Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh Finally!

It seemed that Gmail engineers were simply incapable of understanding WHY someone would want to turn off "conversation view". Because they never sent out an email to multiple people which then generated a variety of responses each of which had to be answered differently.

Or they never had to search for an address which was buried deep inside a thread and had to look at each and every email in the thread just to find the one piece of information that you searched for, and got hits on, but couldn't find because Gmail turned up the thread as a result instead of the actual email.

Well finally, they fixed that. You can turn off threading now. Whew.

Oh good grief. Tomorrow is October? I gotta pay rent again?

Today's annoyance fixed

Yup, I'm just re-running old pictures from my blog. A Suicide Girl. With sword. In the desert.
So I had this really irritating problem in Firefox on one of my computers where whenever I went to Google I'd get redirected to some malware "search" site called "CL-finde" or some such thing. And no amount of anti-spyware or anti-malware or even HijackThis would help.

Until I discovered this thread which showed exactly what you have to delete to get that obnoxious hijacker gone. Jeez Louise that was annoying.

And I'll admit I was lax in my use of anti-virus because I was using a program which had a key generator which kept generating a false positive in AVG anti-virus. I know. Completely my fault and probably the result of bad karma for me using pirated software.

On that note I use a lot of open - source software nowadays. You'd be amazed at how little you need Photoshop when you spend about 20 minutes working with GIMP. And of course Blender is my choice for 3D software. On the non-open-source side my biggest anti-virus now is (gulp!) Microsoft's own free "Security Essentials". On my Macs we don't really use any anti-virus programs. They just sit there waiting for someone to get really bored and try to hack them.

Now if someone would only hack them so that they'll reliably make DVD's I'd be happy. Ha!

A Funny Thing Happening on the Appian Way

Wherin I ramble incoherently about theater. Here goes.

So... here's a funny thing about off-off-Broadway. First of all, the size of what constitutes "off-off-Broadway"* is freakin' huge. Although the New York Fringe Festival has a lot of out-of-town companies putting on shows, I'd guess that it somewhat fairly represents a solid percentage of the off-off-Broadway world.
They're running something on the order of 197 shows in 18 venues this year. And that's just a festival in freakin' August.

So off-off-Broadway is alive and there are a LOT of producers producing it. And most of them are willing to spend thousands of dollars only to get hundreds of dollars back from ticket sales. And then do the whole thing again next year.

Why can they only get pennies-on-the-dollar from producing? It's because it's so hard to get people to buy tickets to your show, that's why. If you're only doing 12 shows and you have a 50-seat house you have to get 600 people to buy tickets to sell out.

Unfortunately, getting butts in seats (to put it crassly) is usually the last thing on the producer's mind when producing a show. They have lots of other problems. The lighting company wants more money. The lead actress lost weight and her costume has to be re-built. The lead actor decided he forgot that he had to go visit his great-aunt in South Carolina during the second week of your show and now you need to replace him (and be talked down from having him shot by a professional hit-man.) But the show will go up, don't worry about that. The big problem is that you have to sell tickets.

Manitelephants
And the reality has been that the theater world in NYC has been held hostage by the New York Times. Now honestly in the off-off-Broadway world a terrible review in the Times (if it comes out early enough in the run) can still add upwards of a dozen tickets per night sold to a show. And a dozen tickets at the Equity mandated ceiling of $18 for six nights is an extra $1296 in the producer's pocket which will certainly help defray costs of the cast party at the end of the run, but it ain't buying you a set for next year's production.

So anyway, for an off-off-Broadway show a review, any review, by the New York Times (if it comes out during the run and not after the show has closed) is a goode thinge.

But at the same time a show with larger ambitions -- like moving up to off-Broadway, or (egads!) Broadway, is for all intents and purposes dictated by the New York Times giving a good review.

The Times critics' can simply close a play at that level with a stroke of a pen. A bed review = pretty much instant death unless Disney is producing Uptown or you have lots of naked boys with perfect abs in the show downtown. Otherwise one reviewer will decide whether you break even or take a bath on your show.

Just one. From the New York Times.

Not Newsday. Not the New York Post. Not the Daily News. The only one that matters is the damned New York Times.

I mean, until now.

[And to aside here: once at Theatresource a review from the Times' came in for "Title of Show" (which actually is our only show to go on to a Broadway run). The review was very good and the producer started singing in a sing-song voice "I'm not going to take a bath on this show! I'm not going to take a bath on this show!" And I thought -- deal Lord! That's the upside! Not taking a bath. Theater is worse than the movie business. I found it much amusing. I honestly don't think she realized she was singing it out loud until I congratulated her. ]

But that "one reviewer from the Times" issue is getting less and less important for off-off-Broadway. Primarily because of OffOffOnline. Arguably the editorial stance of OOO is so adamantly pro theater that they really don't give a lot of points to their writers for writing witty and scathing reviews (unlike the Times').  So they tend to be more fair. Maybe even over fair but that's another story (and one I don't care about).

The important thing is that people will actually buy tickets to a little off-off-Broadway show based on a review in OOO.

Buy tickets. And come see the show.

And that's a big freakin' deal. Because it's so hard to produce a show and get people to show up to it. You can do normal publicity, you can hand out postcards everywhere in the world, but basically your audience is the friends and family of the actors, the writer, and the director.

[So only hire actors, writers, and directors, from broken homes (so there are two sets of parents) and who hang out at bars at night and have a lot of friends.

And no, I'm not kidding. The "broken home" thing only works with child actors though. Does this aside need an aside? Of course it does. I have a friend who used to produce shows at the Kraine and he did a show where he hired this gorgeous woman, who really didn't act, to do a walk-on part. She was a very popular girl and had a lot of friends who helped sell out the show. True story. And a lesson in economics.]

In any case. It's nice to see that off-off-Broadway has a way around the New York Times. Now, off Broadway producers? Broadway producers? Not so much. But at least the little guy in the off-off-Broadway works has a screamin' chance to... well... not take a bath.
______
*"Off-off-Broadway" is actually a technical term which relates to the particular contract the producer has with Actors Equity. So you can have a "Broadway" show anywhere in the city, and you can be "off" or even "off-off-Broadway" and actually have your theater on the street called Broadway. Yes, it'll likely be below Canal but it will be on that same Broadway. All you really need to understand is that the contract has to do with the size of the theater and the amount the actors get paid (if any).
_____
From Allatok. Via Bill Martell.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

XMarks c'est morte

Sometimes I just re-run the "best of" my pictures on this blog. This is one of those times.
Dang. XMarks is going away. Firefox sync doesn't look to bad except that I'd like to be able to sync Chrome and (egads!) sometimes Internet Explorer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Internet Reason

I have no idea why I like this picture so much.
John Scalzi is seriously one of the most reasonable people on the Internet. Here he is talking about how the people who complain about the tax code either 1. don't know anything about the tax code or 2. are members of the "taxes are theft" crowd:

I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes is theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires.
Which is the funniest sentence on the Internet today.


Friday, September 24, 2010

I just love these little birds



When my friend Sebastian was visiting from Buenos Ares he stayed at my place in Jersey City. Unfortunately I was under the weather most of the time he was here. He left these drawings for me.

Melissa Riker

Melissa Riker is kickstarting a dance piece. Send her a dollar. Send her more!

Proof of Bachelorhood et al

Sexy picture of Pushkin from a couple years ago. He's still sexy.
I haven't had my cell phone for four days now. It's probably in my stepmom's car. And I haven't missed it. Which shows you my love for telephones.

But more than that it's been almost a year that I haven't had gas for the stove in my apartment. I finally got it turned back on this week. Oddly, the gas company was still charging me about six bucks a month for gas. I think I've used the microwave three times -- twice for popcorn and once for some microwavable sausages which weren't that good but were much better than they deserved to be.

My refrigerator has a 1/4 bottle of vodka in the freezer, a jar of pickles, and some wine in the door.

I'm glad most women think they can "fix" a man, because I'm clearly broken. My apartment is relatively clean though. Sometimes I am too.

UPDATE: oh and ladies! Instead of the RAST I got  the IKEA PS organizer. At $30 I was gonna get me TWO of 'em (one for my apartment and one for my parent's place) but the little orange terror machine (I mean Meydl the kitten) at my parents house thinks that socks are her pets and she'll drag them all around the house if she can get to them. I don't mind the PS organizer becoming a cat condo, because it's basically built for that (make sure you have all your dark clothes on top please) but I'm trying to avoid feline looting...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Drives Me Nuts Today

My heart palpitations drive me nuts. Apparently they're nothing to actually worry about but it's really really freakin' annoying. Basically my heart rate goes up from about 77 to about 90 for about 40 minutes. And. It. Drives. Me. Nuts.
Otherwise everything is normal.
So yeah, I try deep breathing. I've already tried all sorts of things like Xanax (which basically puts me to sleep). Even exercise doesn't really do anything for me.
And the most annoying time is when I'm trying to go to sleep. Because invariably my heart is all like "Hey let's GO!" at about midnight.
I can't wait 'till we get those nanobot-constructed replacement Special Forces bodies which last for 300 years before they need to be replaced. I'm going to get me TWO of 'em.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Most Boring Blog Post Ever

Why do criminals wear Yankee caps? The bigger question is: why wouldn't they?

No really, you have no idea how little I care about the Mets/Yankees/Everybody else.

I think there's a more exciting blog post over there somewhere.
What I do care about is the $30 RAST chest of drawers from Ikea. Somehow out of the three places I live in (Jersey City, Metuchen, and Princeton) I don't have a single chest of drawers. You can imagine what that means for organizing my laundry. Yes. Dirty clothes in the hamper, clean clothes on the bed/chair/floor/wherever.

The girls' and boys' locker rooms in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series are hands-down the creepiest lit and scariest places in the whole series. All of a sudden you have rusty dripping faucets and under- lit lockers in and amongst the otherwise lit-like-it's-named Sunnydale High. Every time we go to the locker room it makes me laugh.

Sean McHenry is a guy who contacted me about my feature Hamlet.

And today I refoamed my speakers. Getting the old glue off the speakers and the frame-thingy was the hardest part. But now it's all good. And we can have a party at my apartment again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bad at being evil

Edward Jay Epstein Parses Some B.S.

Now I'll admit that I don't even begin to understand these issues. But in his latest blog post, Epstein looks at... well I'll tell ya, I'm assuming it's TARP and not the "stimulus package" because honestly I don't understand either one of them (although Obama is typically blamed for both by the right and the left even though Bush supported TARP and it was supported by Obama and McCain and Obama, I think, oversaw the latter-end of TARP.)

Anyway, here's Epstein's conclusion of all that money that was spent to "bail out" AIG:

I'm re-running pictures of Pushkin.
"So the Fed went ahead with the deal and, as it turned out, now stands to make a multi-billion dollar profit. So where is the scandal?"

Observant readers realize that this was predicted by the more level-headed at the time, right? Oh, no, it doesn't matter because our politics have gone from "socialist" to "death panels" to "community center of death" so it just doesn't matter.

A Day at the Doctor's

I'm on much better drugs now.
So my doctor tells me my vitamin D levels are "normal". And that he never sees anyone with normal vitamin D levels. So I say "well obviously they aren't "normal"."

He insists that yes, yes, they are. And he's never seen anyone with normal vitamin D.

So I say "But that can't be. I have to be an outlier. The center of the bell curve has to be somewhere south of where I am..."

He interrupts: "You have normal vitamin D levels."

I decide not to push the subject.

Ada Grey Reviews Hamlet

Jack-Assery indeed!
Here's an excerpt from 6-year-old Ada Grey's brilliant review of the Neo-Futurist Hamlet:

I think people who like dramatic stuff and monsters—because there is a ghost in it—would like it. And people who are hilarious and like hilarious things would like it. People should go from all around the world, even people from other countries.

This, ladies and gentlepeople, is why Chicago has such great theater.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I gotta lose 25lbs

Baby rhino makes me sad.
From.

Happy 911

Apparently there was a Muslim prayer room in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Until, you know, some asshats ran airplanes into it and killed about three thousand people.
About two percent of those people killed were of the Islamic faith.

We're not even bothering to quietly mourn the dead anymore. Quiet contemplation? Nah, forget that. Because now some other Muslims have the gall to build a community center which will also have a prayer room, in a building nobody else would buy, in our holiest of holy places.

The Burlington Coat Factory. 

So it's time to get our hate on. Because that's always so awesome and productive. And so Christian, I might add. 

Hey, at least they're not putting a temple in Century 21. You know what I'm sayin?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Looking South on MacDougal Street

Just outside of Manhattan Theatresource.

September 10, 2010

I live closer now

To "Ground Zero". Although I do, as almost we all, remember well where I was back then. That was "Sweet Melissa" on Court Street with my sister. I remember us thinking "will people have places to stay?" and should we open up the apartment to people? That turned out to not be necessary.

The day was so sad. And the news casters were so excited about turning this shock and sadness into anger and war. Which, of course, made me sadder.

The lights PSE&G put up are the most beautiful remembrance. The are quiet and respectful. And they're beautiful. Interestingly there's not a lot of complain about 'em. The consensus of the lights is that they're liked.

I took this two years ago.
I guess the lights shut off early tonight. Too early for me to take a picture from my building.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tres Horrible

Guillaume_Seignac does not have his own entry on Wikipedia in English.

You Have to Survive "So What"?

When you're making an argument, one of the first things you need to do is apply "so what?" to the argument. This bozo attempts to argue that because the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack were Muslim, the deaths of those who were killed by them, and who were also Muslim, is somehow irrelevant. Actually you'll notice that he doesn't actually go ahead and draw the conclusion, because doing so would be absurd. So he just puts forward the first part of the argument, without running it through the "so what?" filter.

Another thing you need to do is run your argument through the "does this argument work without hyperbole" test. He has a picture on his site showing an aerial view of the ground zero site still smoking (presumably taken on 9/11 or 9/12) with the caption "Clearing off the future mosque building site". Except that the site of the "mosque" isn't in the picture because it's not close enough to be in the aerial photograph.

Here's a picture of the actual proposed site and ground zero. Does the argument work without hyperbole? Not so much.



Remember:

  1. Does your argument fall apart when someone says "so what?"
  2. Does your argument work without hyperbole?
If the answer to either of these question is "yes" then STFU.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dreamwalking Through Soup

What kind of waffles?
Holy cow of the moo variety, I'm tired. The Queen of Mars described this kind of exhaustion as "dreamwalking through soup".

Listed under parts of me which don't hurt: my left earlobe.

Question: does that mean your right earlobe does hurt?

Answer: mmm... maybe a little.

Q: what did you do to it?

A: I may have strained it.

I want to way overeat and then fall asleep. For about two weeks. With a cat.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Blowout!

I had a blowout on the Pulaski Skyway today. I think that makes me a hero in a Bruce Springsteen song. Something cut a two-inch slice out of my left rear tire. And then I had to drive on the tire for about four miles, because stopping on the Pulaski Skyway, where there are no shoulders, is about as healthy as jumping from the Pulaski Skyway onto the traffic/swamp/waterway below.

So pulling off the first exit in Newark I found a gas station and not ninety seconds later a lady pulled in behind me with exactly the same injury to her car.

The Pulaski Skyway is out to do us in. 

In my mind, of course, it was flak from German 88's that blew a hole in my tire. I think that makes me actually delusional rather than the charming idiosyncratic I try to be.

Hipster puppies. Because. You know. Puppies.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Calculus

The calculus of water dynamics.

How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

The Calculus Diaries.

Via Whatever.

Stinktier

Let me get my Steadicam.
A skunk went off outside my window at about 5am. At least I think it was a skunk. The smell was like a skunk but without what me might call the good parts of the skunk smell. For a moment I thought a dog must have pooped in my bed. I thought "dog or person... definitely dog...". I don't have a dog.
I do though, apparently, have a skunk.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Off the Drugas

My doctor took me off the Claritan D. It was that "D" which gave me the chance to actually stay awake in the middle of the day. But it's possible it was making me jittery. So meh. The half-life in the body is supposedly 5-7 days. We'll see how that goes. And if I can get enough naps.
A cross between a penguin, a toucan, and a LOLcat.
And bleh, it's not making me feel good in any way. Last night I had all... well not nightmares really, more just uncomfortable dreams. Like "someone stealing all my guitars" - type dreams. Jerk hid them among a bunch of cheap guitars... police recovered his guitar stash and I was going through them to find mine when I woke up...