KLinks, thoughts, & what-not from Athens, GA.

Monday, February 12, 2001
I've come out the other side. Amazingly enough, I only had to reinstall two applications: my virus scanner and web browser. All my email survived. And, my first impressions are great. I like Windows 2000. I am using Stardock's wonderful Object Desktop, so my GUI doesn't even look like Windows to begin with, and changing to W2000 didn't affect me there at all. If you picked up my laptop right now, you would think I was using Apple's OS X.
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Today I migrate my laptop from Windows 98 to Windows 2000 Professional. I'm scared.
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Friday, February 09, 2001
A mushroom company in North Carolina is claiming to have successfully inoculated trees with black truffles. No one has ever been able to do this before. Black truffles can net you about $70,000 per acre, but they've never been able to be successfully farmed. They just happen, in a small area of France and Italy, if you're lucky. If true, this could eventually make truffles available for the masses!
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My parents (and youngest sister) drove into town this morning, staying for one day only. They'll have spent more time on the road driving here and back from outside St. Louis, Missouri, than they'll spend here visiting, but I'm glad they came. They'll see the play tonight and head off after lunch tomorrow.
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Thursday, February 08, 2001
The Much-to-be-feared Brown Recluse Spider, from the back issues of Countryside Magazine. I know all about this. I've got the scar on my big toe to show for it. Only for me, there was no surgery, no charcoal compresses. Just an attention to cleanliness and my own natural healing. It's this spider bite that gave me my superpowers. Some of them, anyway.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2001
"My thoughts first turn to Spring mushrooming when the cottonwoods start to leaf out and release their delightful Spring scents. Along the riverbanks and in other moist areas I begin my hunt for the elusive and well-camouflaged early morels." Morels, Truffles and other Spring Mushrooms: an annotated slide show.
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Also in the current Flagpole, of particular interest to Randy:
In related news, The Minus 5 is preparing to embark on a brief tour of the United States in support of a split release with the Young Fresh Fellows entitled Let The War Against Music Begin... Because We Hate You, due out this spring on Mammoth Records. The Minus 5 is fronted by guitarist-keyboardist-songwriter Scott McCaughey who led Seattle�s Young Fresh Fellows to greatness in the �80s and �90s and currently performs live with R.E.M. The group - comprised of McCaughey, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, The Posies' Ken Stringfellow, John Bamberg and Bill Rieflin - is scheduled to appear on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" on March 13.

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The Flagpole writes up Baby With the Bathwater.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2001
Spring is in the air, and tax refunds are in the mailbox. So far, I've cleaned out my Amazon shopping cart, ordered a mess of cheesemaking supplies, and got five gallons of wine bubbling. A few outstanding debts will be paid, a garden will be planted, and there should be enough left over for something nice.
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A new species of camel has been discovered in the deserts north of Tibet. I suppose this will give more ammunition to the Yeti-searchers. ("If a large camel could go undiscovered for so long, it's not far-fetched that an intelligent hominid could go uncaptured for so long in roughly the same area, now isn't it?")
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Chickens - The Play. I've only read the first few pages, and it's odd. Very odd.
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Sometimes you need to know the latin for a piece of dinnerware, and at times like that, the Roman Dinnerware Word List is invaluable. But why stop with dinnerware?
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Today marks a year that I've lived in my country home. (Well, my landlord's county home, anyway.) I knew going into this that my life would change living there, but I never could have guessed just how much better things would be. My play ends this weekend, and then I'll put in this year's garden. It'll be twice the size of last year's, which is pretty crazy (according to some people). The chickens will come soon. I've asked the owners if I can get a dairy cow (or maybe a couple of goats), but chances are slim of them allowing that. And, of course, I have overalls. And then, there's Chris.
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Monday, February 05, 2001
I'm now officially a farmer. Long-time readers will know that I've dabbled over the last year, but it's official now. This weekend, I bought a pair of overalls. At the feed store.
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The response to my play has been overwhelmingly positive. I actually had no idea up until the first audience watched it how it would go over. I'm very, very pleased. For those of you far away and not able to come watch, here's my director's notes:
�[This Durang play] is so filled with non sequiturs that you have to do each thing with total conviction � if you try to look for a stream of consciousness like you would with any other playwright, it would just get in the way.� Thus spoke Dana Ivey, who first played the Nanny at the American Repertory Theatre. This is true for the actors; it is true for me as director; it is also true for you as audience member. Baby With the Bathwater is a challenging play for everyone involved. It�s not often you see such a play presented in Community Theater � these kinds of things are usually reserved for universities and edgy professional theaters � but I think it�s very good to do this type of show from time to time.

You are probably reading this before you�ve actually seen the show, wondering what I�m going on about. Christopher Durang is well known for taking an aspect of society and making us think about it by presenting extreme examples of how things could really be. His hit Sister Mary Ignatious Explains It All For You took on organized religion. This play takes on a topic that�s been brought to the forefront by politics recently: the family. And in true Durang style, we�ve been given a family that�s easy to laugh at because it�s gone so terribly, terribly wrong while simultaneously offending us for the very same reason. You point and laugh, and feel guilty for doing so. Even worse, you�re likely to spot yourself in some of what gets presented.

Durang hasn�t held back. Everything about family life is fair game. Some scenes you may agree with, while others may hit too close to home or make you angry. That�s good! That�s the power of theater. People used to riot, overthrow governments, and hold debates after watching theater. While I�m not advocating violent revolution, I am sad that the overwhelming majority of what we see today is weak �feel good� stories and mindless entertainment. And of course I don�t just mean live theater, but also movies and television. It�s good to see something provocative from time to time. It reaffirms what we are doing right as a society and point out areas where we could do better. Don�t be afraid, though � I think this is a mighty funny script. I hope you laugh a lot. It�ll only sting a little.

This is a small cast (especially by Town & Gown standards), but it took many more people than you see to make this show happen. I�ve tried to list them all in the credits (If you helped and I forgot to mention you, I�m sorry. Thank you so much for your help.), but a few people I need to thank more. I designed the set, but Ben Teague was able to take my ideas and build them. His ability to take scribblings on the back of a napkin and make something that works the first time continues to amaze me. Beth Kozinsky is my first-ever assistant director, and now I wonder how I ever went without. Bill Akin made business cards for everyone, helping with the publicity effort and making the cast feel like professionals. Steve Wildey and Amy Crow continue to be the best. Chris Johnson is beyond words. And the Cast. I asked them to attend two set calls, and they came nearly to all of them. I gave them a schedule made tight by the holidays, and they came out enough ahead that the final week was anything but stressful. They took my concepts and ideas and created characters that are (I�m certain) exactly as Durang intended. Thank you, everyone.

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Friday, February 02, 2001
The independant university newspaper has a write-up on my play opening tonight. The Red & Black is rather embarassing for a newspaper, but at least they got all the facts right.
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To many it's just another dot-com going under, five or six layoffs lost among the thousands more going on around them. It's dear to me, though. Pyra Labs, creaters of the Blogger software I use to maintain this weblog, is down to a company of one. Out of money and unable to continue as it had, co-founder and CEO Evan Williams is the only one left.

Blogger is just one of the several tools available to easily create and maintain a website such as this one, but it was my tool of choice. They've got about about 100,000 weblogs using their software -- this one was number fourteen. Pyra created exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. There's been some rough going as they tried to keep pace with demand, and it was clear from the beginning that eventually they'd run out of money, but they had what I thought to be the best thing going.

It wasn't just the software that made the company dear to me. It was the human face they presented to the world. They started their company shortly after the company I work for did. We were about the same size. I could relate. But they were in San Francisco, sure to go far, sure to join the ranks of the dot com millionaires. I was in backwards Athens, Georgia, creating software for rural electric utilities. They were riding high, we were struggling to keep the doors open. I could live, through their eyes, a life that a few small changes, a few different decisions, could have given me. I connected with them in a way I've never connected with another company before. I wasn't just a customer.

But of course, the times have changed. The bubble they were in has burst. Here in Athens, we've turned around, too. Turning a profit, even, with a solid future in sight. I'm still living multiple lives, though. My own, of course, and the one they let me live with their words. Thanks, in large part to their efforts, I'm living many, many more lives through the words of thirty or so more people, chosen from the hundreds of thousands of people now writing online journals and weblogs. It would have been much harder for me to find these people without the efforts of Pyra and the other people doing similar work.

I don't need Blogger. I could do all of this on my own. But I like Blogger. I'm sad to see things end up this way. I wish them all the best of luck. And thank you for everything you've made possible.
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Thursday, February 01, 2001
My play has been written up in the local mainstream paper. Writer Mary Jessica Hammes does a good job, as usual.
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Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Work: mighty busy.
Life: extremely mighty busy.

Tonight is the last rehearsal without an audience. We get a preview crowd tomorrow, and then it's the opening night extravaganza on Friday. It's all coming together into a wonderful little show. Today, I had lunch with a class of university upperclasspeople (one upperclassman and a whole bunch of upperclasswomen) who had lots of questions for me about the show and directing and acting. It was like being on "Inside the Actor's Studio", but with food.
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A correction: yesterday's vote wasn't strictly along party line, just mostly so. Here's a breakdown of the voting.
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in rehearsal
Christopher Durang's Baby With the Bathwater. I'm directing for the Town & Gown Players. The show runs Feb 2-4 & 8-11. Call 706-208-TOWN for reservations.

my tummy
Today: 225
For the month: -0
Since the beginning (12/15/99): -45
The goal: 200