Saturday Night in the City…Oh wait, it’s Friday Night

If you are going to ask me if the restaurant is hiring for servers and you want me to put in a good word for you, then by all means go ahead and tip me 6 bucks on a 75.00 check.  After sitting there for two hours.  That is after you finally got there.  Your girlfriend had already been holding the table for 30 minutes.  And of course go ahead and send the drink back that your oh, so precious girlfriend ordered wrong.  Yes.  I would do all of these things if you really think you’ll ever get a job in our restaurant.

And while I’m ranting.  If you are going to sit at my table for three hours.  Pull your head out of your ass and realize that at our pace that’s three turns of the table.  And your measly 10 bucks on your 50 dollar tab kind of sucks.

And the winner of parent of the year:

Miss bleached out blondie in her forties that sat at my table around 11:00 p.m.  The one who was kind of snippy with me when I approached the table.  The one who asked to see a menu but had no intention of eating.  And of course the same one who ordered a glass of white wine and a captain morgan and diet coke.  And of course when I asked who the second drink was for, pointed at her daughter who’d clearly just come from her orthodontist appointment because her braces were so shiny and new.  And looked like she probably needed you to sign her permission slip just to miss her history class so she could even be in New York.  And the same one who got snippy again with me when I asked to see her daughters ID.  And the one who informed me that since it was HER daughter and she was there with you it was perfectly fine to serve her.  And the same one who told me that since I wouldn’t serve her daughter that I could just bring a glass of wine and a rum and coke for her.  And the same one that got snippy with me when I told her, “but of course.  Which would you like first because you can’t have them at the same time.”  And the same one who finally ordered the rum and coke and get this:

Left without paying the fucking bill.

Yes.  MOTHER OF THE FUCKING YEAR.

Happy Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving.

Well it’s sort of a day late but what can I say.

I was in a mood last night.  A bit depressed.  A bit annoyed.  A bit a lot of things.

I got to work last night and discovered that I got a sort of shit schedule again next week.  Which annoyed me.  Which made me not want to work.  So I gave up my shift.  Which freaked me out because I need the money.  And so by the time I got home I was depressed, annoyed and worried.

I woke up today feeling like crap.  My alarm went off at 11:00 a.m. and I finally got out of bed at 1:00 p.m.  I was tired and depressed and if it hadn’t been for the phone ringing I might still be there.  It didn’t help that my throat was raw and I had the mother of all headaches.  Not a migraine.  One of those fuckers that’s more about being sick than anything.  The first thing I did when I got out of bed was down half a bottle of Advil.  After a couple of cups of coffee, the headache started to subside, although my throat is still a little sore.

After the coffee started kicking in, I watched a little news.  If I wasn’t depressed already the news didn’t help.  The stuff in India, Thailand, the economy etc.  it made me want to crawl back into bed.

So I turned off the TV and called me mom.  She’d called just as I’d sat down with my first cup of coffee.  I was dreading the call because I knew she was at my cousin Jessie’s house with the whole family.  And the only thing worse than actually spending Thanksgiving with these people, is the passing of the phone, having to chat with all of them.  And about two minutes into the call my mom passed the phone off.  I try to be polite but I’m already depressed and talking to my family does not help.  And then I get to Jessie.  And for years when I first moved to NYC I would buy her the annual Macy’s Snow Globe.  They are different each year and she loved them.  Then money got tight and I stopped.  And then I moved to San Diego.  And so last year being back in the city I had one shipped to her.  And she loved it.  But now instead of just waiting to see if it’s going to happen, she asked for one.  And it annoys me.  These things are not cheap and with shipping it’s even more.  And it’s much more fun to send them when they are not being expected than to feel like I have to because I’ve been asked.  Ugh.  It took about 20 minutes but I finally spoke to just about everyone in the room.

Finally I was off the phone.  And I got to make the calls that were more important to me.  I called my roommate Chuck.  My friend Kelly.  Ex-boyfriend Sam.  Michelle.  All to tell them how grateful I am that they are in my life.  After the calls I felt much less depressed.

So then I got ready and left for work.  And on the train I needed new music for my Ipod so I chose the album Grateful by John Bucchino.  I looked for the first song on the CD on YouTube but the clips were stupid.  John Bucchino is the composer and there are a number of relatively famous people who sing the songs.  On YouTube they are listed as spiritual and religious but they aren’t at all.  Spiritual is the last thing I would call them.  The first song on the CD is called Grateful and it’s sung by Michael Feinstein.  And it’s sappy and all that.  But it made me realize that I have a lot more to be grateful for than I was giving myself credit for.

Including my job.  In Fall of 2008 I should count my self lucky to even have a job.  And my job is easy.  And I make great money.  And so I need to stop complaining.  And whining and being depressed because of my schedule.  And then I realized what was pissing me off about my schedule.  It’s not that it’s crappy.  I work the cocktails section.  And there are three of those.  One is great.  One is good.  And one is okay.  I have been lucky that I’ve only been getting good and great shifts.  Now I’m getting three of those and one okay shift.  And the thing that sucks about that, is the money in the okay station isn’t guaranteed.  And the nice thing about the schedule that I was getting is that I could safely give up a couple of those shifts and I didn’t even notice.  Now I feel like I have to work them all or I won’t make enough money.  Which isn’t true.  But it’s how I feel.

But I need to get over it.  The truth is I make a lot more than I was making a year ago.  And unless our business tanks after the first of the year.  I’ll be fine.

And I’ll end by saying this.  I made 70 dollars more last year on Thanksgivng than I did today.  Last year I worked a double.  16 hours.  This year I worked 8.  Hours.  So if you do the math.  I worked an extra 8 hours for 70 dollars.  Things are much better this year.  And I think it’s mostly my attitude.

Good Morning…

I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night.  Even though I set my alarm and got three phone calls I didn’t crawl out of bed until almost 3:00 p.m.  I hate when I sleep away my day off.  I feel like I waste it when I do.

I work the next five days.  I don’t like when I’m scheduled five days in a row.  It’s tough grueling hard work and it sort of beats me down.  By Sunday night I’ll be so tired that I probably won’t get out of bed Monday till 5:00 p.m.  And yes, I have to work Thanksgiving.  I’d work every holiday of the year to not be in Times Square New Year’s Eve.  And the way the restaurant works, you have to rank the holidays so that as many people as possible can be accommodated with their requests to leave the city, or see loved ones.  And since New Year’s Eve and Day are my request I have to work Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  I also don’t mind because I don’t really have plans for the day.  I suppose if I weren’t working I would have sought out plans, but I knew that I would be working so there you go.

The only thing that I’ll say about working on Thursday, is that last year every person was in the worst mood possible.  They were all hateful and demanding and rude.  It’s clear why people don’t like their families on holidays with the attitude I was getting.  And to make matters worse they were cheap.  Cheap.  Cheap.  I worked a double (a day shift and a night shift) and made the same amount that I make on a typical Saturday night.  It sucked.  It was also the last double that I ever worked.  And I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’ll never work a day shift, never mind a double ever again.

Guess who came to visit me tonight.  You’ll never guess.  “The Director”  Yes, the very one.  He’s flew in to NYC tonight from Oklahoma on his way upstate for the holiday.  He got to my apartment around 10:45 p.m.  And what can I say.  He was “The Director.”  Completely over the top and loud and a little bit out of his mind.  I might get my roommate to give you his opinion.  After two years of hearing me describe this man, he got the pleasure of meeting him.  He can let you all know whether I was exaggerating or not.

And that’s about it.  I have to get to bed early tonight.  Someone’s coming to fix our oven tomorrow morning.  It works, but it takes forever to heat up and you never quite know what the temperature is.  So hopefully, it will be fixed tomorrow so that we can start with our baking in preparation for our party.

I’ve been Unfriended!

I’ve been on Facebook for about a year and a half.  And I’ve heard my friends say that it can suck the life out of you.  And yet I’ve never known this to be the case.  I post an update, say yes to some friend request and that’s about it.

Until tonight.

My roommate and I are having a Christmas open house in December.  And a number of people I want to invite are on Facebook.  So I sat down tonight around 1:30 a.m. to create the event, select the invitees, and send off the message.  It’s 4:15 and I just closed the window.  I haven’t been doing the event since then.  No.  I’ve been reading through my friends profiles, commenting on their pictures, wishing them well, responding to messages.

And it’s three hours later and I’m not even close to going to bed.  I need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

On the same note.

About a month ago I got a snide message from a friend on Facebook, chastising me because I had not responded to a message that he’d sent.  It took me almost two weeks to get back to him and he didn’t like it.  I know I should have answered sooner but here is my take on that.  If you want to talk to me, and you want an immediate response — call me.  If you want something and you need a sort of immediate response — email me.  Any message I get on Facebook, I look on as casual.  A let’s get together and do drinks sometime sort of message.

So when I responded to the original email suggesting we get together the following week, he quickly responded saying that “He’d pass on drinks with me.”  I replied wanting to know if this was because he was busy or because he was mad.  To which he replied that he wasn’t mad but that he expected friends to reply in a more timely fashion than I had, which proved obviously that I wasn’t interested in being friends with him.

My immediate response (one of those times when maybe I should have hit save instead of send) basically said the following:

If you want to know why I haven’t responded, it’s because I’ve been working five shifts a week, which translates into about 50 hours a week waiting tables.  The job is grueling and hard and when I get home the last thing I want to do is get on Facebook and answer messages.  I’m sorry I’ve been so busy, but I’m 6,000 dollars in debt because I had to borrow money to live on after I broke my ankle.  I owe you and about 50 other people emails and phone calls and I get to them as soon as I am able.   I also think that you are old enough to realize that people don’t always react and respond the way you want them to and when you want them to.  I’ve had to face that reality on many occasions and once or twice with you (he once came to 4th of July barbecue, got pissed off about something without telling anyone and while we were outside grilling, packed up the food he’d brought and left.  Without saying a word to anyone).  I’ll try and do better but I can’t promise that I’m going to respond to messages the day that I get them.

He responded with a curt message about me being old enough to realize that messages should be returned the day that I get them.

I haven’t thought much about it since then.  We never had drinks and I knew he was mad but he’s been mad before and he always get’s over it.  And then tonight when I was sorting through the people that were in NYC that I wanted to invite I realized that he’d UNFRIENDED me.  And I was taken aback.  Not because he didn’t want to be my friend.  There are lots of people that I’m no longer friends with.  But that he’d taken the time to actually go into Facebook and delete me.

And then I sort of felt pity for him.  How junior high schoolish of a 40 year old man to feel like the way to terminate a friendship is to just “unfriend” them from a social networking website.  Really?  And in the end it’s his loss.  If he gets mad and “unfriends” every person he knows who dissapoints him, soon he’ll “unfriend” everyone he knows.  Because if there’s nothing else I’ve learned throught life experience, is that it’s inevitable that you’ll be disappointed by everyone you know.

Maddog Ramblings…

I was all prepared to post last night.  I had a million things to chat about.

Tonight.

Nada.

Zip.

Nothing.

So…

I think I live in the only apartment in NYC heated with steam that is freezing cold.  It seems there is some money saving tactic in place that assumes that as long as the heat is on in the apartments from 7:00 to Midnight everyone will be happy.  I’m sitting in my bedroom right now shivering, because it’s so cold.  I want one of those apartments that you have to sleep with the window open because it’s so hot.

The rain in the bathroom has finally stopped.  Now we just need someone to come patch up the ceiling and make it all pretty again.

Is anyone else surprised that Thanksgiving is on Thursday.  Wasn’t Labor Day just last week.  And what happened to fall.  I was wearing shorts one day and then I leave for Iowa and when I get back it’s freezing.

With that being said it’s almost time to start decorating for Christmas.  We already have a plan as to when we are getting our tree.  We are also planning a little Christmas open house for some of our closest friends.  I’m actually looking forward to it right now.  When I have to spend three days baking cookies remind me that I’ve said that.  And if anyone has any fun EASY Christmas recipes send them my way.  Chuck and I are meeting over the next couple of days to plan our little event.  And I’m not at all sure what we should have besides lots and lots of wine.

I’m also thinking about cooking Christmas dinner.  If I can find some people who are going to be in the city with nowhere to go I’d like to do the real Christmas dinner with turkey and stuffing etc etc.  So far though everyone I’ve asked has plans so I’ll have to wait and see.  If this doesn’t pan out then I’ll do the same thing I did last year.   I spent the day eating Chinese delivery watching really cheesy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Does anyone out there watch True Blood?  The season finale was tonight.  I haven’t seen it yet so don’t spoil anything but I’m completely hooked on this show.  Besides the fact that we get to see Ryan Kwanten mostly naked in every show.  That in itself is enough to make you tune in.  But the show really is great.  In case you don’t know Ryan:

kwan-70216

And I should probably get to bed now.  I have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow and Lidia is coming to clean so I have to be up earlier than usual.

Have a great Monday.

Cue 35??? What the fuck happened to Cue 35???

I was all prepared for tonight’s post.  I’d thought about it a couple of times at work tonight.  I thought I’d complain about my first night back at the restaurant.

I was going to bitch about my schedule for next week.  It sucks ass.

I was going to bitch about the verbal tip.  You know.  You were great.  We had the best time.  You are the best waiter we’ve had in New York.  All this is followed by an 8% tip.

I was going to bitch about the girl who asked for free drinks when I greeted the table.  And continued to ask for free stuff the entire time she and her friends were there.  And I wanted to ask her if she goes to the fucking Gap and asked for free fucking jeans.  Because we are a fucking business.  If we gave something free to every fucking person who wanted it, we wouldn’t be in business.  Oh, and thanks for not tipping.

I was going to ponder why middle easterners are the worst tippers I deal with.  See the above two paragraphs.

I was going to discuss how awful our super is.  And how he stood in our bathroom today, while water was cascading out of the ceiling, not being concerned at all.  It took him another twenty minutes to go upstairs to check if there was a problem.

Yes, I was going to discuss all these things.

But then I had this text message when I got off work:

“Did you keep a copy of the show file for yourself?” This was from the scenery/lighting design professor (the one they hired instead of me).

There was also a message from him but I didn’t check it till after I got home and read this email:

Production Team,

Many of you were involved with tonight’s happenings, but for those of you who were not or who want a full story:

Around 7:10, Emma (light board operator) approached me about a monitor on the light board that was not working.  We did some trouble shooting with Eric (who is in Chicago) via telephone, but could not find the source of the problem.  We decided to shut down the board and reboot, only to find that the console would not restart.  We called in Jason for additional trouble-shooting and announced the road-block to Gerri and Barb preparing them to have to make a decision about the run of the show.

After holding the house until 7:55 and determining that the console was irreparable for tonight’s run, we eventually decided to run the show without lights.  The actors (with much assistance from our ASM) and the remaining technical elements carried the show beautifully.

We will be meeting at 9:00 am tomorrow morning to discuss possible routes concerning Sunday’s show.  You are all encouraged to come, but I know some of you are far away (Maddog) or may have other obligations, etc.

Maddog, do we have the show saved to a disk?  We could potentially switch it onto the other board and run from that.

Thanks everyone

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

That’s not funny laughing.  That’s I knew it was too good to be true laughing.

A little background.

I’m the lighting designer.  I figure out where all the lights go in the theatre.  I do this using creativity, mechanics and a lot of guess work.  I then do a set of drawings (drafting) that I send to the theatre ahead of my arrival.  The crew at the theatre takes my drawings and uses them to hang the lights where I want them.  Then I show up and have a crew point the lights (focus) where I tell them to.

And then.

I start tech.  This is the process where, with the directors, the actors, the stage manager and the crew I figure out what lights are turned on when.  How fast they turn on.  How fast they turn off.  And by doing this I create a stage picture that make everyone go oooohhhh.   And if I’ve done my job most people don’t even notice.  This tech process can take a few hours if it’s a small show, or if we don’t have a lot of time.  Large  Broadway shows might have more than a 150 hours of tech.

And during this process we use this thing called a light board.  In the old days it was run manually and if it was a big show it might take three or four people to do it.  Ah, but then came technology.  And the invention of the computer.  And wouldn’t you know light boards became computerized.  Just for the record, a little trivia.  A Chorus Line was the first Broadway show to have a computerized light board.

And so now, I sit at a desk and I tell someone to turn these lights on, and those lights off and when things look the way I want them to, it’s recorded as a cue.  And I do this moment by moment for the whole show until all the looks are in the computer.  Small shows might have thirty or so “cues”.  The shows I designed this summer had about 400 cues each.  A Broadway show can have more than 700 cues.  The show I just designed has about 150.

Once all this is done, we run it all with actors.  I make adjustments.  And we do it again.  These are called tech rehearsals.  Eventually these give way to dress rehearsals.  And then the show opens, I collect my paycheck, pack my bags and fly home.

And with any luck there have been no tornadoes, fires, floods, famine, crane collapses etc.

Ah, but I underestimated the power of evil in Iowa.  It seems that the light board has bitten the dust.  And if the computer won’t turn on, then they can’t access those cues.  And if they can’t access those cues, then the lights don’t know when to turn on and off.  And suddenly the shows kind of fucked.  See how important my job is.

And so the email and text wanted to know if I had a disc backup of the show.  I don’t.  It’s not really my job to do this.  It’s the people in charge of the theater that have to make the copies.  And EVEN IF I had made a copy it would be useless to them.  The tech director who is brilliant, was persuaded to buy a light board that’s a piece of shit.  (He really is brilliant, don’t get me wrong).  But the light board that has died is a piece of shit.  I had a thirty minute conversation with a lighting friend while I was in Iowa about how bad this console was.  And so with all their brilliance they bought a different brand of computer than their other one,  so even if I had backed the show up there would have been nothing they could do about it.  It would be like trying to get a Mac computer to run on Window 95.

So they are fucked more or less.

This is the email I sent back to them.

UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!

Let me repeat that….UGH!!!!

With that said.

I don’t have a back up of the show file.   I only do that when I expect to do the show again.

With that being said.  The most up to date paperwork is on Erik’s laptop which might be being used for video.  It has every thing but the stuff that was added the last couple of days.  What is there, would be more than enough to get you through the last show.

As for programing.  My suggestion would be to quickly throw together seven basic looks on submasters on the other console.  You would need a look for the top floor, the bedroom, the canteen, the dining room and the classroom.  Along with that you would need a look for the two scenes with Emma when she is outside the classroom that could be the same look.  You would also need a look for the interrogation room down right.  I would then add a couple of scene change looks that would cover the changes.  If you are feeling really excited go with three or four.  You can bounce between them randomly.

Once this is programmed, run it old school.  The stage manager will let the board op know what is coming and the board op will run it on the faders live.  Luckily they are both on top of their game and I don’t think this should be a problem.  It just means that the stage manager will have to be sure that the board op knows what’s coming next.  It would even better if you could get the other board into two scene preset mode so that one scene can be on stage while the board op sets up for the new scenes.

I hope this helps.  It’s late/early but I’ll be sure that my phone is on and by the bed in case you have questions or need other information.  If I don’t answer call back I probably didn’t wake up fast enough to get to the phone.

Please let me know how the show goes.  With a little will power and quick thinking most of the audience will never know there’s a problem.  I wouldn’t even let them know about the difficulties.  Just remind the cast and crew that this was the way it was done for years and to go out there and have a good time and not to be thrown if it doesn’t go smoothly.  Trust me there are far worse things that could have happened.     And just so you know Justin, there’s no need to take my name off the program, I’m with the show good or bad.  These things happen.  It’s the beauty of live theatre.  Or the pain, whichever way you want to look at it.

I’ll send good thoughts your way.

Maddog

That sort of sums it all up.

Keep your fingers crossed that the 2:00 p.m. show goes okay.

And remember, evil things happen when I leave the city.

ps…here’s a photo of a real light board:

obsessioniiphotobucket

The Return of the Queen…

Guess who’s home from Iowa.

And guess who’s extra tired.

My flight was at 6:00 a.m. this morning.  It was the only non-stop I could get back to NYC.  And I’d rather be up with the chickens than spend all day travelling.  So I haven’t been to bed since Wednesday night.  I’ve been up for about 30 hours right now.

So how was my trip?

For the most part it was fine.

For the most part.

Except for the rain.  And the rain.  And the rain.  And then the 14 degree temperatures.  And did I mention that it rained?

The show sucked.

The director is a sweet heart but it’s only the third show she’s ever directed and her inexperience shines.  She’s an academic and to my knowledge I don’t think she’s ever taken a directing course.  And you know what we do is so easy, just about anyone can do it.  All it takes is a desire to do it.  And that’s all fine and good.  It just doesn’t mean the show’s going to be good.  I’d be willing to bet I could do just about anyone’s job after reading a couple of books about it.  I just wouldn’t do it well.

So the show sucked.

And the scenery sucked.

The scenery designer who is the person who they hired over me two years ago, phoned this one in.  The scenery was okay but I don’t think it served the text at all and created a show that wasn’t the one that’s in the script.  He says it’s because he didn’t have time to get it done.   I have to wonder.

The acting was awful.  They are student actors, so you don’t expect the best.  But most of these kids have never been in a play in their entire life and it shows.  And that wouldn’t be so bad if the director knew how to get a performance out of them.  But she doesn’t.  And then of course there’s the whole issue of the coddling that goes on at this school.  NO ONE and I do mean NO ONE will reprimand a student at this school.  The students make the rules and they expect the faculty to abide by them.  One girl showed up an hour late for tech.  Which is still better than the dancer this spring who choreographed a piece and didn’t show up for his tech at all.  If they’d commit to just one activity instead of 1,205 activities they might actually be good at one of them.

The apartment I was housed in was beautiful.  It was the downstairs of an old house.  There were French doors that opened up to the living room from the entry.  And from the living room their were pocket doors that opened up into the dining room.  My bedroom was off the dining room.  I’m still not sure what the purpose of the room was originally.  It had a closet but it also had wood panelled double doors that opened up into the dining room.  Anyway it was very nice.

Except.

That it didn’t have cable.

And even worse.  Didn’t have an internet connection.

That left me very disconnected.

And then to make matters worse, the password that had been assigned to me didn’t work so I was unable to access the internet at all from my computer on campus.  Thus the shortage of posts.  I’m very grateful that the lovely and talented roommate was able to fill in and let you know what was going on.  I’m hoping that I can get him to stop by more often.  He’s a really nice guy.  And the best roommate I’ve ever had.  And I’m not saying that just because he reads this either.  Of course I’m convinced that he’s only nice because he loves the sofa.  But that’s just me.

And that’s the long and the short of Iowa.

I did go to the movies while I was there.  And I met the most annoying employee of Home Depot named Chad.  He was so annoying I actually bought 20 bucks worth of stuff that I didn’t need just to get him to shut up.

And I did keep my car the entire time.  I was supposed to turn it in the day I got there from the airport.  But instead I just kept extending the return time.  I’m hoping they don’t freak out when they get the bill since it’s a direct bill to the college.

I’m glad to be home.  I’m exhausted and I’m not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  But I need the money and it’s the busy season.  So if I work my ass off by the end of December I should have enough money to go on vacation in March or April.  I want to travel west.  Definitely to California but I’m torn between the southwest or the northwest.  Any suggestions.

Tune in tomorrow.  I’m sure I’ll have wonderful stories of waiting tables.

A Guest Blogger In The City

You know who has gone back to the Land Of Corn.  While the weather there has yet to turn into some sort of further freakish proof of global warming (give it time, give it time) the poor Maddog is without internet access.  And so, faithful reader, you get me – the oft alluded to but never before present – Roommate of Maddog.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

First the report from Iowa.  Maddog just called and kids, it’s not going well.  Not completely, anyway.  I’ll bet the show will be beautiful to look at because Maddog is a really good light designer.  You can believe me on this, it’s how he and I met. I hired him to light a show for me a few years back and it was artistic love at first sight. Not too mention all the bonding over Diet Coke.  (Some would say I stole his Diet Coke, but they are just jealous, have no place here and we ignore them.)  Unfortunately, the rest of the event seems to be more of the same old Iowa nonsense. I’ll leave the details until he returns, but you can be certain of one thing: this little adventure is not going to make the American theater stand tall. Poor Maddog. At least this time let’s hope he comes home without the crutches.

Now, can we talk about Sam? Yes we can.  I had heard only vague references to Sam prior to this.  Yeah he’s cute and yeah young love is lots of fun (I was young once, I remember) but for me the big draw on the Sam tale is how sweet the memory is even when told truthfully.   The honest look at Sam’s sometimes immaturity and Maddog’s too-young-to-know-the-real-cost-of-cheating doesn’t seem in anyway to diminish the power of the romance.  Now that’s a love story. I just wanted to say that.

I may be back before Maddog returns. I may not. Or I may sell his furniture and cash the entire apartment out for a year’s supply of Diet Coke.   One of us will let you know.

Maddog Updates!

It’s late and I have to be up a little earlier than usual, so some quick Maddog updates.

I had the best night at work tonight ever.  I made more money than I’ve ever made by waiting tables.  I had fun.  My guests had fun.  I drove everyone around me crazy because I was so busy…at least my fellow servers.  Of course, they are used to me telling them to get the fuck out of my way, so it really wasn’t anything new.  If every night could be like tonight, I actually might take up waiting tables full time.  Wait, I already have.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I fly to Iowa to do a show.  I turned in the design on Wednesday and by the time I get to the theatre on Monday I will be able to start pointing the lights (focusing) where they go.  I actually don’t do the work, I just stand on stage and someone else points the light at me.  It’s a little more complicated than you think.  The show opens on November 20th so I have a little bit of time to get things right.  I’ll be flying back to NYC on the 21st.   While I’m gone I’ll be happy to keep you up to date on all the going ons.  Everytime I’ve gone to Iowa the weather has been insane.  I’ve been there twice and I’ve seen ice storms, blizzards, heat waves, tornadoes, and even an earthquake.  So I’m sure there will be much to write about.

Also be prepared for a crane to fall in NYC.  The last several times I’ve been out of the city there has been a crane disaster.  I don’t think I cause them, but don’t be surprised if it happens.

While I’m gone I’ll be sure to write some more Sam stories.  Perhaps if you are interested I’ll tell you about sex in a tree with.  Or perhaps how Sam took a class that I was teaching as a requirement.  Or perhaps I’ll share the story of the full blown affair I had.  Or maybe…you’ll just have to wait and see.

I haven’t packed yet so I have to be up early enough to drink coffee, pack, clean my room so Lydia can clean and get showered and out the door by 3:15.  Yes, I know that ‘s the middle of the afternoon.  But most of you have been asleep for five or six hours already and you won’t be up for another two or three hours.  It’s 5:03 a.m. and if I’m lucky I’ll get about six hours of sleep.  Hopefully my roommate will be home when I get up.  I’ve discovered that it’s easier to wake up when there someone around to talk to you.  During the week I often turn the coffee on, pour a cup and then sleep on the couch till it’s time to shower for work.  At least twice this week I’ve wasted an entire pot of coffee.  So like I said, I hope he’s home.

I haven’t mentioned my weight lately but I’m losing weight again.  As of today I’m down 53 pounds from my all time highest weight.  I still have 67 more to go which seems like a ton.  I have been very focused lately.  I’ve stopped ordering in food and I cook for myself which is good for the weight as well as my wallet.  I’m very careful at work to only eat salads, because it’s easy to snatch a nacho, french fry or a bit of a sundae off a coworkers plate.  Tonight they had chocolate cake left over from a party and I politely said no, and went back to work.  I probably won’t mention this again for a while but I thought I would up date you.

And although there are a million other things I could share, it’s time for bed.  I still have to read.  I’m reading a great mystery book called In the Woods.  I’m loving it but I’m at the point of the book where I want to know the answers so I tend to read later than I want to.  Last night I read three chapters and I should have turned off the light after one chapter.  Tonight I have to be firm to only read a few pages.

And that my friends is a wrap.  See you tomorrow.

Sam — Chapter 11

We’ve survived our first big fight.

Christmas has come and gone.

I don’t remember but I’d bet money that we didn’t spend New Year’s together.

And then it’s winter.

I move to a new apartment.  A one bedroom.  It’s the first time I’ve lived by myself in a very long time.  Well sort of.  Sam has the keys to the apartment.  He comes and goes as he wants.  He didn’t help me move though.  It was the first of six moves I made while we dated and he never helped once.  It was a point of contention many times because he conveniently had other things to do on those days.

So I’m living alone together.  School has started back.  And a couple of things change.

First, Sam is entirely unhappy in his course of study.  Granted he’s dealing with mostly requirements at this point but he’s long since given up the idea of being a Senator.  He’s realized he can’t be gay and be a politician, one of the reasons he’s been secretive about our life.  But he does have something else he’d like to do.  It’s in one of the design fields (not theatre).  To get into the program he had to take a four hour entrance exam.  I have no idea what was on the exam, but he spent quite a bit of time preparing.  He took the exam and what would you know, he was accepted into the program.  Suddenly his school life is going to change.

At the same time, I’m finishing up my theatre degree and it’s time to figure out what comes next.  I’m encouraged to go ahead and get my MFA.  At this point I have a BA, and I’m working on my MA.  (Yes, I’m a waiter with three college degrees and a million dollars in student loan debt.  And I would do it all again if I had the choice).  So I decide to apply for grad school.  At this point, it’s spring 1992 and I have no idea where to apply.  Since there is no internet, researching schools is very difficult.  I didn’t even know where to begin.  So I picked four or five that I knew about, called for information, and waited.  Of the ones I got information from, I chose three.  I sent applications to the University of Alabama, The University of Tennessee, and The University of Cincinnati.  All three were stellar okay programs.  I sent off my application materials and waited, and waited, and waited.  And finally I got calls from the three schools wanting me to come visit and interview for their programs.

First up Cincinnati.  From all I’d heard and read about it, the school was supposed to be great.  They did large budget shows, with lots of technical support and was supposed to be an excellent program.  I interviewed there and it went well.  The lighting instructor liked my stuff and told me he would be in touch.

Next up Alabama.  I drove down to Tuscaloosa and interviewed.  I wasn’t taken with the program.  The facilities looked just like what I’d been working in.  And I was concerned that I wouldn’t learn anything new.  The one good thing about the program is they were one of the leaders in computer technology at the time and I’d definitely learn to draft/design on the computer.  The interview went well.

Next up, Tennessee.  The whole process was a disaster from the word go.  I drove down to Knoxville to interview.  I’d asked the lighting instructor where I should stay and he recommended a place near campus.  The Bate’s Motel was nicer.  The mattress was on springs.  And everytime I moved the bed creaked.  Which was bad enough, but the walls were so thin that I could hear the guy in the next room turning over on his bed as well.  And then there was the interview.  They didn’t like a single answer I had.  I couldn’t say anything right.  I left knowing that I’d never go to school there.

And so as expected I got letters from Cincinnati and Alabama offering me positions in their programs.  And I got a very polite rejection letter from Tennessee.

And so mid March I had to decide what I was going to do.  The first question, and to me the most important was whether I was willing to move away and leave Sam behind.  The relationship was going great.  (If you call having a boyfriend who won’t introduce you to his friends great.  Or if you mean someone I cheat on every chance I get great).  We were spending more and more time together and I didn’t know if I was really ready to leave that behind.  And then there was the question of what program to sign up for.  After some serious discussions I decided to go to Cincinnati.  It was only an hour away, Sam and I could try and make things work.  And I’d be able to finish up my degree.

So with that decision behind me, and Sam ready to start his design courses in the fall.  All was well.

Well sort of.