Κυριακή, Ιουνίου 26, 2005

A task

Go here. Look at the picture. Then come back here and offer your best explanation. And start thinking about captions...

Σάββατο, Ιουνίου 25, 2005

A Predicament

Here's what I'd like to know:

If my contract says I get one full day or two half days off per week, and they make me work 3 weeks of 12-15 hour days without a single day (or half day -- and let me mention here that working 9-6 is not a half day) off, what recourse do I have?

Κυριακή, Ιουνίου 19, 2005

By the Numbers II

Number of days till my next time off (any): 8
Number of hours off that I would normally work: 6
Number of hours that I will work on that day: 9
Number of days till my next full day off: No idea. Hoping for some time before July 4th, or July 4th at the latest.
Number of stage management interns who have had to break down and sob in the past 36 hours (out of 4): At least 3.
Reason for my breakdown: Finding out that I do not in fact get June 27th off.
Number of days till I get to leave the damn Berkshires: Too many.
Number of minutes spoken to PS over IM tonight: 35 :-)
Number of phone calls from PS since arriving in the Berkshires: 0
Number of times tonight that PS promised to actually call: 4
Number of honest-to-goodness friends I have in the Berkshires: 0
Number of times I'm going to get to go to church this summer: 0
My hourly wage: $0.43
Days till my birthday: 1

I promise I'll post something legitimate soon. But you must understand, it's a little rough right now...

Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 17, 2005

Update

I'm getting sick. Last night I got let out of rehearsal about 45 minutes early to recover, and in a fit of illness and weakness, I IMed EK. Nothing much, just "hey". And when I got up this morning, I had a nice message from him. Which acknowledges that he really ought to start returning phone calls. So he's less in the doghouse.

Πέμπτη, Ιουνίου 16, 2005

Things of Low to Moderate Interest

-- My brother is currently in 4th place (after 3 kids tied for 1st) at a big tournament in Mississippi. Cool.

-- Apparently I can feign competence even more quickly than I thought -- I'd never actually done circuitry, but after a few minutes of instruction, I seemed to get it enough to be useful all night and have people come up and be like "Wow, I didn't realize you had experience with electrics!"

-- I can also feign neutrality.

-- The next town over from here is Sodom.

-- PS still hasn't called.

-- EK just got a Chihuahua puppy. He thinks it has a cold. Somehow, I find the thought of a chihuahua puppy kinda repulsive, but the thought of a chihuahua puppy with a cold adorable.

-- Despite holding a very heavy lighting raceway over my head for upwards of 30 minutes yesterday (remember my lack of sympathy for Gitmo), it looks like I am going to be able to lift my arms over my head today. Which presumably means I'll have to hold other heavy objects.

-- Rehearsal is 11-7 today. Then it's back to the theatre till midnight.

The World's Smallest Violin

Let it simply be said that, as I return to my overcrowded house at the end of the day, which consisted of dealing with hostile people, listening to the same music over and over again, being deprived of sleep, and forced to be on my feet for way longer than was comfortable, I feel no sympathy for the folks down at Gitmo.

Nothing really relaxes you after a long day at work like 5+ hours of heavy manual labor.

Τετάρτη, Ιουνίου 15, 2005

Choose My Own Adventure

Okay, I need advice about PS.

Givens:
1) that I know he's not upset with me and, in fact, according to some sources, adores me, yet does not return my phone calls. (And I don't call very often. No stalkage here.)
2) That EK has told him that, no really, he should call me
3) He has not called me.
4) PS is not going to disappear from my professional life any time soon.

So do I:
a) Call and leave a breezy message that completely glosses over the fact that I'm upset with him
b) Call and leave a message that implies that to get back in my good graces, he should call
c) Call and leave a message that is some hybrid of the two
d) Call and leave a message that says "Hi, this is Katie, call me."
e) Email out some sort of mass status announcement to some of my friends, including him, giving him something guilt-free to respond to
f) Email him something personalized, but not specifically targeted to my being upset about the lack of communication situation
g) Email him something long and tortured about the fact that he has hurt my feelings
h) Say "Screw You" and forget about him until such time as I get back to NYC.

Please comment, and justify your answer.

Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 14, 2005

Tuesday, by the Numbers

I'm tired, and I have a headache. Fortunately, it's 9PM and I'm home, on my porch. Apparently a truck full of sound equipment that was supposed to arrive tonight will not actually arrive until tomorrow, which means we get to deal with it then.
Hours I'm working tomorrow: 9:15AM to 12AM, optimistically speaking. Actually, I think I'm working 9:30AM-11PM for most of the rest of the summer.
My next full day off: June 27
My weekly salary: $50, less taxes.
Date this show opens officially: June 26th
Date this show first plays for a paying audience: June 23rd
Date we start rehearsals for our next show: June 28th, I think
Date I next hear from PS: Never, probably.
Hours till I have to leave for work again: 12

Fun with Google

My latest search string referral:
find pick up blood in clinic delivery job in queens ny
Sorry, buddy, can't help you out there.

The Truth Hurts

So apparently Vlad Putin got himself in a spot of trouble yesterday for insinuating that Africa has a history of cannibalism. From the Sun article:
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin sparked uproar yesterday by saying Africans had a history of CANNIBALISM.

He lashed out at the continent’s past after being challenged about his human rights’ record.

In an astonishing outburst, Mr Putin said: “We all know that African countries used to have a tradition of eating their own adversaries.
Which is an awful thing to say, except that it's true. And in fact, it's not a question of "used to." It's actually still a practice in some places. Eating your adversaries heart and genitals is supposed to grant you their power.

Now to be fair, while Russia may not have a tradition of cannibalism, per se, it is worthwhile to note that Stalin's forced starvation of the Ukraine did in fact drive some people to cannibalism.

Finally, I'll give you that Putin's remark wasn't particularly diplomatic, but that doesn't make it false. Nor does it being true excuse Putin's slide from democracy and open society.

A Key To the Important People In My Life

For the time being, I've decided to give these people code initials, just for simplicity, deniablity, and non-google-ability (although it's not like this place isn't WAY easy to find). And cuz I want to.

So here we go.

BW -- Is my wonderful, beloved collaborator, with whom I'm writing a musical.
OO -- Is my former wonderful, beloved collaborator, with whom I wrote my one-act musical. OO and BW are also writing a musical together. If any of you, by the way, are interested in producing or performing a great one-act for three actors, I got one.

EK -- A friend and someone with whom I have a semi-collaborative relationship. It's hard to describe. I may also be his assistant, as the need arises.
PS -- Theoretically, the same as EK, except that PS is in the doghouse for being the cause of yesterday's pie baking. Whether or not he gets out of the doghouse in the future remains to be seen.

More later.

Back to the Grindstone

Yesterday was my last day off for at least two weeks. Today at least I don't have to be to work until about two hours later than usual, but I think I'm going to be there till midnight. It's gonna be a long two weeks.

I'm up in the scenic (and by 'scenic', I mean 'middle-of-nowhere') Berkshires, doing a stage management internship for the summer. I'm living in Connecticut, in a house of 13 people, 10 of which are female, with two bathrooms. And extremely sporadic cellphone signal. The town (village? what's smaller than a village?) I'm living in has exactly two stoplights, a RadioShack, a McDonalds, a Stop and Shop, and a few "downtown"-y shops of the antique/flea market variety. The town where I'm working is bigger, but has exactly zero stoplights. If I'm willing to drive about 35 minutes up the road, there's a Kmart and a PriceChopper. That's living, let me tell you. Another 20 minutes brings a WalMart and a Michaels, which are not exciting places unless you've just had to drive an hour to get there.

I was originally hating it up here -- I'm better now. It's not, thusfar, the best summer of my life or anything, although work is great, but I'm okay.

"You're a Lousy Friend" Peach Pie

This is the recipe for my peach pie, which is only baked under a specific sort of duress. Specifically, the sort when you have a friend who should be calling you or keeping in touch or whatever and they aren't and you're sad, angry, or ready to tell them to take a long hike off a short pier.

That's when I make these pies. You're welcome to make them whenever you want.

Yesterday I made two. One for the aforementioned reasons, two, well, for the aforementioned reasons and because I live in a house of 13 (more on that later).

Here's my recipe (ish):

Crust:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup crisco
pinch of salt
cold water

Cut the crisco into the flour until it's all evenly crumbly. Add the salt. Now slowly add as little water as you can to create a dough. Work the crumbs into a ball. Keep adding water as you need to, but remember, water is the enemy of flakey pie crust. Use only as much as you have to.

Divide the dough in half, roll out two crusts the size of your pan. (In this case, I'm using a 9" pan -- deeper is good too, just make more filling.)

Filling:
A large can of sliced peaches
2-3 eggs
1-2 T flour
1/2 cup (or so -- to taste) sugar
cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine these ingredients. Mix evenly, then pour them into the pie crust. It's a good idea to use a fork to poke some holes in the bottom of the crust before you do that.

Now cut the top crust into strips, and lattice them across the top. Start with a short one on one side going vertically, and a short one on the top going horizontally. Then work your way across, alternating vertical and horizontal strips.

Dust the top with some sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at somewhere between 350 and 375 until the egg sets up. That should take somewhere between half an hour and 45 minutes.

I would recommend baking this with a cookie sheet under the pie pan, because it has a tendency to leak.

For me, the theraputic nature of this pie is in the making, not the eating, although it does taste great. It's easy enough to make that you can be extrordinarily angry and still do it right.

NOTE: Why canned peaches, when there are so many great peaches around in summer? Because canned peaches have a better texture when baked. Eat the summer peaches. Put the canned ones in pies. Trust me. The nice ripe juicy ones will go to goop when you bake them.

Enjoy!

Δευτέρα, Ιουνίου 13, 2005

Quick and Easy Cooking for One -- I

Take about 3/4 cup of your favorite dry stuffing mix. Add milk to cover it. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Toss it in a non-stick pan. Add 2 or 3 eggs. Scramble it all together. Maybe add some bits of sausage or ham. Or not. It doesn't really need it. Take a slice of whatever cheese you have handy and tear it into the pan. Keep scrambling. Toss it all on a plate, enjoy.

Michael Jackson Acquitted

And I don't care.

Fisking Forest

I haven't fisked anything in a long time, but I was checking through my comments (which I also haven't looked at for a long time, mostly out of guilt) and I found this doozy. From a fellow named Forest. All spelling and punctuation is his. All mockery is mine. Let's dive in.

Where to start? I assume you are a Republican.
You assume wrong. I'm a libertarian. I generally vote Republican because I like my vote to count for something, and the Republicans represent my priorities better than the Democrats do. However, my loyalties are to the ideas, not the party. If the Republicans suddenly stop representing my priorities well, well, then, I'll vote for someone else.
Seems all well educated(brainwashed) people are Republicans. I don't associate myself with any political party as i think one is as bad as the other.
Ah, you're one of those people. Let us all take a moment to reflect on the moral and intellectual superiority of this man. You done? That was quick.
Although i did lean toward the Libertarian Party with Ross Perot. I thought he was the best to come along since "Give em Harry."
Actually, in 1992, Ross Perot ran as an Independent, for reasons that are complicated. Andre Marrou was the Libertarian. In 1996, Perot ran as the Reform candidate. Just to be, you know, accurate.
I think i admired him for his use of common sense rather than education.
Clearly.
Ronald Reagan? How can you respect a man who calls his wife "mommie?"
Because he had the balls to stand up to the USSR, bring down the Iron Curtain, restore hope and pride to America and slash taxes all at the same time, despite nearly being assassinated. Frankly, I don't care if he called his wife Rudolph, I care about his actions.
John Kerry? The man had his problems but i don't think we would have had to wait 9 minutes for a speech writer to send George W. what to say about 911.
You're right. We would have had to wait 43 minutes. And then we wouldn't have any clue what he was trying to say, because Kerry does not express himself clearly.
Fundamentally i think George W. is an idiot.
Fundamentally, I think that in standard English, the pronoun "I" is capitalized.
i'd still like to know who he paid to do his work in college.
I'd still like to know where, exactly, including the exit number, you get off for declaring ANYONE who is not actively drooling on his- or herself for idiocy.
As for him getting us in a war with Iraq. All he's doing is making his rich Texas friends richer and while we're at it we'll liberate the Iraqi people.
Did you know that the profit margin for the companies involved in Iraq's reconstruction are operating at a VERY low profit margin? And besides, what would be the simplest possible way for Bush to have enriched the oil tycoons of which you speak? That would have been "ALLOWING THEM TO BUY OIL FROM SADDAM BY LIFTING THE SANCTIONS" for $200, Alex. Which would have cost nothing, except that it would have (further) enriched a tyrant and left 26 million people oppressed under the heel of totalitiarianism.
Besides, war is good for the economy. Is'nt that what they said about the Viet Nam war.
I d'o'nt know, did they? It certainly helped us get out of the Great Depression, but generally, war creates uncertainty, and that's bad for business. Especially when the war involves a major oil supplier, and when oil prices go up, it's bad for business. However, in this case, bringing long-term stability and peace to the Middle East is good for business and the economy on a long-range basis. Similarly, reducing/eradicating terrorism reduces uncertainty and allows people to feel more confident as investors, consumers, and citizens, which is good for the economy. I'm not really sure where you're going with all this though.
who was president then? Oh that's right "Tricky,I am not a Crook,Dickie."
Right, cuz Nixon got us in to Vietnam, right? Right? [crickets] Or maybe not... that was Kennedy.
And why do we need all this oil? So the Elite people in this country, can drive Gas-Guzzling SUVs, so they feel safe.
To make plastic. To heat our homes. To make gas that fuels the 18-wheelers that bring food and clothing and everything else to people all over the country. To power school buses and ambulances. To allow little old ladies to get to the supermarket. Why, oil has many uses! Who knew?
And the Lady Warrior from fantasy land.
Ooh, I can say random things too! Polyurethane candle wax from Georgia. Lemon zest makes me into a marsupial. Fing-fangled foxy gloating over nude hip-tights.
A bullet between your eyes will stop you faster than you can say Merlin.
That is true. I agree. I'm not sure how we got here, but let us note that here, we are in agreement. Although, were I taking a bullet between the eyes, Merlin would probably not be on my mind.
Talk is cheap and so are peoples lives to certain groups of people.
Let's fill in the blanks here. Two words, and this statement is accurate. Talk is cheap and so are Iraqi people's lives to certain groups of left-wing people.
911 was a wakeup call. Do you own a gun. do you know how to use it.
Yes, it was. No, I don't, because I live in New York City and that's not legal. If it were though, I might, once I could afford one. I do know how to use one, but it's been a while, and if I were to own a gun, you better believe I'd know how to use it.
Well you can beat that whoever comes to harm your family and friends does. Swords,knives and magic aren't going to save you or your family or friends.
Damnit, I was counting on using magic, too!
Just like the thief in the night,if they want to get into your house, they will.
Once again, how did we get here, exactly? Truly, Forest, you possess a dizzying intellect.
I don't mean to sound like Chicken Little but do you see it getting any safer here? Really safer? I can still envision HiJackers crashing planes into Atomic Power Plants and chemical factories. They don't necessarily have to HiJack planes in the U.S.
I think the more terrorists are dead, the safer we are. Do I think we're safe? No. Did I ever imply that? No. I can envision terrorists doing awful things too. This is why I voted for George Bush, because I think he's taking active steps to prevent that. Not all the ones I'd like, mind you. But certainly more than Kerry.
I hope my ignorance doesn'y stop you from answering my comments.
Oh, no, on the contrary, your ignorance is exactly what motivated me to answer your comments in such detail. I LOVE fisking ignorant people. Go back and read my Mary Beth Cahill posts. Forest, if answers are what you seek, your ignorance has served you well in my comment section. Also, I hope my mockery doesn't stop you from expressing yourself through creative spelling and punctuation.
Just one more thing. Why should we question Michael Moores motives any more than we did George Ws motives for going to war with Iraq.?
Is that rhetorical? I'm not sure we should question them more. In fact, I'm not really sure how to answer that question at all. I think I choose to honor your first final punctuation of that sentence, and ignore the second.
And how do you spell potato?
This is why there are no Internet spelling bees.

The Post that Brought Me Back to Blogging

Over at Wizbang, Jay comments on the probable bogusness of the new "study" ranking the relative intelligence of the states. His bone to pick with it is this:
The first three they mention are purely economic: Public Elementary and Secondary School Revenue per $1,000 Personal Income,Per Pupil Public Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures, and Percent of Public Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures used for Instruction.


In other words, how much of people's money is taken by the government to spend on schools, how much per student that works out to, and how much of that actually gets spent on the kids.

[...]

So, that's 6 questions of 21 that really have very little to do with student performance. Without even trying, I've put a significant dent in nearly 30% of their source data. It makes me wonder what someone who actually knows what they're doing could do with the rest of it.
I think he's totally on to something, but what basically set off my BS detector was that the economic factors (which Jay rightfully skewers) are not normalized for cost of living. Your average teacher makes a lot more in Manhattan than they do in Missouri. Does that mean the kids are smarter, or that the New York teacher is better? No, it means that you can rent the same apartment for $400 a month in Missouri and $2600 in Manhattan, and they're compensating.

In any case, I did my own little decidedly unscientific ranking of the states, based on two things -- one, the rankings in this survey, and two, rankings of average teacher salaries by state. The goal was to factor out, to a certain degree, the economic factors from the survey. The scientific way to do this would be to have the people who did the survey normalize their numbers off the bat. I'm just estimating, and obviously not taking into account all of the available factors. So in other words, yes, I know my methodology is suboptimal/bad. But this is interesting, at least. Since economic factors make up so much of the weighting of the survey, and many of them can be traced back to teachers salary, I think this is a very rough way of removing the economic factors. What I did was I took the rankings from the list and subtracted them the list of rankings by teacher salary. So if you're #1 on the new survey, but you pay your teachers 50th, you get a Katie score of 49 and, well, then, those are some smart kids you got there. Conversely, if you pay your teachers the best and you're still number 50 on the list, well, what the heck is wrong with you?

So here's the Katie List:
Montana
Iowa
North Dakota
South Dakota
Nebraska
Wyoming
Kansas
Maine
Wisconsin
Vermont
Missouri
Minnesota
New Hampshire
Oklahoma
Utah
Arkansas
Virginia
Massachusetts
District of Columbia
Idaho
West Virgina
Colorado
Connecticut
Mississippi
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Indiana
Kentucky
New Jersey
New York
Louisiana
North Carolina
New Mexico
South Carolina
Ohio
Maryland
Florida
Alabama
Texas
Washington
Delaware
Illinois
Rhode Island
Arizona
Hawaii
Oregon
Georgia
Nevada
Michigan
Alaska
California

I'd like to see a real statistician, with real data do a study with either no or standardized economic data, please.


Also, and I'm not sure if this is the fault of the survey or the reporter, but calling it "smartest to dumbest" is counterproductive and moreover, inaccurate. What do things like violence and drop-outs have to do with "smartness"? (Have I ever mentioned how I hate the word 'smart'? Sure, a lot of dumb people are violent, and many of them drop out of school. But so do a lot of smart kids. I understand where they're going with this, as they're basically attempting to rank the educational systems in question, but calling them "smart states" or "dumb states" seems to be bordering on propaganda.

I'm back!

Yes, I know. I haven't posted for three months. I suck. In that time, I did not elope to Beirut, I got back to New York, I wrote a one act musical, discovered my calling as a stage manager, applied for a summer job in Massechusetts, had my one-act musical performed, went back to Missouri, drove back to New York, parked in Brooklyn, had Abigail visit me in New York, drove from Brooklyn to Manhattan at rush hour, and drove from Manhattan to Massachusetts, moved into a triple room in house of 13 people in a VERY small town in the middle of nowhere in Connecticut, and have been living here and working just across the border for about two weeks now. As there's nothing to do here (besides sit on the porch and look at the barn) except work on my musical, which I am doing, but not ALL the time, I'm going to try to blog some this summer. It may or my not happen. I apologize, if you still care, for falling off the face of the earth. I am a bad bad blogger. Alright, enough with the self-flaggelation. On to the posting!