Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet Addiction

The ritual usually begins somewhere between 10 and 11pm. I want to go to sleep, but then I realize I haven't prepared tomorrow's fix. Raising myself from either my chair, or the couch, I shamble like a refugee from a Romero flick to the kitchen and begin the process. Remove the leavings from that morning, rinse both carafes, one large, one small. Paper filter for one, permanent filter for the other. One and a half spoons full in the small pot, two in the large. Push the delay button, then off to bed. I'm not usually around for the first event, as my wife gets up at 2am, hence the two pots, but when the Kitties-O-The-Apocalypse untimely rip me from my sleep, and I stumble downstairs to the refrain of mews and purrs, there awaits that modern marvel of automated technology, the steaming pot of freshly brewed coffee. I can already feel that slight thrill through my sleep-addled synapses as I grasp the handle of my china mug, emblazoned with the so familiar delta and circle pattern and registry of a certain mythical starship, and empty into it the powdered contents of one pink paper packet.(yes, folks, I use saccharine. deal with it) Then that magical moment when I feel the weight of the full carafe in my hand and pour the life giving brew. A dash of milk, and thence to the computer.

Recently we had to retire our first large pot. It was a sad day as it seemed to have learned my preferences and did not make coffee that was too hot to drink right away. Of course, that was a symptom of its impending demise, but it was still nice. We now have a shiny new Mr. Coffee that makes very hot coffee, so I must wait a bit. I surf, read email, then, finally, that blissful moment arrives when the light brown nectar before me reaches the maximum palatable temperature, and those first tentative sips are allowed. It's almost like foreplay to my system, just a tiny sip, not too much lest pain follow hard on the heels of pleasure, then back to the illuminated rectangle. Gradually the sips grow larger as the temperature drops, until that wondrous, glorious, life-affirming moment when the coffee reaches that perfect condition where a mouth full is sheer joy, and the swallowed brew feels like it is flowing to every cell in every part of my body at once, bringing with it a crescendo of power and life that readies me for all the challenges of the coming day. Then, almost sadly, the sight of the bottom of my mug, gleaming like the bones of a battlefield corpse, meets my gaze and I realize the cup is drained. The house is silent for a moment, save for the soft susurration of the computer's fans. It's as if the world is holding its breath in anticipation or remembrance, and a moment of sadness comes upon the morning at the passing of this wonder of the beverage world. The cat mews, a bird calls in the distance, then all is quiet. And then, slowly at first, the corners of my mouth begin to climb upward as realization hits like a thunderclap...there's more coffee in the pot!

And there was much rejoicing.

Good morning, y'all.


Friday, October 22, 2010

And so...

Gather round, folks, and let me regale you with tales of such staggering mundanity that you may find yourself turned to stone ere you finish this entry. Or if not stone, at least a particle board substrate covered with a rather convincing veneer with a very stone-like pattern. In any case, here's what's been going down of late here at Castle Marius. The CoA has finally started middle school, and things are not going well. Her teachers no longer think that ADD is the totality of her peccadilloes, and her psychiatrist feels we need to get her to a psychologist. We had a psychologist, but she has stopped returning our phone calls, so the search begins anew. I'll not go into details about the young'n's behaviors, but her psychiatrist mentioned autism as a possibility for the first time. Granted autism, like cancer, is a blanket term for a myriad of conditions, but it can have some pretty significant consequences which have been nibbling away at my brain little by little. But, on the bright side, if we can finally get an accurate diagnosis, and find the right combination of medical and behavioral treatments, perhaps we can actually get her on the road to becoming a functioning member of society. This is the bulk of the reason y'all haven't heard much from me as this has pretty much dominated my thoughts.

On the tech front I got a new phone yesterday. It has lots of stuff that it does that I've never used in a phone before, like a camera and some internet connectivity. The main reason I wanted it, however, is that it has a full QWERTY keyboard. While I may not text as much as your average teenager, many of my students do text me, and it will greatly streamline my communication with them if I can actually type. And it is an mp3 player and voice recorder, both of which I will use. So, like with computers and the Internet so long ago, I am dragged most unwillingly into the 21st century. If you want/need my number send me an email.

Finally I've been trying to get rid of some of me. Over the last couple of years I sort of stopped caring about what a blob of blubber I was becoming. I'd made a few half-assed attempts at cutting back on the intake of crap, usually failing around 10:30 at night when there was cake, or cookies wafting their siren song across the darkened house. Then, about three weeks ago, something inside me snapped. Maybe it was the sight of myself in the mirror after my shower that morning, or just the general feeling of yuck, but like when I quit smoking years ago I just decided to stop eating so much. Breakfast is still more or less then same, but lunch has become exclusively baby carrots, some sliced cheese, and celery or some other raw, green veggies. And then for dinner I eat normally, but only one portion, and I am letting my stomach, not my mouth, decide when I'm done. And nothing after 8pm unless I become legitimately hungry, then it's more carrots. And it's been working. I dropped nearly ten pounds right away. It would appear that I had been working very hard to maintain my Jabba-like girth, and I have noticed a definite improvement in how I feel. And last night really showed me that my dietary change is working. Everything was running late, and the missus didn't thaw anything for dinner, so I asked her to stop at Taco Bell since the CoA will eat that without a fight, and I've been good so a bit of indulgence should be ok. Well, my usual from Taco Bell is, for that place, fairly healthy. 7 layer burrito and a nachos supreme with no meat. Neither of those have any meat in them, so I figured it was only cheating a little bit. UGH!!! It is now twelve hours later and I sill feel like I swallowed a rock. Alas, there may not be any meat fat in the burrito, or the nachos, but the sour cream, and fake yellow cheese-like polymer nacho coating sure have their own adipose contingent, and man did I regret eating them. At least there is a lesson learned here. Cheating only hurts me.

So that's that for now. What's new with you?

Mundanely yours, Marius.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have a student that, for the sake of this tale, I'll call Jonathan. Jonathan looks like a boy, dresses like a boy, acts like a boy, but until this past summer was known to all of us as Andrea. When he friended me on a certain popular social media site I noticed many photos where he was trying to look like a Jonathan, and not an Andrea. At one point he even asked me if I would please call him Jonathan in class, and if I would use only masculine pronouns when referring to him. Of course I agreed, and though it took me a little while to reprogram my brain to think of him as a he, it wasn't that difficult. Now in class, though my roster reads Andrea, I call him Jonathan when checking the roll, and as you have read above use only masculine terms when a gender specific pronoun is called for. It has proven to be a very gratifying experience for us both, because I often refer to my student workers as ladies or gentlemen, and when I speak of him in the latter category he lights up with barely controlled joy. This also has let me do a bit of mental back-patting as I inwardly congratulate myself for being so progressive. Then today something happened that showed me just how deeply parochialism and prejudice can run. There has been a young man hanging around the halls of the theatre lately that I don't know. I noticed him today and was going to ask him why he as loitering about when I saw Jonathan go over and sit on his lap. I knew Jonathan was in a relationship, but I had always assumed his significant other to be female. I had unconsciously equated 'wanting to be male' with 'gay female'. As I tried to work out the mechanics of such a relationship in my mind, even going so far as to contemplate asking him about it, I had an epiphany. First of all, it's none of my business, but more importantly it's irrelevant. If two people love each other, and they don't care about 'traditional' gender roles, who am I to say that a person who is on the road to a sex change must automatically like only members of the soon-to-be opposite gender? Even though I do my best to be as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered friendly as I can be, I still try to label and pigeon hole people. Gender and love, while often intertwined, are not always related, and if Jonathan is able to love a person for the contents of their skull, rather than being concerned with the contents of their trousers, then that's fantastic, and I shall simply accept, even if I don't fully understand.

Later, folks.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On The Road Again

Well, sort of. Tonight the Asolo theatre company brought their production of Antigone Now to my theatre. It's an updated and condensed retelling of Sophocles' tragedy of the last days of Oedipus's daughter, Antigone, and it was wonderful. I had forgotten how much fun it is to work with a touring company. When I was at the Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth we brought in dozens of touring shows a year. Orchestras, choirs, plays, dance troupes, everything from classical ballet to Irish folk ensembles. It was always exciting waiting for that truck to get there, then the frenzy of activity as the actors and technicians swarmed into the theater anxious to unload, set-up, and maybe grab a few minutes rest before the performance. I love working with road crews, making their lives as easy as possible when they are guests in my home, trying my best to have them remember that one gig where that bald dude made them feel so welcome. That was my daily life for three years at the Duncan, and I totally took it for granted. We prided ourselves on being the one stop that the groups would remember fondly, and took great pains to make their stays in our house as smooth and painless as possible. It didn't always work out that way, of course. There was the time I nearly dropped the fire curtain on an internationally famous modern dance troupe, or the time the road manager of a Russian ballet company nearly got fired while in our theatre because the grande dame of the show was a raging bitch. But mostly it was a lot of fun...and a lot of work, but I loved it, and I deeply miss it. Tonight really showed me how much I miss it. There is little in my professional life that tops an unforced smile and 'thank you' from the members of a touring group...except the joy I get from helping my students do theatre right. Yeah, I miss running a road house, but I love what I'm doing now, too.

I love my job. :-)

Marius the Content

Monday, October 11, 2010

Smell's Like a Monster

I've been trying to figure out why I, and most of the people whose blogs I love the most, haven't been posting as much lately. I think it might have something to do with there not being much going on in the world that stirs me. We've been stuck in two wars for nearly a decade now, with no end in sight. The current administration is almost as bad as the previous, just in different ways. TV, with the exception of the Mythbusters and Stewart and Colbert is a wasteland of trite tripe. Work is great, but it's really just more of the same, building shows you've never heard of and teaching classes you've already heard about. And home is home. I could gripe about the COA driving me crazy, or talk about Starbuck's latest antics:
Heh, heh. Fatass in a box

But to quote the Bare Naked Ladies, it's all been done. But fear not, gentle readers. I haven't given up on this medium just yet. Not blogging is starting to bother me more than it used to, and maybe...just maybe the chrysalis is starting to crack. The egg is starting to hatch. The sleeper must awaken, and the coupons must be doubled. We must all take a stand and say, "My laundry is dirty, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!!"

Or, just smell like a monster.

G'night, y'all.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Digital Hermitage

I've noticed, of late, though I know not wherefore, that I have lost much of my facility with the telephone. I used to spend hours on the phone chatting with friends, with family. Then I found the Internet. At first it was just an interesting diversion; a place to find games, information, and the occasional email. Then, just over five years ago, I began this blog. At the time I expected it to fare much like my previous journaling endeavors fared, a few consecutive posts, then longer and longer gaps til it petered out. But a strange thing happened. As I grew more accustomed to posting my thoughts, ideas, and experiences here on t'webs, I grew less enamored of the phone. Now I shy away from 'real time' communication, which in itself is a term I would never have used six years ago, and prefer to chat, or text, or email. The downside to this is that those of you out there who avail themselves of my electronic exhibitionism know more about my life than my own family. Most of my family are fairly technophobic, or at the very least see little use for computers. My brother has a computer that he uses mainly for gaming and email, but has never listened to my podcast, nor read this blog to my knowledge. My relatives 'up north' have email addresses, but I don't know if they ever use them, nor do they have computers at home. And my dad won't go near the computer at his house. When he retired several years ago he said that he stared at computer screens every day at work, and he'd be damned if he'd do it at home too. Of course the irony is that all he does now is stare at the TV screen, but I can't fault him for that. There is also a problem in that it rarely occurs to me to pick up the phone and call anyone, or if I do think of it the time and/or place isn't right. And on the occasion when, say, my aunt in Connecticut calls me, often my phone is not on, or is in another room, or I'm driving and can't get to the call in time. I always promise myself that I'll call back, but then some invisible neurosis makes me put it off, or find reasons/excuses why I should do it later. And the worst part is that there is a part of my brain that feels guilty that I never call anyone, but another part that counters 'why do I always have to call?', yet when they do I often find a way to avoid it. Yet I would gladly chat online with any of them, or exchange emails, or engage in any other non-verbal electronic exchange. I just don't get it. I'm used to being the odd man out in the family, but this is just plain stupid. It's not like talking to people is painful, or tiring, and hell I do a weekly show that is all about talking with people, for fuck's sake! I just don't get me sometimes.

So, do any of you have a similar malady, or know of someone who has crawled inside the Internet and won't come out? Please tell me I'm not alone in here.

Marius the Remote