Shit that Pissed Me off – 1/23

The President Lays a SICK BURN on Congressional Republicans

Listen up Congress.

I know that you guys are all supposed to hate each other and I confess I think the Tea Party Republicans are kind of loony.

But here’s the thing, you could at least pay the office of the Presidency a bit of fucking respect.  Someday one of your people will hold that office again.  Do you really want the Democrats to act like a bunch of petulant school children when your guy (I’m just assuming it’ll be a guy) says he’s done running for office?

No lie - I typed "petulant school children" into an image search and this was one of the hits.

No lie – I typed “petulant school children” into an image search and this was one of the images that showed up.

If you can’t learn how to sit on your fucking hands for the fucking State of the Union address, you shouldn’t have applied for the fucking job.

Grow the fuck up.

If you didn’t miss it, that was pretty much what Obama said to you when he slammed the door on you hard.  So quit whining about what he did because you fucking deserved it.

Man do you assholes make me want to say “fuck” a lot!

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Shit that Pissed me off – 1/16

Pope Says we Shouldn’t Insult Others’ Faith

I know this new Pope is cool and all but he seems to be swayed by Bill Donahue and the Catholic league in regards to Charlie Hebdo.  This week he has suggested that freedom of expression should be limited when it is directed at religion.  He stopped short of blaming the victim, as Donahue did, so full credit for avoiding that rhetorical pitfall.

Now I understand there need to be certain limits to freedom of expression.  If your idea of freedom of expression is to get pictures of yourself peeing on local sports players in the middle of a game, that shouldn’t be allowed.

If, however, you want to make a cartoon criticizing religion or, as I do, regularly criticize religion in a blog, that freedom should absolutely be allowed and welcomed.

For instance, here is a drawing I made of Mohammed moving a mountain WITH HIS MIND!!!!

For instance, here is a drawing I made of Mohammed moving a mountain WITH HIS MIND!!!!

Religion is an institution.  Like politics. Nobody argues that we should stop making fun of politicians because we might offend someone who voted for them, do they?

Yet a religion should be afforded a special right?  We should limit those who would make fun of religion because…why?  God can’t take it?  Mohammed can’t take it?

Sorry, Francis.  Charlie Hebdo’s satire may not be your cup of tea but freedom of expression means they have as much right to do what they do as you have to criticize it.

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What I Learned – Directors Direct

DirectorAs a theater professional (humor me), I’ve done just about every job in the production process.  I’ve written.  I’ve acted.  I’ve produced.  I’ve designed.  And I’ve directed.

I direct all the time. I call myself a writer, but I often feel I spend far more time directing than writing.

I really hate directing.

In all probability, the primary reason I hate directing is because I feel I’m just not very good.  I don’t feel I have a good instinct for creating interesting stage pictures.  I have don’t critique my performers well because it often takes me three or four days to really settle on what I think needs to change.  I have a very hard time telling people no.

For Vilification Tennis, I’m a performing director.  My job as the judge is to guide the actors on stage.  I’ll drop subtle hints about what is working and what isn’t working.  I control the tempo of the match.  My responsibility is as much to help the performers do the best job as it is to assist in guiding the audiences response to their performances.

I’ve been doing it so long, I barely think about it any more.  I just know how to control the flow of the show and most people don’t even notice that I’m doing anything at all, which is as it should be.

Because so much I do is onstage, I often neglect the offstage piece of cast development and show coordination.  While we can put on a very good show with a small amount of prep work, the more time we put into the show, the better the onstage product becomes.

The cast is large and as their skill has improved over time, it has become clear that we need to cut back a few performers.

All of my performers are very good or they wouldn’t be in the cast.  But you have to make decisions.  You want to use the best possible people and that sometimes means the very good don’t get a chance.

The job of a director is to put the best possible show on stage.  It is not to make sure that they don’t hurt the feelings of their performers.

As I looked at our show last year, I thought about the fact that we have been improving as performers but I haven’t been improving as a director.  I’ve been regressing.

It wasn’t just Vilification Tennis, either.  I have a great time putting together Big Fun Radio Funtime but I know my performers want more direction out of me.  When we read through scripts, I need to give them ideas on how to approach the material.

That’s my job.

As usual, my best ideas come about a week after the performance when I think “that scene might have worked better if the character had sounded more annoyed.”

Directors direct.  That is their job.  I may think I’m absolutely awful at the job but if I’m going to keep doing that job, I need to be committed to doing it right.

What I learned is this:  there are times in our lives when we are tasked with doing something that we can’t do well.  When that happens, we need to work to do it better than we believe we are capable.  If we do that, we might actually get better.

Shit that Pissed me Off – 1/9/15

I Watched Far Too Much of a Debate Between Chris Kluwe and GamerGate Supporter

I admit I didn’t watch the whole thing because at some point it was just embarrassing.  I was watching Rocky beat the crap out of Gilligan.

If Gilligan were a misogynistic asshole.  So let’s just say I don’t feel sorry for Gilligan.

For one thing, Gilligan never really rocked that hat.

For one thing, Gilligan never really rocked that hat.

Why Kluwe decided to devote 90 minutes to this guy and his legion of whiny jackasses, who honestly believe that if they click their heels together while saying “ethics in game journalism” enough times they can make it true, is a question only he can answer.

I would hope it isn’t because he thought he could get through to this guy, who seemed more interested in improper definitions of the word “cult” than he was in making a cogent point.  If he was doing it to help make this guy look like more of an idiot, his mission was accomplished.

Further….

Aw fuck.  I looked at the comments.  Fuck this.

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What I Learned – Just Dance

2706I’m writing a blog series about what I learned in 2014.  The year had highs and lows – as any year does – but I learned a lot.

I’ve never been a very good dancer.  I’m stiff and not very flexible and I’m generally more interested in singing along to a song than dancing to the song so I end up doing this sing-y danc-y thing with a lot of unnecessary clapping.

If I wasn’t keenly aware of my skills as a dancer already, there are plenty of people who are present to remind me.  Hell, The Dregs have made a running bit out of my dancing skills.  I usually try to dance even worse than I already dance just to help punctuate the joke.

Lots of people are bad dancers and I’m good at a great many other things so my self-esteem doesn’t take too hard a hit when people tease me about my inability to cut an impressive rug.

2014, though, was the year where I agreed to dance in front of everyone.  And not as a joke.

During the after part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2013, Windy Bowlsby and I were watching a bunch of our friends on the dance floor.  They were actors, comedians, writers and even dancers.

And I said to her that it would be interesting to see a dance show where all the dancers were people who didn’t dance.  I specifically talked about writers but the basic thought was that it would be fun to see a good choreographer (Windy) take people who weren’t known as dancers and get them to dance on stage in front of an audience.  As a serious dance show.

The moment the suggestion passed my lips, I knew that if she liked the idea, she was going to ask me to be in the show.

My philosophy is to say “yes” to the performance ideas that scare me because I can’t grow if I keep doing the projects that are safe.  So of course Windy asked me if I’d be in such and show and of course I said yes.

And such was the birth of “Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac.”

The show was the best kind of success.  It didn’t succeed because we all suddenly became great dancers but because Windy found a way to bring out the best in all of us and she made the show about something other than “let’s all laugh at these awkward writers trying to dance.”

It became a celebration of potential and I had a lot of performers telling me how much that show touched them.  It touched me too.

The classic phrase is we should learn to dance like no-one is watching.  But someone is always watching.  Even if we shut out everyone else, there is a little piece of ourselves that is keenly aware of our own body movements. And if you are me, you are aware of how dorky you probably look.

At the Fringe after party the last few years, I’ve watched a whole lot of awkward people dancing enough to know that they don’t care if anyone is watching. When dancing to “Firework,” most people aren’t concerned with dancing like a professional.  They just want to dance.

Are people watching me and laughing at how awkward I am on the dance floor?  Probably not because there is someone right next to me who is just as awkward.  Being a bad dancer isn’t the exception.  Most people are bad dancers.

And most people dance anyway because they just feel like dancing.

So what I learned in 2014 is to say “fuck it. I feel like dancing.”

Shit that Pissed me off – 1/2/15

United and Orbitz are Suing a Guy for Exploiting a Loophole

I just keep thinking if the dude is exploiting a loophole in your system and you want him to stop, you could just close the fucking loophole.

Instead of figuring out that problem, they are suing a guy who isn’t making any money.  He just outsmarted them.  What an asshole, right?

I said sue the smug fucker!  Why would I want to hire him?

I said sue the smug fucker! Why would I want to hire him?

They have lawyers sitting around waiting for something to do.  It’s probably cheaper for them to threaten this kid than it is for them to figure out how to fix the gap in their own procedures.

Or they could just accept that some people are going to get a cheaper fare and stop giving out free pop on flights.  I mean, they’ll do that eventually anyway, right?

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Shit that Pissed me Off – December 26th

Shia LaBeouf Live

This video is actually fucking hilarious.  The stinger at the end – freaking brilliant.

But I can’t get the song out of my head.  It is an earworm of epic proportions.  On Christmas Eve, we weren’t singing holiday tunes.  We were singing the damn Shia LaBeouf song.

In the kitchen! Shia LaBeouf!

GTY_shia_labeouf_sk_140122_16x9_992

SHIA LABEOUF!

 

Cooking up the meat! Shia LaBeouf!

Opening the Presents!  Hollywood superstar Shia LaBeouf!

It’s probably best if you don’t watch the video.  Your sanity may depend on it.

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