just haven't been doing much so far, besides eating those waffle breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts. They're only $3.24 (probably a dollar extra if you drink coffee, which I don't), and I've kept pretty busy purchasing, eating, and reminiscing about these sandwiches. They're not that good. The waffles are too damp. They should be crispier.

But today, however, I'm doing a reunion show of sorts for an all-Asian (or half-Asian) improv group called Barkada (that's Filipino for "group of friends" or "clique," depending on the context). We're doing a set, after a break of maybe two years, at a benefit for the Asian American Writers' Workshop, because why not? It's fun to say Yes, and I've always enjoyed improvising with these fine and funny Asians.

Here's the details:

Comedy Night @ the Asian American Writers' Workshop
The Workshop 16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor
(btwn Broadway & 5th Avenue)
7 p.m.; $5 suggested donation; open to the public
Featuring stand-up by: Sheela Shrinivas, Helen Hong,
Jen Kwok, Kevin Nadal and Ali Wong

Now if you'll excuse me, I am off to Dunkin Donuts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Dizney Zombies got over 3,000 hits yesterday, mostly due to a shout-out on io9.com (thanks again, Chris!). So that was weird. Things got a lot bigger a lot faster than I expected.

I stopped reading the comments pretty quickly, as they just make me antsy. Most people don't understand yet what I'm trying to go for, not "Whoa, undead Donald Duck is teh best!" but a "Damn, that would be really, really horrible and sad" sort of mood. It makes me glad I took Sarah's advice to not allow comments on my story (though if anyone has any feedback, I'm glad to take it in person or via email).

And I tried to stop thinking about any lingering cease-and-desist letters, too, but that's gonna always be in the back of my head until I finally get one, the story ends, or someone buys it and I retire to Kokomo.

It's weird, I quickly turned, at least in the eyes of the sort of people who leave comments on the Internet (and those are the most important people of all), from a real person to a nameless "they." Like I'm The Man or some corporate shill or something.

Very strange.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let's Meatless March: The Recap

I ate a lot of frozen food.

Mostly from Morningstar Farms (whose website tells you to "See Veggies Differently") or from Amy's Kitchen.

I especially enjoyed the Morningstar products, because I like any company whose name has a connection to the devil, and because they make a mean mini corndog. They tasted just like the real thing, but with, like, one-third the fat! And I could say the same for their chik'n nuggets and sausages. So I ate a lot of that.

Also, cheese. I used to think I was lactose intolerant, but maybe not. I'm doing all right with that awful Alfredo sauce in a jar, at least.

Compared to the hardest thing I ever had to give up (playing on the swings, when I was in first grade), living without meat for 28 days was pretty easy. Not that I didn't crave it. I did. I lost a lot of my appetite (not actual, physical hunger, but my psychological desire for food), and stopped getting psyched about meals.

A meal without meat seemed to be less filling, like getting a lot of appetizers insted of a main course. I was always aware of that missing, vital ingredient, something hearty and tangible that I could tear at with mah teef and eat with humorous and numerous annoying noises.

When I'd smell the street vendor carts with their cooking chicken, or when I'd fast-forward through a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken on Battlestar Galactica, I'd remember and sigh and think about what sort of big, delicious, stomach-killing meal I'd enjoy on March 1st.

And eventually... I sort of got used to vegetarianism. It's March 2nd and I still haven't eaten any meat (my excuse yesterday was because it was a busy day and I didn't want to get sick, today I just haven't eaten anything yet because I'm trying to lose three pounds by sunset). And I don't feel any pressing need to. The appetite's mostly diminished.

Like, sure, one day I'm gonna go to the tea place and get that Irish bacon. And I really want to have BBQ with some choice friends someday soon. But I think I'm over the hill on feeling the need to have it with every meal.

I'm not in the mood for a cheeseburger, at least, and that's something I thought would never happen.