Saturday, July 28, 2007

Coffee : Slapdash :: Peyote : Vision Quest

Just printed out my script a few minutes ago after a long and particularly painful night of writing. I was two hours into one idea before I decided it was going nowhere and I completely abandoned it for something else. Ah well. It's somebody else's problem, er, opportunity now. I'm going home to rest while some of these folks stay here to direct or do other stuff. I'll see how they all came together tonight.

This is what I look like standing on a stage after writing all night long. Pretty, I know.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Let the Slapdashng commence

Slapdash officially kicks off in 21 minutes as of this moment. Before I get started, here's a little SDFF-related funny from my workday. One of the responsibilities of the writers is to bring along some props just to inspire everybody else. I decided to grab the badass viking hat that I keep atop my work monitor and take that with me. That thing's just crying out to be on stage. I was standing outside waiting for The Ash to pick me up from work, just me and my viking hat, when one of my coworkers walked by.

COWORKER: Nice horns.

HOLMES: Heh, yeah, I need 'em for this weekend.

COWORKER: (lasciviously) Got that kind of weekend planned, huh?

HOLMES: Heh, actually it's just a prop.

COWORKER: (more lasciviously) Props, huh?

HOLMES: Uh, nevermind.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Leap of Faith - especially for the locals

Not too long ago, I was in Thundercloud Subs hooking it up with some lunchtime sandwich action. Receipt before me, I went to add in the tip to the total amount to pay thanks and tribute to the sandwich constructionists who had once again supplied me with delicious sustenance. At the very goddamn moment I went to put pen to paper, the Violent Femmes song that was playing on the PA, the song which had up to now only been in the background of my consciousness, jumped into one of the most angst-ridden moments known to music wherein I and everyone else within earshot was repeatedly implored to Add It Up.

I gave a little extra that day. You can't ignore shit like that.

Well, I guess you can, and perhaps sometimes you should. But for some reason I didn't, not that day. Tiny little events like that will often cause me to stop and think about the causal, the coincidental, the accidental, the various -al's that our universe may or may not be ruled by. It seems that, regardless of how you view the interactions of all the moving parts that make up existence, at some point you just have to let go. Or more accurately put, recognize that there are some things you don't really have a handle on, never truly did, and likely never will.

Well, I guess you don't have to. You can always try controlling everything. Let me know how that works out for you.

Speaking of trusting in the universe, I seem to have once again signed myself up for a theatrical event that requires deep wells of faith from all involved. Said event is called Slapdash Flimflammery, and is the product of the theater company I was formerly a member of, Loaded Gun Theory. This year marks the fourth occurrence of SDFF, the fourth time that I've participated, and the third time that I've participated as a writer. Of all the things LGT's done, I think SDFF is probably the thing I'm the most proud of primarily because of the amount of trust everybody has to have that somehow, it's all going to work out. All art requires faith, and live performance requires the most, but Slapdash, well, that's in its own league. It goes a little something like this: on the appointed Friday night, a group of writers arrive at the theater, and, armed with nothing more than a laptop and a few guidelines, each set about to write their own 15 - 20 minute play in the course of one night. Directors and actors arrive the next morning to get their scripts and rehearse like mad all day long. Audience arrives at 8 to watch each of the plays performed. It is creation in its most raw form. The first time we did this, we had no idea if it was going to work, or if it was going to fall flat on its face. But I'm here to testify to the fact that it works. There are trips and stumbles, but for the most part, it works. If you're in Austin this weekend, I recommend you check it out. It's magic not to be missed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bring the ruckus

So in case you didn't see the news on The Ash's blog or over on DadCentric, the verdict is in and the verdict is boy! Boys actually, seeing as how now we will have two of them running around and plotting their little boy stratagems against us and nature and the world. It'll be like my boy scout summer camp counselor days, except now it's year-round, and when they break something, I'm the schmo that gets to pay for it. Seriously though, I can't wait to meet the new little dude, and I really can't wait for Henry to meet him.

Wow. So this is that part of life, huh? Freaky weird, man. Love it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Organic without the 'ic'

Inna-gadda-da-vida, bitches!

This one's for the ladies

Erk Skronk Blat

Henry did a little jammin on the organ at Grandma's house this weekend. This is the organ my grandfather used to play to relax. I think he would have liked to have seen this sight.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An unapologetically double standard

One night last week, I found myself sitting down to a few beers across the table from this fool that I hadn't seen or heard from in going on ten years. You know, one of those kinds of friends who you were tight with back in the days of your wayward youth, then lost touch with at some point, tried to look up a few times with no luck, and had pretty much given up on ever seeing again until one day they drop a comment into your blog and, surprise, sur-fucking-prise, it turns out you're living in the same goddamn city...which isn't really a huge stretch since it's the city you originally met in, but still.

It was good to catch up though, reminisce on our adventures of old and share what we'd been up to in the decade or so since last we met. And it was cool that we had not only the past to talk about, but also the present and even a bit of the future as well. Nothing more awkward
than meeting up with somebody you were friends with way back when and realizing that you now have nothing more in common than the fact that you're both carbon-based life forms and you speak the same language, and are thus forced to keep the conversation centered entirely around the past, lest ye risk the horror of the uncomfortable silence. Thankfully, we didn't have any of that nonsense.

There were numerous moments of relief throughout the conversation, though. See, this friend and I, let's call him "Chief", for that was his nickname back in the day, though I don't think anyone calls him that anymore, but Chief and I used to run in a crowd with some folks who were, shall we say, risk-takers. And, of course, Chief and I used to partake in the risk-taking plenty ourselves. No need to get into details here, but let's just say that there were some of our friends from those days that I was a little hesitant to ask about for fear that the news would be the tragic kind. It just somehow seemed a certainty, with all the crazy shit we did back then, some of us more than others, that somebody would've taken it a step too far. I don't know what made me so arrogant as to think that out of all of us, it'd be somebody else to slip up and not me, but there it is.

Thankfully though, everybody's still alive and kicking, and from the sound of things, even doing well. Which, as I said, was a huge relief. And you know, it's not that I look back on those days and see them through shades of regret. Quite the opposite. In fact, I'm hard pressed to come up with a single goddamn regret about anything we did back then. I'm thankful and glad for every stupid stunt we ever pulled.

Except, then I think about my son doing all that stuff. Running around his first few years of college with his friends, just doing dumb shit in the name of, well, of doing dumb shit. I think about any of my kids doing the things I did, and I have to admit that it kind of stops me in my tracks. I mean, relatively speaking, our insanity only ranged from the light to medium, only occasionally bleeding over into the heavy, and I wasn't around for a lot of the latter. But still, when I think about it, we took ourselves a few risks, any one of which could have gone the wrong way. And the thought of either of my kids having that kind of fun just makes me kind of shudder.

And yet still, I have no regrets. Funny how that works, eh?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I was looking at my son's outfit today and it occured to me...

...that there are some looks that are much easier to pull off when you're a toddler.

Dispatches from the Holmesfront

Blurbs of a random flavor.

These are the things that occur to me
I think it would be really cool if Wu-Tang would take a sample from the show "Deadwood" from any one of the thousands of instances where Al Swearengen says "Fucking Wu!" and then use it in a song. My apologies to those of you who are not familiar with "Deadwood" and/or the Wu-Tang Clan, but you can trust me that it's a really great suggestion.

Fucked Statements: Statements Which Are Fucked
One should refrain from making statements structured according to the following pattern: "I'm not [blank], but [blankety-blank-blank]" where blank = a label or descriptor, often of a negative nature, and blankety-blank-blank = a declaration that clearly indicates that the speaker is in fact what they disclaimed to be in the first portion of the sentence. Examples:

"I'm not a prude, but when I'm in a crowded public place, it sometimes occurs to me that every person I see has genitals and I get so upset that I have to sit down!"

"I'm not a racist, but I sure liked this neighborhood a lot more before those people moved in."

"I'm not an especially vulgar person, but motherfuck this cocksucking son of shit."

To prevent such inconsistencies, one should consider one's disclaimers before appending them to the beginning of any statement. If any incongruities are detected, one should remove the disclaimer before speaking, and simply accept the fact that one is what they would perhaps wish not to be.

The E is for Electronic
An old friend from college whom I've not seen or heard from in over a decade found me recently. Since then we've been emailing back and forth, and it struck me as interesting and kind of cool that we were communicating through a medium that was hardly even on my radar the last time he and I spoke, which in the grand scheme of things was not that long ago, but in technology terms was eons ago. Trippy.

Helper Toddler is Helping
Henry seems to be big on housework these days. His latest thing is loading and unloading the washing machine, a task which seems to bring him enormous pleasure. He'd love to try his hand at the dishwasher, but we keep him away from that for now since we can't afford to replace all of our dishes. Soon enough though. Perhaps he'll be like David Sedaris and ask for name brand appliances at all gift-giving occasions. Then he'll grow up to write fabulously hilarious stories about his childhood and growing up with his quirky but lovable parental units.

I are tawk funny sumtim

I am beginning to believe that regular viewings of ICanHasCheezBurger may be having detrimental effects on my command of the English language. Sitting in a meeting at work the other day, someone made a suggestion that I really liked, and the thought that passed through my mind was "dat am da ossumest ideeyuh evr!" Fortunately, I was able to translate it into something coherent before I opened my mouth.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In your Jesus Christ meme

Tag. I'm it. It would appear that the Island Girl has tagged me to take part in the Jesus Christ meme. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to name and explain five things that I dig about Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus H. Christ, or whichever name you prefer to call him by. And since I haven't rambled about religion and theology in a while, this seemed like a good excuse to do so. I'll just warn you right now, this will probably get rather long-winded.

So many directions to go with this one. Both my smartass side and my *ahem* serious side would like to weigh in. Take it easy fellas, you'll each get your turn....maybe. I guess if you were to categorize my relationship with Christianity, with religion in general, it would fall into the "love/hate" box, right alongside technology and Starbuck's. I find a great deal of beauty in a lot of the things that Christianity stands, compassion, kindness, peace, etc. etc. But like many, I'm also turned off by the evil that has been and continues to be accomplished under its banner. But Jesus, and figures like him throughout the ages, are inspiring to me. They were the ones to face down those who would do evil in the name of something good, the ones who called for unity where most were looking for reasons to be divided, the ones who included all those that the world excluded.

Anyway, without further ado, here's a few things about Jesus found particularly appealing by an ex-Baptist ex-cult member semi-agnostic Episcopalian infrequent church attendee kinda into Buddhism current seminary student. Hmm. I don't seem to make much sense.

#1 - Blessed are the peacemakers - in word and deed, Jesus's message was always that peace was the way. Had he wanted to, he likely could have gathered together enough disgruntled followers to stage some kind of violent coup against the local Roman authorities. Of course, it would have certainly been quelled with brutal efficiency as Romans weren't known for fucking around, not in that sense anyway. Instead, he managed to leave behind a message and an example that has inspired many to combat violence and oppression with peace and understanding. It is unthinkable to me that somebody could claim to be a Christian and think that doing violence to another human being is right.

#2 - Love your neighbor as yourself - love in our culture is often categorized, compartmentalized, and placed into neat little color-coded boxes. You have your romantic love, your love between family members, parents and children, friends. And all these things are beautiful and real and part of life, but Jesus also talked about a type of love that extends beyond that, that is not myopic in its scope, and takes into account those who we don't know, those outside of our circle, our experience. He even went so far as to say that we should love our enemies rather than get caught up in hatred for them. On top of that, I think he understood the necessity of being able to love yourself. After all, you can't love anybody very well if you hate yourself.

#3 - Enigmatic storyteller - some of Jesus's parables are pretty straightforward, but others were less so. They kind of leave the hearer thinking, wondering, not necessarily spoon-feeding everything to you. It was as if he wanted people to think about what he'd said and draw their own conclusions.

#4 - Had love for the ghetto - or more to the point, the people living in it. He came from poor people, he spent a lot of time with poor people, seeming almost to favor their company, so much so that it's enough to make one wonder if perhaps he wasn't a bit suspicious of those with wealth and power.

#5 - Valued children in a time when they were nothing - children in Jesus's time were not particularly valued or protected the way they are today. They were free to be sold, enslaved, beaten, killed. They meant nothing. But he valued them. And that's cool.

One thing I almost included in this list was that, like many of the greats, Jesus was misunderstood, but really that's not something I actually dig. I mean, it may be cool for an artist to be misunderstood, but misunderstandings of Jesus, be they willful or otherwise, have led to tragic results. That could be its own dozen posts, hell its own blog...probably already is.

So there you have it, five things that I dig about Jesus, based on my understanding of him. Oh, and let us not forget about his totally awesome blog. Every time I see the title of his blog in my Google reader, I get that Soundgarden song "Jesus Christ Pose" stuck in my head, except the Chris Cornell in my head replaces the word "pose" with "blog."


The world is a better place because there is somebody out there who accepts requests for robot drawings. Drop by, peruse the gallery, giggle and/or guffaw, and leave your own request. You might just get your robot drawn.

That sounds like a new euphemism to me.

Anyway, here's my robot request come to life. Poor OfficeBot. First he goes to the bathroom and can't play Tetris because he forgot his cellphone, then the TP tried to escape.

Little help please?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Rack up the meat

I'm hardly a vegetarian, nor is anyone that is currently living under my roof. I have no issue with it, it's just not my way. I will say, however, that my meat intake, particularly of the red variety, has dropped over the last few years, and I feel that it's been a healthy adjustment.

There's something about national holidays, though, that just brings out the carnivore in me. It's as if all that red, white, and blue calls to my inner beastman and fills me with cravings for slow-cooked dead farm animal, along with all the usual sides except for potato salad because that shit makes me want to vomit.

Seriously though. Celebrating America and eating meat. It's just so goddamn perfect, no?

Interestingly enough, breakfast today was resoundingly unpatriotic: french toast. Or was it freedom toast? I can't remember now. Shit. Oops, pardon my freedom.

Our friends Rob and Liz had a little mid-morning party over at their place. I don't think I've ever been to a party in the morning before, but I must say I liked it. I'm all for it. I think we should have more of them, particularly in the middle of the week. There was meat available, but we were already full, so I just had a bloody mary. Bloody Mary was a Queen of England, so I suppose that was somewhat unpatriotic of me as well.

Lunch and dinner both managed to include meat, and thus made up for the morning's lack of patriotism. Lunch was a potluck, to which we contributed store-bought potato salad. The Ash put it in a bowl and received numerous compliments, none of which were from me. Dinner was a trip to Rudy's BBQ along with, from the looks of it, about 46% of the population of Austin. It' been raining here for the last couple of weeks, so I guess nobody feels like hauling their grills out.

I'm not sure where this national holiday/meat craving thing comes from, but it's pretty consistent. It's probably just me using the day as an excuse to gorge myself. I feel like an asshole making light of it, especially given that 1) our country is stuck in a disgusting mess of a war, so all national holidays just feel especially shitty, and 2) people around the world and right here at home don't have enough to eat.

But I'm putting this little invite out there. Next election day, when the next president is elected, let's all get some steaks. And some beer. And maybe something we can take shots of. And some other grillables that we can throw on the fire. Let's not forget the vegetarians. And the next day when the results are in, whichever side wins, let's get together and feast. If the good guys win, let's celebrate. If evil prevails, let's mourn. I'll see you there.

Hope you had a great day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Zombiewalk

It's not always easy to get the kid to perform, particularly if he sees a camera in my hand. He granted me about 1.5 seconds of his baby zombie walk, but his agent said his contract forbade going beyond that without some serious renegotiations. Ah well, that's what editing is for. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Be gone with ye!

When we moved into our current place, we did so knowing full well that we would have to get rid of lots of crap due to the fact that it's roughly 700 square feet smaller than our old house. It was actually a process and a goal that we were looking forward to, going through our accumulated belongings and purging that which we no longer needed or wanted, relieving ourselves of those objects which may or may not have once performed a meaningful service, but now serve no more purpose than a dusty old millstone. In the end, we would come out on the other side lighter, freer, and bearing less of the burden that comes with unnecessary stuff.

We did much of the purge before the move, and it did indeed have the relieving affect that we'd expected. The things we gave away or trashed were easily, gladly parted with. Both The Ash and I are pretty well able to compartmentalize our sentimental feelings down to a few small things, so there was next to no second-guessing regarding any of the items that went on the chopping block. We got rid of a lot, but as we stuffed boxes into closets in the new place, filling them to capacity and then some, we knew that a day would come when we'd have to do more.

We managed to put it off for a time, but today brought us to a point where all those boxes had to come out to face the harsh light of judgment. We made some decisions. We filled some trash bags. We gave lotsa shit away. It felt good, hell, great. I can't say if we're done, but we're better off than we were.

I have an idealist fantasy of living a life where I make no more of a footprint than I have to in order to live and be happy. No unnecessary crap, minimum frills, no taking up more than I need of anything. Interpretations of what that means can, of course, run an incredibly wide gamut, but it seems like a good general rule to live by, to order other life rules by. I know full well that we don't live like this today, not as well as we could or should, but it's a goal. And a hope.