Saturday, March 31, 2007

Harry Potter Book Titles We'd Like To See

Upon reflection with my friends Michael and Liesl Downey that the last Harry Potter book ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows") has a rather disappointing name:

Harry Potter and the Apocalypse

Harry Potter and the Bearded Lizard.... Dragon

Harry Potter and the Tumbly Wumbly Snazzleberry

Harry Potter and Boobs

Harry Potter BOOZE!

Harry Potter and the Itemized Deduction Form 7-B

Harry Potter and a Pound of Bacon

Harry Potter and the Weapons of Mass Destruction

Harry Potter and a Cobra Wrapped Around a Budweiser

Harry Potter and the Lost Luggage

Harry Potter and the Plan of Salvation

Harry Potter on a Hot Tin Roof

Harry Potter and the Missing Prostate

Harry Potter Go To Space!

Harry Potter and the Cat

Harry Potter and the World AIDS Crisis

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Coolest Guy On Earth

You know those times where you ever sit and think, "Man, everybody I know really sucks. Someplace somewhere there has got to be somebody so completely awesome that it literally would blow my socks off and make milk come out my nose just to be near him." Yeah, I hear you. We all feel that way sometimes. Well, not me. I know that guy. He's my best friend.

He is a man of many names. Master of a Thousand Voices. King of Random Hats. The Golden Prince of Cheese. Lord of Catan. Kingpin of Kool-Aid. Viceroy of Vice. Grand Chancellor of Wild. Prime Minister of Pie. Savant of Nerdy Trivia. Impromptu Film Director. Emperor of the Eclectic. Avatar of Apple Martinis. Friend of Beasts. Duke of the Dance Floor. Protector of Awkward Comedy of Days Gone By.

He is always there for you, with a smile, a laugh, or a drunken kiss, whatever the need may be. His door and his heart are always open, and he'll always let you pet his dog, sleep on his couch, or flirt with his wife. He is kind and generous, brave and true, faithful and cunning.

His name is Michael Downey. His glory will purge the world. Look upon him, ye nations, and despair.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring Break Travel Woes

My stories from this spring break are too numerous to tell here. I'll not bother to explain how I found myself stuck in Atlanta, Georgia for longer than anticipated, or tell you about bleeding all over myself some thirty thousand feet above what I think must have been Pennsylvania, or about how I wound up mostly naked in the back of a rented mini-van somewhere in New Jersey. These are all stories you'll have to get from me in person. Let's just say this: despite a week of warm weather, the northwest (including Newark International Airport) was suddenly visited by a horrible sleet storm on Friday, when a whole host of people (including yours truly) were supposed to be flying out that day. Here's a record of my woes:

10:00 AM, Friday, March 16
I arrive at the Newark Airport with plenty of time to spare. This morning on the news they said the weather was going to get bad and that there would probably be delays and cancellations, but not until later this afternoon. I can only hope my 11:35 flight will be OK. And for a good while it looks as though it might. Everything proceeds smothly at check-in and my flight is listed as "ON TIME."

10:30 AM
I proceed through security, make myself comfortable, pull out a book to read, and then hear over the intercom that my flight has been cancelled. It soon becomes clear that the entire airport is shutting down for the rest of the day.

11:15 AM
I wait for what seems like forever (but in retrospect was the shortest and quickest line of my adventure) to rebook with an agent at the gate. I strike up an alliance with the lady in front of me who is taking the whole ordeal rather well. She smiles, shakes her head sadly, and says, "Well, that's life," and "Better safe than sorry!" I admire her optimism and patience, and resolve at that moment that, even though I have no idea whats going to happen to me, I will face whatever comes with a good attitude and a sense of adventure. (This proved very difficult). Since I'm flying alone, I get slipped on to one of the earliest flights leaving for Charlotte (where my car is) - 6:45 AM tomorrow morning.

11:34 AM
I find my checked luggage, sitting forlornly with a pack of other rejects from cancelled flights. I have no real plan at this point. Everything seems shut down due to the storm, and hotels for miles and miles around are probably already booked since not only Newark but the other New York airports are closing down. Besides, I've already gone over budget with this trip. I decide to wait in the ticketing line to check-in for my flight tomorrow, if I can, and spend the night in the airport. I worry that they won't allow check-ins 17 hours before a flight, but I don't know what else to do. My cell phone's battery chooses this moment to run out of juice.

12:11 PM
After standing in line for 40 minutes and moving maybe 10ft in a 200ft line, I realize most of the people in this line are still trying to get tickets rebooked, and I decide to come back later in the afternoon when the craziness dies away. I'm confirmed on the 6:45 flight so there's no rush to check in. I find a seat near the baggage claim and begin to wait. After a few moments of boredom, I start to write this log of what hapened so far. It just seemed like something to do.

1:00 PM
I realize that I may not be able to check in until tomorrow and that waiting here overnight may be unfeasible. For the first time so far I begin to worry. Seeing the line to the ticket counter still going strong, I break down, swallow my pride, and call my mother on my low-battery phone. I wanted to be an independent adult and get through this on my own, but at this point I realize I need some outside help. My sainted mother says she'll look for a hotel for me, but I don't think she'll find any due to all the people now in the same situation as me. Still, it can't hurt to look. In the meantime, I'll sit and wait some more.

2:15 PM
My phone gives up the ghost for good this time. I buy a KitKat and get change to call mom on a payphone. At first she claims to have found me a hotel nearby, but then discovers its not as near as she thought. She says to give her 30 minutes or so and then call back. I have to go find more change for the payphone.

3:00 PM
Mom found me a hotel - God bless mothers. Its the same one I stayed in last night. She says I need to hop on a shuttle to get there, then ride it back in the morning. Piece of cake! I arrive at the hotel shuttle pickup point just in time to see my shuttle about to leave. "Be back in an hour," the drive tells me.

4:23 PM
The shuttle returns. By the time it does, I begin to realize that a good chunk of the crowd around me is waiting for the same shuttle, which only holds maybe 12 people. Sure enough, the minivan is instantly mobbed by people trying to get to the hotel. Only the rudest and most Darwininan get a seat, which of course does not include little passive aggressive me.

5:15 PM
Shuttle comes again. I've realized that the only possible way I can get on one of these things is if I wait right at the curb, out in the freezing wind of the storm. I've put on almost every piece of clothing from my luggage to help stay warm, but I'm still losing feeling in my toes and fingers. I'm literally riverdancing to help my toes stay alive. There are still way more people than seats, and I give up even fighting for one when the driver assures me that there is another van coming right behind him.

6:30 PM
No shuttle yet. The cold is starting to wear down my sanity. A friendly family waiting for the same shuttle strike up a conversation with me, and express their outrage that I've been waiting since 3. They promise to help me secure a spot on the next shuttle with them. The shuttle comes - the family gets on, and though I'm right in the thick of the crowd trying to shove my luggage into the trunk, I'm too timid and get left behind. At this point my sanity finally leaves, and I begin shouting lines of Hamlet into the wind, berating myself for my lack of assertiveness:
I do not know
Why yet I live to say this thing's to do,
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't.... O, from this time forth
My thoughts be bloody or nothing worth!

7:00 PM
Empowered by my madness, I jump right on to the next shuttle and begin to slowly thaw and return to sanity. The shuttle gets stuck in traffic.

8:10 PM
Finally arrive at the hotel (which is not the same one from last night) and make some calls. I overheard in the shuttle that everything is going to be cancelled tomorrow but after making some calls, it seems like mine is till good to go.

9:15 PM
I decide to order pizza, not knowing how late it is. There's nothing good on TV.

10:20 PM
Pizza arrives just as I'm falling asleep. In a moment of mental abstraction, due in no small part to my weariness, I neglect to tip the delivery man and feel terrible about this the rest of the night. My guilt coupled with my indigestion at trying to sleep right after eating so much pizza, plus my anxiety about tomorrow keep me from sleeping well.

12:00 AM
My mom said they'd call me at midnight if they saw online that my flight had been cancelled. They don't, so I guess its still on.

2:00 AM
I can't sleep, my nerves are shot. The madness creeps in again and, as I flit in and out of consciousness, I begin to believe I'm Angelo tormenting poor Isabel. Only I could have Freudian dreams in Shakespearean verse.

3:30 AM
I'm getting no more sleep tonight. My mind cannot rest until I know my fate. I'm taking the first shuttle back to the airport at 4:00. (In retrospect, this was the best thing I could have done)

5:00 AM
Arrive back at airport. Have to wait for a bit for a bus to take me to the terminal at the same spot I went crazy yesterday. I hear more rumours of cancellations and begin to sweat.

5:10 AM
US 755 flight to Charlotte @ 6:45 AM - CANCELLED
At this point I'm worried about making it back in time for school on Monday. Seriously. I hear people talking and say there's nothing going out this weekend.

5:30 AM
Standing in line to rebook my tickets, a man from the airline comes through reassuring everyone. There are still seats for flights leaving today, he soothes. The people around me don't believe him.

7:00 AM
Still in line. The closer I get to the front, the slower it goes. There are perhaps 4 agents taking people from the line, they take at least 5-10 minutes on each person, and there are perhaps 100 or 150 people in line. I'm near the front now, though, because I got here so early. The people who make it to the counter don't look too happy. At this point I'm freaking out, despite my resolve to have a good attitude. Sometimes when I'm in a slow line long enough, I begin to forget why I'm even there. The line takes on a life of its own.

7:20 AM
I make it to the front of the line. The agent, a dark skinned laddy with impossibly curly black hair (how like an angel she seems to me now) says, tonelessly, "Ok, sir, I got you a seat on the 10:00 flight." My only reply is to burst into sweet tears of relief and babble incoherently. I'm not sure what I said to her, but I think we're engaged now.

8:30 AM
I nap near my gate and realize how stupid I would have been to stay in the airport all night. I get some crappy French toast at a restaurant.

9:35 AM
I'm on an airplane! I'm really thinking we're going to leave!

10:30 AM
The plane still has not moved. The pilot keeps us updated with excuse after excuse. The passengers are growing mutinous.

1:00 PM
The plane lands in Charlotte! Hurrah! The weight of all that stress lifts off at me, and I look out the window and I'm thankful. Actually, I got very lucky. Lots of people are still stuck in New York, and not all of them had hotel rooms and flights leaving today. I also realize that I'm pretty lucky just to be living in an age with so many options and luxuries for travel, a time when makind can, for a fairly affordable price, conquer the pull of the earth and take to the air, crossing great distance in a matter of hours. I feel gratitude and peace in my heart, and a love for all mankind.

1:30 PM
Still on the plane, waiting for a free gate. I hate everybody.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Twelfth Night Pictures

Here's some pictures from my latest production, Twelfth Night. You can see more here .