Friday, June 30, 2006


Tomorrow is Christmas in July - the Tour de France. If you know nothing of cycling, this post will make no sense to you. And if you follow cycling, you probably already know the effects of Operacion Puerto - the Spanish doping scandal that is rocking the cycling world. Ivan's out. Jan's out. They have been implicated in the notes of the doping doctor and banned from competing in the race. They are not yet proven guilty, but their teams have taken action against them, which means it don't look good. Others are out, too, meaning that the starting field will be much smaller and the race will be very different from what was expected. Who looks good? The Discos, the Americans - George, Floyd, Levi. Perhaps it's only in a sport that most Americans don't follow that the United States looks good on the international stage. I was rooting for Jan, but now I'm all George, all day, all night.

Friday, June 23, 2006

An Up and Down Week

I've been terrible about writing this blog (which was supposed to get me moving to write the diss) because I've had an up and down week.

The Ups:
  • Spent a whirlwind weekend in Chicago - visited with Kamesha, Lauren and Laurie, Tom, Chris Roe, saw a great band at a great bar, saw a great show, got some new clothes, bought some books, and just generally had a great time
  • Submitted a proposal to direct Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis at Theatre of Note and have gotten good feedback
  • Working with a director to dramaturg Ruth Margraff's Stadium Devildare at Theatre of Note
  • Found out that Rytch will have a long layover in LA before heading to China
  • Am biking to Santa Barbara tomorrow with some people from Dave's work
  • Booked tickets for Dave and I to spend 4th of July in Minnesota with my family - we've dubbed my nephew Cameron's 6th birthday celebration as Cammerpalooza
The Downs:
  • Not sure if I will get to direct or dramaturg at Theatre of Note because they are still in the process of setting their season
  • Am totally broke, in part because
  • Am mired in an ongoing legal situation, which you'll understand I can't talk about publicly

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Things I Love in my Neighborhood: Part One

Dave and I discovered these gems while out walking on Saturday (although you can't tell by my photos, there are two happy hot dogs condimenting themselves and standing sentry outside the door of a business on Larchmont).

Hot dogs like this are part of what makes my neighborhood so damn awesome!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tony Shaloub's Dog

I'm contemplating cutting my hair short again. I swore that I wouldn't cut the length of my hair (trims are okay) until I finished my dissertation, but I fear I may end up looking like Crystal Gayle, given the slow rate of progress on the dissertation front. And I really like short hair. And I really need a haircut.

On Saturday, Dave and I sat outside sipping coffee and reading magazines, if you can call my flipping through a magazine looking at different hairstyles reading. An adorable little Golden Retriever puppy ambled up to me, and I said, "Hey Buddy!" and patted him on the head, all without looking up from the dumb hairdo magazine. I watched the little puppy run off to hang out with an old Chow who was exactly the same color as the Golden and then returned to my Quest for the Perfect Haircut.

Then I heard a voice, maybe a bit Monkish, maybe a bit like Tech Sgt. Chen, and I noticed that the guy walking the dog bore an incredible resemblance to Tony Shaloub.

So I said to Dave, "Hey, that guy looks exactly like Tony Shaloub. He even sounds exactly like Tony Shaloub. Wouldn't it be funny if Tony Shaloub walked by and I was more interested in his puppy than in him?"

To which Dave replied, "Karen, that is Tony Shaloub."

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Full LA Experience

On Tuesday night, I went to my first Dodger game. Dave and I had been at Target, stocking up on medicine and all that other crap you get when you're at Target, but of course forgetting to get the two things we really did need - kitty litter and laundry detergent.

Actually, what led us to the Dodger game was our decision to try to limit the crap-buying by avoiding Target while the prescriptions were being filled by playing video games at Best Buy (by the way, I suck). As we walked out of the Buy towards Target, two guys in ties came up to us and asked, "Are you Dodger fans?" I nodded my best non-commital nod. I mean, I'm not really a Dodger fan, I just got here and all, and I haven't really liked baseball since the last strike, especially because in Minneapolis there is always some rambling about a new stadium, which would be great, although better school funding would be greater, but, you know, I don't hate the Dodgers or anything, and baseball games are fun, so I nodded, non-commitally.

The guys had two-for-one tickets to the Tuesday game against the Mets. Because I don't tend to think about how easy it would be to print up fake tickets and sell them to schmucks on the street just by wearing ties and carrying a leather day planner, I said, "Okay!" and handed over $30.

So we rode our bikes to Dodger Stadium and were relieved when the tickets actually granted us access to the park and thus seemed to be legit.

It's a great old stadium which somehow seems to have resisted corporatization. First of all, it is Dodger Stadium, not Dodge Ram Presents Dodgers Stadium. And secondly, though there is advertising everywhere (as always has been the case in ball parks), it's not so shiny and sterile and new to seem like a simulacrum. It really is a stadium. We had great seats on the main level just off of left field. The players would throw their warm-up balls into the stands for us.

I did the whole LA thing:
  • Ate a grilled Dodger Dog
  • Spotted Debra Messing (my second official celebrity sighting), who was also in line for a grilled Dodger Dog
  • Did the wave (okay, not specific to LA, but part of the fun of a Dodger game)
  • Cheered "Here we go Dodgers, here we go" along with 46,000 other people
  • Saw Gagne close the game, entering the field to "Welcome to the Jungle" while the scoreboard flashed "Game Over" along with an icon of his face, complete with dorky sports goggles - this was seriously one of the most exciting sports moments I've ever witnessed; the fans went crazy even before he was officially called to the field, flashes went off all over the place as he jogged to the mound, and he ended the game in four batters with three strikeouts and no earned runs

Monday, June 05, 2006

Things I've Accomplished, In No Particular Order

Washed my bikes and lubed the chains. They are shiny and pretty and purr like kittens.

Started organizing my ATHE panel.

Made plans to go to Chicago to see my friend Tom perform in The Golden Truffle at Red Moon Theatre.

Went to several play readings at Theatre of Note, a theatre company I hope to work with next season.

Wrote and submitted an abstract on American Girl for ASTR.

Started the introduction to the American Girl chapter.

Started scultping my Old Man Puppet head. Right now he looks too much like Abe Lincoln.

Played in the ocean with friends.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Miscellany in Memoriam

As perhaps should be the case, but usually isn't, this Memorial Day gave me cause to reflect on the war. Between the two of us, Dave and I have no war dead in our families, at least none that we know of. Although several relatives did serve, including my Dad who was drafted when he took a semester off of college to work and spent his time manning a radio relay station in Italy and taking full note of the bureaucratic idiocies of the Army, all did so in that sort of work-a-day way that kept them out of active combat.

So it is perhaps easy for me to say that this current war of choice is an affront to the memories of the soldiers who have died. Meaninglessness. Death for rhetoric, power, and avarice. But what a horrible thing to think, much less say, especially because I really believe it to be true. Truth notwithstanding, could I say this to the mother of a soldier who died?

Last night as we were walking to the store, we passed an elderly woman who had collapsed on the ground, perhaps from drink, perhaps from health problems, who knows. A man taking photographs of the Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords statue at St. Stephen's Catholic Church had already called 911, but we waited with him and with our incoherent her because, were it Dave or I passed out there, we would want someone to wait with us until help had arrived. The LAPD/LAFD is not to quick to reply to calls about a downed woman who is still breathing and seemingly sleeping quite peacefully in the grass, so we talked for about 30 minutes with our new-found photographer friend. A Jewish social worker and professional photographer originally from upstate New York, Ben told us that he had enlisted to serve in the Air Force during Vietnam. He ran a fueling station in the Southern part of the country, a relatively peaceful post in a time of guerilla warfare. He shared with us a lot of interesting perspectives that only an older, wiser man looking back on his younger self could know. His call to duty was especially strong, having grown up around Air Force bases his entire life. Even more powerful a motivating force was the fact that his father had not fought in WWII; he felt he had to fight for the both of them (although he later found out that his father had been integral to the production of airplanes for the war and was commended for his; with that realization came an awareness of how misguided his boyish attempts to put himself in danger to prove the bravery and integrity of both he and his father had been). And when he returned to the States to hear John Kerry protesting and testifying before Congress, he thought him a traitor for having spoken out. Yet now, he said, he realized that Kerry had been right.

The ambulance finally arrived and we all went on about our business.

I want to hold this Memorial Day memory, though, to look back on it and this war when I am older and wiser, when hopefully history is older and wiser, too.