Thursday, April 26, 2007


Brian and I started rowing this week, me for the first time in about a year and a half, and him for the first time ever. So far we've been practicing indoors on ergometers (rowing machines) on account of rain. It's exciting to begin again.

And we are in pain.

Instrument of torture and occasional fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Goodbye Blue Monday.

Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite authors, died last night at the age of 84. I wish I could write about him more eloquently. So it goes.

I first read Vonnegut, like many, when I was assigned Slaughterhouse Five in a high school English class. I devoured it, loving that it was funny and political, and had a unique voice and absurd characters (Kilgore Trout, anyone?). I suddenly realized that I shared that love with my father, and that many of Vonnegut's novels, long-ago read and dog-eared, had in fact surrounded me on shelves at home for my entire life. Eventually, his short stories spoke to me too. I adapted one ("The Long Walk to Forever," a tale the writer himself described as "a sickeningly slick love story from The Ladies' Home Journal, God help us") for the stage in college, an experience which led Graham Atkin to talk to me about directing, which in turn made me think seriously for the first time about maybesomehowperhaps pursuing a career that involved theatre in some way.

So I guess Vonnegut influenced me--like countless others--in a lot of ways, some direct, some not so direct. Here, for no particular reason, is one of his drawings of an asshole:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some reading and re-reading to attend to.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Aaand, the old shelves are back.

It could not have been more like a TV commercial.

Over the weekend, Brian and I got super motivated to overhaul our closet-sized, closetless guest room/office in order to make it an efficient storage and workspace, as well as a place where more than one visitor can stay at a time. We scored a ridiculously nice (like, handcrafted pretty wood) futon on craigslist for 50 bucks, including delivery. We couldn't believe our luck, so we cleared out all the junk that had accumulated in the room, and set to work on our most space-saving task: wall-mounted shelves. which involved multiple hardware store trips for things like toggle bolts, but finally we drilled the massive holes it required and installed the track on the wall that would hold the metal strips and brackets. We sighed and gazed at our new storage with satisfaction.

Anyone who knows me knows that I usually take an absurdly long time to do things like pack, unpack, and organize. So it was incredible that this changeover happened in the space of about a day and a half. I eagerly spent much of my day on Monday going through our crap and deciding the most efficient, user-friendly, and attractive way to arrange books, office supplies, and a printer on our new shelves--of course breaking it all up with the occasional objet d'art. We patted ourselves on the back; how clever are we for utilizing all that untapped vertical space! At one point I put yet another (cute, striped) box on the shelf, stood back, and mused to Brian that I was a little afraid about the load-bearing capacity of the shelves. How did we know how much was too much? The wall is a bit crooked, so how did we know whether wobbliness was normal, or cause for alarm?

"Really, it's fine. It's just that the wall is a tiny bit curved, so it looks weird, but it can definitely take weight. See?" And Brian demonstrated by pressing with just one finger on the bottom shelf, looking at me with an expression of calm certainty. He was right, these things were strong. I once went through a whole year of college with every textbook I owned balanced precariously on several shelves that were mounted into nothing but a thin piece of drywall, so unstable that I dared not breathe on them, and I never had a problem.

My nod of agreement turned into a tiny yelp. We barely had time to lean backward as we were assaulted by a sudden crashing and watched in horror as one side of the shelves collapsed completely. All of our books, files, cute boxes, and printer fell completely off of the wall and landed in a heap on the floor. We stared, panting, at each other and at the earthquake-worthy mess on the ground. I let out a panicky giggle.

I half expected a voice-over to pipe in as we surveyed the damage with confusion. "Got shelves?" or "Need help?" would flash across the screen in front of our helpless expressions, followed by information for businesses or services designed to assist schmucks like us. The next day, we filled the drill holes.