Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Song Is Over, Part 2: Requiem for a Nightmare

OK, let's talk about being unemployed.
Or, specifically, about ME being unemployed.
Technically, I can't go into details--officially, on paper, I was laid off. The reality is different, but after long consideration (and yeah, I consulted a lawyer), I decided to sign off and take the unemployment for a bit because, with the exception of the relationship I'm in, my life is a fucking disaster ATM.
I had a dual reaction to the job ending. On the one hand, I was relieved that I was out of there. I no longer loved my job like I used to; I no longer felt that I worked in the best office on the planet. On the other... on the other, I was no longer a part of a community of which I had been a part of for more than half of my life--22+ years of my life were spent as a member of the Lesley community.
While I was there, I did some amazing things, and I no longer need to be diplomatic about some of them. See, working in academia can be seven kinds of hell if you're not a professor or an upper-level administrator. There is an embedded prejudice against those of us who possess skills but no piece of paper--an attitude that if you haven't enslaved yourself to the establishment for a significant portion of your life to create A Unique Contribution to Human Learning (aka a Ph.D., or, as so many of us disdainfully call them, a Piled Higher and Deeper because too many of them aren't worth the paper the three copies they were printed on; there are exceptions to this--a dear friend, Roger Stritmatter, comes immediately to mind. His dissertation on the Earl of Oxford's Geneva Bible is a part of a revolution of thought on the Shakespearean authorship, and I remain in awe of his dedication and devotion in completing it, and have never forgotten running into him in downtown Amherst right after he returned from DC after examining the book... the moment a historian LIVES for, the discovery of a generation... But I digress into Shakespearean geekdom) you aren't worthy of notice or being taken seriously.
I take exception to that attitude. Mind you, I'm still paying off the debt for my useless BFA, and I don't know if I have the patience to undertake a terminal degree, either MFA, MLS, or Ph.D. (and, yes, dearest blurkers, I have at least three theses that are Ph.D. worthy. Sad, ain't it?). I KNOW I don't have the patience to play politics, and sadly, that is 75% of the process. To me, that's also a major fucking waste of my time and money. I am NOT forking over thousands of dollars for the privilege of kissing ass to some over-inflated egomaniac who thinks they know it all. They don't. Having a degree is meaningless if you don't keep on learning, if you don't keep an open mind and keep exploring, keep educating yourself and have the attitude that you ALWAYS have something new to learn, and sometimes my darlings, what you have to learn is that teaching is a two-way process--in the act of sharing YOUR knowledge, your students have MUCH to teach you, if not about your subject, then about yourself as a human being. And if you're too fucking arrogant, too fucking scared, too fucking insecure to be open to that, YOU SHOULDN'T BE TEACHING, ASSHOLE.
Gods, that felt good to say. REALLY good. And there are some people who know me well who are reading this who know who that was aimed at. One of the things I did at Lesley that remains a very proud achievement is the founding of their undergraduate Shakespeare company. Yes, I said "founded"--I did not, as publically reported, co-found it. I founded it. I was the one who named the company and gave my all the first season, including almost losing my job. I laid the groundwork that was built on when the company was revived in '93.
I was NEVER a theatre student of the professor now attached to it. I took two of her literature classes; nothing more. She had nothing to teach me in theatre, except, in the end, by negative example. I hope she has changed; I have heard she hasn't. That mades me sad; we were friends once.
I gave almost ten years of my life to that theatre company; by the time I left, I didn't know if I could ever do theatre again, I was so hurt and burnt out and betrayed. I've done very little theatre since then because my heart just wasn't in it. If you want to know why I am so
enamoured of Jim Jefferies, it's because his work... his work vindicated mine. After being told by this "friend" how wrong I was to think the way I do, to see someone up on stage--on fuckin' HBO, ferchrissakes!--spouting out the same kind of wrong shit that I've been writing (privately) for years... vindication.
The other great thing I did while there was being a part of the Staff Representative Advisory Council and spearheading Staff Development Day. Three years, and no regrets only pride and sadness that I couldn't finish out my term. I miss my compatriots on SRAC. But I am fiercely proud of what we managed to achieve in three years.
It hurts that I won't ever walk across campus knowing that I belong there. Academia... academia is an ancient culture. It's almost like belonging to a monastery or a cloister (no surprises--academia began with the Church)--you are a part of a dedicated community, a community with a shared purpose, an enclosed environment that many people join and spend their entire adult life as a part of, with the knowledge that they are safe and welcome.
I no longer have that.
It's painful--like a part of me is missing.
It's also AWESOME--LIBERATING! I no longer have to go into that place every day, no longer have to endure the personality issues, the politics, the silliness, the baggage that made the last few months there a soul-sucking burden.
There are people there I will always be in touch with--friendships began that I hope will endure. And there are other people I am joyful I will never, ever have to see again--their presence in my life was distasteful, horrible and unpleasant. And now... now, I can move on.
The next chapter is beginning. This week is all about organizing--making lists, figuring out a strategy, and getting a schedule. I have to get Mum settled; I have to find a new job; I also need to finish my rewrite and get my standup act on its feet.
And, of course, I also have a relationship that I want to invest in.
So, this song is over, but a new one is beginning. I'm looking forward to having y'all singing along.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jim Jefferies: Another Road Trip, Part 1

OK, no piccie with Jim this time. Let's face, the last two sucked, and I was VERY ill at the end of the gig--nearly passed out several times towards the end of the show because of a negative reaction to something I ate. (I think it was the drink--I had a Godiva coffee, and I think my body has informed me that my drinking days are done with, like it or lump it.)
So, it was an amazing road trip. As I said in the early post, I was seriously debating about whether or not to go; not from lack of desire to see Himself, but from lack of funds, worry about leaving Mum on her own, and worry about the health of the Blue Bomber. Silly Empress.
Mum was released from the nursing home on Tuesday; she seems to be holding up well. We're going to have some serious go-rounds about Hell's Vestibule--she's already undone half my work in the kitchen, and that just ain't gonna fly. I made the point this morning that it's either a) an act of utter sadism on her part; or b) she's lost some essential screws in her head and is mentally incompetent. Neither option made her happy, so let's hope she's actually going to examine her behavior and change it. Before I lose what little is left of my sanity.
The Blue Bomber made it just fine--Gods, I love that damn car. To quote the only reason to watch episodes 4-6, "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts." And so far, I haven't had to get out and push. There is nothing sweeter than a car that can do 100 mph on the highway without even trying. I mean, I love I80 in Pennsylvania--it's a fuckin' speedway and a joy to drive. I don't think I was doing less than 80 at any given point, something the Blue Bomber is just made for. She may only have a six cylinder engine, but that bitch can haul ass.
So, Friday a.m. started with a huge hug from my godson--you know you're not a complete waste of space on the planet when a kid loves you. More girl talk with KJ, and then a lovely road trip through rural PA. Again, this is where driving is a pleasure--country roads, rock'n'roll blasting on the stereo (I'm not a huge Tom Petty fan, but if ever there was a time to hear and enjoy the song, "American Girl," it was under those conditions)--blue skies, green fields and hills, the occasional horse-drawn buggy, little towns, farms, and perfect temperatures.
Met Tory (finally) for coffee in Monroeville, got the directions and headed out for the show over in Homestead (neighborhood of PGH).
We had a good table--somehow, I always end up to the left of the stage. Don't ask me how or why, I just do. *shrugs* Whatev. The MC and the opener were OK--not fabulous, but OK. The MC was a chick--amusing, but not laugh-out-loud. This bothers me, especially as a chick considering standup. This has been something bothering me from the first open mic experience--the "boys club" feel of it, and the fact that women just don't seem to be as funny. I really hate the idea that female humor is different--I mean, yeah, it is, but at the same time... I always make guys laugh. I mean, I shock the shit out of them half the time, but I also make them laugh. I'll think about this more later.
The opener was a finalist from Last Comic Standing. *shrugs* Moderately amusing.
That's the problem I'm having with this show (aside from getting sick)--the energy was off in the room. Part of it was the openers, but part of it was the room. It just didn't feel right.
Don't ask; it's just the theater-Spidey-senses thingie. And then again, it just may have been ME.
So the MC brings Jim on, and he immediately declares himself hungover (after greeting the crowd; never let it be said Mr. J is not a gentleman). He looked hungover (no, faithful blurkers, despite being firmly in love with My Man, my Celebricrush is still firmly in place; remember, it doesn't matter where you work up your appetite just so long as you dine at home. No worries there, either)--back in February, despite needing a shave, Jim looked fabulous. Friday night, he looked a bit rough. Yes, I'm being a friggin' den mother--it's my nature. I also love the man's work and want him around for a good long while, so Jim, if you're reading this, please take care of yourself. Your roomie's a friggin' health nut who's saved the life of your podcast Tard--let Eddie get your ass in the gym and kick it around. /end nagging.
The other side of this is that Jim himself has admitted that he's very good at appearing drunk on stage when he really isn't, especially when he has to drive. (This is called "acting," for the uninitiated. This is why standups like Robin Williams go on to do things like win Oscars--essential skills developed to survive gigging in a different city every friggin' week.)
Soooooo... the set. Jim has stated before that he doesn't do political humor. I was happy to see that he's deviated from that stance. Yes, there were comments on Bin Laden; he had a little tip at Mr. O., and a good slap at the Republicans. Nice to see him getting a toe wet in there--I understand the desire to keep his material undated, but at the same time, the political situation in this country is too ridiculous NOT to have a go at it. As a resident alien (although he's said that he's considering American citizenship--he's white, so unlike so many, he shouldn't have a problem. After all, our last president still does a fair bit of coke, so no reason to hold it against anyone else) who's lived in two other first world countries, traveled the world, and played for troops in a war zone, he has a far broader perspective--and is better informed--than 90% of Americans. (And yeah, I include myself in there.)
I lost it over his Jenga/9-11 celebration party bit. Too wrong for words. TOO FUCKING WRONG for words! And utterly brilliant.
The bulk of the set was materical from Alcoholocaust, and centered around hypocrisy. Jim had his usual go at religion--Allan, Bubba and Elephant Guy--and he's expanded and better developed his bit on depression and dreams. If you've seen Alcoholocaust, you've seen this piece--"Don't die today!"--but he's gone a step further and used it as his tie-in/tie-up for the show. It was a sweet thing to see; this is the third time I've seen Jim in eight months, and he's evolving and developing his set beautifully. While I know most of the material, I can't say that any of the sets I've seen have been identical. The material he's done that's on the DVDs has never been presented rote--he neverhas the feeling of recitation. He's got his marks to hit, his punchlines to get to, but at the same time, he's confident enough and pro enough to let his shit go wherever it needs to and explore it.
Gods, I love watching him work--not just as an audience member, but as an actor, a director, and someone seriously considering standup. Watching Jim is like a master class--the fuck-up, druggie/alkie veneer is just that--a veneer that covers genius. What draws me and keeps me coming out to see him is that the foul language (one of these days, I'm going to try to do a "cunt count"--I don't think I'll be successful because I'll be too busy laughing to remember to make tick marks, but I'd like to try the challenge) and utterly no-holds-barred material is the other side of a wounded soul--under all of it is an incredible amount of pain and offended compassion and essential decency demanding an answer from the universe for why the fuck this shit is happening, and for fuckssake, doesn't anyone else SEE WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?
Remind you of anyone you know?
I am going to say what I've said in every review of Jim Jefferies that I've posted on this blog over the past eight months--GET OUT AND SEE HIM PERFORM. I know his material, and I still laughed, clapped, and hooted along, despite the fact that I was sick as a dog during the last twenty minutes.
Jim is at Caroline's in NYC all weekend; check his website at www.jimjefferies.com for the full tour schedule. I'm not roadtripping this weekend--the reality of unemployment is setting in, and I don't have friends in NYC to crash with. And there will NOT be a repeat of the Port Authority debacle. Argh.
Of course, like the past two times I've seen him, there was a debacle following. I mentioned that I was sick towards the end of the show. I actually had to do the rudest thing an audience member can do--I had to leave during a part of the set to go to the bathroom. Understand, I am old school theatre--when you are in the audience, you DO NOT get up during the performance. It's just incredibly RUDE. ESPECIALLY if you are seated down front, and Jim has commented enough that he takes it personally. However, I had no choice. No way I was vomiting in public. I made it to the ladies room in time; however, because of the weird way my stomach processes, I couldn't throw up. So it was sit and shake for a few minutes (and have a pee; never, ever miss a chance to empty the bladder). That helped a little bit--got some of the shit out of my system--but I still wasn't out of the woods. I went back into the club, but didn't sit back down--I just didn't want to walk in front of the stage while he was performing. I mean, as an actor, I've had to restrain myself from stabbing audience members who do that (and that's the great thing about doing Shakespeare and playing men--edged cutlery). Not something I want to do to my favorite performer. Bless him, Jim actually waved me back into my seat. Tory had said he wanted to meet the man, so I waited for him in the lobby after the show (because the bathroom lines were ridiculous). Almost passed out on the stairs (I have to say, I am amazed sometimes at the iron control I can exercise to avoid humiliation--no fucking way I was going out of there in an ambulance). Said hello to Jim, complimented him on the show, asked about the set list for the second show, DIDN'T ask for a pic, Tory shook his hand, complimented him, and as we were going out the door, asked if Jim remembered me. And because I'm shaking and trying not to heave, I was a bit cranky and said, "I don't know; I'm not going to bother the man!"
Made it to the car and promptly fell apart. Tory had to get my keys and unlock the door for me. At this point, let me say that I'd had VERY little alcohol--I didn't finish the coffee drink I'd ordered because I was feeling too awful. I'd had nachos and had them hold all the stuff I'm allergic to. And I felt like I was going to die--shaking, nauseous, dizzy, faint, SICK. Tory sat with me until I got it under control--who'd have thunk that celery would fix it? Managed to get on the road half an hour later instead of staying for the second set (REALLY wanted to, but was terrified of getting sick and passing out without a friend there to help me; plus the line was sod-all LONG. A very, very GOOD thing!).
The drive back took six hours longer than expected; two three hour naps caused that. Fuck, I must be getting old.
I got caught up on the podcast during the drive. Sacre merde. Now that I have time to think and write and post again, I will be doing an updated review of Talkin' Shit. Again, if you're not listening to that show, you need to. Trust me. Jim and Eddie (and resident Tard, Jason) are hysterical. And after finding out Jason's grandfather was a bartender in SoBo, I'm a little afraid he's a distant relation. Gods forbid.
OK, kids, I have to get my arse in gear to get ready to meet up with My Man and go see Thor in IMAX 3D. A first--should be interesting.
Will post more tonight if I don't get a leg over. (Although I think he missed me, so... *grin*)

Friday, May 6, 2011

On The Road Again with Fan Grrrl - Joyous Reunions

Greetings from beautiful East Bumfuck, PA!
After a day of right royal clusterfuckery (and bless My Man for his patience, ingenuity and knowledge of an honest mechanic--he missed a Bruins playoff game to do a quick safety check on the Blue Bomber that turned into two hours of ridiculousness in the rain because of serious water damage that will require rewiring the taillight panel. All done with good humor and grace and a apology because it wasn't a problem he could fix. Yes, I love him), I made it down here in seven hours--would have been 6.5--even with rush hour in Connecticut--but I hit construction in the last five miles. Argh.
ANYWAY, once I lost my Boston radio stations, I fired up the MP3 & got caught up on (most) of Talkin' Shit with Jim and Eddie. I'll listen to the last three podcasts on the road to Pittsburgh--I should be fully caught up by the time I get there. Doing 100+ MPH on the highway and laughing my ass off--THAT'S a great combination. (Along with two trenta iced coffees. Yes, I was wired.) And tonight... tonight, Jim Jefferies at the Improv Pittsburgh.
There is a part of me that feels like I'm being incredibly irresponsible, taking a road trip while everything else is going on in my life, but after this past April, I need this. Last night, I had a Girlie Night with KJ--turned her on to two Lush perfumes (and only was able to hold on to my vial of Dirty because she liked the Vanillary better. *whew* Dirty isn't available in the U.S. yet--it might have gotten ugly) and we painted our nails and just TALKED until 2 a.m. Today, I'm hoping to see her mum in Monroeville before meeting up with Tory and having an afternoon of chat and writing before a night of laughing my ass off (and yeah, if the first show is as good as the past two of Jim's I've seen, I'll stay for the second one). A dear friend from Canada is in New England, and if I make it back in time, I'll meet up with her tomorrow for an intro to steampunk, and Sunday, I'm seeing Thor not just in IMAX, but IMAX 3D with My Man. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE comic book movies? Green Lantern and X-Men are coming soon... geek out! And leave us not forget the latest Pirates.
Last weekend was a weekend of reunions for a painful reason. This weekend is all about joy and laughter.
Oh, yeah--and Celebricrush.
Review to follow, and let's hope there's no disaster story this time (and I get a decent pic with him, although the bad pic would make for a great running joke).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Shog: Don't Judge Me...

Hey, didya ever wonder if the Bible and the Fundies got it wrong and Judgement Day is really just going to be run like a beauty pageant?
That would be my idea of Hell.