Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From the front lines in New Orleans

This is one rescue worker's account of the New Orleans tragedy. I found it here.

There are dead animals floating in the water, pets left behind. Surely people thought they would be back to collect the pets. Not so. The rescuers smell like gas when they come back in; there's gas in all of the water that consumes the area. Fires are burning all over the place. Our teams are tired and they are thirsty and they are hungry. And they have a place to sleep and water to drink and food to eat. I can only imagine how the people without these "luxuries" are feeling right now.

Each night will be a race against time. When night falls, people can't get picked up from roofs, the rescuers can't chop into people's roofs to check the attics for anyone alive or for anyone dead (sadly, there are dead). At night we can't see power lines we can't see obstacles, we can't see any of the things that will bring down a helicopter or pose a danger to boats rescuers.

One of the teams came in today after having been out for hours at a time. One particular rescuer went straight to a corner and collapsed into tears. I went directly to him and just held his hand. What else could I do? I said nothing. He said it all. They lowered him 26 times and he pulled 26 people to safety. He wants to be back out there but there are mandatory rest periods. His tears are tears of frustration.

Entire teams are working on nothing but evacuating the hospitals. All four of the major hospitals are beginning to flood. Critical patients have to get out or surely they will be lost. Generators cannot run forever; that's just the way it is. There are limited facilities to take those that are rescued and those that need to be evacuated. Anything that leaves by air leaves by helicopter. There are no runways for planes that aren't under water. Only one drivable way in and out.

Water everywhere and more keeps coming. Until they can do something about the three levees that are broken, more water will come and more water will kill. The water poses major health threats. Anyone with even a small open cut is prone to infection. Anyone who touches this water and touches his eyes, nose or mouth without find a way to "clean" himself first will be sick with stomach problems before long. It's bad and it's getting worse. It's not going to be anything better than devastating for days or weeks at best.

I wish I could tell you that I'll check in again soon. I can't. I don't know when my next message will get out. We'll be leaving where we are within just an hour or so.


I love watching Rock Star INXS. As I've said before, I don't really even care that much who wins. I just enjoy the free concert every week. They always choose great songs for the rockers. This week's song lineup was full of some of the best songs ever written.

First, we had Ty singing the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want. He sang a soulful version of the song that was incredible. The man has such amazing pipes and such control. JD got to sing Elvis' Suspicious Minds. JD's performance was great and as Dave Navarro said last night, every time JD's on stage, you feel compelled to watch him. The funny thing was, by the end of the show, Ty and JD's performances seemed just okay. That's because everyone else was so incredibly brilliant.

Marty was next with Pink Floyd's classic Wish You Were Here.

Marty is so much better when he quits screaming and just sings the song. He has an intensity and a quiet passion that illuminates the emotion of a song like this one. At the end of the song, Marty turned away and wiped his eyes. When asked how he felt, he said that final moment of the song was one of the best moments of his life. We felt that watching that performance.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, there was Jordis sitting quietly on a stool and strumming her guitar.

She performed Imagine by John Lennon, one of my favorite songs. Her soaring voice brought the song into my heart and I'll admit to a few tears when she was finished. Of course, the song touches me deeply so the tears weren't all due to Jordis' breathtaking performance.

Then the night changed directions and MiG reminded everyone that the title of the show is ROCK STAR.

MiG blew the roof off the house with a rockin' version of McCartney's Live and Let Die. It was fantastic, although I still liked Marty and Jordis' performances better.

Finally, we had the showstopping performance of the evening.

Suzie, who has been on the verge of elimination more times than anyone else, blew away the live audience, INXS, and me with a bravura performance of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. One of the members of INXS even told her that he felt proud that she wanted to be part of the band. I didn't think Suzie had much of a chance, but INXS clearly really likes her.

So who's in the bottom three this week? Ty and JD are almost certainties. I think Marty will be the third. And I think INXS will take advantage of the chance to get rid of JD. He's got talent in arranging music and lyrics, but performance-wise, he's not as talented as the rest of the contestants. Plus, he comes off as a real ass sometimes.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Orleans

As you have probably heard, New Orleans has been evacuated because Hurricane Katrina is on its way.

A statement from the National Weather Service in Slidell, near New Orleans, Louisiana, warned that much of the affected area "will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer." Low-rise, wood-frame buildings will be destroyed, and concrete apartment buildings "will sustain major damage," it said. "High-rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously, a few to the point of total collapse," the warning read. "All windows will blow out. Airborne debris will be widespread, and may include heavy items such as household appliances and even light vehicles."

I love New Orleans. Sharon and I went there for our honeymoon. We spent a week investigating the city, especially the French Quarter. What an absolutely fun and unique place. That was one of the best weeks of my life. We have talked about going back at some point. Our tenth anniversary is a little over a year away and that's one of the options.

I also have a cousin who lives in New Orleans. I hope she and her two kids were part of the mass exodus and not among the people who sought shelter in the Superdome.

Stay strong New Orleans. We're all pulling for you.

I'm excited

I can't publicly announce it yet, but let me just say that Dreamwell has the most amazing season lined up for 2006. From the classic to the new, from the wacky to the thought-provoking, Dreamwell's next season has got to be one of my favorite lineups of all time.

We're going to be flying in Year Nine.

The future is now

UPDATE 4:00 pm: It's official. Kyle Orton is the starting QB for the Bears. Whew.

The Bears better not start the season with Chad Hutchinson under center. At the last preseason game, Hutchinson had a perfect QB rating - perfect zero, that is. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone getting a zero. He had more interceptions and fumbles than he did completed passes.

So it's time to go with the future Pro Bowler: Kyle Orton.

So what's the skinny on Orton anyway?

Well, first of all, he's an Iowa boy. Born and raised in Altoona, although admits to being a Cornhusker fan. In fact, he chose No. 18 in honor of quarterback Brook Berringer, who led the Cornhuskers to the 1994 national championship and subsequently was killed in a plane crash on April 18, 1996. He went to Purdue and studied history. He left Purdue with a 2.43 interception percentage, the best in school history. So we won't be seeing a lot of interceptions. He was named 14th-best player in the nation (No. 2 in the Big Ten) by ESPN: The Magazine. Also got Most Fearless Quarterback in Big Ten by The Sporting News and was tabbed Most Accurate Passer, Strongest Arm and Coolest in the Clutch in Big Ten by Lindy's. Yes, yes, that's all based on how he did in college. This is in the NFL. So how has he done as a Bear?

In four exhibitions, Orton is 27-for-42 for 409 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is 92.3, nearly 70 points higher than Hutchinson's 23.1. And he's averaging an impressive 9.7 yards per pass attempt. That's .3 yards less than a first down every time he completes a pass.

There's just no doubt about it. It's time to start the rook. I mean, come on, the guy has his own comic book:

Friday, August 26, 2005

Do I always have to have a title?

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit is a very dated book. (Sharon checked it out as a way to relive her youthful reading habits, I think.) It probably seemed more relevant the first time I read it back in 1983. Isn't that a girl book, you say? Absolutely. I read 'em all - Are You There God It's Me Margaret, Blubber, Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, etc. etc. Why, you ask? Simple. I was a young teenage boy and I wanted to understand that which most interested me - girls. So I read the girl books looking for insight.

Frankly, it didn't help much.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Remember Quantum Leap?

I loved Quantum Leap. Every week Sam Beckett would leap across time to "put right what once went wrong". He never had to fix anything that might change the course of history. He helped individuals who had made a bad choice and seen their life head downhill. The thing was, he had no control over the leaping. Everytime he fixed things, he would leap to another situation that needed fixing. Throughout the series, he maintained that all he wanted to do was leap home.

The reason I liked this series so much was Sam was a hero. And he was the kind of hero we could all relate to. He wasn't perfect, but he had a moral code that he stuck to. He always did his best to solve the problems of the people he encountered. He believed in what he was doing.

And it was funny from time to time, too. That helped.

So in the final episode, Sam was told that he had always had the power to leap home. He was subconsciously deciding to keep leaping all over time to solve the problems. If he truly wanted to leap home, all he had to do was ... well, do it.

In the course of that episode, Sam changed the life of his best friend and companion in his leaps (via hologram technology), Al. He fixed it so Al's wife didn't abandon Al when he was a POW.

And then as the episode closed, words appeared on the screen that enraged so many fans of the show.

Sam Beckett never leaped home.

Those who had followed the series for years and knew that Sam had a wife waiting for him were outraged that the happy ending they wanted was never going to happen.

As for me, I thought the ending was perfect. Sam didn't leap home because to do so would have been going against who he was at his core: a hero. There were wrongs left to right and Sam couldn't stop doing what made him who he was. It was a sacrifice, of course, but that's part of heroism.

Heroism has always been a fascinating subject for me. Some of my earliest memories are playing with my older brother John in some sort of war game where we were outnumbered and had to fight against impossible odds to overcome the bad guys. As I grew older and got into roleplaying games, I always gravitated toward the heroic games. My characters were heroes, although as I got even older, flawed heroes became the favorite. Ah, Azael. (There's a few people who read this that will get that reference.) Star Wars' heroic story had a defining influence on my life.

My earliest writing always featured a hero. I wrote this story in 3rd grade about a boxing butterfly. He had to overcome tremendous odds. I mean, really, how many butterflies box, y'know? When I got older, I studied Joseph Campbell's work on hero myths. And actually, the most recent play I wrote dealt with heroism. So why do heroes fascinate me so much?

I suppose putting it into words would sort of be like describing why I love my kids. I just do. It's part of who I am. It may be the defining part.

Brief Kid Interlude

First, there's Rachel, my four-year-old. Yesterday, I saw she was sitting on all of her baby dolls and she said something like, "I gotta sit on my eggs!" I said to her, "So Rachel, you're a bird today?"

"No, Dad. I'm a crocodile!"

That's my girl - never go with the obvious answer.

And something interesting I've noticed about Samantha, who's 19 months. I think she's a little less touchy feely than Rachel is. For example, she does not like to sit on my lap for stories. She'll insist on sitting next to me on the couch as I read to her. This is disappointing to me as I'd rather get a little baby snuggle while reading stories. But what can you do? Even 19-month olds have a right to personal space.

Start the countdown!

There's a chance the whole rain forest mess will go away in 26 days. The City of Coralville set a September 20 deadline for the project leaders to accept a land transfer agreement that spells out specific conditions. With luck, Oman and his cronies will refuse to accept the agreement and this nonsense will be over.

Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fortinbras Auditions!

Every once in a while I read a play that makes laugh so hard I fall out of my chair. Fortinbras is one of those shows. It's amazingly funny. I wish I could audition for it myself, but I'm directing a show in October and my wife is only understanding to a certain point...

But you! You right there! You should audition for this show. There's lots of good parts and you'd have a great time. The director is smart and talented, too. This is the show you should be in.

Here's the info:

Dreamwell Theatre is holding auditions for its last production of the 2005 season: Fortinbras, by Lee Blessing, which runs the first three weekends in November at the second floor of the Old Capitol Mall. The play's author, a University of Iowa alumnus, describes the play as a "metaphysical farce." A sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet, the play begins with the last scene of Hamlet. Young Fortinbras devises the best possible way to legitimize his claim to the throne of Denmark. All the while he is plagued by a harrowing array of ghosts, which include a repentant Claudius and Gertrude, and an Ophelia most theater-goers would barely recognize.


Friday, August 26; Saturday, August 27 at 7 pm at the Dreamwell Theatre space, second floor of the Old Capitol Mall. Auditions will consist of cold readings.


Sunday, August 28

The script is available at the Iowa City Public Library.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Rock Star INXS

What a great show tonight. I am constantly amazed at how talented all seven of the remaining contestants are. I don't think I'll ever be able to get into American Idol again. Not one of the contestants from that show is good enough to carry the amps of these Rockers.

Tonight's show was a little different as two rockers got to perform original songs. Deanna's song was gripping both lyrically and musically. Of course, she had a lot of help from Ty, who is probably one of the most gifted musicians on the show. MiG's original song seemed a little boring to me. He had a good performance, but the song was unremarkable. INXS noted that the song didn't fit their band very well. I wish JD had performed an original song. He's clearly got the chops to pull it off.

Jordis had the worst performance of the night and her personal worst performance of the entire show. She massacred Aerosmith's Dream On. I mean, it was just painful to listen to. I have never been a fan and I am hoping this will send her to the bottom three this week.

Suzie, in a sharp contrast to Jordis, performed the Stones' Start Me Up and she kicked it. She's got a great rocking voice and tonight she brought the performance up a notch by including her fellow rockers and the audience with a dive into the crowd at the end.

I am figuring Jordis, Deanna, and Ty in the bottom three. Deanna is my pick to go home.

My thoughts on the remaining seven:

Suzie is good, but she's outclassed by almost everyone else. There's nothing about her that's unique. Nothing puts her above the rest. I like watching her perform, but I wouldn't seek her out. She has no chance of winning.

Jordis has a great voice, but she's too inexperienced for this gig. She'll crack under the pressure. And I really think INXS is better suited by having a man fronting them despite their claims to being open to a woman in the role. However, INXS has been heaping praise upon her for weeks. They clearly like her best of the women. If they pick a woman, it will almost certainly be Jordis.

Ty is far and away the best singer. His voice is powerful, full of soul, and he has incredible control. Add to that an amazing stage presence and he's the total package. If he doesn't get a recording contract from this exposure, I'll be shocked. And I'd really love to see him as Judas or Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. He'd bring down the house. However, I don't think he'll win because he'd overshadow INXS and they do not want that. Ty's got a shot, but he'd probably be better off on his own anyway.

JD is the savant. He's got the most music instinct. His original song was great and the arrangements he devises for the classic songs give them new life. His big problem is INXS might not see him as a team player. He tends to walk away and do his own thing when there are disagreements. INXS will want someone they can work with, not against. Still, I think JD has a decent chance.

is the heavy metal dude. He's great at what he does and I loved his performance last week, but, well, he's scary up there. Sharon got shivers watching him tonight and not in a good way. We're talking axe murderer shivers. I don't think he's the right fit for INXS. Rock Star Nirvana maybe. Of course, if INXS wants to shake things up, I think Marty is a decent choice.

Deanna has the sexy, smoky voice. She also clearly has song writing talent, although there is some question about how much of the song was her work and how much was Ty's. I think she's a huge longshot, but she's got a better chance than Suzie does.

...and that brings us to the front runner in my mind: MiG. (I don't know why he spells his name with a capital "G".)

MiG is Australian. He's an excellent singer with a lot of control. He's got piano chops. And he's also extremely pliable. He'll do what INXS tells him without question. Mig is the safe choice, the easy choice, the one who fits the best with INXS.

Still, I could see them going with JD....

Go away, Cedric

Cedric Benson, the Bears first round pick in the 2005 draft, has still not signed a contract. I posted about this a few weeks back and implored Cedric to get into camp. (Because I am sure this blog is on his daily reads...ahem...what?)

Well, today I have a new message for Cedric.

Go away. Go back to Disneyland.

We don't need you and we don't want you. We have a top defense and a good running back in Thomas Jones. You're a selfish player who doesn't give a damn about your team or the fans. I applaud Jerry Angelo's decision to give a final offer and then lower it if you don't sign.

And it's not like having Benson on the team is going to fix the quarterback problem. (Please, Lovie, put Orton in! Let Hutch hook up with Starsky and go after the bad guys.)

Free online writing class

Are you a writer? Want a class that will focus your desire to write something? A class that costs nothing and conforms to your busy schedule?

You should check this out.

The Phantom Professor is in the blogworld and teaching his stuff. You missed the first lesson, but there's still time to catch up.

I just found the professor today through a friend's blog. My sentence for the first assignment:

I gave up a family, a career, and a cat for a chance to play the game.

I don't love it, but I think it catches the reader and makes them wonder what will come next, which is the goal of a first sentence.

Rain forest on its way out of town?

Good news! Two of five Coralville councilers are ready to drop kick the rain forest project out of town. Thank you, Jean Newlin Schnake and Tom Gill.

"It's like we keep following the carrot out there, and once we get there and take a bite, the carrot disappears," Newlin Schnake said.

Heh. No kidding. Glad you're finally waking up, Jean. Gill says:

"Quite frankly, people are fed up and want it to go away."

I am one of those people! He's talking about me!

Councilors John Weihe and John Lundell are on the middle road, saying that they'll support if the Project signs a contract that specifies a timeline and fundraising goals. The only counciler still firmly in David Oman's pocket appears to be Henry Herwig, who compared the project to the Saint Louis Arch. Yeah, they're just identical projects, Henry. Why didn't we see that before?

Oman continues to throw out innocuous soundbites which tell us nothing:

"We're moving on so many fronts."

Whatever, Oman. Take your monorail and get out of town.

(Extra points if you caught the pop culture reference.)

Edited to add link to Kris who has more on the subject.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I have entered part two of Day 1 into my Appalachian Trail Blog. Check it out if you're interested. I'll try not to let two weeks pass before I write about Day 2.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Week of girls

My two nieces, aged 10 and 11, have been visiting, so the young girl population doubled in our house this week. The girls are wonderfully sweet and enjoyed playing with their little cousin, Rachel, even though she's only four years old. At least they did for the first five days. I am sensing a little bit of frustration today, but the visit is over in a few hours, so that's okay. In fact, I am amazed it took this long for Rachel to get on their nerves. And what's nice is that even though I can sense Rachel is bugging them a little bit, Rachel is clueless because the girls are so nice about it. So props go to my brother and sister and their spouses for raising such good kids.

We started the week with a day at Adventureland. That place is a lot more fun than I expected it would be. I grew up going to Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, so I admit to being a little bit snobbish about amusement parks. Plus, "Adventureland" struck me as a kiddie name so I wasn't expecting much. (It's not as bad as Kiddieland, which is a mini-amusement park in Illinois). Anyway, Adventureland has three great water rides: the log ride, a rafting water slide, and a raging rapids raft adventure. I missed the log ride as I had to stay with Samantha, but the girls and Sharon enjoyed it a lot. The other two rides were lots of fun, too.

The roller coasters are pretty decent as well. The Dragon had a couple of loops which my older niece and I enjoyed. It reminded me of the Demon from Six Flags sans corkscrew.

The Tornado was pretty good too. Both nieces ventured onto that one although the younger one looked scared speechless. I think she liked it okay, but she refused to do it again. I disliked the Outlaw because it knocks you around a lot. My head ached after that ride. Not worth it at all.

There were plenty of rides that Rachel enjoyed, too. Only a couple were appropriate for 1 1/2 year old Samantha; I think she had the least fun of any of us. Rachel said the highlight was the bumper cars. She and I rode together. We probably should have done that again, but we ran out of time. We were there from 11 am to 8:30 pm! A long, fun day.

Tuesday was all about the Coralville pool. We met a friend of Rachel's at the pool. That gave her someone to play with and allowed the older girls to enjoy the pool more freely. The older cousin really enjoyed the water slides (as did I). She's got a bit of daredevil in her.

On Wednesday, it was soccer. Rachel and her cousins versus me and... the tree. Hey, the tree blocked a shot! Rachel got to show her moves and see her older cousin demonstrate some new ones. I ended up out of breath and sweaty. I am getting too old for this.

On Thursday, we visited Sharon's work - a local TV station. The younger cousin was thrilled to meet someone who was actually on TV. That would be Kevin Corizzo of KGAN TV news.... um, fame.

We pointed out to her that every member of my family has been in TV commercials, but apparently that didn't hold a candle to meeting a guy in the lunchroom and then seeing him on TV five minutes later. Thursday night, Sharon took the girls to the mall and bought them Iowa shirts. They wore them today when we went to the Iowa Children's Museum.

And now they're playing while we wait for my sister to arrive and shepherd the girls home. It's been a fun week, but I am beat! How did my mom handle five kids on a daily basis?

You know, you never really appreciate your mom til you have your own kids. Then it all makes sense.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More about Bears QBs

Remember how I said the Pro Bowl QB for the Bears would be Orton and not Grossman? Well, there's very little doubt that I was at least half right.

That's Grossman being carted off the field after a probable season ending injury. Again. He's done in pro football. It's a shame, but bring on Orton! Oh wait, they're going to play this other guy. Chad Hutchinson gets to start first. He's not the long term answer, but maybe Orton can learn by watching for a year and then supplant Hutchinson next year.

We also picked up 13 year veteran Jeff Blake. Enh, he probably won't hurt us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I don't feel old...

In fact, I felt older when I turned 30 than I do now that I am 34. I still feel like I'm somewhere in my twenties despite the fact that these two children running around remind me that I am definitely not a twenty-something. But I still feel that young, so that's good enough, right?

Anyway, happy birthday to me.

On another subject, is there not as great a gap in music between kids and their parents these days? When I was a kid, my parents had no clue about the music I liked and really didn't enjoy it at all. Yesterday, in the car on the way to Adventureland, my niece was enjoying music on the radio that I liked as well. It was recent stuff. Now I don't know all the artists anymore, nor do I collect albums, but I still like the music I hear on the radio. Is it just that rock hasn't been replaced by something else the way it replaced... whatever it was that my parents listened to?

I do admit I don't like rap. Nor do I consider it music. It's an art form that requires talent, but I don't think of it as music. Sharon vehemently disagrees with me on this point and I imagine a lot of my readers out there will disagree with me, as well.

Other random thoughts... nieces are visiting for the week so instead of being outnumbered three girls to one, it's now five to one. I wouldn't mind having a nephew visit next time! Of course, we're having a great time. The girls, who are nine (EDITED: she's ten, not nine) and eleven, are lots of fun and play so well with Rachel.

....Rock Star INXS was great last night. Marty performed ana amazing version of the Britney Spears song "Baby One More Time". It was disturbingly good and nothing like Britney's version.

However, I think it's Mig's contest to lose at this point. He's going to fit INXS really well. He has the musical chops and is a team player (unlike JD, who while talented, also needs to be a solo artist).

....I read Harry Potter again and have decided that absolutely the person everyone thinks is the bad guy is not really a bad guy.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

No chair for me!

Last night we had a sold out crowd for The Book of Liz in our new theater space. Our own home. Not the basement of a church. But our very own theater.

That was one of the best nights of my life.

I stood in the lobby area watching the show with the other board members because we gave up our seats so we could get more people into the show.

Not too many people know this, but the idea for Dreamwell started in the mall where we now have our space. I was eating lunch at Arby's with Paul Chakrin and we were talking about starting a theater company when we returned to the Chicago area. Both of us grew up out there and just figured we'd head back home at some point. There was a pause in the conversation and then Paul said "Why wait?" I looked at him and realized I didn't have a good answer. There was nothing stopping us from making it happen right then in Iowa City. So we jumped in feet first and figured things out as we went. Together with my wife, Sharon, and Ali Zimmerman, we formed the Dreamwell Theatre Company in 1997.

I believe in learning through doing. Experience is the best teacher. I've learned so much about theater and running a business through my experience as president of Dreamwell. On the job training. It was frustrating at times and nerve wracking, but it's all been worth it. We have a successful theater. And I say we because I share this with so many amazing people. When I think of everyone who has worked so hard for Dreamwell over the past eight years, I am overwhelmed.

Paul and Ali and Sharon, thank you.

To the board members of the past eight years: Kim, Matty, Lu, Blake, Teresa, David, Trevor, Emily, Jessica, Jamie, Kristy, Mateo, Scot, Chuck, Robyn, Jeff, Clareann, Madonna, eD, Brian, Kay, Kara, Dan, Chris, Adam, Kevin, Annette, Josh, and Dawn - Thank You.

Hey, Stan Hollibaugh! I remember you and thank you! Arianne Stevens, you helped us a lot in our first year. Sara Geer, thanks for writing the script to the very first Dreamwell production. Derek Cross, are you out there somewhere? Thanks, man!

Hey Katzen! You are a part of Dreamwell, too, you know. Remember the Halloween murder mystery party? I do. Nick Hamel and Mr. Spike - you are not forgotten. Ellen and Sarah, you're part of this, too. Thanks.

Kurt Stevenson and Brian Gilbert, two technical gurus who have helped us out in the past - thanks!

We've had some wonderful directors over the years: Gerry and Rachael, Pauline and Don, David and Jeff. Ah, Jamie Ewing. You added so much to this theater. We miss you.

Aw hell, to all of our volunteers from 1997-2005: If you've ever worked a Dreamwell show - onstage, backstage, behind the scenes, whatever - I thank you for helping make this dream come true.

And a special shout out to the Iowa City Community Theatre, who has been there for us so many times in the past eight years. They've loaned us props, costumes, set pieces, lights - you name it, they offered it. Such a generous group of people.

In case you can't tell, I am feeling a little silly tonight, overwhelmed and happy, giddy even. If I didn't mention you by name, please know that my thanks are soaring to you right now.

Oh, and hey, Paycjeck. Thanks for the name.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Book of Liz

For one weekend only, we're bringing back The Book of Liz by David and Amy Sedaris to celebrate our new space. Tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm the Dreamwell Theatre in the Old Capitol Mall in downtown Iowa City. Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Survivor Guatemala cast

They revealed the cast this morning. I have the latest information on my Survivor Blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


My witty and dashing friend James has another funny published by McSweeneys. Check it out here.


More Rock Star INXS

I'm still really enjoying this show, although I'm not alone in thinking that the Mansion episodes are boring. CBS agreed and moved them to VH1 on Sundays. The concert shows and the results shows remain on CBS. Last night's concert show was great as usual. All of the performers are so talented that I often forget it's a competition and just enjoy the performances. Only two were noticebly subpar last night: Jessica and Jordis.

INXS told Jessica they felt she had no passion. Jessica said that performance was all passion to which INXS said "If you're feeling the passion and we're not getting it and there's not much we can do about that." Yeah, she's gone this week, no question about it. Jordis had an off night, but they love her, she lots of fans so she's not going anywhere.

On the other end of the spectrum was Suzie who performed an amazing version of Losing My Religion, one of my favorite songs. Incidentally, JD helped her with the arrangement. He's trying his best to get back in everyone's good graces. He doesn't want to be known as the villain.

Suzie has no chance of winning this thing as she's not the most talented and does not fit well with INXS, but she has really turned herself around and will probably outlast a few of the guys.

The guy who has the most talent is Ty.

He brought his performance in singing Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry. Talk about feeling passion. Ty is easily the best singer out there, an amazing and magnetic performer, and just not right for INXS. But he's the one most likely to get fame out of this gig anyway.

Marty sang an acoustic version of The Killers' Mr. Brightside.

I really became a Marty fan this week. HIs performance of Lithium a couple weeks ago was great, but this solo performance was amazing. I was kind of wondering if INXS would be put off by it considering Marty showed what he could without a band, but instead of being annoyed, Kirk of INXS suggested they do an all acoustic week next!

Bottom three will be:

Jessica, Brandon, and Deanna, who actually did a great job last night.

Brandon would be better off fronting Lynrd Skynrd - out of all the performers he is the worst fit for INXS. However, Jessica will almost definitely be booted after her comments to the band last night. The only way she survives is if by some miracle she doesn't end up in the bottom three. And that isn't going to happen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bears prediction

The Bears won their first preseason game last night. They looked pretty good. I think the Defense is going get a lot of sacks and turnovers this year. I also think we're going to see the emergence of a future Pro Bowl Quarterback. Am I talking about this guy?

I don't think so. Rex is going down again this year. Here is the future Pro Bowl QB of the Bears:

Kyle Orton, number 18.


Do not go to this Harry Potter website if you haven't finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. (In fact, don't even pass your mouse over the link as the url will tell you the spoiler.)

But do go if you have read the book as I think it's right on the money with its speculations and the evidence it uses to back it up is mostly impressive.

And geez, wasn't that a great book? I mean, really. Wow.

Marc Cohn shot but survives

I've been a Marc Cohn fan since his big hit Walking in Memphis. That album actually had a number of good songs on it. So I was more than a little bit relieved to learn he wasn't killed by the bullet a carjacker fired into his head Sunday. Since he's already been released from the hospital, I guess he'll be okay.

Walking in Memphis

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy -- won`t you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I`m as blue as a boy can be

Then I`m walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

Saw the ghost of Elvis
On Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through
Now security they did not see him
They just hovered `round his tomb
But there`s a pretty little thing
Waiting for the King
Down in the Jungle Room


They`ve got catfish on the table
They`ve got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven`t got a prayer
But boy you`ve got a prayer in Memphis

Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would --
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
And she said --
"Tell me are you a Christian child?"
And I said "Ma`am I am tonight"


Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain

Monday, August 08, 2005

Appalachian Trail Blog

I have started a blog in which I'll recount my Appalachian Trail hiking. Check it out here. I've also added a link on the left.

As usual I was on the edge of a cliff both literally and figuratively. Here's a shot from the hike this year:

Get into camp, Cedric

Excuse me for a minute while I rant about professional athletes and their ridiculous salaries. The Bears drafted Cedric Benson with the fourth pick. Training camp started over a week ago. Benson and the Bears can't agree to a contract, so the rookie is missing camp and jeapordizing the Bears' chances of making the playoffs this year. Here's the kicker for me:

"Brown and agent Todd France are believed to have rejected a deal with $21 million in guaranteed money and $10 million in escalators."

Twenty-one million ain't enough, Cedric? Give me a break. Sign the damn contract and get into camp.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peter Jennings has died

Aw man. I always liked him. Trusted him. Of the three main anchors in my lifetime (Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings), Jennings always seemed the most impartial. Rest in peace, Mr. Jennings.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I'm back

Another year. Another adventure. Had a great time. Details soon.

My Survivor blog has the latest news and speculation as well as some spoiling about the show.
About Me

Name: Matt
Location: Coralville, IA
I am a Dad and a Husband. An Actor. An Administrator. A Hiker. A Writer. Probably a bunch of other things too. Read my blog and you'll find out more.
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

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