Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fringing Sondheim

Dreamwell still does not have a permanent home, but does that mean we're sitting around moaning about it? No freakin' way. We've got two, count 'em, two events going on this weekend.

First of all, we're travelling to Des Moines to take part in the 2nd Annual Fringe Fest. Three short shows written by three Dreamwellians - this stuff is out there and thought provoking and one of 'em will leave you laughing and laughing. So take a road trip to Des Moines this weekend. Or if you live there, go! go! go!

And then on Sunday at Verde, we're doing our second (annual?) night of Sondheim music. It was a huge hit last year when we did at the now defunct Siren. Three very talented singers will be performing songs from Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Anyone Can Whistle. Check it out!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

More Appalachian Trail Pictures

Here are my brother John's pictures from our Appalachian Trail hike in the Smokies this year.

John and Jim at Fontana Lake on day two of the hike.

John and me hanging out in one of the shelters.

This is me on the AT on day three, I think.

On our last day, Jim hiked very quickly with the single minded purpose of getting to the car as quickly as possible. John and I hiked at a more leisurely pace. This is me at around 5500 feet up in a grassy clearing where we decided to rest for a little while.

Here we are at the top of Clingman's Dome, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail at 6,643 feet.

It's not easy to climb those mountains. Oftentimes, it's a matter of just focusing on your feet moving one step at a time up the mountain trail and blocking out the pain in your legs. Sometimes you ask yourself, "Why the hell did I ever agree to do this? Again?! Am I insane?" Fortunately, reminders of why you chose to put yourself through it again are all around you every moment. The green of the trees, the blue of the skies, the sounds of the birds, the feeling of being part of nature rather than part of civilization.

This is what I'm talking about:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bad Endings

Have you ever read a book, got totally caught up in it, were emotionally invested in the characters, desperate to find out what happens... and then suffered through an ending so bad it just completely ruined the entire experience?

Let me introduce you to My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It's about a thirteen year old girl who was born to be a stem cell donor for her sister who is suffering from leukemia. Over the years, Anna has gone through medical procedure after medical procedure in order to keep her sister alive. Now her sister needs a kidney and Anna hires a lawyer in order to get medically emancipated from her parents. Of course, Anna does love her sister and the decision to do this is heartbreaking for all.

The story is told from multiple points of view and is very well written and evocative. There's a subplot romance between the lawyer and another character that is kind of distracting, but overall I was absolutely drawn into the story and really wanted to know what would happen with Anna and her sister.

And then.

And then.

The author does the unthinkable, completely changing the entire story and taking these fascinating choices out of the hands of the mere mortals with a deus ex machina ending that she should be ashamed of. I recommend reading the book up until the end of the trial and then making up your own ending. It would be far more satisfying, I assure you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my wife's birthday. I met Sharon in 1992 - nearly 14 years ago. Amazing. She's still a great partner, supportive and loving. She's still the first person I want to talk to about the events of the day. She's still beautiful. She still has my heart. Next to the births of the girls, our wedding day is still the greatest day of my life.

Thank you, Sharon. I love you.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I am addicted to a video game. Mind you, I am not a "gamer". There are two games on my computer that I play every once in a while: NFL Blitz and Civilization II (I don't like the later versions). And that's about it. Until last week.

Are you familiar with the ninjas vs. pirates debate? If you come down on the side of the swashbuckler, this game is for you: Sid Meier's Pirates! (Yes, the exclamation point is part of the name.) You can do everything in this game: ship to ship combat, sword to sword combat, make money through buying low and selling high, go on quests to rescue lost family members, dance with pretty girls... it's got it all. The drawback is your wife gets understandably annoyed because you're on the computer too much.

This review sums up the problem rather well:

"You'll find yourself saying 'Ok, I'm going to do just one more thing'. The next thing you know, a couple hours have blown by." - Subism

So if you're single, it's a great game for you.

A juicy dream

I don't often remember my dreams, but last night was an exception. I was in a race. We were ice skating up and down a mountain. I don't know exactly how that worked, but it did. It was really hard to get up the mountain and I fell behind. By the time I reached the "lodge" or whatever it was, other racers were already taking off in these little one-man cars. I wasn't sure where to go exactly, but I headed in what I thought was the right direction. I soon realized I was lost, so I decided to go into this high school. I was asking people for directions to Sacremento (apparently I was ice skating down mountains in California), and finally this obnoxious girl said she could help me and told me where to go. Then I noticed she was wearing a James Juice Blog t-shirt. No, I'm not kidding. I told her I knew James and she got all "Ohmygod, you know him? Ohmygod!" about it. I told her he was quitting and she said it was the worst thing ever. Then I left. There was more - I crossed a bridge in the rain and dark, got into a house where there were guns blazing, but all that's hazy. It was mostly the James Juice Blog t-shirt that stuck with me.

Clearly, my subconscious mind doesn't want James to quit. And neither do his California teenage girl fans.


We had a really nice weekend. Saturday we did a bunch of errands, one of which included going to University Camera and learning that our camera is messed up and will probably cost more to fix than to replace. So that wasn't great, but Sharon's getting a second opinion on that. Still the four of us had a good day just being together. That night I played poker and while I just missed getting into the money both games, it was still fun. I like winning, don't get me wrong, but the most I ever lose is about $10 and that's pretty cheap entertainment really. Sunday, we went to the pool. I love Coralville's pool as I think I've written before. Rachel is turning into a fish. She hasn't figured out swimming yet, but she's close. And she has no fear of going underwater. I seem to remember still being afraid to get my head underwater at her age. Sammi really like the water, too. And what's great about this pool is that it has sections for all ages. There's a diving board into deep water, two great waterslides, a shallow area for Rachel-size kids, and even a fountain area which Sammi really loved running through. This year, Rachel got far more autonomy. As long as she was in the little kid section, we didn't feel the need to be next to her all the time. When we came home from the pool, we barbequed some chicken on our grill. First time we've used that this year. I love grilled food.

Today we're back at work, but tonight we may check out some fireworks. And of course tomorrow is a holiday, and one of my favorites to boot. I'll write more about that in another post.

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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