Mar 31, 2009

Discovered on Main Street?

Main Street Extra App

Guess who wants to be in the movies?

Main Street is casting for extras, so on Saturday I dropped by the Homestead Suites along with dozens of others:

Dreams of Glory

Maxann Crotts runs the company that Main Street hired to cast extras.  I didn't meet Maxann but the woman who took my form asked if I wanted to have head shots taken or to sign up for any acting classes.

"No thanks," I said. 

I worry that if I ever learned how to "act", I'd use those powers for evil.

Maxann's instructions for extras:

  • don't talk anywhere on the set unless the director tells you to.
  • be prepared to sit for a long time doing nothing.
  • don't bring valuables to the set -- if they get stolen, you're out of luck.

I'll bet Elrond Hubbard has yet more.


With luck, I'll get to check off an item on this list.

11:09 PM in Destination Durham, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (5)

Nov 10, 2007

A Birthday Gift Request from Me to You


Hey, I'm 40!  Plans for today:

Over the last few weeks, some folks have asked what I wanted for my birthday but nothing ever came to mind until just now.  If you're reading this, you get first dibs on making my day if you'd like.  But first, some background:

A few weeks ago I was talking with K and asked her this, "if you could wave a magic wand and change the world by adding a few more good things or taking away some bad things, what would you do?"  I had picked "adding more good" but K said immediately, "I'd take away some bad."  Her reasoning: there's so much pain that comes from a few very bad things; taking away a few -- whether genocide or misguided foreign policy, drug addiction or abuse -- would make such a difference.

I guess I'm not surprised I picked "adding more good."  It's easier to plant a thousand flowers than it is to stop one rape, and I've never been good at confrontation.  I hope to get better at speaking truth to power, and if it starts happening, I'll let you know.

But meanwhile, here's my birthday gift request.  If you would for me, sometime this week, either:

1.  Go out your way (through greater effort or greater imagination) to do more good than you planned to


2.  Go out of your way to do less harm, or to prevent someone else from doing harm that could be stopped.

If you feel like it, let me know what you did (or even just let me know that you did something).  I'll be thankful for the gift you're giving to me, to yourself, and to everybody else.

Peace and good to you.


cool birthday invitation by INKIdesign

12:00 AM in Me, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (12)

Jun 06, 2007

Hispanic Haha, Latino Laughs.

This week's Indy put the Flicker film festival on it's Best Bets list, and I started wondering what I'd do with a 50-ft. reel of 8mm film. 

The first thing that occurred to me: a highlight reel of migrant farm workers who do a good standup routine.

07:14 PM in Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 07, 2007

"It Was a Bright Cold Day in April..."

1984 "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.  Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dusty from entering along with him."

-- 1984, George Orwell.  Chapter 1, paragraph 1.

This is not an original idea, but I've often wanted to do a Balderdash-like exercise in which I paired opening paragraphs from real novels with paragraphs I had just made up, to see if people could guess which ones were published and which ones were not.

Obviously (I hope), I couldn't use this Orwell example, which includes one of the most famous opening lines in English fiction. 

Speaking of which:

For proof that you can publish just about anything if someone else already wrote it, check out this book -- ABC: Opening Sentences of Famous Novels.  Leon Mazzella is listed as "author" but I wonder if "editor" would be more appropriate. 

Jon Winokur has no doubt gotten rich off of his various compilations including Zen to Go, The Portable Curmudgeon, The Portable Curmudgeon Redux, and The Big Curmudgeon.  It's a good thing that I read Zen to Go first, else I'd be pretty damned curmudgeonly about Winokur's success in publishing the other three.

11:20 AM in Quotables, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 26, 2007

The Girls are Playing Bas-ket Ball

Above, sportswriter Rob Clough gives a 100-minute Q&A (90 minutes regulation plus 10 minutes OT) on Women's Basketball: How it Works and How to Watch, at the Broad Street Cafe.

I've always been impressed by good teachers and good referees.  So you can imagine how psyched I was to hear Rob talk about college ball referees and how they work.

In other related things, the weekend's seminar and Duke vs. UNC women's ball game gave me an opportunity to watch and think a bit about women's college basketball and sports in general. 

Here are the two biggest things that came to mind:

First, I am now cheering for the Duke women instead of Carolina. In watching the two teams play throughout the season, it seems that the Duke players and coaches a finer sense of joy, sport, and heart.  Of course I could be wrong, but for now I’ll go with my gut.

Second, and sadly, I’ve also come to realize that I have a greater and greater dislike of the way so many fans connect with the game and their teams.  Whenever I see someone cheer against (or otherwise put down or express ill will toward) an opposing team or individual, it just hurts. 

The Quaker in me wants us to think first and always of each other as fellow people to love, even when we're competing.  To my ears, the smallest insult shouted at a player (or anybody else on the TV set) seems to be a symptom of (or first step toward) the absence of that caring and connection.

In fact, one of the other great things about watching Rob's seminar (given that Rob is very much a Duke basketball fan) was how he delivered all his comments with respect for each of the players, coaches, and refs.  In sporting lingo, I think that's called "class".

Call me naïve, but I still hope that athletics pursued with a commitment to that kind of “class” might add up to all of us getting some more playing time in the better part of the world.  Let's hope.  I do hope.

02:25 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jan 17, 2007

Community Tables and Chinese Christmas

I've heard of Chinese New Year, but Chinese Christmas? 
Check out the Santa on my glass of Diet Coke :-)

Here's something I'd like to see: community tables at restaurants, for solo diners who would welcome the chance to eat with others.

This idea comes to me from time to time, but most frequently at Rainbow Chinese* where I solo eat at least twice a month.  I usually enjoy watching whatever they have on TV, but often as not I see other solo diners wonder if we really ought be eating together instead of watching the TV while awkwardly avoiding each others' eyes.  (Theory: we feel awkard because our "isolation despite nearness" runs counter to a human instinct to connect.)

Two other things about Rainbow Chinese:

1.  I like how their glasses are mismatched.  It makes me feel like I'm eating in someone's home. 

2.  Back when I was in high school, it used to be called Hunam Chinese (or maybe Hunam Palace).  Back then, the local drinking age was 18 but some of my underage high school would go there and order beer without getting carded.  According to my (white) friend, Tarus, "we all look alike to them, anyway."


Rainbow Chinese, ~900 W. Main St., across from Brightleaf Square.  Lunchtime buffet and a bottled drink, $6.50 plus tip.  Don't count on friendly and efficient service or an attractive setting, but it's decent food cheap and fast.

09:05 PM in Reviews, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (4)

Dec 29, 2006

Books for Ike, Part I

Blank_book_1 For my godson Ike, the first of several titles I'd like to write for him:

Lessons Learned the Hard Way (Many by Me) -- a catalog of mistakes made by grownups. 

excerpt --

"In life, you will have at least one friend who is always running late and who never thinks to call and who never apologizes.  Maybe it's stupidity, ADD, or a lack of general courtesy --  who knows what lousy reason -- but they're never on time, no matter how much you beg.

But just remember this for the day they push you over the edge: DO NOT START YELLING AT THEM THE INSTANT THEY SHOW UP.  Because the day you do will be the day they just got fired, or their cat died -- or the day they finally tried to call but couldn't reach you because you forgot to turn your cell phone on."

Ike is ~10, now, so I have a few years to write this particular book of advice for new adults.  But there is at least one other title I wish I had for him now -- a sensible book on courtesy, manners, and etiquette.  More on that in another blog.

12:01 AM in Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dec 26, 2006

Double Dog Durham Magazine

What I want to see -- a Durham city magazine that focuses on:

  • living & arts (not news)
  • things to do, see, or eat that any middle-income individual would consider affordable, with special  emphasis on things that have zero or nominal cost
  • people and institutions that those things come true, in both eastern and western Durham.

While excluding:

  • articles about "aspirational" activities (e.g., a new polo club!) or purchases (e.g., "inside Durham's   million-dollar homes, with the realtors who sell them")
  • ads for strictly luxury items (e.g., $x,000 jewelry, $50,000 cars)
  • profiles about celebrities (or their wives: e.g., the fifteen501 magazine cover that features wives/SOs of the Carolina Hurricanes.)

I'd like this magazine to launch online and in print, and I'd like the online edition to have exceptionally comprehensive calendar/venue listings (but with brief entries per each).  And I'd like the publisher to make one vicious trespass into editorial territory: any use of the word "prestigious" in connection with an award or membership, etc. will be grounds for immediate dismissal.

03:48 AM in Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dec 24, 2006

MakeItRight, Inc.

Light_bulb How's this for an idea:  MakeItRight, Inc. -- a company that would, for hire, anonymously do the work of making amends for things you've done poorly or wrongly.  Think of it as a third-party confidential version of "My Name is Earl".  Por ejemplo:

Remember when you stole $2 from your 6th grade best friend? MakeItRight will find that long-lost buddy and send him a $50, with an anonymously vague note.  Fee: $250.

How about when you lied at work and ruthlessly trashed another colleague's career while blazing your own way to executive row?  MakeItRight will find a way to re-launch that poor sucker's career into some new stratospheric orbit, without him ever knowing what happened.  Fee: $750,000 (Hey, I said you made it to the top, right?)

So what's the deal with this new "Things I'd Like to See or Do" category?  It's my little spot for airing out my ideas and yens for businesses, gizmos, or general changes to the world that I'd be happy to see but have no plans to actually try (even if they do look feasible.)

In some ways, this category is a way to feed my ADD appetites -- a place to get rid of recurring ideas that require some kind of acknolwedgement before they'll leave me alone.  Enjoy!  (And feel free to volunteer guest blogs.)

12:14 AM in Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (3)