Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let's Maine! (The Recap)

Back from Maine, but I've already posted the best part: that puking episode we experienced on the ride up from NYC. But then again, nothing could ever top that story.

Other highlights!

- Walking the breakwater in Rockland! It's a 7/8-mile walk out into the water, which equals 959 slightly uneven stones (I counted on the way back). I did this all by myself while Sarah was at her uncle's wedding, and it was pretty fun. Like, I got this sense of accomplishment for having done it, and when I reached the end of the breakwater (where there's that lighthouse), I pumped my arms, victory-style, for a whole minute.

- Eating at a combination KFC/Taco Bell, because I'm just like you, America.

- Shopping at Renys, "your favorite Maine department store." I came very close to buying this 30 Rock 2009 calendar for fifty cents, but decided against it.

- Since the Sunday rains ruined the Common Ground Country Fair (which was my Maine reason for visiting... also, please see what I did there), we just drove up and down US 1, which made me want to drive up or down the entire US 1 from Maine to Florida, and see all the sights there are to see. Points of interest included Heavenly Bean and Perry's Nut House, which naturally has a mummy on display.

- Eating at Moody's Diner. Split a seafood platter (still 0-3 for getting a lobster roll while in Maine) and a very good piece of four-berry pie. "When I get hungry, I get Moody" said a sign in the diner, and I could appreciate that little bit o' wordplay.

- On the ride home, this baby in front of us kept saying the word "fuuuck" whenever she saw a truck. She also 1) threw broccoli on Sarah's shoe and 2) pulled the hair of the girl sitting in front of her. Still, this was no puke-tastrophe. Also, this old lady sitting next to us hummed offkey the entire trip from Maine to Boston, culminating in "Amazing Grace."

- Sitting in the front seats of the upper level of the Boston-NYC MegaBus. It was pretty cool! I alternately felt like I was in some motion-simulator ride or Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies, because we were up so high.

It's actually only that interesting while in Boston and NYC. The big stretch of highway in-between, while offering several sights worth seeing (mostly into other people's cars), gets rather redundant after a while.

And that was Mainely all that we did.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Let's Maine!

Oh, yeah, we're in Maine for the weekend. Wheee!

Quick story, the girl sitting in front of us on the bus threw up on this guy. It was pretty nuts. It wasn't a lot of puke, mostly water-puke, and if the guy hadn't stood up so quickly, I would've thought she just spilled some water or opened a bubbly soda, judging from the sound.

What is funny is that this guy was a very nice-but-weird kid who was overly personal and friendly and so I knew he'd had a rough week and had his heart recently broken and lost his bus ticket and he borrowed a pen from me and then he went to sit next to this girl after a while and they were talking for a bit until she threw up on him.

What is funnier is that he'd also just lent her his phone and the person picked up right after she started puking and so she had to deal with that while trying to deal with the puke.

I think she was expecting that she'd puke, because she was like "I warned you that would happen!" and she happened to have 1) a garbage bag and 2) an entire roll of paper towels with her, so she was sort of ready for the puke.

But she was very apologetic and embarrassed and the guy was very nice and made a joke about it, and all the while I had to sit silently behind them and not laugh and point and do a dance like I wanted to. Instead, I just mimed puking every now and then.

Oh, Maine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let's Sucker's Game?

Where has the month gone? Where are the snows of yesteryear? Have I really done nothing all month?

In a word, yes and no.

Basically, what I've been up to is this: making moneyz. And not in the fun way, just in working for The Man. And that's not very much fun to blog about, because you can't get too specific lest The Man be reading.

Still, though, my unemployment is winding down. We've had a good, long run, but I have to start thinking ahead. Some day, my savings will deplete, and one cannot live on Disney stock alone. In these troubled times it's probably wise to take in some additional sources of income, right?

So after getting two part-time offers for work, I said Let's Yes to both.

The first is teaching improv at a certain college that I've probably mentioned elsewhere on this blog, and the second is closed captioning at a certain company I've definitely not mentioned before. Nothing big, just helping out once or twice a week.

But... I got to caption this performance, which I loved!

(I like this version much more than the official video, just because it sounds a bit more crazy - although in reality, it's probably just due to Lady Gaga being out of breath - and so desperate. Mmm, crazy and desperate and crippled. Also, I really like the word "Gaga.")

So while working minimal hours, I've come to the conclusion that working for The Man is a sucker's game. 'Cause you ain't never gonna win. And I've gotten some flack about that opinion (mostly from people who probably feel trapped in the same game), but I can't help but feel it's true.

Like, unless you're taking steps toward whatever your true goal/desire is, you're just spinning wheels and punching clocks and then it's three years later and you're still working for the Man. Sure, you've got some more money in the bank, but you also lost three precious years.

I think of the folks who eschewed the traditional 9-5, lived a life less luxurious and stable (and it sucks to lose insurance), but were able to focus full-time on their art or craft or schooling or whatever it was. It's a sacrifice.

And I'm lazy, I've barely done anything with my free time (remember these goals for 2009? The only one I accomplished was going to DragonCon again. That one about doing something TV-related? Oh, the shame of it all.), imagine how much less I'd get accomplished if I had to sacrifice most of my day for The Man?

It's baffling and self-indulgent, but at the same time, I spent the first few years in NYC working a lot (for a while on the midnight shift), building up some cash, buying some Disney stock, and learning some skillz, so one day I could be like this.

Now instead of "struggling," I'm... "middling," I guess, and can spend my days getting sent out on auditions, writing, or (more likely) being lazy, and then I can supplement my income by coaching improv at night, which is work that I really enjoy and care about. So that's a nice step forward. Not the biggest step forward (which would be instant fame and fortune... or just fortune), but it's at least a step in a direction.

There's probably some middle ground, too, somewhere. Maybe working for the Man but also following your dreams. Would that be wise? Or just wishy-washy? Both? Neither?

Beh, I don't have the answers. I just wanna repost this ol' gem:

...except maybe I'd add an asterisk that reads: "But do as little of it as possible while you take steps toward doing what you really wanna do."

That works, right? God, I hope so.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Let's Fantasticks!

I've been lazy about this, but tonight I'm finally gonna take advantage of the 20 at 20 Off-Broadway ticket thing and go see The Fantasticks.

Odd to think that almost exactly 11 years ago, I was in this show. That's really weird.

Over a decade? Where does the time go? Where are the snows of yesteryear? How is September almost over?

On a whim, I pulled out some old production photos, and criminy! As Julie said, "Everyone's so young!"

And you know what they say: You're only young once... and that was it.

Here's me, halfway through putting on my makeup. So skinny! Still wearing white undershirts! And whatever happened to that camera?

In retrospect, I find it very funny that, Cesar Romero-style, I kept my facial hair beneath the whiteface. And no one had any problem with it or told me, "Sorry, you have to shave."

I played The Mute, which is an interesting role... Odd to think that it's one of the most satisfying parts I've ever played.

The whole musical is very satisfying, actually: it's simple and pretty and graceful and is just a harp and a piano and (maybe) some drums, and it's just about a Boy and a Girl who fall in love, which is kind of the essence of all musicals, right?

Also, it was used in the series finale of Cakey!, as shown here (and that's me playing the piano at the end):

Seriously, it's a beautiful song, and a beautiful show.

"Try to Remember"? I always do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reflections of Dragon*Con (III)

It's hard to believe DragonCon ended over a week ago. My head's still in Atlanta, I haven't caught up on all the post-con stuff I gotta do, and my back still hurts from that fat-ass Cakey. Then last night I used some of the hotel shampoo/conditioner I liberated and the smell instantly brought me back. Madness.

Oh, hotels. A good hotel is vital, since it's your base of operation. Also, if you do several costume changes throughout the day, you don't wanna have to walk very far in the Hotlanta sun. Especially while dressed as a Smurf (these two were the first costumes I encountered in Atlanta).

The following map was given by our concierge, and its usefulness cannot be overstated. Like, if DragonCon was an RPG of some kind, you'd be totally screwed without the map and would have to cheat and find one online or something. Or, if it was a real-life adventure, you'd just get lost and die forever.

2008, my first year, we were at the Westin (the con hotels are, like, the Hyatt, the Marriott, and the Sheraton - basically everything in the top-right quadrant), so it was nice and near. Also, next door to a McDonald's and a Hooters. Whoo hoo!

This year we were faaar away at the Omni Hotel in the CNN Center (all the way on the bottom left). Bad planning on our part, and a mistake that won't be repeated. At the time, we thought the 15-minute walk or so would be nothing, but we didn't realize it'd somehow be uphill both ways (I don't know how this is possible) or that we'd have to pass by the Centennial Olympic Park, which on Saturday would be absolutely packed with a different sort of conventioners - folks in town for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.

Imagine this place (as seen from our window on the eighth floor) just a veritable sea of crimson and orange, full of Virginia Tech and Alabama fans. So many people! SO MANY PEOPLE.

I heard the "Roll... tide!" cheer way too often that weekend. And although I have no objection to the enjoyment of sport, I think it's kind of weird/impolite to shout that in hotel corridors. Especially at 9 a.m.

Oh, college football fans. Save it for the game, why don't you?

At least the Omni had a food court with its own Arby's and a Chick-Fil-A. Sadly, this is a HUGE plus in my book, since Arby's is the one thing you cannot find in New York City, and I want it all the time. Right now? Yes. I want Arby's right now, but sadly, that's not gonna happen.

But still, too far away, and despite the occasional free games on the Family Guy pinball machine in the CNN gift shop, I couldn't recommend the Omni to any con-goer.

Lynn informed me this morning that she's made our hotel reservation for 2010 - WHAT?! - at the Hyatt, which is right in the thick of things. Madness, I know, but even crazier because we're not intending on staying there. This is a "safety" reservation, since we can cancel it at any time, in case we can't find something better.

You're probably thinking, "What could be better than the Hyatt? It's right in the middle of the con!" which is exactly why we don't want to stay there. It'll be loud, crazy, and extra crowded all the time.

I'd rather avoid all that, at least in my place of rest. When I'm at the con, I'm at the con, but when I'm back at the hotel, I want to be able to relax. The Hyatt has a much higher chance of hearing crazy chants into the late night/early morning, though it'd be something more akin to "So say we all!" And although this does sound sort of fun, I'm a bit too old for that frakkin' nonsense.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reflections of Dragon*Con (II)

People ask me what Dragon*Con is like.

Basically, it's waiting in lines.

In a way, I'm grateful for the failed Little Mermaid debacle because it provided me with valuable line-waiting experience. Nothing at the con was anywhere near as bad as those five hours of futility.

If you want to attend a panel, you're gonna have to show up early (my rule of thumb: one hour) and wait in line. Such is life at Dragon*Con.

And, actually, I didn't mind them very much. Waiting in line is a solitary, Zen-like experience, and a welcome opportunity to sit down, relax, read the program guide, eat some Yan Yan, play SimCity on my phone, and look at the people walk by.

Also, it was very, very satisfying to watch the line grow and grow behind me.

The only line that really pissed me off was the very first one, the line for registration. We pre-registered (just like everyone else), arrived on Thursday night (a whole day early!) and still had to wait 2.5 hours to get our badges.

To misquote Terry's talking pizza, hey ya, that is bullshit!

The TicketMaster line was zooming by, no more than a 20-minute wait. And yeah, getting my badge through them would have meant paying an evil surcharge to a evil company, but it'd be worth it to save myself two hours of fun. So next year, maybe.

Seriously, that line sucked. Twice we were incorrectly told that registration was closed. Official-looking men on Segways said that the organizers ran out of badges. Insert another image of Terry's talking pizza, because that is super bullshit! They should know how many badges they need, because they were pre-registered. That's the whole point!


People got upset. If they had actually shut down the line, there would've been the con equivalent of a mutiny, especially because William Shatner was speaking at 10 a.m. the next morning. And if you didn't get your badge on Thursday, you wouldn't see Bill. Imagine flying out early for Shatner's first-time ever appearance at Dragon*Con, only to get screwed because they ran out of badges.

Seriously, people got upset.

I still feel bad for the piratey couple in front of us who gave up (after the first rumor of the line being closed) and went back to their hotel room. They'd have to deal with an even worse line on Friday morning, THEN have a full day of the con. At least by sticking it through on Thursday, we could rest up overnight.

It was a 2.5 hour battle, snaking through an intestine-like line of sweaty people, but we emerged victorious. And after that, I felt I could handle anything the con could throw at me... except for the Shatner panel. Those fans are too rabid for the likes of me.

Reflections of Dragon*Con (I)

This year, instead of giving a chronological account of the convention, I'd like to reflect on it thematically. (Also, for those who aren't Disney fans, the title of these entries are a tip o' the hat to EPCOT's excellent "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" fireworks show. Fun fact?)

Anyway, let's reflections about costumes! The costumes at Dragon*Con are amazing! Just do a search on flickr and you'll find so much good stuff. So much!

And I don't just mean this Cobra Commander:

I'm also talking about fun, simple stuff like this very obscure Red Dwarf costume that literally made me jump for joy:

And I found myself wishing I had an awesome costume, too. I do love a good costume. But, realistically, I'm hampered by the fact that whatever I'd make would have to be portable via airplane, so something like this would be out of the question:

Also, I'd want it to be appropriate to my body-type, because it really jars me when people don't look right in their costumes. This is a huge hindrance for ol' Kirky, since not many characters are olive-skinned with glasses (so I'll never play the Doctor or Arnold Rimmer, sadly). Not to say there's anything wrong with looking a bit out of place, I'd just rather be seen as the awesomest _____ instead of as just another guy dressed as _____. Here, for example, is a guy who picked a costume that is just about perfect for him:

Furthermore, and I thought about this a lot, but if I was going to work really hard and construct a kick-ass outfit, what would it be? Sure, Cobra Commander is awesome, but I'm not a die-hard GI Joe fan. I'd want the outfit to be representative of me, and not just something portable-yet-cool (like Wesley Dodds's Sandman, which, while fine, isn't something that I'm nutz about).

Even though I love some shows and games (Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Final Fantasy III, etc.), what is the one true thing that embodies what I believe in, fandom-wise? What is right for my body? And what do I love most of all? I don't know. Nothing seems to fit the bill 100%, to be honest.

Rather than focus my energy on someone else's creation, I'd rather make my own show, create my own characters, write something that I do love that is absolute Kirk and is truer to my sensibilities than the awesomest Transformers costume ever made.

And I looked down and Cakey smiled at me with his loving, uncomprehending face, and I realized I had the answer right there, all along.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Let's DragonCon '09!

This is a rambly and quick and might not make sense to the uninitiated.

Leaving rather soon... and wishing I had a bigger suitcase. I should be packing, not blogging, but this'll be the last time I'm on the Internet until Monday night.

My carry-on is stuffed with clothes: Cakey daywear, priestly vespers, my Rushmore outfit, tuxedo shirt, and black suit (which doubles as priestly outerwear). Sarah is better at packing than I am and she made it all fit. Still to add, though: shoes. Having a brown outfit and black outfit means needing two pairs of shoes. Yikes. There might not be much room for souvenirs.

BUT, on a whim I just ran to the cleaners to see if my olive suit was ready, and it was, so now I have the pastability of bringing that along. So... bye-bye, Max Fischer. Your jacket was a bit too warm for Atlanta, anyway. This was a hard decision.

There will still be little room for souvenirs, I fear.

My "personal item" is a backpack jammed with Cakey as a stowaway and thousands of stickers. It's pretty bulky, but I've done it before without a problem.

I'd also like to carry a bag of food. They can't stop me from bringing that along, right? None of it is dangerous-looking liquid.

Anyway, onward to Atlanta!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let's (Not) See The Little Mermaid! (II)

Sunday was the final performance of The Little Mermaid on Broadway, and eff it, I decided I was gonna buy those Standing Room Only tickets and see off Ariel nice and proper.

This is a chronicle of that fateful day.

6:00 a.m. I wake, confused and frightened, as to why my alarm would tell me to get up at such a god-awful hour. Then I remember why and say, "Eff it, I'm going back to bed." Sarah then says something like, "Time to go," and I come to my senses. It's time to go.

6:15-6:45 a.m. It's interesting seeing the few people riding the subway so early on a Sunday morning. A few of them are wearing hospital scrubs. One guy is asleep. We're all tired, and no one seems to have any idea about what's going on.

6:40 a.m. I arrive in Times Square, so empty and peaceful before the tourists wake up. Some deli man is scrubbing down the sidewalk in front of his store, a futile practice I've always found quaint.

6:45 a.m. I arrive at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. I'm curious about the number of people that'll be waiting. This IS the final performance after all. Jeff had said he'd gotten there at 7:45, A FULL HOUR LATER, and was third in line. I wonder if I'll be so lucky.

There's just one woman there. I'm second in line.

Over three hours to go.

6:45 - 8:00 a.m. I sit on a very uncomfortable standing pipe (I don't want to sit on the damp concrete). I've brought several library books to pass the time, and read Disappearance Diary, an autobiographical manga of the time Hideo Azuma willingly went homeless/left his life as an artist and became a blue-collar worker/checked into a hotel for alcoholism.

It begins with, "This manga has a positive outlook on life, and so it has been made with as much realism removed as possible," which I find amusing.

8:10 a.m. I begin to text Sarah as a way of chronicling my experience. First text: Now they're saying the box office opens at noon... I'm cold and hungry.

Shit. Noon?

Also, I'm just wearing a t-shirt and shorts and haven't eaten in almost 12 hours.

8:52 a.m. I begin to question why i am doing this. There are six people here. Used to be seven.

9:05 a.m. Someone confirmed that the box office opens at noon.

9:28 a.m. Getting colder. Nine people are here now.

9:41 a.m. Right now i want to march around and sing 'Mammal' by they might be giants.

I can't help it. I'm cold and sitting on the pipe is very uncomfortable. I find doing these weird knee-lifts helps, despite making me look crazy.

9:51 a.m. I am cold!

10:00 a.m. And then, finally, the sun burst forth. Daylight. Such a wondrous thing. Hail Apollo!

The street turned into a beautiful, almost movie-like set, glistening with the morning sun. It was really something.

During this time I read A Few Perfect Hours... and Other Stories From Southeast Asia & Central Europe, and enjoy the final story, about the different attitudes toward death between the Balinese and New Yorkers.

It makes me think of Swiper. I'm glad his spirit has been set free. He had a big spirit - big enough to ride on.

I've been sitting here for over three hours and am losing my grip on reality a little.

10:02 a.m. The theatre speakers begin playing a 30-minute spiel about The Little Mermaid. Mostly song selections. This is a good idea for passing tourists, but a bad idea for people trapped in a non-moving line. Rather than getting me psyched, hearing "Part of Your World" several times makes me not want to see the show. It's just too much. And I usually LOVE "Part of Your World."

10:08 a.m. to 10:18 a.m. I text Bethany and tell her (because I'm a liar) that Sarah plays one of Ariel's sisters. She believes me, and I text her that she also understudies as Sebastian. I think she believes this, too, and when I admit that I'm making this up, she says, "Yeah, I was wondering how she could pull that off..." since Sebastian is traditionally played by a black man.

10:29 a.m. Ten of us. The speaker has repeated its spiel once.

During this time I read some of From Hell. The juxtaposition of this book and my mission amuses me.

10:38 a.m. Thirteen people.

10:40 a.m. Fourteen people.

10:54 a.m. Sixteen... Almost at the limit of twenty or so.

I get a grim delight in thinking of the people who show up for tickets but won't be able to get them because they arrived too late. Sucks to be you, suckers!

10:54 a.m. Starting third time the speakers have played.

Apparently I've lost my mastery of the English language.

11:00 a.m. Sarah shows up with a sandwich and a sweater. I had a feeling she'd do this (since she asked me where I was. I just replied "In front of the theater"), and it's good to have company in the last leg of the journey.

12:00 p.m. The box office opens, and we are told there are no Standing Room Only tickets.

Everyone stands, jaw agape, at the unfairness of this situation. We were told there would be SRO tickets, so we did our part. We waited in line (FOR OVER FIVE HOURS). We braved the cold and the damp and the never-ending speakers. We have our money. We did our duty. We deserve tickets.

They disagree. The only alternative is to pay $121 for regular tickets, but I'd barely be willing to pay $25 to see this (in the words of Jeff) "terdfest of a show." I'm not blowing away a lot of funny money that I could spend at Dragon*Con on a 2.5-hour trainwreck.

Angry and confused, I leave Times Square.

RIP, Ariel.