For reasons that are entirely its own, Forbes has decided to create a list of the fifteen richest fictional characters in pop culture. Now you can know how Jay Gatsby compares to Gordon Gecko.
Think You Have a Book in You? Think Again. Where was this guy when I started this damn fool career?
I'm posting this from my cold college, where in just a few hours I'll be opening the first show I've done here since 1995...seven years. The campus looks the same, the professors are still here and the friendliness is rather overwhelming--everyone is nothing but kind, and eerily respectful. Seeing a photo display of my accomplishments while at Colby in the hallway, I realized that what it feels like is being dead--i can see all the nice things people are saying about me now that I'm gone, and there is a certain air of slight deference I associate with funerals. Also, all the students won't really talk to me easily, perhaps because they are afraid i will bite them, or that I am famous.
I think there is a very common wish fulfillment fantasy in returning to your old college a hero--people will respect you, everyone will see your genius, blah blah blah. I think it's mostly a crock--the truth is that sort of affirmation is internal, ultimately, and you can't get it slathered on by well-wishers or folks who perceive you as successful. I put on my pants one leg at a time--if what i have now is limitless success, then I need to get some new definitions or I won't be able to make rent.
At the same time, the evidence is in: i am a working artist, as strange as that is to type in a building I worked five years making art in, never dreaming it might actually come true. Or rather, instead of dreaming, I was working--and maybe that plays a role, along with a shitload of luck, chance and Hail Mary passes.
I'd better go do the cue-to-cue...Jean-Michele has had a great time working with John Ervin, the tech director here, and I am actualy thinking there is a lot of the show that is going to look sharper than it did Off-Broadway. I hope it does--this school, and the teachers in it, deserve it.
I also need to dry my pants, or I will look really stupid this evening. Details.
What a week lies ahead! We just got in two hours ago from LA to JFK, and now i am sitting at Casa de Daisey, hurriedly pulling together clothing and provisions for a flight that leaves in just four hours. We are headed up to the wilds of central and northern Maine, so that I can perform at my alma mater, Colby College, a learned institution that foolishly granted me my undergraduate degree in the nineties, before it had dawned on them what horrors they had unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
The show is actually going on Friday night, in the Runnals Union on the Strider stage, a site where I performed well-nigh continuously while I attended Colby, and i am really excited about walking out on those boards again. We'll tech on Thursday, do the show Friday night at 7:30 and then on Saturday i'll be doing some seminars...yes, now I get to teach! BWAHAHAHHAHAHHAA! I'm doing two talks, on telling stories and then on networking--hopefully people will attend and give it a try. It should be very interesting to walk back into the old stomping grounds as a visiting and working artist, a position I never really believed I would ever discover or attain.
If you live in Maine and would like to attend, check here for details.
We then leave Maine after the weekend, because of corporate gigs and other performances, but hopefully I'll get to post more impressions on my Return to Academia as it occurs. We shall see.
My friend Pat says:
You need to buy a copy of the book "The Hardy Boys' Guide to Life," if only for the line, "Thinking with a pencil often helps to clarify a case" (from "The Hardy Boys' Guide to Life").
Pat is pretty much always right.
Well, the show went splendidly last evening...we were at the Coronet Theater, one of the most famous theaters in Hollywood. Chaplin worked here, and Charles Laughton once tried to kill Brecht while working on GALILEO...great stuff. There was a packed house of industry, friends, Dilettante members and assorted folks--we couldn't have asked for a nicer and warmer house for an LA debut.
I have to run to some meetings, but I am going to strive to get more substantive descriptions of the wacky world of LA into my next missive...but for now, be satisfied with the video of my interview with Connie Chung, which has landed on the site. Click over on video and check it out, so you can see me wearing my clever anti-Microsoft shirt on national TV. Wooo! Geek rule!
Today's Boston Globe has an interesting article on the shift from PC gaming to console gaming...it tries to spin it as irrelevant to the PC industry, but that's not what the numbers are showing. This is a shift I applaud, as it makes PC weenies give me less shit about my Mac. Booyah!
(I am so petty.)
Fantastic. I am in LA, at my hotel, which has 802.11b wireless everywhere...which means i am ill-advisedly composing this message from a hot tub. Ahh, the joys of a life lived on the edge!
So far it has been a delightful visit to LA--we've had some Emmy excitement, had a spot of rehearsing and been attacked by a cab driver who divined that I was connected to the entertainment industry and wanted to sell me a script. Apparently it is actually true--EVERYONE in LA has a script. Everyone. It's not a joke. And they are all very insistent about being industry players, and they are all jonesing for a role somewhere.
Me? I'm here to do my show tomorrow night, have abunch of meetings with mucky-mucks and make a lot of networking happen. It's a busy week, but Jean-Michele is here, which makes it all worthwhile...she's keeping me sane, teching the show and showing me a good time around the city. It's a lot more fun then when I was here alone on book tour.
Well, hopefully I will expand on these stories soon...for now, I need to get away from the hot tub before I actually destroy this PowerBook.
Absolutely stupid. Absolutely. Burger King needs to make this their new commercial.
A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen
And a fine, fine tribute it is. Excellent use of Skeletor.
Oh and for you cultural ingrates among us, this is the Ray in question.
Interesting article on the rise of L33T (elite) speak in teenagers, as SMS spreads through the cell-phone using public like syphilis in a whorehouse.
Nu Shortcuts in School R 2 Much 4 Teachers
It isn't my generation, but I find the use of the abbreviations amusing and, occasionally, edifying. Like a lot of jargon a great deal is pretty useless, and I love the teacher's observation that "wuz" doesn't even save any letters...so why not spell it correctly?
I was impressed with how most of the instructors had a very open mind about the new vocabulary, and were finding ways of using the students reliance on it as a foothold into creative thinking. At the same time they are clear--if you are making smiley-faces to replace critical thinking, you are going to lose out big-time when you try to take your thoughts out into the world.
Slashdot had a pretty vigorous debate on all the pros and cons, over here. The signal/noise ratio is better than usual, especially with the filters set to three or higher. In the spirit of the article, i won't clarify what that means...u cn c it uself.
Amazing...classic games from my youth can be embedded on a trading card. Imagine playing Solitaire on a long car trip, then using the same cards to play Metroid and Super Mario.
When I think I have a laborious writing routine, I read something like this and I sigh in relief. Twelve years per book? Two whole drafts in longhand, and then the electric typewriter? I don't know whether to be inspired by his methodology or to slap him.
Proving again that your tech is only as good as your data, your UI and your adaptive programming, WIRED does a story on bad online maps. These things have their place, but yes--I constantly get nonsensical directions out of them. Then again, if I used a paper map and used it without common sense, I wouldn't even be able to open it--those things are complicated to unfold!
My point is that the tech is only OK--and opening it up so that it is the most useful for everyone does not involve making the system do everything. It has to do a few things clearly and intuitively.
Goddamn it. There ain't no justice.
Great article on the bizarre presence of fabulous dental and medical facilities in Thailand, and how that country has created a kind of capitalist medical paradise for those who can get themselves down to the Orient. As readers of my book may be familiar with, I have a constant problem with having health insurance--Jean-Michele spotted this in the paper and suddenly we were thinking of a bizarre trip/checkup/teeth cleaning mission. Sounds like a solo show waiting to happen, doesn't it?
The Perfect Thai Vacation: Sun, Sea and Surgery
Interesting article on Flag Etiquette sent in by Chris. I learned a lot of things I didn't know.
Fortune is doing a follow-up article here on America's 40 Richest Under 40, a collection of dot-com revolutionaries and former media darlings. These are *not* the people i give a shit about, and not representative of what the era really meant to normal folks, but it is interesting reading. Check out Josh Harris, former pseudo.com guru, and his bizarre plans from his compound. Word on the street is that he is camped out there with guns. A lot of guns.
And those who escaped with cash are taking it easy--Joy Covey, formerly of Amazon.com, my alma mater, has been on sabbatical (retired) and got her pilot license, travelled a lot and built a foundation. This is a woman who used to brag about how she didn't actually need to sleep--evidently, that sort of thing catches up with you.
A story is like an arrow fired into the darkness, and most people will try to deflect it, block it, destroy it before it gets anywhere, and they do this with wonderful speed and ingenuity. They should not be allowed to offer this as proof of their lack of talent.
Oh my goodness, I am still drunk from the closing party and insane karaoke extravaganza. Jean-Michele has hiccups. What glamour, this life of ours.