29.5.09

A Public Service Announcement from Stones of Erasmus: A Library in Your Hometown

A public service announcement from Stones of Erasmus 
encourages you to support your local public library.
I was traveling by car with my buddy Airplane to Grand Isle, Louisiana one summer weekend. We saw this abandoned bookmobile on the side of the road. It looked apocalyptic and out-of-place. We made this video to bemoan a future where libraries don't exist and are abandoned, lost, or forgotten. Don't let reading die! Read a book. Share a book. Tell a story. Cite a page. Turn a page. Go forward. Do it in a novel. A play. A poem. Read!

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

24.4.09

10 Notes on Being a High School Director

Being a High School Director:

Photo by Kal Visuals on Unsplash
1. Never underestimate your actors' potential.

2. Always try to find SOMETHING an actor is doing well even if everything they are doing seems destined for failure.


3. During rehearsals, the actors perform for you so make them KNOW you are paying attention to them. During the show, they still perform for you
even though the audience believes they are performing for them and the actors believe they are doing it for themselves.

4. Allow actors to feel out their roles. BUT some people need more coaching. Be flexible and intuit what an individual needs. Be specific in giving hooks. (I am working on getting better at this).


5. I have not figured out rehearsal pacing yet. When do I tell them to be off book? When do I yell at them for not knowing their lines? What is the fine balance between sternness and generosity?


6. When there is little less than one week before showtime, work with what you got. Don't add anything more.


7. SHOW the LOVE


8. The actors internalize your comments so choose your words carefully.


9. When directing use VERBS. For example: "Look Angry" is a bad stage direction: instead: "Prowl around the stage like you are a tiger in a cage" is more specific and doable.


10. It will all come together (albeit, a few SNAFUs)

14.4.09

List: 31 signs your significant other don't love you no mo'


Unrequited love sucks.
  1. Jacking off in the study is his only crime of passion.
  1. You cheat on him and when he finds out he says, "I am so glad you've found someone special!"
  1. You begin to realize why your relationship began with an NSA agreement.
  1. The part of his body you know most intimately is the back of his head.
  1. "I'm hungry" is the extent of his emotional vocabulary.
  1. When you explain to the kids you're getting a divorce they ask with a straight face, "Wait, aren't you divorced already?"
  1. What you thought were text messages to you from him are actually ads from a 1-900 number.
  1. You realize one day you forgot what he looks like because he seldom looks at you.
  1. The only time he uses the word "moist" is during dessert.
  1. The only time you can cop a feel is when he's sleeping.
  1. The last time you slept together was during an emergency evacuation.
  1. The couple next door tends to wake you up on a Friday night.
  1. The emotional energy you share together is as dead as two corpses in a nursing home.
  1. It is one thing to forget your birthday or even an anniversary but last night he even forgot your name!
  1. Discovering his pornography stash, you realize none of the models even remotely look like you.
  1. The only way you can get him to relieve sexual tension is to say,"But, it's for health reasons!"
  1. Every time you want to have sex, he thinks you want a baby.
  1. Or: he thinks you are checking his prostate.
  1. The last time he said "fine," he was angry.
  1. He talks about you in the past tense.
  1. And he refers to you in the third person.
  1. You get more attention from the dog than him.
  1. When you go to grab his pole he reacts like you are his physician: "Is it that bad, doctor?"
  1. When you plan a romantic vacation he says, "Have fun with your friends!"
  1. He seldom gets your jokes.
  1. The last time you played around was on the first date.
  1. The only text message you've gotten recently did say, "I Love You" But it was quickly followed by, "Sorry, I meant to send this to my sister."!
  1. You desperately find ways to say goodbye so you can at least get a kiss.
  1. You come home with a hatchet in your head and he wonders if you got a haircut.
  1. The love letter you wrote to him is still unopened in the mailbox.

2.4.09

Aphorism With Image: "Hemmed"


I write when I am hemmed into a corner. Profile on me: sitting at my school desk surrounded by papers.

image: M.C. Escher, Drawing Hands, 1948, lithograph, 11 1/8 x 13 1/8 inches

21.3.09

Online Video Chat Review: Adventures in Stickam

Adventures in Stickam (pronounced STICK CAM)
    People with addictions know (if only at the level of the subconscious) that the addict is searching for the next big hit. The addict thinks, "yeah, the next shot will be better than the last." Well, addictive websites act according to the same logic. On Stickam, the same addictive cycle plays itself out. I must confess (*wipes back tears*) I am an addict. I go to CA meetings monthly (camwhores anonymous). Hah hah. lolz. ROFL. (oh wait, this is a blog, not an I<) With that said, I do not intend for this blog to be a moral diatribe. 
    If you are offended by this kind of thing, don't read my blog. Lots of ink has been spilled about the risks of Stickam. I will reserve moral judgment for other plebes. If you don't know about Stickam, it is a site where you can chat and cam with dozens of people simultaneously. The site allows you to register for free with a username, a profile page (where you can add personal information, stats, quotes) similar to Facebook and myspace. In the chat rooms, Stickam is a free-for-all.
    The phenomenon called Stickam was started in 2004 and is owned (according to the site) by Advanced Video Communications. The site states that Stickam is "the pioneer of live streaming video and the largest live community on the Internet." Yippie! Oh, Stickam, I love you!

Stickam Chat Rooms    See, Stickam chat rooms are created by Stickam users, so chat groups can be anything from {str8.gay.bi} to {Vampire Nation™}. I am serious! Inside a chat room are usually dozens of users, having various conversations at once. The funny thing about Stickam is that people are usually chatting. I have never been online and seen empty chat rooms.
Another feature of Stickam is the option "to go live." This simply means that anyone anywhere can view your webcam, not only the three million registered viewers but anyone with a computer and a web browser. Or you can limit your live to friends and people you select. The live feature gives Stickam an advantage over other cam sites because a user can embed their "live" into their websites and create, on the fly, instant personal webcam pages. In reality, live is so dumb: who cares if you are brushing your teeth, no one wants to see it.
     Stickam is pure hilarity. It is mindless. Sometimes, utterly profound. A typical tour through Stickam will desensitize even the most unsensitized of persons. To me, Stickam is like a fast-food drive-thru. Cheap, temporarily fulfilling and quick. Like most chat rooms, people are rude, crass, stupid, demoralizing, impish, inane, and usually vapid. All rules of grammar and spelling are void. Shallowness is the new deep, folks.
     But, I am not knocking the experience. Stickam is fucking funny. Especially when someone is like super high, talking as if no one is listening (which is the charm of the live entertainer, btw) and having conversations with other cammers, reading their comments, and rocking out. It is hilarious. But, hey, maybe I am just shallow, man.
     The quintessential feature that makes Stickam unique is its egalitarian front. You got all kinds, dawlin'. Also, it is the one place on the web where you can see with your eyes, hear with your ears, read with your brain, all at the same time people just doing otherwise banal, stuff. It is so funny: some people actually are on Stickam 24/7. You can tell: they are sleeping, eating, talking on their cell phones, or doing homework.
Some users I have met:
    Mature guys like Cheech 
 I met him and his parrot  will demonstrate to anyone who will listen how to be masculine type, be a Puerto Rican top, wear leather properly, and at the same show professionalism and decorum (he is a social worker by trade). Immature folks (like lil gangsta) say whatever is on their mind ("I just farted" or "I am bored"). Calicob is from Atlanta and enjoys discussing quantum physics. Ender is an intriguing lad who loves to speak about Frederic Jameson, but he is usually shirtless, drinking, and a potty mouth. Mr.Brian lives in Oregon, mid-life, and says nothing except, "how is everyone tonight?" Canadabeef is scary. Patrick is Canadian and loves to hate on Americans; he splatters the chat with French phrases and he is super mean.
    Although I have to admit with lil gangsta, most Stickam sessions are kinda boring. To be a true hard-on, junkie, basically quit your job, stock up on food and booze, never leave your house and set yourself in front of the webcam and wait.
    One user, Cocoboy, is a boy, but he likes to dress up like a girl and he is from Scotland. He is fucking hilarious. If he is on, I mute everyone else and listen to his rambling monologue (it goes on for hours). Or lindababe: she is a girl, I think, and she has her iTunes on randomizer and she loves to jam out and make obscene comments.
Some Stickam vocabulary:
     If you never say anything and don't go on cam you are called a "lurker". For example, "hey lurkerz, come in!" If you go on cam and say things but you are kinda scary you are called a "creeper". For example, "That dude is such a creeper." Mods are moderators. Dock and undock: on Stickam the user chooses (docks) people they want to see or removes (undocks) people they don't want to see. Pedos = anyone who is creepy. Pedobears = hairy ones. The penis is called a peen (cuz you can't curse). If you want to send a private message you PM that person.
    If you show pubes, you're out. Although, this rule is occasionally broken. Frontal nudity on Stickam is actually hilarious. It happens sporadically. Lasts for about fifteen seconds, before a mod notices and kicks them out. The most disturbing incident I have ever seen on Stickam was a drunk adolescent was with his friends, said he was gay, flashed his peen, then wrote "death to all faggots" and then wrote his phone number and location for all to see. Or another time: a girl was live and she was obviously severely overdosed, crying bitterly, and talking about killing herself. Her friend was also live, on the phone with 911, waiting for the cops to arrive. And we could call see the events transpiring.
Now Voyeurs!
Voyeurism is the attra
ction of Stickam. No one ever says it but it is the reason why the cammers gather. Let's face it: we are a nation of secret voyeurs (well, not so secret). Stickam is Rear Window for the rest of us. If a user is not on cam he is instantly suspect. Doubly suspect if he or she is not on cam nor does she have a profile pic. Either you want to be seen or you want to see. Even though exhibitionism is banned, everyone loves the thrill of the occasional girl or guy who shows all. Because it is prohibited means it is more exciting when it happens. If Stickam were unadulterated it would not be as fun. That's what porn is for! If you want skin on Stickam you got to ask for it or just wait patiently. On Stickam, most folks follow the rules. But, rules are made to be broken. When they are broken it gives everyone a thrill. Even the prudes. I would not be surprised if Stickam's developers are forced to can the site. I have noticed the web watchers are getting nervous. It is only a matter of time before something hits the news: "teen commits suicide because someone on Stickam told them"
    Which brings me to my second to last point: sex. I guess sex underscores the entire Stickam phenomenon. Sexuality is such a colorful cornucopia. I have never met so many bi people in my life. Everyone is bi. OMG. If you want sex it is not prudent to just start doing it on cam. Even the camwhores get all puritan on you. Sex on Stickam is like sex in real life: flirt, reveal some potent information, proposition yourself, exchange instant message names (or use Stickam's C2C feature).
    Stickam lies in that interstitial space: not so highly prohibited like pornography, but at the same time, most people would not want their colleagues (or their kids) to know that they cam every night in the {rock_with_your_cock_out} room.
Caveats:

  • It eats up your time
  • Mostly uninteresting
  • Don't forget to turn your cam off
  • Gender ambiguity is a given
  • People lie
  • Haters abound
But, hey, compared to other empty garbage like Reality TV and QVC, I'll take Stickcam anyday.
Read more about Stickam:



4.3.09

Essay: On Feeling Unrequited Love

Keith Haring Love
So does this story ring true for you? So, he has not called in a week nor does he answer calls. Voicemail messages are never recorded (the phone rings and rings).
     Nor does he respond to text messages, e-mails, Myspace messages, or mental vibes sent through psychic airwaves. The last time we spoke was at a party, but even then the conversation was limited. He was drinking a beer and gave lots of non-verbal clues that he was not going to engage in conversation other than, "Hey, wassup?" When trying to establish a day or time to "hang out" his response is non-committal: a simple shrug of the shoulder. He says, looking everywhere except in your eyes, "We'll get together, yeah". When questioned why he had not answered any calls or responded to texts, he explains he always gets them too late to respond. Feeling the need to be annoyed, the words "Yeah, I don't think you're an asshole, though" spill out. At that moment there is a tension there that was not there in the past. When the truth emerges that he is not that important in your world, you think, "Move on" but it is hard to completely remove someone from your life. So you make adjustments. The relationship is akin to a liberated son promising his mom he will visit on weekends. Not likely to happen. Abandoning ship does seem to be the best option, but at the same time, you do not sense the relationship is going to suddenly take on wings and fly to new unexplored heights.
   It is a tough call to determine when a relationship has reached the end of its lifespan. When is it necessary to bail out or adjust the terms of engagement? Needs change and expectations dwindle. There may still be love but the need "to be together" has faded. Friendships have boundary lines. There are unsaid lines drawn in the sand. The desire to move a relationship forward could be negated by the other party's unwillingness to go with it. Perhaps they lose interest. Or they got a bad vibe. People are super sensitive. We process subtle messages and act accordingly. The pain of separation is equal to the amount of initial energy and time invested.
   If it is a friend you only met recently and oddly the relationship ends because she moves away, the pain of separation will probably not be as great as a friendship cultivated throughout many years that suddenly terminates.
   The lyric from the Sondheim song "every day a little death" makes sense when one considers the many times love is given only for it to eventually subside and cease to be. Every day there is a little death, not only in our bodies but in the course of our relationships.