Dear Stephenie Meyer…

8 12 2009

Dear Stephenie Meyer:

Hello.

You don’t know me, but I of course know of you.  You are the author of the ridiculously popular Twilight series of novels, which are currently enjoying a place at the top of our pop culture food chain thanks to a series of movie adaptions that are being warmly received from your legions of fans.  I have never read one single word of a single Twilight novel; however, virtually every single credible source of criticism I know of has described you as an absolutely atrocious, hack writer, who is merely popular because she is playing on the hidden, buried desires of bored and neglected housewives and rejected teen girls.  I think this is bullshit.  You have a legion of, not just fans, but rabidly devoted fans.  Clearly your work has touched on something…I don’t pretend to understand what…but I fervently believe that great writing is all about stirring emotion in your reader, and from that respect you are clearly brilliant.  As a fellow writer, you have my most sincere respect and admiration.

My disconnect with the Twilight phenomenon extends to yourself, to the point where I had actually never seen a picture of you before.  Until today.  I don’t remember what particular random internet-surfing tangent led me to run into a photo of you, but I did, and I must admit I was quite shocked.  I assumed you’d be ugly.  Now that probably sounds like a very unfair comment, but let’s be honest, you are: A) a writer…not known for their superior looks, B) a writer of a thinly veiled abstinence parable, and the biggest champions of abstinence tend to be those who can’t get any anyway, and C) a writer of vampire novels.  Nobody is lining up around the block to sex Anne Rice.  So I made a, in hindsight very incorrect, assumption.

Stephenie Meyer, author of the "Twilight" saga. I'd hit it.

You are actually quite attractive.  Not supermodel beauty type attractive, of course, but that shit is boring anyway.  You look like a pleasant, somewhat nerdy type thing, with a nice rack.  Not to belabor the point, but again, I am very surprised.  And this fact brings me to the point of my letter to you today:

You and I should totally bang.

Seriously.  I think you’d enjoy it.  From one writer to another.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, I am not a shirtless, glistening werewolf; nor am I a glittering, super-strong emo vampire.  But nonetheless, I will bang the living daylights out of you.  To quote the text message of Tiger Woods: “I will wear you out…” Forget about Breaking Dawn or New Moon…your next book will be called Aching Vagina, because that is what you will have.  An aching vagina.  From my penis.

So think it over, Stephenie Meyer.  I will be awaiting you in my romantic, gothic love castle…otherwise known as my mom’s house.

Sexfully yours,

Tim Gage

EDIT: I will give a shiny nickle to the first Twilight fan who can tell me where I could electronically submit this letter to Stephenie Meyer via the internet.  I looked all over her official fan page and couldn’t find a spot to submit things.  Seriously, if someone finds a place, I will send this to her.





Greatest Hits…

28 11 2009

I regularly get people who tell me that they recently started reading my blog, or recently got some other new person to start reading my blog.  That is cool and all, but every time I hear this I am painfully aware that blogs are organized from most recent post to earliest, and most people won’t ever get to some of my (in my opinion) more funny ramblings because they have to wade through my most recent stuff, which for the most part hasn’t been as interesting.

This realization inspired me to put together a quick hit list of what is, at least in my opinion, the better bits of nonsense I’ve managed to spew out since I started blogging.  This list cuts away the stupid whiny posts or silly quick gag posts, and instead focuses on the posts that, though I’m a little too close to the joke to actually laugh, make me smile inwardly.  So, if you are new to my blog, this is a list of posts I think you should seriously consider reading:

(Note: I’m including on this list posts from the my old MySpace blog as well.  I am not including anything I’ve written in the past six months…not that I don’t think I’ve written anything good in the past six months, but that stuff can all be found near the top pages of this blog.)

“The Tubelessness Problem…”— K-Bell and I are introduced to the harsh realities of tube capitalism at The Waterpark of America, plus we discuss the complicated relationship between Batman and The Joker.

“Everything really does happen for a reason…”— I experience divine intervention at the Taco Bell.  I’m actually fairly indifferent to this blog, but Nikki W. still claims it as her favorite of all time, so…there you go.

“Never a dull moment…”— The trials and tribulations of being sick.

“The list…”— A simple statement at a work meeting permanently fries my brain.

“I attend a lame open house BBQ, share an awkward evening with old friends, trip over some rocks, and play Mad-Libs…”— I think the title says it all.

“What would Daniel Day-Lewis do?…”— An approach to acting, the Daniel Day-Lewis way!

“Piss off, Barack Obama…”— A little political satire.

“Sitting duck…”— My co-workers insist on talking to me…about this stuff.

“If you don’t have sex with me, the terrorists win…”— 9/11 changed the way I attempt to get laid.

“Chick flick…”— One of my little private fantasies.

“A brief moment of self-image re-alignment…”— My fragile self-ego gets crushed at a call-back audition for “Barefoot in the Park.”

“The miracle of burf…”— I spend part of the day my nephew is born embarrassing myself in front of a cute bookstore employee.

“Shallow Tim…”— My embarrassing shallowness is revealed to me while attending a show at my old college.

 





You know it ain’t easy…

11 11 2009

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

–John Lennon

I have a car.  A list of things currently wrong with my car, in brief: It rattles like the Enterprise going through a wormhole when it shifts from first to second, the right front bumper is crumpled, the right front headlight is smashed so that it points to the side, the dome light doesn’t work, the gear shift is sticky, the registration tabs are expired, and the inside needs a thorough cleaning in a bad way.  My car’s in bad shape.

Pathetically, the cars owner might be in worse shape.

I don’t think its much of an exaggeration to say my medical situation is becoming a cluster fuck of epic proportions.  After recovering from the much ballyhooed flu going around, I discovered I need surgery to repair a hyrdroseal in my left testicle, possibly caused by the melanoma.  While waiting to do that, I began experiencing excruciating pain in my right side, and I do not use the word “excruciating” lightly, particularly since I don’t know how to spell it.  A trip to the emergency room that involved me vomiting on not one, but two nurses, and I am informed this pain is caused from a tumor that has invited itself onto my liver.  That would be my liver that was, as of two months ago, cancer free.  Fucking cancer.

New Oncologist has advised I begin chemo immediately.  And he’s not talking about the pussy kind of chemo I did originally, that involved pills and not losing my hair; he is talking full blast, hospital stays, going bald type chemo.  Fuck.  My.  Life.

The worst part of all this is it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight the urge to stop living anything resembling a meaningful life.  I’d like to continue acting, writing, dating pretty girls, maybe find a job again…but I can’t resist the notion telling me that doing any of this stuff is a waste of time, as it will all go straight into the toilet the next time I become ill or need treatment.  For the moment I am still plugging away,  but for the life of me I don’t know why…

On a positive note (but also contributing to my frustration with my health), I was fortunate enough to be cast in Lyric Arts upcoming production of The Mousetrap, which started rehearsal this week.  When Lyric announced their new season, this was the show I was primarily interested in being in, so to actually get cast feels really good.  Such a huge percentage of the time with auditions, you go home with your fragile self-ego stamped into crumbs like a loose Crunch Berry, so it’s nice when you occasionally get cast in something you actually made it a goal to get cast in.

Now if I can just keep myself alive long enough to perform the fucking thing.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep driving the old car up to the theater…gun the accelerator through the rough gear shifts, try to ignore my right headlight pointed 90 degrees in the wrong direction, and so forth.  People tell me I should stop driving that car, but beat up as it is, I just don’t want to give up on it yet.

The car or its owner.





Other people’s blogs…

30 10 2009

I get a lot of complaints from people saying that I don’t blog often enough.  They say, “Why haven’t you written any new blogs, Tim?”  “When are we going to get a new blog, Tim?”  “Hurry up and write some more, Tim.”  And to those people I say: Please stop following me to the bathroom…you make it very difficult for me to do my “business.”

I could blog more, but think about all the other awesome things in life I miss out on when I waste my time blogging: Reading a good book, flying a kite, making love to a beautiful woman.  I mean, I don’t do any of those things, ever…but if the opportunity ever came up, I need to be available.

The point is, it’s time for me to whore out some friends blogs, and when I’m not writing enough, you can read theirs.  Don’t let the fact that none of them are as physically attractive as me fool you into thinking their writing isn’t just as interesting.  In no particular order:

Jessica Scott, a young actress I’ve bumped into at a few auditions, writes “Musings of an Aging Ingenue.”  Her most recent post is an honest, well-written examination on the auditioning process and its effect on the psyche of an actor.  It’s very similar to something I would write, only without any dick jokes or pictures of myself in stockings.  What a fucking show off!  “Ohhh, look at me, I’m Jessica Scott, I write thought provoking blogs that neither insult my readers intelligence nor pander to people’s 3rd grade senses of humor.”  You’re not better than me, Jessica Scott, so stop thinking you are!

Anyway…

My friend Meggan Massie earns mad respect for being as equally skilled a writer as I am, and nearly 85% as good looking.  That may seem like faint praise, but keep in my I’m ridiculously good looking, so 85% is pretty amazing.  Also, unlike me, she has actually been paid to write, which of course means I have to keep congratulating her through gritted teeth while secretly hoping she dies.  Meggan has a great talent for breathing excitement into ho-hum topics, and her blog, “Half-Fast: Meggan Runs a Marathon,” is about her…um…running a marathon, I guess.  Really, Meggan?  A blog about…running?  Were you just worried that writing about any other subject would be too easy, and you needed something boring to challenge yourself?  Okay…well, it will probably be amazing.  I for one will be reading, but secretly hoping for scantily clad pictures of Meggan and her L.A. friends to make an appearance.

Finally, Nikki Wakal has a new blog, “Witchynikki’s Blog.”  Nikki is the only baseball-loving, poker-playing, theater degree having witch I know, which makes anything she writes worth reading by itself.  Nikki also likes to write about things that annoy her…which means she should have enough material to keep her blog going for a long, long, long, long time.  I daresay “Encyclopedia Britannica” doesn’t have as endless of a well of material to draw from as Nikki does.

So go forth, read, and waste some of your free time on someone else’s ramblings for a while.





A little T & T…

1 10 2009

I have a problem, friends.  My brain has stumbled upon a paradox which I, thus far, have been unable to resolve, despite vigilant research and contemplation.  The problem is as follows:

I can’t decide if girls with tattoos are hot or not.

This brain puzzle comes to me courtesy of the blog Tits & Tats (extremely NSFW, obviously).  The blog is, as the name implies, just a bunch of pictures of hot naked girls with various interesting tattoos.  Cool.  Unfortunately, looking at these pictures has planted within me a chicken-or-the-egg type question…Are these girls hot because of their tattoos?  Or are the tattoos hot because they are on naked girls?  Let’s look at the arguments:

On one hand, the artwork on display on this site is unquestionably beautiful, and there is something about the way the tattoo artist incorporates a woman’s physical shape into the piece that really enhances the natural beauty.  Plus, when you see a girl with tattoos like this, you can’t help but get the impression that she’s the type of girl who will, you know, do it with you without a lot of annoying questions, such as: Where is this relationship going? Do you have any diseases? or, What did you say your name was again?  That’s always nice.

On the other hand, the tattoos can be a problem.  Girls, you may find this hard to believe, but the reason we guys want to get you naked so badly isn’t just so we have easier access to your fun parts, although that is certainly a huge factor.  However, we also want to get you naked so we can look at your naked body, because that’s hot.  And for girls with tattoos, particularly the ones with extremely large, full-body tattoos, it’s like they are wearing clothes that we can NEVER GET OFF!  I will never be able to see that patch of skin that is now covered by a tattoo.  And that makes me sad.

A dramatization of what my penis goes through, when I see a girl with tattoos.  Hmmm....

A dramatization of what my penis goes through, when I see a girl with tattoos. Hmmm....

Another issue: Girls with tattoos that are in writing.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I’m an avid reader, so…I certainly like having the extra reading material, I guess.  But do I want that extra reading material during sex?  I think when I’m having sex, I just want to have sex.  If I wanted to read I’d, you know, go read.  You’re already entertaining enough in the bedroom, ladies…you don’t need to provide me with reading material to pass the time.  We’re having sex, we aren’t sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office.

So, I’m still at an impasse.  Tattoos: Hot?  Distracting? Slutty? Unnecessary?  Weight in with your opinions in the comment section.  In the meantime, I promise to work diligently at cracking this conundrum by studying…possibly for hours upon hours…the naked girls with tattoos pictures.  And if you are a girl with a tattoo who would like to contribute to my research by getting naked and letting me look at you, that would be super appreciated as well.

Together, we can finally solve the ancient HOT GIRLS + TATTOOS = ? equation.





Smokers outside the hospital doors (Part 2…)

20 09 2009

Sunday

Here’s the deal with hospitals: They are easily the least restful places on earth.  You’d assume that a place that’s sole purpose is to make people healthy would put a big emphasis on making sure those people are resting well.  But between the twenty-four hour noise going on outside your room and beds that feel like they are made out of plywood, sleep isn’t an easy commodity to come by.  Another problem: The nurses are just dying to take your vitals.  Morning, noon, and night, every hour on the hour, you are guaranteed to hear:

“Hey, Tim, can I just take your vitals real quick?”

It’s 5:45 in the morning.

“No, I’m dead, go away,” I mumble to Hot Young Nurse, who’s hotness and youngness are completely uninteresting to me because of my current lack of sleep.

Hot Young Nurse somehow sees through my “I’m dead” ruse, and takes her precious vitals anyway.  Thermometer in the mouth, blood pressure clamp, the dorky white clip thing they put on your finger for some reason.  Then, sit up and take deep breaths while they listen with the stethoscope for…something.  I don’t know…maybe U2 is doing a concert in my lungs?  Anyway, it must be something good, because they seem to love listening.

“Okay, everything looks good,” HYN tells me.  Yep, just like it did sixty minutes ago.  And will again sixty minutes from now.

I get a little more sleep before I receive a somewhat surprising visit from New Oncologist.  I like New Oncologist, because he’s pretty straightforward, and also because he isn’t a pessimistic creep like Old Oncologist.  However, New Oncologist does have this annoying habits of asking me personal questions about myself in an obvious attempt to form some sort of bond, and then completely tuning out when I answer.  Like now:

“What is that on your screen?” New Oncologist is asking about the desktop background on my laptop.  It’s a cool piece of artwork: A giant sphere consisting of every hole card combination you can be dealt in hold ’em.  I start to explain to him that I downloaded off the internet because I thought it looked cool, but he’s already reading something off his clipboard and not listening.  “Oh, yeah, sure, the internet,” New Oncologist nods and reads.  Just to amuse myself, I think I might just start inserting random things into our conversations to see if he notices:

“So, are you working on any plays now, Tim?”

“Yeah, I’m in a show in St. Paul.”

“Oh, yeah, St. Paul, sure.”

“It’s nice and convenient, because that’s where all my hoe’s operate, so I can pick up my cut when I’m there for rehearsals.”

“Oh, yeah, sure, hoe’s…that’s great.”

New Oncologist starts with a quick apology over the disaster this whole biopsy thing has turned into.  I shrug him off, as blaming doctors for any health problems I have seems counterintuitive.  He then gets into the meat of his visit: “Well, the results of the biopsy are back, and I’m afraid it is positive for melanoma.”  Disappointing, but expected.  And then comes the moment that epitomizes why I love New Oncologist.  It’s at this juncture Old Oncologist would have stared at me, waiting for me to…I don’t know what.  Cry?  Shake my fist at God?  Beg him to tell me he’s joking?  And then he’d ask if I have any questions, and when I inevitably shrug and say “Not really,” he would stare some more, and the whole situation would become more awkward than an escaped fart on a first date.  New Oncologist, however, makes his announcement, casually shrugs as if to say, “So, whatever, that’s what that is,” and then says, “So, here’s our options at this point…”

These “options” are less than exciting, and to my great disappointment not a single one of them involves me banging an asian girl, which I maintain would be the cure for cancer if there actually was a God.  Instead, most of them involve the usual combination of hospitals, drugs, and studies.  Except for one option, and this is the one that is quickly becoming the most appealing to me: Doing nothing.  Now, if you’d have asked me a year ago if  “doing nothing” was ever something I would consider doing if I had cancer, I would have said “fuck no.”  But I’m finally reaching the point where maybe I’ve had one too many needles shoved into my chest, one too many sleepless nights at the hospital, one too many attractive nurses helping me into a hospital gown…

New Oncologist leaves to go do whatever it is oncologists do all day while they are busy not curing cancer.  A different nurse, this one not at all young or hot, and in fact kind of big and scary, tells me the plan is to let me go home today.  So they are going to remove the chest tube?

“No,” she tells me, “you’re going home with it in.”  Um…is that a good idea?  “Well, we’ll prescribe you some pain killers to take with you.”

Sweet?  I weigh the relative pros and cons to going home with a plastic tube sticking out of myself, but getting some sweet pain killing drugs.  I finally rule in favor of  “sweet drugs” and make preparations to head home.  My mom, Aunt B, and Aunt B’s Hippie Boyfriend come and pick me up, and I am allowed to leave after a brief discharge process that takes a mere two and a half hours.

Sitting outside the front doors of the hospital, waiting for my mom to pull the car up, I see a group of a half dozen or so smokers taking desperate drags of their cigarettes.  They are all in hospital gowns; most of them look deathly pale and gaunt, like this is the first time they’ve been outside in years.  The obvious irony of sick people poisoning themselves right outside the building where they are trying to be cured bubbles into my mind for but a moment…but immediately bursts and is replaced by a much more lucent thought.  These people are ill, probably are stuck in this place for far longer stretches than I ever am, and spend a good portion of their day in some combination of pain, fear, or discomfort.  Right now they are outside on a beautiful day, enjoying the simple pleasure of smoking.  Isn’t the physical damage of this activity balanced out by the emotional benefit?  Are we crushing the last shards of our sanity in this place as we try to cure our bodies?

Hell if I know.  And now my mom’s pulling up in the car, so I shove these thoughts away and replace them with the pleasant knowledge of a comfortable bed, vicodin high, and minimum forty-eight hours away from this place that is my immediate future.





Smokers outside the hospital doors (Part 1…)

15 09 2009

The saddest thing that I’d ever seen
Were smokers outside the hospital doors

–Editors (“Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”)

Friday

“Are you nervous?”

This question is posed to me by a plump, very friendly looking nurse.  I shake my head.  I’m not nervous.  At least, I wasn’t nervous.  But now this nurse, who presumably has been involved with a lung biopsy far more often than my zero times, is asking me if I’m nervous in a way that subtly indicates to me that, yes, I should be nervous.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Friendly Nurse informs me.  “You’ll just feel a little pressure.”

I just go ahead and assume she doesn’t mean emotional pressure.

“Also, you’ll hear a small ‘click’ when the doctor takes the sample.”

Did not need that information.  I don’t need to know the exact moment a chunk of my lung is being torn away.

I’ve been laying on the exam table for almost twenty minutes now, waiting for the doctor to begin a lung biopsy procedure that I am undergoing to confirm that my cancer is, in fact, cancer, because that seems like an important piece of information that a person would probably want to be 100% clear on, which is why the doctors rushed me right through and made sure I had this biopsy a mere twelve months after my initial diagnosis.  The doctor performing the procedure is taking his sweet ass time getting to me.  Apparently he is examining my chest scans to find a good “sample.”  Friendly Nurse and I discover that we both went to Winona State for college while making small talk, and we pass the time with an awkward chat about the pleasant beauty of that small town; it being awkward, of course, because I am shirtless, laying in a prone position, and my super manly physique is obviously making her sexually aroused.  Or bored.  I have trouble telling those two apart.

Finally, the doctor, a rather dour looking fellow of indeterminate age, decides he’s ready to give this thing a go.  “Okay,” Dr. Sourpuss addresses me, “I was just taking my time, trying to find a suitable sample.  I was looking at the cysts on your lungs…”

Okay…

“…and there are many, many cysts,” the dour doctor informs me, dourly.

I inwardly curse Dr. Sourpuss for going out of his way to remind me that not only do I have cancer, but apparently I have a huge surplus of cancer.  Then I remind myself that this is how hospitals operate: the nurses are there to comfort, care, and baby you…the doctors are there to fix you.  And they aren’t particularly concerned with being nice while they do.

Dr. Sourpuss goes through the risks of this procedure, the same speech I heard from New Oncologist when we decided to do this.  One of the risks includes something called pneumothorax…which sounds awesomely like a particularly deadly breed of prehistoric beast…but is just a condition caused when a biopsy collapses the patients lung.  I’m told this only happens in one of ten cases.

As always happens when I am quoted numbers, I immediately put things into poker terms: 1 in 10.  I’m 90% NOT to have a collapsed lung.  So…I have pocket aces, and pneumothorax is holding 7-2.  Well, I’m insta-shipping my money in with those odds in poker, so I’m feeling pretty good about this…

“So…” Dr. Sourpuss is talking while he pulls out a needle that looks like it should be a joke prop in a movie about someone who is scared of needles.  I’m not, but…holy shit that’s a big needle.  “This won’t hurt a bit,”  Dr. Sourpuss informs me.

Approximately 45 seconds later, I feel something that vaguely feels like someone driving a knife into my chest.  I’ve never had a knife driven into my chest, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statement…but let’s just say if you imagined what you thought having a knife driven into you would feel like, that’s about what I was feeling.

Dr. Sourpuss sees my grimace and says, “That’s just me going into your lung.”

Right.  Except you said it wouldn’t hurt, and now it’s hurting, so maybe something is going wrong, and maybe we should rethink this a bit?  I try to calmly explain all this to him in those very words, but I’m in too much pain and it comes out as something like, “Ghaaarrrrrffffuuuu…”

I hear the “snap” the nurse warned me about.  The doctor pulls out the needle, and though I am in agony, I realize it’s over and it’s all sunshine and puppy dog kisses from here.

“Oops,” says Dr. Sourpuss, “that didn’t work.”

Apparently that sample was too small, and Dr. Sourpuss needs to try again…from the other side.  After giving me a few minutes to writhe in agony, the nurses help me flip over onto my stomach.  The second time hurts only 95% as much as the first time.

After the biopsy is done, they give me a chest x-ray and inform me that…CONGRATULATIONS! I am one of the lucky 10% who won themselves a collapsed lung.  Apparently I run as bad medically as I do in poker.  Another doctor, who I can’t picture in my memory because I was in too much pain to focus, tells me to go home and come back for another x-ray tomorrow, because the pneumothorax would probably heal itself overnight.

Probably?

Faceless doctor nods and smiles.  “Yeah…probably.”

Saturday

“Do you currently have medical insurance?” Front Desk Receptionist Lady asks me.  This is the second time in two days I’ve gone through this particular series of questions.  You’d think they’d…I don’t  know…write this stuff down somewhere.

“No,” I reply.

“Are you currently employed?”

Jesus Christ.  I sigh.  “No.”  I also haven’t gotten laid in nearly six months…I wonder if FDRL would like to ask me about that as well, as long as we are in the “All About Tim’s Pathetic Life” category of the Q&A session.

FDRL slaps a plastic hospital bracelet on me and sends me on my way to radiology, where after a short wait I am met with yet another new doctor, this one an impossibly friendly young fellow.  I don’t know if he was a pediatrician in training or a former kindergarten teacher, but he discussed my situation with me using phrases like “Everything’s going to be cool” and “You’re going to be okay, guy.”

Guy?

Dr. Nicely-Nicely informs me that my pneumothorax is not getting any better, and he thinks our best move would be to insert a chest tube that will suck the air out of my chest cavity.  He goes over the benefits of this route, but concludes by saying, “But, you know, it’s up to you, guy.”

It’s up to me?  I mean, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent adult, but I feel wildly unequipped for the task of deciding whether or not this very kind gentleman I just met should shove a tube in me.  I’m not even sure what to base this decision on.  So I do what I always do when I am unsure about a decision…I flip a mental coin in my head.  The mental coin comes up tails.

“Hey, all right,” I say.  “Let’s get a tube up in me.”

*****

Laying on yet another exam table, yet another nurse is asking me, “Are you nervous?”

Aw, shit.

“Well, I am now,” I mumble to myself.

Dr. Nicely-Nicely enters and immediately starts being nice.  “Okay, guy, we’re going to go real slow on this.”  He explains to me the basic procedure that, once you get past all the medical jargon, basically boiled down to this:

Putting in Chest Tube Procedure:

Step 1: Drill hole in chest
Step 2: Put tube in chest hole
Step 3: Lunch break

Dr. Nicely-Nicely steps over to the exam table, pulls out yet another obnoxiously sized needle, looks down at me and says, “Don’t worry guy, this won’t hurt a bit.”

Aw, shit.

Saturday (Later)

It did hurt a bit, but my reward was a high dose of some sort of pain killing drug injected straight into my IV.  I knew it was the good stuff, because despite the fact that I was condemned to spending the night in the hospital, I was feeling pretty warm, happy, and sexy.  My mom was nice enough to bring me my laptop, and I settled in for a night of watching crappy movies and floating on a drug-induced joy cloud.

Except…

A disturbing trend developed as the night wore on.   Every time I went to the bathroom to pee…I couldn’t.  Like, I needed to pee, but when I went to go, nothing would come out.  I started panicking.  After my surgery last year I had this same problem, and they put a catheter in me, and between me and you, I’d rather just die.  I vowed I’d take a life before I let them do that to me again…however as the night got later, I realized the problem couldn’t be ignored, and I would have to tell someone.

That lucky someone happened to be my nurse at the time.  And because I run as bad socially as I do medically and at poker, my nurse at the time happened to be an extremely attractive girl who looked to be a few years younger than me.  The next time she comes into my room to check up to me, I tell her I have a problem.

“I don’t know exactly how to put this,” I said, “but, uh…I can’t pee.”

The look in this young girls eyes as I say this phrase was one I’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing in my adult life.  It was the look of someone who has decided with absolute certainty that there is 100% no way they will ever have sex with you, ever.  Having established that, I decide I might as well go for broke: “I really don’t want a tube shoved in my penis, if you don’t mind, but I just thought I should report this problem.  Do you think it might be from the pain killers?”

“I…don’t…think so.”  My heart swells with genuine pity for this girl.  I don’t envy anyone who has to be my nurse, because I’m mostly ridiculous and when I get sick I tend to barf on the walls rather than into a receptacle.  Nevertheless, the kind nurse fetchs the little machine (I didn’t get its name) that they use to measure how much urine is actually in your bladder.  Apparently, it wasn’t really much.  “Just keep drinking water and trying to go,” Hot Young Nurse tells me.  “You should be fine.”

I should be fine.

It is now going on 4 am.  I can’t sleep because I’ve been sleeping on and off all day, and also I am addicted to sleeping aids and I have none with me.  All the good TV is done for the day, and the hospitals internet connection doesn’t seem to work well for streaming videos off the internet.  Facebook is empty of people to talk to, probably because everyone is in bed.  I’m bored, lonely, and I have to pee.

“Hospitals suuuuuck,” I whisper into the darkness around me.  I take its silence as agreement.





Wii (Un)Fit…

16 08 2009

A couple of months ago, I decided to actively start trying to gain weight.  There were both aesthetic and practical reasons for this.  On the aesthetic side, being a bone thin male is somewhat equivalent, I think, to being a heavyset woman.  Men are expected to have a certain amount of “girth”…whether it be in the form of muscle or fat, and being able to fit yourself through a coat hanger isn’t a huge turn-on for women.  And for practical purposes, anytime I have to undergo any sort of treatment, I usually end up dropping a half dozen or more pounds, so I figure it would behoove me to bulk up while I’m feeling relatively healthy.

Now, mind you, I had no delusions about what I was doing.  I will never, ever, ever be that dude bursting out of his t-shirt with muscles, glistening in the summer sun like some sort of…uh…I can’t really think of a way to finish this sentence that wouldn’t sound 100% gay.  You know what I mean.  But if I could just get to a point where my hoodies didn’t hang off me like a lawn tarp…even if the extra weight were FAT, I’d be good with it.

Enter: Wii Fit, on loan from my generous sister and brother-in-law, who found it difficult to keep up with a regular fitness program with two drooling, peeing, screaming, eating, and more peeing toddler boys underfoot.  (Incidentally, its for this very reason I don’t give the girls I sleep with my real name.  That’s right ladies…if you ever slept with a pale, gawky guy named Lance Von Dudemeister the Third…I TRICKED YOU!) Wii Fit, for those of you unaware, is a peripheral for the gaming system that essentially acts as a glorified work-out video, albeit a ridiculously sophisticated one that not only measures your ability to perform the different exercises, but tracks your progress as far as weight gained/lost and how often you show up to work out.

I set the Wii Fit up in my basement, took my first body test, and the creepy animated Wii Board gave me the bad news: My “Wii Fit Age” (calcualated based on a combination of your weight and ability at certain tests) was 45…a full 15 years older than my actual age.  This was to be expected…I’m out of shape, that’s the whole point of this, right?  I set as my goal to gain 10 lbs two months from that day, selected the female trainer (who I thought would be less intimdating than the extremely masculine, though obviously gay, male trainer), and set to work.

The first excercise I did: Deep Breathing, under the yoga excercises.  The excercise literally asks you to stand there and breath.  That’s it.  I got a 94, and a rank of “Yoga Master.”  Sweet!  I’m an expert at this already!

My creepy, pale, dead-eyed virtual trainer.  Yeah, I'd probably still bone her...

My creepy, pale, dead-eyed virtual trainer. Yeah, I'd probably still bone her...

One week later, alternating strength training days and conditioning days, with daily yoga, and I take my second body test.   I am 4 lbs heavier, and my Wii Fit age is down to…26?!?!  Holy shit, I cut almost two decades off myself in a week!  Delusions of working myself into Hugh Jackman type shape within the month start flashing through my mind.  I am motivated!

And then things start going wrong.

I miss one of my daily workouts.  Creepy Wii Board cartoon greets me with an extremely passive aggressive, “What, too busy to work out yesterday, Timmy?” at the start of the next days workout.  Well, excuse me, Cartoon Wii Board, but fuck you!  Maybe I was!  Maybe my mom died yesterday, and I had to bury her fucking remains.  Or maybe I decided to sit on the couch eating Cool Ranch Doritos and watching “Battlestar Galactica” all day.  What the fuck is it to you?

The Wii Board also has a disgusting habit of trying to make me feel guilty about my other family members.  My mom, my sister, and Nikki W. made accounts on my Wii, just to try it out, but never use them.  Now I am constantly peppered by Wii Balance Board about their whereabouts…questions about whether or not they “look healthy” to me.  What is this, fucking communist Russia?  Am I a spy for the Wii Fit Gestapo?  Go bother them about why they aren’t working out, I just want to do some freakin’ boxing!

No, I don't know where my sister is, or why she never calls anymore.  Jesus, was this thing programed by my mom?

No, I don't know where my sister is, or why she never calls anymore. Jesus, was this thing programed by my mom?

The other problem: After my freak first week weight gain, my results start to be not so impressive, including LOSING weight several weeks.  I decide to cut out the conditioning (I am a fan of long walks during the summer, and figure between that and performing I am getting enough conditioning) and just concentrate on strength training.  Planks everyday.  Push-ups and side plank…10 of them kill my soul, but I can finish.  Lunges.  Jackknives.  I even just start walking to random people on the street and picking them up off the ground, just for fun.  I get a few angry looks, but no restraining orders.  I also start eating like a death row inmate.  Hamburgers, donuts, ice cream…I eat when I’m hungry, I eat when I’m full, I eat when I’m bored…I eat until I think I can’t eat anymore.

I’m still not gaining weight.

It feels like I’m the only human on the face of the planet trying to gain weight…and failing at it.

Wii Fit's extremely accurate and scientific charting of my freakish inability to upgrade my girly-man arms.  At least I'm...consistent?

Wii Fit's extremely accurate and scientific charting of my freakish inability to upgrade my girly-man arms. At least I'm...consistent?

In three days my deadline for the goal I set for myself arrives.  I am 7 lbs short.  Unless I manage to get myself pregnant in the next 48 hours, it looks like I’m not going to make it.  If I don’t make it, it might shatter my fragile self ego, sending me into a shame spiral, and causing me to revert back to my old ways of non-exercise and non-lifting random strangers off the ground.  I’ll become depressed.  I’ll start drinking…erm…more.  My low self-esteem will lead me to start selling my body on the streets, not so much for the money, but just so I can feel like someone, anyone, loves me in some way, even peripherally…even if it’s the kind of love that ends with me limping the next day, a ten dollar bill adhered with nothing but perspiration to my ass.  Eventually, I’ll die…old, alone, drug-addicted…and ever so slightly underweight.

I never had these kind of problems with Mario Kart.

For the time being, I will just continue enduring the manipulative insults of Wii Fit Board, the creepy, dead-eyed encouragement of my animated trainer, and the soul crushing disappointment of my weekly body tests.  Remember to keep breathing as you exercise, or you may raise your blood pressure.  Count with me now…one…two…one…two…





Fringe Festival Wrap-Up…

12 08 2009

I had a big ol’ long post planned where I would recap all the shows I saw in the Fringe Festival this year, and do some commentary on how my show, “Danny Is Going To Die” went.  But I’m feeling particularly unmotivated as of late, and don’t really feel like writing all that.  So I’ll just summarize by saying: Saw a bunch of shows…more than I had in previous years, but still fewer than I wanted to…some of them were amazing, some of them were crazy, and some of them put Nikki W. to sleep.  Our show went, I think, very well…some people though it was amazing, some people thought it was crazy…I don’t think anyone fell asleep.  For fun, let’s look at some of the citizen reviews we got on our website:

First, some not so good reviews–

Amateurish.
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Some of the audience laughed, I didn’t. I didn’t believe the situation, the actors, or the sub-sitcom dialog. Better luck next time.

Ouch.  Definitely our worst review.  I won’t bother weakly protesting that criticism from a guy who calls himself “re gurgitate” on a website is difficult to take too seriously, or the fact that if Mr. Gurgitate were to be honest, he would have wrote, “Most of the audience laughed A LOT, but I didn’t.”  Whatever.  I still have to say of all the people who reviewed our play, this is the opinion I’m most interested in, as I always think criticism, no matter how hard to hear, is more constructive and interesting than praise.  However, with the name “re gurgitate” I’m guessing he (she?) wants to stay anonymous.  Too bad.

A bit stereotypical…
by Richard Sacagawa Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This show was okay…the best part was the acting, but the show wasn’t written very well. The characters were a bit stereotypical and the humor was 7th grade-ish; cheap genitalia and curse word jokes. However, it was fast paced and full of great performances!

Another not so great review, although people in the cast tried to helpfully point out to me that it isn’t a bad review at all, just a so-so one.  This forced me to point out the fact that, yes, it is an okay review…UNLESS YOU’RE THE WRITER!  Then it’s not so good.

I already used this joke in a Facebook status update, but for those of you who read my blog but do not use Facebook, I will repeat it here because I think it’s a pretty good one:  Anyone else notice that the name Richard Sacagawa can be shortened to “Dick Sac.”  The fact that someone named Dick Sac is criticizing my script for cheap genitalia humor is, so far anyway, the only evidence of the existence of God I have encountered in my life.

How about some good reviews?

My must see…
by Michael Sheeks Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I thought this was an exceptionally well written comedy, particularly for this ensemble. I also enjoyed the fact that it didn’t try to be more than it could be within the context of the fringe, but there were a few moments that suggested this playwright could shift gears and turn it into a longer piece that had a less episodic structure and more levels. Nice work. I will definitely be watching for work by these folks after the fringe.

Sweet!  Thank you, Michael Sheeks, whoever you are.  I particularly like that he enjoyed “…that it didn’t try to be more than it could be within the context of the fringe…”  This is a very important point that is possibly missed by Mr’s Gurgitate and Sac, who maybe expect all their Fringe shows to be deep, moving pieces about the difficulties of being a lesbian or the angst caused by the meaningless of existence.  It’s a fun, cartoony show with some cheap laughs.  And that’s okay.

Finally, the best review we got:

Danny Is Going to Die
by David Bratt Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very funny writing; some very strong comic acting (especially Tim Gage, Kim Hostrawser, and Andy Waldron); appropriately breakneck pacing.

David Bratt, for those who don’t know, was the chair of the theater department at Winona State University, so it’s safe to bet he knows a thing or two about theater…probably a thing or two more than re gurgiatate or Dick Sac.  He was also notoriously difficult to please, as anyone who was ever involved in one the productions he directed at WSU knows, so if he says there was some funny writing and strong comic acting, I’m inclined to believe him.  Thank you, DB!

Final analysis: It was a bunch of hard work, really fun, Nikki W. and I didn’t murder each other, though it was touch and go some days…and I can’t wait to do it again.

I’ve added the script for “Danny Is Going To Die” to the Non-blog related writing section of this page.  Give it a read, either if you didn’t get a chance to see the show, or did see the show and are one of those nerds like me who like to see how things develop from written script to actual performance.

(Note: The script I have posted is the FINAL PERFORMANCE VERSION, not the original script I wrote.  Due to time constraints, we were forced to make substatial cuts…this is the script as it was performed.)





2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival Preview…

30 07 2009

One of the most important days of the theater calendar is now upon us.  The Minnesota Fringe Festival opens today, which means a week and a half of glorious theater binging, and glorious stumbling around the streets of Minneapolis in a drunken stupor.

I’ll be using my blog over the next week to put down some thoughts about the shows I see, and also keep up some thoughts on the progress of my show, “Danny Is Going To Die.”  For now, let me just give you a quick peak at the shows I plan on seeing, and if you want to be as cool as I am, you should plan on seeing as well.

“Danny Is Going To Die”— The Playwrights’ Center

Okay.  So I’m starting off with an easy plug for my own show.  Sue me.  All ego-driven, self-interest aside, a whole shit load of very talented people have put a ton of hours into this show.  With eight cast members and a full time costume, prop, and stage manager, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this might be one of the most ambitious shows of the Fringe.  Chances are, you know someone involved in this show.  Please support their work!

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

“Slow Jobs: Servicing America for $12 an hour”U of M Rarig Center Arena

The creators of this show, Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood, are basically legends of the Fringe Festival.  They’ve brought their unique brand of humorous story telling to the stage for several years and have developed quite a following.  Plus, I need to see this show because I would love to find out where, for only $12 an hour, I can get a–wait, hold…the name of the show is SLOW Jobs…Slow Jobs.  Not– Okay, never mind.  Well, see it anyway.

“Boobs”— Gremlin Theatre

Creators Molly Dimba and Kari Kelly put on a show of improv and sketches centering around everyone’s favorite body part.  I will be seeing this, of course, to support my former high school classmate Molly Dimba, because I believe it is important for artists to support other artists in the community to strength the web of…BLAH HA HA…nah, I’m joking, obviously, I’ll be seeing this because I’m a dude and it’s a play about BOOBS!  Boobs!  Holy crap, I hope they talk about motorboating!

“Best Little Crackhouse in Philly” (Or…Crackwhore: The Musical!)– Southern Theater

Finally!  A musical about crackwhores!  Plus it features the talents of one Madison Olimb, who is a singing/dancing/acting triple threat supreme!  Little known fact, though: Crackwhores actually prefer to be addressed by the more politically correct term, “Emotional Enhancement Substance Physical Pleasure Artists.”  At least, that’s what your mom told me last night.

“A Dream Play”— Southern Theater

“A Dream Play” is the product of Amanda Sterling, who has done some amazing work at the Fringe over the years.  I’ll be seeing this show because I know it will be well acted, well directed, and of very high quality.  I won’t be seeing it just because I’m harboring a borderline-creepy acting crush on Stephanie Kulbeik.  Because I’m not.  Not in the least.  Oh, Stephanie Kulbeik, why won’t you run away with me?