Friday, July 31, 2009

Let's Ruin Dreams!

From John Robert Wilson Won't Let Me Live My Dreams
Me: A friend of mine would really like for you to ruin his dream. That's his dream! I don't want his dream to be ruined but I want him to have what he wants. I hope you can help.

JR: The problem with his dream is that it's self-referential in a way which removes it from the realm of properly falsifiable truth-claims. This doesn't make the statement true or false, but what you might call "linearly re-expressible," in the sense that the evaluation of the claim actually changes its value, at least in the mind of the evaluator, and eventually the process repeats in an endless loop! The truth-claim is therefore not any claim at all, but an empty set of words. So really your friend has no dream to ruin, and that is the saddest thing of all. UMMMMMMMMMMMM, CHUF CHUF CHUF CHICKA CHA CHA CHOO CHICKA DURRRRRRRRRRRR.

This was Kirk's dream. Sorry/welcome, Kirk.

So... did I win?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let's Go Mets?

Sarah: Do you want to go to the Mets game tomorrow?

(Everyone at her job is going to see the Mets play tomorrow as some sort of team-building/bonding experience.)

Kirk: Hmm... I dunno. (After several hours of hemming and hawing) OK.

Why the hesitation?
- I don't know anyone at her work, so that'd be odd.
- I'm not that into baseball. The first and last time I went to see a game was probably in the early '90s, some Florida Marlins exhibition game.
- There's a good chance it'll rain in the afternoon (it's raining RIGHT NOW), and as we all know, I'm made of sugar and will die if I get caught in the rain.
- Fear of the unknown.

Why say yes?
- So I can blog about it later.
- I've been told the new stadium is really nice and awesome.
- They have Shake Shack there.
- I want to meet Mr. Met. I really, genuinely do. Like, for serious, I really, really, really want to meet him and shake his hand.

Let's Stickers!

In gearing up for Dragon*Con (next month!), I ordered some updated Cakey stickers from the fine folks at

This year I shan't run out!

Oh, man, Dragon*Con, Dragon*Con. It's like my Xmas.

It's too soon to get psyched, but I AM PSYCHED.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let's Distant Worlds!

Sarah: Do you wanna go to a Final Fantasy concert in December?

Kirk: Yeah.

Sarah: It's in Chicago.

Kirk: OK.

Easy as that.

I'd go just to hear them play the opera song, possibly the greatest moment in Final Fantasy history.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's (Totally) Hell's Kitchen!

I take back what I said in May - I am TOTALLY watching this season of Hell's Kitchen.

The two-hour premiere was this week, and holy crap is it insane!

The clips on the site don't do the show justice, but see this guy above? At the end of the second episode, this former Marine just flipped out and was about to attack Gordon Ramsay. What a cliffhanger!

I was so shocked by the bizarro of it all (not to mention the near fight between Van the Texan Chef and Jean-Phillippe the Maitre'd, whom I always thought was a fictional character) that I had to ask my friend, a producer of the show, how much of this was fake and how much was real.

Her response: it's all real. Regarding the Marine's outburst, she said, "It was like everyone was shocked and silent in the control room because we had no idea what was happening. It was a crazy day."

I can only imagine.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let's Capture the Flag!

Saturday was the annual Capture the Flag game sponsored by the Company.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love games? I really do! I'm not very competitive, but I like to think about games and rules and strategies and plans. If we lived in some sort of comic book universe, I'd probably be a (mostly) harmless villain similar to the Prankster or Trickster or Riddler or even Arcade (who is pretty dangerous, actually), because I'm so obsessed with games. What this says about my personality, I don't wanna know.

On the other hand, another thing I'm obsessed with is fairness (I probably belong in, yes, HUFFLEPUFF). Games require rules, and the rules must be followed for the game to work. If you break the rules, you're destroying the game, and that's killing fun.

So boy did my dander get up when I started to perceive some unfairness in the setting up of Capture the Flag, in that the two organizers were also the heads of the Blue team. It's like running a race in Murderworld against Arcade, when he already knows the complete map, where the traps are hidden, what the goal is and the best way to get there. One of the sacrifices of planning a game is that you can't really then play it, you know? Or at least, in my unasked-for opinion, each organizer should head a different team.

With the Red Team's collective underdog hackles raised, I cooked up some strategies (a few of which got thrown out the window immediately, while a few were, I like to believe, somewhat effective), bought some supplies at the Bargain Stop (whistles: great idea; clothesline: not so much), and somehow ended up captain of the Red Team.

The pre-game talk hyped up splitting teams fairly in terms of athletic abilities and a li'l factor called "crazy." I never thought I'd be considered one of THOSE types, but I realize now showing up wearing work gloves, a Japanese kerchief on my head, shouldering a backpack full of tripwire, and inexplicably carrying a broom (which bothered more people than I ever would've expected), maybe I am a li'l crazy.

In a game that primarily consists of running around on a hot day, tempers will naturally flare, as both sides accused the other of cheating. I don't like to think of it as cheating so much as twisting the confines of the rules, and when there's a rule that says, "Unless specifically stated otherwise, if we didn't mention it, it's legal," that gives a lot of leeway. Like the Rebellion, I was prepared to take whatever advantage I could to defeat the Empire. Yeah, maybe a li'l crazy... when it comes to games.

What I learned during the course of the day is that everyone has a different idea of what crosses the line between fair and unfair. Duct tape with suntan lotion on it? I don't see a problem. It's more a mental barrier than a physical barrier, but others think differently. The use of water guns I thought would be expected and widespread, but only one person brought one and it seemed to upset everybody. Some folks on the Blue team had discussed bringing water balloons but nixed it because people weren't signing up to get wet, while I think it'd be a lot of fun to have a water balloon fight on a hot July afternoon. On the other hand, I think a squadron of bikes goes against the spirit of what is traditionally a game on foot.

But all bickering aside, the day ended on a 1-1 draw, which is an honorable way to finish with everyone on mostly good terms. And even when I got drawn into a post-game sniping match about the rules, Shannon wisely interrupted us with, "Yeah, but did you have fun?"

We had to admit we did.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's Birch 'n' Bear!

I got asked sort of last minute by good ol' Ruby Sneakers if I could do two-person improv set at her show tonight. And since my improm date/Hogwarts student was in a bind, I said yes. Also, her terrific suggestion of who I should ask to be my partner certainly helped, because it's this guy...

...the always wonderful Birch Harms!

However, I also added a stipulation. I didn't want to do a normal set, and requested that I could perform as this guy... bear puppet!

So come check out Birch and a Bear (along with the stand-up stylings of Lee Rubenstein, Matt Little, Rob Stern, Beth Appel, and the host Katey Healy-Wurzburg), tonight at The Lorelei!

The Lorelei - Sunday, July 19th at 8 p.m.
Parkside Lounge, Houston Street b/w Ave. B and C

PS: Be warned, sometimes this bear is incredibly foul-mouthed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Great Moments in Year of Yes #1: Let's Moving!

Yesterday I helped move some garbage out of what will eventually become the UCB Theatre's second stage. As I was carrying one of many heavy trash bags out to the dumpster, it reminded me of an incident from my past, and a particular Great Moment in Year of Yes...

January, 2003. I had just moved to New York City and was working nights as a financial proofreader. Thus, I had my days free to explore the city, and explore I did, since I had practically no friends and was half-mad with loneliness and lunacy.

One particular day I passed by a building where a group of people were carrying out odd things, including a podium adorned with skulls.

I stood and gawped for a moment, since they had a number of interesting and unusual theatrical props, and then someone asked me to hold a door for them, so I did, and then I ended up being given a box of something or other to put in the moving truck, and so I did, and before I knew it, I was helping these strangers move out.

(This has happened to me more than once, but I'll save those stories for later.)

This might seem odd, I know, but look, I had nothing to do with my day except walk around in the winter getting used to the city. This was... interesting and probably not dangerous, and as mentioned before, I take a mild pleasure in moving boxes back and forth, so this was no big deal to me.

For several hours I worked alongside these people, until finally someone asked me what I was doing there. I explained I was just some guy who got sucked in from the street. And, naturally, no one believed me. They thought it was a joke. As well it should be - this being a comedy theatre, wouldn't it be ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS to pretend to be some random guy?

Except I really was.

Everyone took this very well, surprisingly. They offered me soda and pizza, I remember now. And one person was really impressed, and he insisted that I take a free round of "classes" from this school. My memory is very hazy by this point, and it's hard to separate truth from fantasy from idealized remembrance, but I remember being like, "Uh, no thanks. What is this, a cult or a scam? I don't need no free classes."

And they laughed and said it was kind of like a cult or a scam, but I should sign up, what harm could it do? And since I didn't have to give a credit card number or anything, I figured, "Yeah... I've dealt with riskier situations before." (Again, a story for another time.)

So I signed up. The person recommended I take a Level One class with a Betsy or Ari, and Ari's Saturday afternoon class complemented my graveyard shift lifestyle, so I signed up.

And five years later, I'm still here... and performing regularly with Ari and Betsy.

It was a weird and exciting day, my first little adventure in the city, but one which definitely changed my life quite a bit. If I hadn't held that door, who knows where I'd be now? I'm glad I said yes.

There are a precious handful of moments in my life where I realized later there was a choice to be made and that the result would really, really, really affect my future. When the mood takes me, I'll blog about them. But carrying those garbage bags yesterday, it really brought me back to that cold January afternoon not so long ago.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let's Pancake Battle: Batter Blaster!

So I bought a thing of BatterBlaster and blasted up a batch of pancakes.

It's mildly interesting to make them, since it's like shooting out ReddiWip, only it's batter and you then cook it up on the griddle! Sad that I can't summon up more enthusiasm about such a novelty, but I have to be honest: it's only mildly amusing. And that's me being generous.

Maybe I was doing it wrong because the batter seemed to be a bit foamy, and the pancakes would sometimes have a skin similar to the flakiness of a croissant. I probably was doing it wrong, actually - Batter Blaster doesn't seemed to be made for silver dollar pancakes, just the big kind. So I made a few big pancakes, too, and they seemed to be a bit better.

The others reviews I'd read seemed to be in line with my batch: these pancakes lacked the fluffiness and airiness I've grown accustomed to. They were like a carpenter's dream: flat as a board and dying for a screw. What? I just mean they were flat.

"But how does it taste?"

In a word: Soulless.

Seriously. I was like, "What's missing here?"

And the answer is soul. These tasted like those frozen pancakes you can buy and eat and they're fine, but they lack that spark of life that is so great in homecooked food or anything bought from a fast food restaurant.

I ate them, but for the first time in a long time, I was not psyched about the pancakes.

Batter Blaster? More like Badder Blaster.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's Weekend Recap!

A big three days! So much to do, so little time, here's everything in bolded form.

Friday = shave and a haircut for the Hogwarts show. I brought the barbers this picture...

...and walked away looking a bit like Freddie Mercury. I'd forgotten how uncomforable it is to get a professional shave. It feels like they're just scraping off my bristles, and since I'm not the type of man who can shave up against the grain, it gets almost painful at times.

The reviews are mixed. Two people called it "cute," but others have advised I get rid of it. But for the time being [meaning until I'm in a situation where it would be inappropriate to look like Freddie Mercury], the moustache stays. This could be for a very long time, since I never do anything where such a look would be inappropriate.

The hilarious and kind-hearted Kate Spencer spent her birthday teaching her first ever yoga class, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

Faithful readers might remember my strained relationship with yoga, but this class was a delight. Difficult, sure, especially since I was probably the only beginner in the class, but I got through it and felt better afterward. I'm still a little sore, which makes me want to do more yoga.

As the song goes, it was the best time of my life. If I ever needed to conjure up a Patronus, I'd only have to think of this show.

Immediately after making this statement, Royal realized it was true.

(Here's the flickr set, for those who are curious.)

Street Fair!
On Sunday I was delighted to find a street fair right outside the apartment, so I spent some funny money on a 10-minute massage (not bad!), some corn (not bad!), lemonade (not bad!) and funnel cake (not great).

Even though they're all the same, I always walk through street fairs. But this one was different because it was right outside my apartment! So I could run around going "Street fair!" and buy a lot of weird and crazy food because I could wash my hands afterward.

I went swimming this morning. Swimming! With a moustache!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let's Publicity!

I'm a producer!

From TimeOut New York's Wizard Lovers' Guide to NYC
...Or put your prophecies on hold and cheer for your favorite Hogwarts house–Gryffindor or Slytherin–on Saturday 11, when members of the Hogwarts Improvisation Society battle it out at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (307 W 26th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, 212-366-9176; midnight–1am, $5). “My one requirement [for performers] was being a superfan—like, big enough to already own a costume,” says producer Kirk Damato. As for Potter-themed suggestions, Damato says “the best would be ‘hormones.’” And the worst? “‘Equus.’”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let's Release Party!

After that refreshing swim, I headed down to the Scholastic Store to enjoy their Deathly Hallows paperback release "party."

Unlike the gigantic, block-long bash held during the hardcover release, this was a smaller, casual affair. Just a few parents and their kids, with free crossword puzzles, word searches, a chance to build your own wand and potion, and the main event: the hourly trivia contest.

To be honest, I didn't want to play. OK, to be honest, I did. But I didn't want to play against kids. OK, I did want to play against kids, but I didn't want to be judged by the others in the store while doing so. It's embarrassing being the oldest person there who isn't a parent, but I witnessed a mom tie a six-year-old in the first contest, so it wouldn't be that awful, right?

I hung out in the back of the group (there were, say, a dozen people total, most of them kids, three or four of them teenagers, and me, the guy whose nine-year-old daughter was too sick to come but she asked him to enter and win the trivia contest for her), which turned out to be a strategic advantage, because I got asked last. By the time I was given my first question, we'd already lost about two or three kids, the young ones who didn't really know they were in a contest.

And the questions continued... and continued... I couldn't believe my luck - being asked Mad Eye Moody's first name? Easy! While the hard questions that I'd forgotten (the exact address of the Order of the Phoenix HQ) were thrust upon other, bewildered children.

In the end, there were three of us left - one was a pre-teen girl with her friend, and the other a young boy who had lost the earlier contest. I started to breathe easy, because I thought as finalists all three of us would get prizes.

This boy, to put it bluntly, was a nerd. If you were to talk in a stereotypical "nerd" voice, you would sound cooler than this kid. But he knew his Harry Potter... though he did get lucky twice, and would jump up and down and shout that it was just a wild guess, and if he met 10-year-old Kirk, they probably would've been friends. The girl didn't belong in the final three.

I thought, "OK, let's knock out this girl and then I'll concede to the nerd," and had my chance to succeed, too. You would have to name a character, and then the next player would have to say a character whose name begins with the first letter of their last name. Rubeus Hagrid -> Harry Potter -> Petunia Dursley -> Draco Malfoy, etc.

Given the letter P, I said, "Percy Weasley," and no one could think of a character whose name began with a W. I thought I had won, as both the girl and the nerd couldn't think of anyone, but then I had to come up with a suitable character... and I couldn't, either. D'oh! I forgot about Winky the House Elf or Wilhelmnina Grubbly-Plank, and so the contest continued to the very difficult three-star questions.

And that was the end of me. I'd only read Deathly Hallows a single time, during a feverish three-day period, and my retention was weak, at best. I could only recall one item left to Harry in Dumbledore's will, the girl got the next question wrong, and the contest went to the nerd.

Which is good, he wanted to win. First prize was a bag, and I thought, "Eff that, I have a much better bag, it's from the Gotham Girls Roller Derby. I don't need a new one," but second prize was a pin. And though I normally loathe pins, it would've been cool to wear at the Hogwarts Improvisation Society.

But there was no third prize! Bullshit! I got what every participant got - a poster featuring a mash-up of all seven covers. And... that's fine, but what good is it? I wanted a pin!

(Update: This is the pin. Seeing it now, I don't love it so much.)

I had to refrain myself from waiting for the next contest to try and win that pin. I thought of the memorable words of Dr. Henry Jones Sr., "Let it go, Indiana," and so I left, head held high, with a suitable parting gift for my imaginary daughter.

Let's Swimming! (The Recap)

We did it!

Waking up was surprisingly easy... I got six hours of sleep, so maybe Sarah's on to something with this theory of sleeping in time-multiples of three. There was none of the usual "Tired, Nanny" nonsense that I experience every day. (When I'm tired, I talk like a Muppet Baby.)

So what was it like at Astoria Pool? Kind of weird!

There didn't appear to be any changing stations, and I'm still a bit shocked by moments of male nudity. In Florida, we just don't do that. In New York, everyone's naked all the time. The locker room was mostly empty, so the views of penii were few and far between, but there was still the moment of, "Oh, is this the way it works? ...OK, then."

I was glad to find Lauren once I got outside, since the layout is confusing to a n00b. They roped off half the pool, then had signs designating "Slow," "Medium," and "Fast." Actually, that's not confusing at all, but there was also a sign-in table and I didn't know what that was about, and is there any etiquette to entering the pool and starting to do laps?

Turns out not really. Lauren put on her bathing cap and opted for the Medium lanes, while I stuck to the safety of the Slow lanes. I felt more comfortable competing with the old guy walking in a brace. Not that this is about competition, but it was nice being speedy in the Slow lane as opposed to the idiot who doesn't belong in the Medium lane.

The water was colder than I'd have liked, but now that I think about it, it was perfectly fine. It's a shame the prime afternoon hours are wasted on the youth and everyone else, as that's my favorite time to swim.

And swim I did! Or didn't... to be honest. I got tired so fast! And then I just started walking the width of the pool (apparently 165 feet), but pushing really hard with my arms. There's no shame in it, I tell myself. I just have to get my strength back.

I "swam" about six laps before calling it quits. If my calculations are correct (and they probably aren't), that's 1980 feet.

Lauren was wiped out by that time, too, so we dried off and looked at the sign-in table. Everyone has a card, and if you swim X amount (it might be 25 miles, which is the length of Manhattan or something... or I could be 100% wrong on all this, I should've read more about it), you get a free t-shirt proving you are a dedicated swimmer.

I like t-shirts, and I'd like to win this one! But I don't think I can. 25 miles? That's, literally a billion feet! At my current rate, I'd have to swim for 66 days, which is too many days before the pool closes at the end of summer.

Also, no way I can do this every day. Maybe every other day. I'd like to, at least. I know my arms will be all noodle-like and dead by the middle of this afternoon, so I'll need a day to recuperate.

So no free t-shirt, but yes free swimming! Take that, Negatory M. Chopbuster!

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to be the oldest person at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows paperback release.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Let's Swimming?

I love swimming, but don't have a swimming pool! What do I do?

Answer: The Astoria Pool, the oldest and largest public pool in NYC. And it's (relatively) close to my house!

Lauren, my friend and fellow Astorian, has talked about starting a swimming regiment, and I've expressed interest. My current exercise routine of weighing myself on the Wii Fit and then eating Cheese Puffs certainly isn't enough, so I gotta add something else.

But she wants to do early morning swims. Like, leave the house at 7 a.m. And that is hard. I'm allergic to waking up early. And anything different scares me. Like, I'll have to walk to the pool (I walked there this weekend, it isn't bad), but then I have to figure out where to put my clothes and how to work the locker and then swim amongst strangers.

And I dunno if I'll want to do laps, because that pool is damn big, or if I'd rather just jump up and down in the water. Or if it'll be too cold and I'll want to go home. And do I have to interact with Lauren? Are we swimming buddies? Or are we just there to make sure the other person shows up and doesn't laze out? Can I just jump up and down?

Also, despite years of living in a pool, I'm not that great of a swimmer. I never learned to hold my breath underwater and I don't swim properly, I just dope around and scream. Oh, and is it inappropriate to scream? Not too loudly, not enough to bother people in their houses, but just loud enough to be like, "Whoa, I'm in the water!"? Eh, I already know the answer to that one.

So... tomorrow. I'll do it. I'll do it at least once. Year of Yes. But this one does scare me.

Let's Gerbilz! (II)

Integrating the gerbils hasn't been easy. A week-long process never is - you just want it to be over! But it's like hatching a dragon egg or making 40 pancakes, you gotta have patience.

But seriously, the prospect has been a bit daunting. They've settled into their sectioned tank pretty easily, and are content to live out their normal gerbil lives, but whenever we put Swiper with one of the boys, it never works out.

Things might be OK for a little bit, but then they'll keep following Swiper, smelling his butt and/or balls, and that obviously annoys the older gerbil, and pretty soon, they're scuffling.

If you've never seen gerbils fight (and I hope you never do), it's very cartoon-like in appearance, because they roll around in a quick ball, and you can practically see the dust flying and the little asterisks and curse marks. Also, though, it can get very bloody and deadly.

Very depressing. Maybe Swiper is too set in his bachelor ways, or the young'uns are too aggressive, but after a week, we didn't know what to do. Try for another seven days? Give up, send them back to their old houses? Kill Swiper (no)?

They say once they start sleeping next to each other, it's OK to remove the wire divider, but they always sleep on opposite ends of the cage. When we switch them over, they'll sleep in each other's nests, but that doesn't say much.

Also, leaving the apartment has always been a bit dangerous, because they spend most of their waking hours trying to escape - scratching at the glass, chewing at the divider, digging at the wire, trying to jump over the divider, digging under the divider - and it'd really suck to come home to find they'd broken through the border and someone got killed.

And, yesterday, that's exactly what happened... for the most part. Throughout the week they'd scratched a hole through the wire, which seems impossible, but never underestimate the power of a gerbil. And we'd tape it up, but they'd work on the tape, leading to constant re-taping. Once Swiper got stuck on the tape and that was weird and scary.

So we come home yesterday after an outing and the tape is down, the hole is bigger than ever... and everything is cool. They're still on their separate sides, all is fine in the gerbil world, but they now have access to each other.

So we're wondering, "What happened?" (A question we asked when we came back from Florida and found Swiper had escaped and was living underneath the refrigerator.) Did one poke through and did they fight and learn to respect each other? Or was it totally calm? After some discussion, we decided to lift the divider. And there was some hesitant sniffing of the balls, but then everyone settled down.

And it was a lot like a new roommate moving in. They gave Swiper his space, he gave them theirs, they'd check in every now and then, but then go back to eating/chewing/scratching at the glass. We watched them for a good five hours with no fights. A few tense moments, but all was resolved with the usual peeping and boxing/grooming.

The true sign, though, would be if they slept in a pile, and it didn't look like that would happen. As we sighed and went to sleep, each went to their separate corner. A little sad and a little funny, 'cause we could tell they were all very sleepy, but wouldn't go to bed. They were just too excited. And one would fall asleep but then the others would wake him up. It's like a little gerbil sleepover!

And in the morning we awoke to find a single sleeping pile of gerbils. They'd all slept together. They're family!

Who knew gerbils lead such interesting lives?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Let's Batter Blaster?

Anyone ever heard of this stuff?

I came across Batter Blaster at the Whole Foods, and almost got one, because it's good to buy things that you want. But then I thought I ought to see what the Internet has to say about it first.

A quick Moogle search showed that a lot of people like Batter Blaster, but then there was a complaint that the pancakes are crepe-y, not fluffy enough, and might have an aerosol aftertaste.

Most troubling, because I'm on a quest to enjoy all the pancakes of the world, and I prefer mine without the hint of chemical.

Nevertheless, I think I'm gonna buy a can the next time I go to Whole Foods. In fact, now I really regret not getting one, I was right there, it was in my hands, and I could be eating pancakes right this very minute.