Thursday, November 30, 2006

Marley's Christmas Carol

Dreamwell is back with a new show - Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula. It was originally done as a one-man show, but the version we are producing utilizes four actors. I am one of the four and play the most characters. It's sometimes dizzying switching from one character to another in the space of one minute. It's also been a lot of fun. The other actors are Chuck Dufano in the title role, Josh Sazon as the deliciously cruel Scrooge and Karl Gronwall as the ever delightful Bogle.

Chuck and Karl in rehearsal

So come one, come all to a fun holiday show Dreamwell style. It's December 2 and 9 at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm each night at Old Brick. Bring a food donation to benefit Old Brick's charitable groups.

The link to the PC article is here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ah, Azael...

Yeah, if you've never roleplayed, this one won't mean much to you... and if you've roleplayed with me, this won't surprise you at all... and if you get the title of this one, well damn, that was a fun game, wasn't it?

You scored as Character Player. The Character Player enjoys creating in-depth characters with distinct and rich personalities. He identifies closely with his characters, feeling detached from the game if he doesn't. He takes creative pride in exploring different characters, often making each new one radically different than others he's played. The Character Player bases his decisions on his character's psychology first and foremost. He may view rules as a necessary evil at best, preferring sessions in which the dice never come out of their bags. For the Character Player, the greatest reward comes from experiencing the game from the emotional perspective of an interesting character.

Character Player




Weekend Warrior




Casual Gamer


Power Gamer




What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Take a deep breath

You know, I hope the Democrats don't think that they really won on Tuesday. A majority of voters didn't vote for them. They voted against the Republicans. I don't think the majority of Americans were jumping around screaming "Yay Dems!" on Wednesday. We were screaming "Yay Republicans lost!" We want a new direction for our country and in our political system, unfortunately, there are only two viable choices. One choice sucked it up really good, so we're giving the other choice a chance.

Don't blow it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Credit to the President

I have to give Bush credit. He has listened to the American people and has accepted that we want him to change the way the war is being waged in Iraq. Rumsfeld is out!

This is why this country is great. Democracy does work.

Election aftermath

Well, it happened. At least in the House and probably in the Senate, too, if the current counts hold up. Now the Democrats have the chance to show the Republicans the proper way to act when in the majority. I remember after Bush won re-election in 2004, I lambasted him for saying he had a "mandate" when it was clear he had won by the smallest margins. Yes, the Dems won control last night, but just barely. Many of the races were ridiculously close. So far we've heard from Nancy Pelosi that she wants to work together with the Republicans to get things done. That's a good start. It's time for our country to start to come together. Let's hope I won't have to lambast any Democrats because they start spouting off about a "mandate".

In local news, a fine man was done in by George Bush's failed presidency. Poor Jim Leach. He's been serving in Congress for 30 years, is an excellent man, and has real character. But he lost because he's a Republican. That's truly the only reason he didn't win. Good luck in Washington, Dave Loebsack. Try to fill that seat with the same sort of integrity Jim Leach possesses.

As for our new Governer, I am holding him to one his campaign promises: making Iowa the first state that is not dependent on foreign oil. That's why I voted for you, Chet. Make it happen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quiet strength

I went to the Democratic rally last night on the Ped Mall. I felt like something of an interloper since I don't really consider myself a Democrat and am not really that excited about Chet Culver becoming governor. I went to see Barack Obama in person and I'm fairly certain I wasn't the only person in that crowd of one thousand who was most interested in hearing the Illinois Sentor speak.

It was an education in local politics. Lots of yelling about how the Dems are going to take control of government and woo hoo woo hoo! Clearly a rally is not a place to throw any real ideas out there - everyone spoke in generalities and were greeted with raucous applause.

It was a chance to see two potential Democratic presidential hopefuls - Obama and Tom Vilsack, our current governor. What a study in contrasts. Vilsack was swinging his arm and shouting at the top of his lungs and struck me as trying waaaaay too hard.

And then there was Barack. I was surprised at his appearance when he first walked on stage because he is so thin. Skeletal almost. Of course, as a skinny guy myself, I'm not holding that against him. And it didn't help that he was standing next to Chet Culver who is built like a football player. Otherwise, he's a handsome guy with a huge smile. And he looks very young. He's 45, but he looks only a little older than 35 or so.

There were many times when the crowd called out for Barack even when others were speaking. At one point, Vilsack was introducing Tom Harkin, but the crowd thought he meant Obama, and the cheers were deafening. Harkin made light of it when he came to the microphone, but it was clear the crowd would have annointed Obama President that night if it could have. What I appreciated most was Obama's restraint. He was humble in the face of that adulation and made it clear that the reason he was here was to help the Iowa Dems whose fates would be decided on Tuesday.

When he finally spoke, we weren't greeted with the now stereotypical Martin Luther King-like delivery. He spoke quietly, but with confidence and passion. He didn't need to raise his voice to raise our spirits. He spoke about the "audacity of hope", which is also the title of his book and admitted that he filched that phrase from the pastor at his church on the South Side. He rejected the cynicism of politics and asked us Why not? Why not make things better? Why not do it today? He said it so much better than I can write it. His words were possessed a quiet passion that ignited a fire within us. It wasn't that he was saying anything we hadn't heard before. The difference was when Barack spoke of hope, we believed him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Obama Interview

The following excerpts are from an interview of Barack Obama by David Remnick at the American Magazine Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

And I guess what I was trying to describe is a faith that admits doubt, and uncertainty, and mystery. Because, ultimately, I think that’s how most people understand their faith. In fact, it’s not faith if you’re absolutely certain. There’s a leap that we all take, and, when you admit that doubt publicly, it’s a form of testimony. Then what I think it does is it allows both the secular and the religious to find some sort of common space where we say to each other, Well, I may not believe exactly what you do, what you believe, but I share an experience in wondering what does my life mean, or I understand the desire for a connection to something larger than myself. And that, I think, is in the best of the United States religious tradition.

There's too much certainty in the faith of our leaders... and our enemies. An admission of uncertainty leads to an understanding and tolerance of another's point of view. Which is not to say we should tolerate or understand the Islamic fascists who seek to destroy us, but it would benefit our country if we attempted to understand and tolerate the viewpoints of our neighbors who do not believe exactly the same things we do.

I think the next President is going to have a lot of problems to clean up and not a lot of resources to work with. So whoever is elected is going to have to have a conversation with the American people about what our challenges are, what steps we can take, how long it’s going to take, and ask that they join, that they take ownership in this project.

That’s the power of the Presidency that I don’t see used enough. The capacity to explain to the American people in very prosaic, straightforward terms: here are the choices we have. The biggest problem we have in our politics, and our campaigns press this upon candidates, is to lie about the choices that have to be made. And to obfuscate and to fudge. ... Everybody’s all happy and feel-good, until you actually say to them, Well, you know what? Actually, if we have a real energy plan it’s going to cost something. There’s not a magic energy store where we can buy a new gadget; we’re going to have to invest and make some tough decisions. But I do think the American people respond better to that conversation than we give them credit for, and it’s not tried often enough.

Tell me that you wouldn't want a President who is willing to shoot straight and explain the problems we face and offer solutions. A President who believes that we are smart enough to understand the issues. A President who doesn't lie or even obfuscate.

And audience member then asks this of Obama and gets a very straightforward complete answer that shows vision and practicality. (I numbered his response for clarity.)

Question: ...what would you say were the three most important priorities that the new President, with a Democratic Congress, should present to the American people as the things that need to get done?

(1) Well, it is hard to anticipate at this point where we’re going to be in Iraq. But first priority would be to stabilize and extricate ourselves from the morass that we’re in right now....More broadly, and this I think would be one of the most important things a new President can do, is to essentially figure out what is the updated version of the post-World War II order that was structured by Truman and Acheson, and Marshall and Kennan—what does that look like? What is our national-security strategy? Because we’ve never gone through that process. In the nineties, the basic feeling was, you know, as long as McDonald’s are opening up all over the world everything’s going to be O.K. And then we had 9/11, and immediately launched into a unilateral, sabre-rattling approach to foreign policy. But what we’ve never really done is thought strategically about how, in an age of asymmetrical warfare, with countries like China and Russia that are no longer direct enemies, but are clearly competitors, and huge chunks of the world that are essentially collapsing and ungoverned—what does that mean for us? And what does that mean for our military?

(2)...On the domestic front, I would say that it is time for the Democrats to get over what happened in ’94, and to move on an aggressive plan for health-care reform in this country. And I personally think universal health care remains a vital goal for us to meet.

(3)... energy. I believe Al Gore—and the other, you know, ten thousand scientists out there. ... From a national-security posture, there’s not a better thing we could do—for example, dealing with proliferation issues in Iran—than to drive the price of oil down to twenty-five bucks a barrel. It’s the single biggest thing we could do to effectuate change and cut the legs out of some of the fundamentalist impulses in the Middle East. And so why we’re not pursuing that in a very aggressive way baffles me. And I think the country’s ready for it. I mentioned that, travelling around the country, what I’ve been struck by is the degree to which, despite gas prices going down, the issue of energy policy is still registering very high among voters. They recognize that the current path we’re on is unsustainable.

Go here for the whole interview.

Obama in Iowa City

I am going, are you?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or treat, smell my feet...

Rachel learned this little ditty from her friend Grace, who no doubt learned it from her big sister:

Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat
If you don't
I don't care
I'll pull down your underwear

I had never heard the underwear part of the song. Anyway, last night we went trick or treating. The girls were dressed as princesses, costumes by Grandma. Rachel was a glamorous pink princess and Sammi had chosen her favorite color purple. Each had crowns and wands, although Sammi didn't wear hers and neither of them carried the wands. We went racing from one house to the next. Or Rachel did. Sammi would get the candy and toddle away from the house seemingly in shock that they'd just given her more candy. I would have to say "Come on, Sammi, let's catch up with Rachel." And she'd say, every time, "We going to the next house?"

About halfway through our adventure, Rachel began singing the song above as we ran to each house. Rachel never said it when asking for candy, however; she stuck with the simple "Trick or Treat". The song had clearly gotten into Sammi's head however. When we got to one house, Sammi shouted to the mom holding the pot of candy, "Trick or treat, smell my underwear!"

I don't think I've ever seen anyone's eyes get as big as that poor woman's. She was shocked. I think I mumbled something like "Big sisters, you know. Ha ha, happy Halloween..." and we moved on as fast as we could.

After trick or treating on our block, we drove to two of Rachel's friend's houses to drop off invitations to her birthday party. So Rachel jabbered with her friends for a while sharing Halloween stories. We also stopped by the coolest Halloween house in the neighborhood. It had a bunch of those huge inflatable decorations. One of which was an actual Haunted House big enough for the kids to walk in. Rachel went through it twice. Sammi went in once, heard the scary music and ran back out. That house also gave out full size Hershey bars. We weren't the only people who drove to that house.

We got back home and ate dinner around 8 pm and inadvertantly discovered a way to keep both girls at the table eating their dinner - starve 'em for an extra hour or so... Both kids crashed pretty quickly at bedtime and so ended our Halloween fun for 2006.

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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