End of November. it really can't be stressed enough how charming I am.
hello. welcome back. glad you're there. I've been swarmed with work and I am handling it fairly poorly. nevertheless it's been an interesting handful of weeks. the major things I'm concerned about - plays, cats, and free milkshakes - have all been going well. there are several people who I need to email. hello, several people. emails make me happy, especially when it's three am and I've got some massive academic thing due the next day. I plan to have a really exceptional week as soon as this semester is done when I will take care of everything. until then, here's a half-assed update before I go to sleep and dream of Trotsky. there are seven new skits and a handful of keen new links that you would do well to follow as well as a general freshening around the site.
I had saltines and noodles for Thanksgiving, because I was sick. but I honestly enjoyed it.
here is a newspaper article about Potted Meat (check out the photos, which look oddly like a superhappy paramilitary commando unit) and here is a review of the play I wrote/directed at the end of October:
The Penny Dreadful Players continue their prolific fall
season with "Monks in Trouble," an original play
written and directed by Marc Heiden. In addition to
the play, two members of Very Secretary will open
the Friday night performance with music and
Demoted to Hugs will close both performances,
playing a song written for the play in their set.
"Monks in Trouble" explores the lives of five monks
trapped in a monastery over the winter as pieces of
their secluded world begin to disappear.
The characters are revealed through monologues
interspliced with dramatic action. The leader, Stephen
(Rory Leahy), best fits the preconceived notion of a
monk: a calm, holy man with a soft voice that speaks
in terms of faith and devotion. Michael (Mike
Renaud) is his polar opposite: a surly rebel with a
filthy mind and mouth. Lorenzo (Hank Sprague) is a
disgruntled but level-headed artist searching for
answers. Jackson (Tony Cosenza) does not seen to
grasp the concept of monastic life but longs for
enlightenment and salvation. Percy (Eric Rampson)
grew up in a monastery believing he was the Second
Coming of Christ.
Despite the lack of a rational explanation for the
disappearances, the story is told more with a
postmodern sensibility than in the surrealist tradition.
The disintegration of the monastery serves as an
impetus for the characters to reevaluate their lives and
motivation as they try to justify and survive their
crumbling surroundings. The conversations of the
monks, laced with comedy, defy the tradition
standards of holiness, but hold a deeper meaning.
Through each other, they find some sort of
resolution - their journey of exploration and discovery
is the journey of the play.
In "Monks in Trouble", Heiden has created an
environment where logic no longer functions. Stripped
away of this stumbling block, the audience, like the characters, must
reconsider life and the role of religion not in terms of
rationality, but in terms of humanity.
Oct. 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. $3. The penny dreadful
players with very secretary and demoted to hugs at
gregory hall theatre.
hot damn, that was cool. props to the exceptional cast, of course. I'll get the script online at some point.
this is an extremely interesting yet creepy website: transcripts from airplane black box recorders. for those of you not hip to the crashing metal objects scene, black boxes are the nigh-indestructible devices that record what's going on in an airplane cockpit. they operate on a thirty minute loop, so investigators listen to them to figure out what caused the plane to go down. this one is probably my favorite. if you are an airplane who has crashed or are related to one, I apologize for my insensitivity on this topic.
I was very happy to see the government's anti-trust case against Microsoft take a turn for the better when the judge ruled 'yes' on the monopoly question. it'll probably be years before anything comes of it, but that's okay. I am mobilizing an army of stealth wombats with sharp teeth and a fondness for burrowing into people's underwear to deal with everyone who takes Microsoft's side. the "free market" hardly needs to be defended. trying to protect capitalism is rather like spotting Michael Jordan twenty points in a basketball game. it's already going to whip you...
I am against the death penalty in all situations except when the execution is carried out by dropping gigantic pancakes upon the criminal in question. it's still wrong, but you have to admit that it would be an interesting sight. if people are willing to die for love, why not for fluffy goodness?
I am reprinting the following from my .plan file because it was really long and because I haven't gone into much detail about my job at the museum on this webpage. I wrote it in realtime during an awe-inspiringly slow day recently. the piece speaks for itself, I think. I would appreciate if nobody mentioned it to management.
KRANNERT ART MUSEUM JOURNAL: 11.27.99
Back at the museum for a day. I haven't worked here for a couple months
but Alan needed someone to help out and I agreed to do it for nostalgia's
sake. Things haven't changed a great deal since I was last here. Joe
Miller is still desperate for something to "help make the time pass". He
also continues to assign bizarre, inexplicable hierarchies to guard
placement and attempts to manipulate said placements for his advantage.
Downstairs all day, I've got a computer to play with - rather unlike last
year at this time, when all there was to do was fuck around with the
motion detectors. Apparently a bunch of people showed up at 10am and asked
if they could have their wedding in here. Alan, who is the supervisor,
said yes. (Joe is cautiously optimistic that this will supply "a little
excitement.") The wedding is now being held in the former Masters Gallery,
directly above the basement where I currently sit. I suspect that this is
some sort of comment upon my inability to maintain a mature emotional
relationship. Shame Jerry's not here. I'm sure he'd have a few stories to
tell on the subject. (I'm sure, because I've heard them all several times.
You're too good for her and her crazy teenage son, Jer. Go back there and
get the sweaters you left behind. You've got every right.) At least he's
got a house. Fuck it, my cats could beat up his dog. He's probably out
selling coffee with the Rocketman [tm] beverage backpack and making
"hundreds" from football fans. I am alienated by the fact that the
football team is doing well in my last year here. Fuck off, football team.
Alan seems amused. Richard seems bemused. Joe seems de-mused. I seem used.
The wedding is over. As far as I can tell, the bride and groom are still
together after ten minutes which puts them streets ahead of where I'd be.
Rumour has it we're getting paid double for working today. I hope so. I
hope that some day, someone will describe me as the love child of Greg
Dulli and Noam Chomsky. Obviously I'm being fairly morose at the moment
but the thought still lingers that I'd like Mike Saul to buy "Mario Party"
because we'll probably wind up renting it at least six more times. There's
a beautiful woman wandering around down here in a leotard. She's been the
only non-wedding visitor all day - more commentary by the universe, which
I am beginning to resent.
I wish it would snow today.
If it snows, I won't know - I'm in the basement all day. I was thinking
it'd be nice to spend the winter in a cave in Missouri. Joe's calling on
the radio. Time for my break.
Uneventful break. I drove over to the Union and everything was closed save
the gaping mouths of families down here for the high school football
tournament. I am torn between my desires to write something and to take a
nap. Still in the basement. Joe may have been a little irritated because
I came back from break late. Paint an angry flower when you get home, Joe.
I am tempted to do terrible things such as fondle the Rodins and lick
million-dollar paintings, but I've done it all before. Krannert seems less
of a museum for lack of a painting connecting Christ with feces. I could
rectify that. There is an interesting study to be done on the strange
vendettas that develop between security guards and the art they protect.
I participated in the big Post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza
yesterday. The CD I bought rang up $3 cheaper than it was priced. Merry
I am willing to sell the film adaptation rights to this .plan file.
High-powered film producers are invited to call me.
Joe interrupted my nap to ramble for a while. He's walking on thin ice,
that one. I'm not mad. (Happy to help make the time pass.) I was having
fairly asinine dreams about air traffic controllers and usenet newsgroups,
so hopefully I'll get something a bit more interesting the second time
Originally I was going to wait until Joe passed on, but I have decided to
go ahead spreading the rumor that the Krannert Art Museum is haunted. The
ghost haunts the basement. (I'm not sure yet if it goes anywhere else.)
It's probably either a) Mr Krannert or b) Mr Trees, with Rodin as a dark
horse candidate because he wants me to stop fucking around with his
sculptures. Anyway, the ghost creeps around in the basement and if you're
a guard who's misbehaving (i.e. sleeping), you can hear him sigh and
jingle his keys - but when you turn around, no one's there! Spooky.
The phrase "Property is theft" is the only thing on my mind. I don't know
why. I do enjoy theft.
I got to go into a brand new area today - Alan opened up one of the
storage rooms to find spare guide pamphlets, and I followed him. Krannert
is such a beautifully mismanaged museum (except for security, of course).
There are literally 3,000+ catalogues from this summer's "The Rich Life
and the Dance" exhibition sitting back there that are never going to be
used. They will sit forever alongside the thousands of catalogues from Art
of the Andes (an exhibition from the 70s!) and countless others. It occurs
to me that if today was a Twilight Zone episode (or, better yet, The Outer
Limits), the Rodin sculptures would come alive and beat the snot out of me.
Depending on how big the budget of the show was, I might wind up as a
statue myself at the end in an ironic twist. It's just another day,
though, so Pope Benedict XV is going to have to keep head-butting Torso of
Walking Man as long as it continues to amuse me.
There have only been three visitors down here so far today, which takes me
back to why I loved this job in the first place I really am being paid to
do nothing more than exist. I kind of miss the challenge of keeping myself
entertained without the computer, which demonstrates how nostalgia can be
a fairly stupid thing at times. Joe says he's gunning to close up early.
Richard continues to smile wryly at all of it.
I heard the ghost again! Spooky. I'm thinking of working a bizarre
love triangle between Mr Trees, Mr Krannert and Rodin into the ghost's
backstory. Maybe a murder-suicide pact. We'll see.
This museum would be better if it had less paintings and more deadly games
of cat and mouse. (And no wall labels to identify who is the hunter and
who is the hunted, either.)
I feel lonesome in several idiotic ways.
at that point, the computer I was using crashed. (the sheer pathos was probably too much for it.) nothing much happened during the rest of the day. a couple visitors showed up and did whatever it is that they do. since I'm reprinting things from various jobs that I've held, this is a small thing I compiled while I was working at the office of admissions and records last fall. my task was to open envelopes from incoming freshmen hopefuls and assemble the various components into a certain order that was convenient for the creepy gnomes who process the applications. by the way, people who work in admissions offices are in fact a low, low species. I can say this from firsthand experience. drop gigantic pancakes on all of them, I say. one afternoon I was left unattended near an operating computer so I wrote down my favorite excerpts from that day's batch. they're all real - I preserved the writers' original spelling and phrasing.
FALL 1998 UIUC APPLICATION ESSAYS
On ethnicity as a bargaining chip:
"I am very diverse. Because I come from small European country Bulgaria, I
think I can be very useful to you."
"I have had many aspirations in my life, but in the top few has to be
getting a good education."
(from an envelope marked "attention: football dept")
"You may think Courtney Lackman is just another name, but in this paper I
plan to show that I am a person!"
"I felt alienated in my small town, where my beliefs on diversity and
animal rights were not accepted."
On innovative use of language:
"I currently have a GPA of 3.09 but it is increasing...I rank in the top %5 of my class of 18
students...I am extremely interested in attending your university and hope that you can make my
dream come true and except me."
On being hellbent on Polishness:
"If I attend (UIUC) then I can represent my heritage, make the campus more
diverse and possibly teach others about being Polish."
On being a misunderstood visionary:
"Everyone likes to play ping-pong, so I suggested a Ping-Pong club!
However, this idea was quickly debunked by mediocre minds and reality."
(The essay goes on to detail two more failed attempts at starting up the
Ping-pong club before ending triumphantly with the club's creation and its
registration with the United States Table Tennis Association.)
at that point, I went off and took one of the two-hour bathroom breaks that made the job so much fun.
that's all for now. I'm not sure precisely when UIUC cuts off my computer access but I will find out and have one last update before then so stay tuned, and not in drop-d either.
return home, comment, or take a step back into fall.