Maddog without a computer…

If I have any readers left, I’d like to apologize for being missing in action for so long. I was in Kentucky from November 1 to November 11 doing a show. I was unfortunately at my mom’s house and she does not have an internet connection. It was weird being without my computer and not being able to post blog entries, nor read up on what any of you out there in blog land were up to. I got home on November 11 and that night the hard drive on my computer died. And like 90% of all people I didn’t have any of my stuff backed up. I’ve lost two years worth of pictures, all of the materials I use for job applications, the programming for my design website, and two years worth of design materials. I could have paid to get the materials recovered but it was going to cost 600 bucks and when you don’t have a real job that’s a lot of money. I suppose even if you do have a real job that’s a lot of money. My computer is now at the repair shop awaiting parts to repair it. Luckily, it was still under warranty so I’m not having to pay to get it repaired, I just am playing the waiting game. It’s been there almost 10 days now and I still don’t know when I’m getting it back. Trust me when I say being without my computer for almost a month has been very unsettling. I can’t wait to get it back and get caught up on blogs that I read as well as be able to start posting again. I have acquired lots of material in th last month.

To get you current, I worked Thanksgiving Day. In fact I worked almost 16 hours that day and experienced one of the worst shifts waiting tables that I have ever known. The customers in the restaurant that day SUCKED. They were all in pissy moods and acted as though they had never been out to eat before. There was no appreciation for the fact that I was working on a holiday so that they could eat their “holiday” meal out. To make matters worse it was 10% day. In over six hours I didn’t make one tip that was over 10%. And as the hours passed the more moody I became and it was no wonder people weren’t tipping me by the end of the day. There is nothing like working a holiday making pennies, serving grouchy people. By midnight when the restaurant closed I was just DONE. I had had it. I just wanted to slap someone and go home. I was just angry by the end of my day.

The only thing that salvaged the day for me was the knowledge that I was going to Maine on Friday. I got home at 2:30 a.m. packed, watched some TV, got about 2.3 hours of sleep, got up took a shower and headed to the airport to head to Portland to visit Michelle. I was dead tired by the time I got there, but I was so glad not to be working, and to be out of the city that I could hardly contain myself. The weekend was serving a dual purpose. Michelle and her girlfriend Lisa were hosting a non traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Friday night. And Michelle and her friends were presenting another drag king show on Saturday night. So I got to eat great food and then design the lights and run the show for their performance. It has been a great weekend. The show went off without a hitch and I think hands down it’s their best one yet. The lighting was exceptionally good this time. And dinner Friday night was insane. There was such a mix of food. My favorites were the vegetarian lasagna and the homemade chocolate cream pie…and honorable mention went to the homemade cheesecake. YUMMMMMMMY.

It’s now Sunday night and I head back to the city tomorrow. I go back to work on Tuesday and I’m hoping that it’s a better shift than Thursday. I”m trying to tell myself that it was one night and that every night won’t be like that. In the mean time I’ll try to make posts as often as I can and I’m really hoping that I get my computer back this week. Thanks to everyone who sent emails and comments wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is doing well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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A Maddog In The Country

It’s 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, and I have spent the last three hours sitting on my sofa enjoying being back in New York, in my own apartment.  And it the most amazing thing, not one person has screamed “Motherfucker”, not one person has made disparaging remarks about “Mexicans” or “Niggers”, the temperature in the apartment is well above freezing, and there isn’t a well meaning mother shoving cookies in my direction telling me to go ahead…”have one more.”  Perhaps you can already discover the differences between my life in Kentucky and my life in New York.  If not, well I’ll spend a couple of paragraphs explaining.

I was hired about six weeks ago to do the lighting for a musical at a small college in Central Kentucky.  I worked at this school when I lived in Kentucky years ago and was very aware of the limitations.  They were however, willing to pay me a decent sum of money to come to Kentucky for 10 days and design the lights for their musical.  They also provided me with transportation from NYC to KY and a rental car to use while I was there.  The school was close enough that I could stay with my mom while I was there and save everyone some money.  And thus I went to Kentucky for 11 days.

This is the longest I’ve been in the area since my father died.  I’m usually only there three or four days at most and in the past year each visit has been less than 48 hours.  This is perfect for me.  I love my family to death but I can only take them in small doses.  And when I say small doses.  I mean small doses.

We’ll start with my mom’s house.  My mom lives in a modest ranch style home that was built in the 1960’s.  She and my father bought the house about 8 years ago.  It was too much house for them then, and it’s way too much house for my mom now.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to convince her to even try and sell it.  She’s convinced that she’ll have no where to go if she does.  As long as she makes the payments, she’s got a roof over her head.  The only problem is it REALLY IS WAY TOO MUCH HOUSE for her.

My mother has never been a good housekeeper.  I didn’t grow up in a house where everything was in it’s place and there was no dust on things.  Once every six months or so, my mom would take the day off work and scrub from top to bottom and the house would be perfect.  For a day or two.  To this day, it’s the mode of cleaning that I use.  I keep things somewhat put in place.  And then every six months or so I scrub from top to bottom.  For my mom though, this no longer works.  She’s almost 70 and not in the best physical shape so cleaning at all causes her great pain.  She does the best she can but it’s not very good.  I’ve offered to try and help hire someone to help her out, but she says no.  She also won’t allow me to help when I’m home.  As you can tell she’s very stubborn.

All of this translates into a very dusty, not very clean house.  Which for me, means that my allergies are in full force by the time I drop my bags in my bedroom.  This trip, I started popping Claritin-D before I got there which helped some.  But still there were several nights that I sneezed well over 50 or 60 times, before I was finally able to get comfortable and fall asleep.  The other reason I have allergy problems at my mom’s house is that her roof leaked for well over a year before it was discovered and repaired.  I would bet money that there is an insane build up of mold in her house.  I’m surprised she’s not sick all the time.  But except for her physical ability to get around she’s great.

My mother is also a obsessive worrier.  There have been many times in her life that she’s become overwhelmed with things in her life to the point of making her sick.  The day I got my driver’s license and drove for the first time by myself, she fainted in the grocery store.  A little dramatic yes, but that’s my mom.  Since my dad died the thing she worries about most is the cost of fuel.  The cost of gas for the car, and the cost of gas to heat the house.  For this reason, she won’t drive anywhere she doesn’t HAVE to go to.  And she keeps the thermostat set on 52.  At least that’s what it was on two nights ago when the temperature outside was 21.  Needless to say, I froze my ass off, and that was with four blankets.  I finally convinced her that I was freezing and she boosted the temp to 62.  Not a lot better, but it was some improvement.

And then, when I get up, there is more candy, cookies, sweets, etc. to feast on than any person needs to have.  My mother’s dining room table is covered with bags of different kinds of candy (none of it was for trick or treat) at least three or four kinds of cookies, then there are pies, chips, ice cream, pop tarts, crackers, popcorn, etc.  It’s a disaster area for someone who likes food as much as I do.  I think I gained 10 pounds this week.  I tried for about the first three or four days until I gave in.  And then I said fuck it.  It was just too much to pass by and not help myself to it.

All of this and I haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving Dinner.  My mother decided that since it had been exactly 10 years since I was in Kentucky for Thanksgiving, that we should have our family gathering on November 10.  This way I could be there, everyone was available to come and it would be just like Thanksgiving…only earlier.  As of yesterday, I realize that I never want to attend another family function ever.  I just don’t like them.  I don’t like the people.  I don’t like the people.  I don’t like the people.

Any of my friends who have met any of my family will tell you that there is a serious disconnect between me and my family.  It’s clear that I don’t fit in and it’s often suggested that I was stolen as a baby and that’s why.  My friend Michelle has made these assumptions, and my friend Todd is just baffled by it.  So what happens when I get together with my family… I sit around and pretend not to be offended by the bigoted racists remarks that are made.  There is constant talk about the Mexicans who live next door and across the street.  I won’t get into it here, but they are not kind remarks.  It gets even worse when we talk about the “little colored boy” who lives down the street.  Or the “bunch of niggers” that were at the Wal-Mart the other day.   I’m only able to do this for a short time, until I blow my fuse and piss everyone off.

It wouldn’t be so bad (well it probably would be) if this didn’t all take place at dinner.  We are supposed to be having a dinner of Thanksgiving and people are talking about this stuff.  Then in the middle of all this the word “motherfucker” is tossed out 6 or 7 times.   Then Ronnie calls Tony a “pussy” and then Scott gets pissed off and calls Jessie a “prick”.  And then everyone gets mad because Scott is being mean to his children.  Oh, yeah, each and every one of the bigots has bred insuring a long line of bigots to come.

And at some point, I decided I just want to be home.  Not at my mom’s house, but home in New York.  In the privacy of my home.  Where I can have civilized conversation, without insulting half the people in the room.  Where I can sit and be me without being judged and without people thinking that I am better than they are.

And that my friends was the family portion of my trip to Kentucky.  By the way, my mom is NOT one of the racists at the table.  She’s actually very progressive and very liberal.  Which sets her apart from the rest of them as well.  I’ve yet to figure out how that happened.  I do know that it drives me crazy to be there, and to be there for 10 days is mind numbing.  But I managed and I didn’t yell at anyone, and for the most part everyone was happy.  Well sort of.

In the land of Tobacco and Bourbon

Hello all.

This will have to be quick.  I apologize for the lack of posts over the last week or so.  I have been in the land of tobacco and bourbon.  Also known as Kentucky.  Unfortunately, I’ve been without an internet connection and haven’t had time to go some place to find one.  I’m here doing a show at a small school in Kentucky.  It has been an adventure to say the least.  I’ll explain more later.  The show opens tomorrow night and I fly home on Sunday.  I’ll post a very lengthy post then and fill you all in on what’s going on.  In the mean time.  Have a great weekend.

Two and a half weeks till Thanksgiving…

My goal of sleeping in this morning was short lived.  I had set my alarm to go off at noon, and the coffee was supposed to be finished brewing by then.  But I rolled over at 8:30 and was wide awake.  I tried for about thirty more minutes to go back to sleep and finally said screw it and got up.  Although, I’m tired I did manage to get most of my errands done today and I’m not so sure I would have if I had slept till noon.  I do know that staying up till 4 a.m. and then getting out of bed at 9:00 takes it’s toll as the day wears on.  I fell asleep watching Saturday Night Live tonight.  Of course that might have been because it was one of the worst episodes ever, but I’ll just say I was tired.

One of the things I did do today was go to the gym to weigh myself.  I’ve mentioned before that my scale at home will give me five different readings if I weigh myself five different times.  It gets a little frustrating sometimes when I’m trying to figure out if I’m losing weight or not.  The scale at my gym is this huge industrial scale that gives an exact reading every time.  According to the scale today I’ve lost five more pounds.  That brings my grand total weight loss to 57 pounds.  I’m very proud of myself.  I actually wore clothes today that I haven’t been able to wear in three years.  I went through most of my clothes a couple of weeks ago and pulled out the things I should be able to wear soon.  It’s the one advantage of having saved all my skinny clothes.  I have lots and lots of things to wear as the weight comes off.  I’ll be really excited when I get down to 185 because I’ll have an entire wardrobe of things to choose from.  Not to mention it will be fun to wear nice clothes for a change instead of clothes that are baggy that I try to hide in.

I also took everyone’s advice and called my doctor today.  We didn’t talk but I’ve asked him to call me tomorrow morning before he starts his office hours.  I want to at least discuss with him what happened yesterday and find out what I can do to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

And on a last note.  I’ve been too busy bitching about waiting tables to talk about my real career.  I have booked another show and will be traveling to Kentucky next week to do a little musical for a friend of mine.  I’m especially excited because I’ll be staying with my mom and getting paid to be there.  The show shouldn’t be too much work and I’m hoping to get to visit some friends while I’m in the area.  I fly there on November 1 and will return to NYC on November 11.  The event I’m most looking forward to while I’m there is Thanksgiving dinner.  I haven’t had a Thanksgiving meal with my family since 1997 and my mom and I were talking and she decided that the family should just do it early this year.  She called up everyone and they all agreed so my whole family is getting together on November 10th for a huge Thanksgiving meal.  I can hardly wait.  I won’t be able to eat for a month after that with my diet, but it will be well worth i t.

Day Forty-One: Oklahoma

It’s the end of another fun-filled day here in Oklahoma.  What can I say.  The excitement never stops in the land of tornadoes.  We’ve actually had storms here all afternoon.  Nothing too severe but lots of lightening and rain.  It ruined a perfectly good pool party that was happening at the artistic director’s apartment today.

Which is how the day started.  My alarm went off at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  I snoozed it for about 30 minutes and then finally changed it to 4:00 p.m.  This allowed me to sleep two more hours and kept my alarm from annoying anyone on my hall.  At 4:00 I finally dragged my ass out of bed and down to the shower.  When I walked through the door I met my assistant ME (Master Electrician, for anyone new to the blog).

I haven’t talked about her much but I LOVE her to death.  She’s amazing at her job and is kind and sweet.  She’s from New York City and I don’t think has ever spent much time out of the city.  Her dad is a cab driver and her mom was a stay at home mom until the assistant ME started college.  She only learned to drive last summer and is terrified of actually being behind the wheel.  She’s also absolutely beautiful and doesn’t seem to know it.  Every straight guy on the show is after her and she plays it off as me being silly when I point it out to her.  She is of Indian descent.  “Indian with the dot, not Indian with the feather.”  Don’t yell at me, this is how she describes herself.  Her parents moved here about 30 years ago so she is first generation.  She has a great sense of humor and disposition which causes her to be teased endlessly.  In fact the new phase of teasing talks about her “Curse of the the Dot”.  It’s this power that’s caused her to crash two light boards this summer and create havoc in another couple of situations.  We also tease her about the crush she has on Tim the carpenter.  He is completely infatuated with her, but he has a girlfriend so neither of them will act on it.  She actually spent the night at his house three times last week.  They were watching movies and fell asleep.  She still doesn’t know why he hasn’t made a move yet.  I’ve told her to get a little tipsy and make her move.  That way she can blame it on the alcohol if she has to.  I’m actually chatting on-line with her as I write this.  And I’m begging her to come back next year.  I’d kill for her to be on my crew again next year.

Anyway, she had a towel wrapped around her and was getting into the shower as I entered the bathroom.  We ended up chatting in different stalls while we showered.  She told me later thta she was pretending I was saying “dirty” things to her while she touched herself in the shower.   I was cracking up when she told me this.   After the shower most of the crew met in the lobby to head over the artistic director’s house.  The party had started at 2:00 and it was almost 5:00 when we left.  Whoops.  What can I say.  If it weren’t for the free food I think most of the crew would have skipped it.  We got there and the storm was on the way.  The wind was starting to blow things around and everyone was eating.  The food was quite good.  It was a catered party, with tons of Mexican food.  So we all sat around eating fajitas and chatting.  About 45 minutes or so after we got there it started to rain so we all went inside.  By this time it was about 6:15.  We agreed to stay until 6:3o and then head out.

We got back to the house around 7:00 and decided to go see a movie.  There’s a great dollar movie house in town which fits in all of our budgets.  We looked up the movies and decided on 28 Weeks Later which started at 10:00.  We agreed to meet in the lobby at 9:00 and we all went our separate ways.  I got a phone call and headed upstairs.  It was a friend of mine wanting to know if I would be interested in working on a show in New York in August.  It doesn’t pay anything, but there’s a good chance it will move on to a larger production and I would go with it.  It would also be the chance to work with a lot of people from school that I really like.  We ended the call and I played around on the computer for abit and then went down to meet for the movie.

I thought the movie was great.  Way too violent for my tastes but I knew that going into it.  The first one 28 Days Later was amazing so I was expecting this one to not be as good.  It wasn’t but I still recommend it if you like Zombies and action.   After the movie we came back to the dorm and watched the Day After Tomorrow.  You just got a love a disaster movie.  I love seeing them.  Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, Twister….they are wonderful.

And now it’s bedtime.

Before we go to bed, some pictures from last nights fun and excitement.

We went to a bar called Ed’s Hurricane Lounge.  As you can see it was nothing but classy.  There were 100’s of bras hanging from the ceiling.  And pictures of half naked girls on the walls.

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The reason we went there is because it’s walking distance from the dorm and the drinks are cheap.  You can also get a drink called a “prairie fire” which is tequila and Tabasco mixed.  It’s hot and spicy and the crew loves them.  They were drinking them like water.  To thank them for all the hard work they’ve been doing I bought a round.  Here’s the a picture just before they slammed them.

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My favorite thing about the bar was the video game that was basically porn.  You did things to make the puzzle disappear and then you could see naked women.  There was a man playing it when we went in and I was amazed that someone was looking at fully nudity in public.  Hmmm.  After he left, I made my friend Pete play it so I could take pictures.  I have some of the women but I was afraid they wouldn’t be safe for work.  Then we discovered there were men on the machine was well.  As you can see Pete is doing pretty well.  Only problem is the men weren’t completely naked.  How fair is that?

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We went back to the dorm to drink some more after the bar closed.  You know it’s getting bad when you are playing drinking games with 20 year olds.  I played one round at that was the end of my drinking.

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The drinking led to0 much discussion of the cleavage in the room last night.  I took a few pictures of document it.  No one seemed to mind and they were all very aware.

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When a gay man starts looking at tits it’s time to call it a  night.  And so I went to bed.  Only one more week to go.

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps…

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It’s 2:50 a.m. I’m a very tired Maddog. It’s been a very long day. I drove 13 hours straight with only stops for the bathroom, gas, and Diet Coke, and not always in that order. I left Kentucky around 12:30 today. I had planned to leave earlier but I went back to bed after my mom left for work and I inadvertently turned off my alarm. When I woke up it was 11:30. Whoops. I took the fastest shower ever, loaded my stuff into the car and was out the door by 12:15. I made one quick stop for my first Diet Coke of the day and I was off. I went a different way today. I’ve been going up through Ohio and then across Pennsylvania. Today I decided to go through West Virginia. It’s a more beautiful drive with hills and trees and it’s more interesting since you are constantly climbing hills and taking curves. I found I was much more alert for the entire trip. I crossed the George Washington Bridge at 1:45. I was about 30 minutes behind schedule because I got off in Stroudsberg and couldn’t figure out how to get back on the highway. I ended up having to double back almost 5 miles on surface streets to get back on I-80. I unloaded about half my car tonight. I was exhausted and just too tired to make 10 more trips up to the third floor tonight. Hopefully I can convince my roommate to help me finish unloading the car in the morning. Then sometime tomorrow afternoon I return the rental and I’m done with my trip to Iowa. Can I hear a praise Jesus!

For all of my complaining I hope that you guys don’t think I hated being in the Midwest. I didn’t. I hated not having a car and being stuck there on the weekends. But I didn’t hate the job. In fact as far as jobs go it was actually quite nice. I loved my students and I think they liked me. I think I successfully taught them something and hopefully they all grew as theatre artists. I certainly did. I worked on one of the more fun projects I have ever done and got to meet some truly wonderful people that I will miss dearly. So please don’t think I hated it there. I didn’t.

Now I must go to bed. My eyes are droopy and I’m barely awake at this point. I look forward to catching up with everyone over the weekend.

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By the way…there were no side trips to any unseemly places during my travels. No stops at the Brown Bag Video. No trips to the Lions Den Bookstore. I was a good boy. Which might explain how I made it home and to NYC in the shortest time ever.