Monday, April 29, 2002

I'll be on "New York and Company," a popular radio show on local NPR affiliate WNYC at about 12:40pm today on 93.9 FM in the NYC area, or via the web at their website. I listen to the show all the time, and I really enjoy the host, Leonard Lopate...he has a great voice and a wonderful interviewing style. I'm looking forward to it very much.

And this week's lineup has all these hard-core famous folks: Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Al Franken...okay, Franken isn't Gore Vidal, but he's a lot funnier, so I include him. The bar is set pretty high, so I can't just go in and chew on my microphone while making growling noises--I'm going to have to actually be witty and conversational.

Odd thing--the program for the day is actually all oriented around baseball, except for me talking about Amazon and the show. I almost half-expect that I'll get to talk about my epic Little League days, which I recall with a combination of great nostalgia and horror. I have a deep and abiding love for baseball, which exhibits itself in no ways whatsoever--I do not play, I do not watch, and I don't know baseball history as encyclopedically as many aficionados do. Instead, I just love baseball, in the abstract and from afar--an unrequited curve ball. I think it has something to do with the pace, and my Little League youth, and all the mythology that builds and attaches to the game.

So even though I feel like the odd man out, I couldn't be more pleased about being on this day's episode. Now I have to go get myself down to the studios, which are by City Hall--more soon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

It is eight am, and I'm up early. NPR is on the radio, and I have a lot of ground to cover today--there are meetings all over the city and even (gasp!) some creative work to be done. Still, if I've learned anything in the last eighteen months it is that for every hour spent in creative work, ten need to be spent paving the way for that to happen--in many ways, being a self-supported artist isn't that different from having a day job, in that promoting your art IS your day job.

On Monday night, after finishing the show JM and I visited another neat restaurant in the Village, Ghandi Cafe. It's an eclectic mix--this Indian joint has a brushed metal ceiling that looks like a leftover 50's kitsch diner, there are huge, oddly sexual glass lighting fixtures with delicate red bulbs, mirrored's somewhere between 80's brothel and a Bollywood flick. The food was great, and as we sat there we talked about how Monday was the first night that we really had a rhythm down--it is becoming a routine, which is dangerous in making us complacent but thrilling in how we can finally begin fully mastering the show.

Then Tuesday is our day off, which is one of the big reasons it was so quiet here...we haven't gotten the handle of actually relaxing, even a little, so instead I did interviews and slept a great deal. I'm hoping that all that stockpiled sleep will prove a good investment now that I'm back in for another week of work.

I'm behind in my email, trounced by my edits that need tending to and I really should finish some Raisin Bran, the Most Exciting Of All Brans, before shuffling off today. I'll write again soon and fill in some more details of what's been going on, creatively or otherwise.

Oh, one more thing: Las Vegas is building a megamonorail. I love these things.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Christie Kerr, a novice LPGA golf pro is so going to regret having the world's most embarassing picture taken of her.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Short piece in the Seattle Times today on Amazon's expansions abroad--specifically, Japan. Not bad reading, and Monica Soto is a good writer, but it shows an interesting bias: Amazon still believes it needs to sell itself as "cool", like Starbucks is in Japan, in order to see wide adoption. If that is true there may be trouble ahead: while convenient and fast, Amazon isn't "cool" in that way because it's a private event: Starbucks gets to be hip and cool over there in Japan because people meet each other at it. Amazon browsing always is and always shall be a solitary activity--that's both a strength and weakness.

Splashy feature appeared today in PAGE SIX of the New York Post on the show. That's a big deal here in NYC...I never read the tabloids here before I arrived, but they are insanely addictive once you live in the city, and PAGE SIX is the accepted central clearing house for all gossip. I won't link to it, as the New York Post doesn't archive things properly and it will just vanish, but basically it's information about some suspicious phone calls the theater bookers have been getting from someone trying to buy out multiple weeks of the show, hoping to ensure no one will see it.

Hmmmmmmm...goes the gossipy thinking... Who could possibly have the money and motivation to do that? Could it be...

I won't speculate--I leave that to others, as I'm too busy getting ready to head to the theater for tonight's performance. If anyone has any leads on who would be doing this, please drop me a line.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

I found out this morning that the McSweeney's Store in Brooklyn held a reading last night with my good friend John Hodgman and Viggo Mortensen, everyone's favorite Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings.

I love the McSweeney's calmly sits in the heart of Park Slope, looking for all the world like an innocuous junk shop with no signage to indicate that it is filled with the clutter and desiderata of our modern lives. Disassembled gas lights, bizarrely detailed dioramas, brass widgets, tiny swatches of fabric--all these eclectic supplies are organized in meticulous and dizzying detail, like a mad inventor's back closet. They hold readings there, and in the past, before the show ramped up, I've been a frequent contributor--it is a space that redefines the word 'intimate', as you can get the feeling of a crowd in there by having just eight or nine people.

So, I have to geek self is feeling pretty jealous this morning, as even though I rationally know that Mr. Mortensen has no real affiliation with Aragorn, nevertheless I keep thinking that if I'd been able to read with him it would a book reading with Han Solo. Not Harrison Ford...Han Solo. It's very immature, but I can't shake the cultural programming of worshipping people who play my childhood heroes.

Also on the 'fame' front, things are going a little that the show is in performances, I ran into two groups of people while walking about the Village who had seen it, and both were very warm and friendly. Everyone keeps promising to tell their offices and coworkers about the show, so if that happens we may hit the vital nerve that the show should strike--deep into the soft underbelly of corporate America.

Last night I actually got to hang out with my friend Zach, whose own blog is cryptically and cleverly entitled Rooster Spice. What a great name! He went to college with me, and since then worked in the theater for a bunch of years, touring with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a technician and stage manager. He's now moved on to an even more hard-core task: he's currently being a stay-at-home dad, caring for his first son, Drew, and awaiting the arrival of his second.

It was good to see him--he looked well, and it was such a relief to actually hang out with someone. We sat at the bizarre Cafe Milou, the oddest restaurant in the Village. Everyone there has a generic pan-European accent, they come to your table sixteen or seventeen times a meal, obsessively slavering attention on you to a degree that you wish they would just relax.

There's this one hot woman who stood at the door of the cafe, trying to corral people into the restaurant--she was quite attractive, and striking in her wild, kinky black hair, tall boots and faux snakeskin dress. After we had been seated she kept coming over to us, bending over us to show us her cleavage and inquiring about each stage of our serving experience:

"Is the water okay?"

"Is the drink okay?"

"How are your condiments? Okay?"

Jean-Michele asked our real waitress, who was also checking on us often, what the job was of the hyperactive girl--she would run out into the street and hug people, then pull them into the restaurant. The pan-European girl cut JM off and said:

"The crazy girl? She does not work here. She works at another restaurant owned by this owner, and she comes here on Saturday nights and does this. She is a crazy girl; we do not know her. She is not paid."

The word "skank" is not libelous. Just so you know.

Simon Callow writes an article on doing one-man shows, though mostly it's about his own show, Dickens' life and this weird actor who pretended he was Irish until he WAS Irish...I don't know what is up with that. But here's an excerpt that I really love:

The silence that descends upon an auditorium when it is being told a story that it wants to hear is like no other; but it is not passive, as when being overwhelmed by 10 million decibels and dancing scenery and serried ranks of highly disciplined flesh, all of which is, of course, highly attractive in itself, but leaves little for the audience to do.

Another article in the Times today is this piece by Margo Jefferson. It mainly concerns two different shows (Topdog/Underdog and Talk) but it's connective theme is that people may want their theater to reflect and personify real life, a notion I fully endorse.

Hmmm. Two pieces in one day, on one-person shows and the value of telling real stories. Damn...if I didn't know better, storytelling is enjoying a sudden surge in respectability. Either way it's nice to see the Times giving these ideas some ink.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Today summer is gone again--yesterday on the way to the theater the weather was fierce, the sky a sudden sickly yellow and the wind blew like a twister was coming down. After a week of hot weather it was sudden and disorienting, and as we rushed to make it on time the dirt in the street got blown up and all over us...I actually had dirt in my mouth when I got to the theater. Ah, New York! Even the dirt tastes good!

Last night was the first double, and it went very well. Full houses for both shows, and the show is becoming very solid--I was really pleased with my work, and though it was exhausting at points, I think I'm going to be able to hack this. I'd better, as I have two more shows this evening, and necessity has a way of motivating you most wonderfully.

Last night, on our way home on the subway Jean-Michele and I were exhausted but happy...and then, as we were getting off at our station, we both saw that a woman who had been riding in our car had been reading a Playbill from 21 DOG YEARS. We had been sitting about 3 feet from each other for the whole ride, and it was such a neat feeling to see that the people who come to the show are real people. It made me hopeful.

I have a show at 5pm and 9pm, so I'm off to eat, do notes with Jean-Michele and get ready for tonight.

Friday, April 19, 2002

It's warm and bright here in late afternoon, as I sit in my apartment, windows open, waiting to head to the theater. Tonight is my first doubleheader: I have to do the show at 7pm and again at 9:30. I've done other solo shows twice in a row, but this is the first time I've tried it with 21 DOG YEARS, and I'm nervous while I try to conserve my energy.

I saw this afternoon that MISCmedia has a small review of 21 DOG YEARS, the's the top of the currently featured items in the right hand nav bar. Clark Humphrey, who is the site's proprietor, is a fine fellow whom I've never met in person, so it is exciting to have my first book review out, even a brief one...I haven't given the book to a lot of people I know, so I honestly haven't gotten that much feedback from people other than my illustrious editor.

In his small review Humphrey is unhappy with my decision to leave Seattle, and I can understand that--I miss the Northwest at times myself. But they don't have Off-Broadway theaters there, and in the end I wanted a change after Amazon and five years of Seattle fringe theater was time. I'm glad I'm missed, I have to admit.

I strained my throat somewhat on Thursday doing the photo call, which otherwise went well: Melanie, the photographer, was fantastic and goaded me into a lot of good pictures, but that generally involved being loud and energetic over and over, which took its toll.

Last night would have been hard, with my throat strained, but the audience was so spectacular that it made it easy as pie...a full house, which was delightful and very moving at the same time. It's a bit like riding an enormous bull: you can't dictate what the audience wants or likes, but you ride them and learn them through the show, and track their learn from them. I think we all had a really good time.

My throat is much better today, after rest and a lot of tea...I feel like a grown-up actor, the way I obsess over my intonations and do warm-ups again. I'm looking forward to tonight quite a lot.

One more thing: I had an interview last night with a reporter, and we were talking about the nature of work. He laughed, then revealed that while he works at night for a very reputable news organization, during the day he's a copy editor at PENTHOUSE. As I shook his hand, I thought,

This is the guy who edits all the 'Dear Penthouse' letters, ensuring that the three-way sex orgies happen in the right tense. Whoa.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

There's a tradition in the theater of being superstitious about second nights...okay, in the theater we're superstitious about LOTS of things, but this one makes a more sense. Your second performance lacks the adrenaline and goodwill of a first time out, and so "second night blahs" are a legendary phenomenon.

We didn't get the blahs--we got the nightmares.

At two o'clock today, as I prepared to eat a salad and then run the show with Jean-Michele, I watched in slow motion as she got up from where she was sitting, and my Titanium G4 laptop slid off her lap and fell, 4 feet, onto tile flooring. I actually heard the snap as the right hinge supporting the screen gave way and broke, leaving the laptop unopenable and unusable for the performance this evening, as well as trapping all my data, book, show, correspondence and life inside of it.

Rarely have I panicked so hard, so fast. You see, I baby this laptop--it's my first one, and I gave it all the right clothes, good cases, nice care and constant attention, I fretted when it got a scratch on its perfect hide because it was the most expensive and useful tool I've ever owned. In a few seconds it became the most broken tool--totally wrecked, scratched and mauled.

We were at a restaurant, so JM and I hurried home, where I ran around in circles like a chicken with my head chopped off. Titanium Powerbooks don't look like other computers...that's why we use one. I could use JM's iBook for tonight, but it looks wrong AND we have that photo call the next day. I continued to run around in circles, trying to think.

The whole time we are trying to come up with a plan between 3:30 and the 5:00 tech call, we hear this incredibly high-pitched whining's all through the house, like a fire alarm. It is horrible, and it cuts through our heads as I try to see if Super Glue can hold a $3,000 laptop together. Verdict: no. I can be a world-class impulsive buffoon, but even I don't have the cajones to try that.

We decide to visit TekServe, after a frantic phone call filled with the words "broken," "need now," and, "have show Off-Broadway." A very nice man named Dennis took us in hand and told us to come down...maybe we could put the Powerbook in for repair, and get a rental.

We rush to TekServe, who are wonderful--they have this eclectic workplace filled with millions of Macs, all in differing states of repair, and you can buy $.10 Cokes from an old-fashioned vending machine while you wait. We don't need any Cokes because we are haunted...everywhere we go, the horrible whining persists! It was outside our apartment, then on the subway, now at TekServe. And as we wait for help, the employees are hearing it too and it is starting to drive them mad. They are digging through all the machines, looking for the faulty hard drive that must be making the horrible noise. We don't tell them that it is following us, because we're dealing with the fact that there are no Powerbook rentals--and we need a temporary Powerbook, right now, for tonight. It also needs to have all my data on it.

So we do the only thing possible--via the power of MasterCard, I buy a brand-new PowerBook, leave them the old PowerBook after they kindly swap the RAM, Airport card and hard drive, which mercifully didn't crash its heads in the drop. Between the repair and the sudden new computer, I have suddenly spent $3,000 I didn't expect in the mid-afternoon, and unlike buying designer clothes, I just feel seasick instead of sexy and cool.

On the upside, a lot of the TekServe guys had heard of the show, and they were really nice to me, including cutting corners so I could get out of there very quickly...I owe them all a big round of thanks.

On the downside, JM had to leave before I did as she had duties at the theater...and when she left, the horrible sound left too. Later we discovered that at the same time that the PowerBook died, her stage management timer got crushed, and for some reason it started emitting that awful tone. We were way too freaked out to identify it, and the sound then just haunted us all over the city from her bag.

With the drive transfered and quickly tested, I dashed across town just in time to get into costume and do the second night...and on the upside, we appear to have gotten our bad luck out of the way, because the show itself went off without a hitch.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

In an everyday miracle that never fails to astound me, I am suddenly out of tech week and into the run--last night was my first preview, the first public preview of 21 DOG YEARS Off-Broadway, and I really couldn't be more pleased. After months of rehearsal and weeks of 12 and 14 hour days, we suddenly emerged back into the land of the living...real, live audience members sitting in the seats, hearing the show for the first time. It's the difference between a picture of a bird and a bird in motion.

It went really well, far better than a lot of previews I've heard of. I feel like I'm relaxing into the job, and feeling out the stress points so that I can begin the enormous task of mastering the task ahead: performing at peak load for 90 minutes a performance, 8 performances a week. A week ago I was daunted, but today, with the sudden warmth of summer beating down on me and the reassuring ache of my muscles coming in all the right places I feel like I could do this a year, if I can get the opportunity.

We have more pictures from the production, and we'll be doing a photo call this Thursday, so look forward to some updates to the photo gallery. Also the exciting "unnamed video project" is nearing its launch date, so we'll have some new short films posted in the weeks ahead. I'll fill you in as we go.

Two quick anecdotes for you. I got asked last week what it was like to be "famous", as my face is now on telephone kiosks all over Manhattan, as well as in the New York Times quite a bit. I told the person that asked that it really didn't feel like anything, and told him the two "fame" encounters I've had so far with this run in NYC. Here they are:

1)Right after a very grueling, five hour tech rehearsal where I couldn't act my way out of a paper bag I went outside the theater to sit for a minute and try to improve my attitude. As I sat there despondent a woman walked up to the theater, talking on her cell phone. She didn't notice me, but walked up to the huge picture of my face with a dog bone and said into her phone, "Yes, it's some man who thinks he's a dog...yes, a dog...yes, he's a dog man." She then walked on.

2)While on my way back from dinner a day later a man came running out of an alley, yelling at me, "Hey! You! You're the fat man! I've seen you! Give me a quarter!" When I did not immediately pay him for his keen observation, he followed it up with, "Fat man! C'mon, fat man!" down the block as I walked back to work.

Friday, April 12, 2002

We are buried up to our necks in tech, so no updates for now...the show is going marvelously, and more news soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

I am in technical rehearsals all day, but I will try and post sometime later this evening with news on the Pink Slip Party, Pud and the joy of cheeseburgers.

One NYT reporter gives the Amazon used book system a try, and finds both pluses and minuses. I hate mailing things and waiting at the post office, so it doesn't sound appealing to me. YMMV.

Wonderful conversation between Gregory Benford and Steven Hawking over here. I used to keep up on the sexy world of theoretical physics, but instead I've chosen to be a performer...a choice I'm happy with, but I still love to dabble. Benford does a beautiful job of sketching Hawking with intellectually-nuanced affection, and in thie brief piece he comes across more accessible and human than I've seen him portrayed previously. I really enjoyed this piece, and I highly recommend it if you like either physics or good writing about people having conversations.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

I had a long day of tightening and running sections of the show, but the work is paying is starting to really come together, and I can rattle through whole sections at the drop of the hat, which is normal with a show that has a script, but it's pretty neat to get to that point and still have the flexibility of an extemporaneous work. It was great working outside here today--warm and in the 70's, the park near our house was a delightful place for me to sit and rave like a madman at a corner bench. I caught myself a couple of times, acting very aggressively and loudly, seeing children stare at the fat crazy man in the park. It's New York City, so people just shrug.

Tonight I'm headed over to the Pink Slip Party, which is run and founded by my friend, Allison Hemming. It's a monthly party/job fair for the tech downsized, held at a superhip club called's the kind of place where I keep reading about Gwyneth Paltrow hanging out with Chelsea Clinton at, yadda yadda yadda. That's what makes it so surprising when it becomes this ad hoc job fair once a month, and part of the freshness Allison has designed into the event to keep it cool. Details are here if you'd like to RSVP for tonight.

I'll be there, performing some snippets and meeting folks while we promote the show. I'm also meeting Pud of Fucked Company fame...considering what we've both been working on, it's funny we haven't met before--we just kept missing each other at events. I'm hoping he's a nice guy.

If you read this and you're at the party, feel free to say hello.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

I did my spot on TechTV, and it turned out a little perverted. Appropriately, the problem was technology.

When you tape one of these pieces they give you a prompter control that you can manipulate to keep the prompter spinning some news rooms there is someone there running the prompter, but the NYC bureau for TechTV has only one technician at night. If you've never used a prompter, it's a piece of glass in front of the camera off of which a reversed image of the words you are saying is bounced--it sounds complicated, but once you see one it makes sense. You need the control because your reading speed can really vary according to what's going on, so it needs to roll out don't want it to go too fast, or suddenly you are lost. You get the idea.

Normally I don't use them and just improvise, but it is tech week and I thought this would make things easier. The problem is that since *I* have to be the one controlling the knob, I need to hide the controller...otherwise America will wonder "Why is he twisting that knob?" So I hid the controller under the desk, which has a glass top and space where it would fit. I was set. I would nonchalantly adjust the flow whenever they cut away from me to show the host. I can track this on a monitor which is set up next to the camera.

Problem is, they didn't set up the monitor...for some reason the it showed just an image of me, not what was actually going out on the station. Thus I couldn't tell when the camera was off me, and so I kept getting caught darting my hand under the table, then back up to make a point, then under the table. Over and over.

Instead of America wondering,

"Why is he twisting that knob?"

it was wondering,

"Why does this man keep putting his hand under the table ever five seconds? Is he a pervert...a terrifying tech-oriented nerd sex pervert?"

Worse yet, Leo, who is the host, noticed it and talked about my hands on camera. Nothing like being embarrassed in front of 100,000 viewers.

Mike, what are you doing with your hands? Keep them where we can see them!

This only filled me with the fiery desire to tell him:

Leo, I'm touching myself. On national TV. Because that's what I do when I think about you, Leo. I touch myself.

I did not do that, of course, or this would be a really good entry. Instead I laughed and did this really bizarre physical gesture where I hovered both my hands over the table, in full view, and then made circles in the air, like the Karate Kid "wax on, wax off" thing. At the same time I emitted a low "ooooooooooooooooooo" noise. It was somehow the right thing to do, dispelling any awkwardness and making it all funny, but I'll be damned if I know why the hell I did that, or why it worked.

The spot should be playing over the next few days on the Screensavers, so check it out...then you can judge for yourself.

Well, the set has arrived...we took some pictures of the whole process, but we're way too busy to get them up right now. In fact, I'm headed over to the TechTV studios to do a commentary piece and plug the show if you are watching TechTV around 7:48 EST, you should see my smiling face on The Screensavers.

I don't know if I entirely agree with this author on the flacidness of fiction, but he makes some very interesting points in this Seattle Times article on the lure of the real in today's culture and how the role of the memoir could be replacing the novel as a way of the culture responding to feelings of alienation.

On the other hand, I loved this episode of THE SIMPSONS.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Crashed computer boots local man into jail: owner takes out frustration with a sledgehammer

There, but for the grace of God, go many of us.

Our friends over at Page Six in the New York Post offer this tidbit:

NUTSO actor Billy Bob Thornton wants to wipe the endangered komodo dragon off the face of the earth. "More than anything on this earth, more than any being that exists, they are the creature that represents evil," he says. The "Monster's Ball" star once woke up his wife Angelina Jolie in the middle of the night and insisted they go to a hotel because he'd dreamed their house was infested with the reptiles. "If it were up to me, I'd just go to that island and kill them all," he tells the London Daily Telegraph. "I would just . . . shoot those sons of bitches."

Is it me, or does some rule exist that dictates that Billy Bob and Angelina need to be in the press every 15 days, even if it means suddenly condemning the Komodo Dragon?

I would pay hard cash to see the movie about Thornton going to that island and killing those dragons, but only if they called it, "Billy Bob's Island Dragon-Killing Adventure."

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Runthrough went very well last night. I was in the Cherry Lane, and I spent a lot of the run experimenting with levels and acoustics...the theater has great sound, and I found I can pitch my voice down to conversational whispering and still reach everyone. It's a great tool, but all the experimenting and variance took some of the tension out of the run--it ran sharp, and the moments landed, but it didn't have the right frisson of hyperness and precision that makes it really sing. These are things I'm happy to work out before previews start, and the show is showing the right combination of strength and flexibility...I'm suspecting it will continue to evolve as it always has, changing every performance. Playing without a script is a little like doing tightrope without a net, and while the penalties for failure are very high, the extra danger pays itself off in discoveries and increased alertness. Once you try it, it's hard to go back.

This is on my mind because I ran into a guy last night after the show who asked if any of the show was "real." I thought he maybe didn't believe something specific, but it turns out upon questioning that he just assumed I was an "actor" and made the whole thing up. I told him no, I do shows about my own life. He was shocked to discover my name really was Michael Daisey, that I did work at Amazon, etc. He still couldn't believe that the show had no script, and asked to look at the outline, which I normally feel shy about but I was so thrown by his disbelief that I showed it to him. He said, "This is written all crazy!" and I explained that it's just talking points, and that the show evolves and changes, etc. More than anything he couldn't believe it turned out it was real. I think I blew his mind.

Across my sleepy street this morning a film crew is setting up to immortalize something at the church across our street. I am still amazed at the amount of filming I encounter in New York...I bet it is even more prevalent in LA, but the density of NYC means you run into it daily. I wonder what they're filming?

Friday, April 05, 2002

For those who think that the dot-com age was bereft of any upside (and depending on the day of the week I often feel the same) this story of Thomas Edison's Menlo Park details stories of 100 hour work weeks and employees sleeping ON their habits eerily familiar to those who lived in the bubble. I wish I had been inventing batteries and phonographs instead of selling books and lawnmowers. but I guess we can't always get what we want, can we?

I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the roles that investors played, and how their unwillingness to extend research and innovation led to headbutting with Edison's group...the oldest story of the dot-com era is, in fact, the oldest story of technology itself.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Fantastic work today...the show is suddenly coming together, like any show does, in a rush and flurry in the last possible moments. It's strange to have worked on a theatrical piece for over a year--I've never had that opportunity in the past, and never imagined how valuable it could be. I feel like I've been learning in Amazon time, as though I've had 9 years of training and practice in the worlds of producing, for-profit theater, Broadway shenanigans and stagecraft. Even should it all go south and I need to perform my next show in a rented shoebox I am incredibly happy at what I've already taken away from the journey.

Tonight I ran the show again and again for tightening and pacing, and it was wonderful to know it so intimately...and it's scary to know a work so well that you have no excuses: at the end of the day, if it fails, I will definitely be the one to blame and it won't be through lack of effort. Still, there's a certain maturity and comfort in taking your shot, and tonight is the first time that I'm feeling really confident in our choices, and can get a full view of the work that Jean-Michele, Dan and I have put in over the last eight weeks.

I can't wait to get this up on stage.

God bless the Japanese. Now they have brought us abeer glass that knows when it is empty and sends a radio signal to the waiter so you will instantly have more beer. And people doubted the benefits of technology! Ha!

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Got up early this morning, which has been wonderful...I'm having one of those mornings where I resolve to always get up early, have great mental health, keep up a chipper attitude and pay all my bills on time. I'm old enough now to know this can't last, but it's a great delusion to have.

In the small park near my house people were doing tai chi, and as I went to get my morning coffee I watched them both coming and going. I took a tai chi class in college, and it is one of those things that I remember with great fondness. At the time I took the class I thought that if I funneled positive energy into my life I would be able to lose weight, look great and attain a state of inner peace. I soon discovered that my habit of drinking and talking late into the night before going to tai chi at 7:30am made this an impossibility...instead tai chi became this horrific ordeal that I missed more often than I attended, and I can't even remember if I received credit for going.

Despite these setbacks, I guess I'm naive or idealistic enough to continue to believe in mornings, at least every once in a while, and I'm actually *writing* this morning, which is especially rare...and terribly necessary, as I have a long rehearsal all day where we are integrating the last sections of 21DY and working on honing some moments in the second half. I'd better cut this short so that I can get back to that, as if I'm late my directors will have my head on a stick.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

My friend Glenn, who also did his time at (though earlier than I did) wrote me today to call me out on the carpet:

Your ad in the NY Times (quite nice!) states, "His non-disclosure agreement has expired!" I'm going to sue you for false advertising. You know perfectly well, as I have beaten you over the head about it for months and months, that your NDA *did not expire*. Your NON-COMPETE expired. Your NDA is in effect forever. Read it. It never expires. Never never never. Never.

You're not doing a show about the business details and relationships underlying, but about the culture. You were never prohibited from talking about that even while you worked there (although the company could have fired you, but they couldn't have sued you).

Stop the lies!

And break a leg.

Glenn is absolutely, unequivocably correct. It is, in fact, more creepy to know that the NDA never expires, ever, even after my own was indeed only my non-compete portion which expired, and since does not use any proprietary trade secrets stolen from Amazon in its operating, I would seem to be safe.

Glenn's evocative alternative is that we say, "His non-disclosure is in full effect, and he still tells all!" I have to admit, that's pretty catchy as well--if only we could have afforded to bring him onboard for online sales and viral marketing in this campaign. That would have rocked.

Monday, April 01, 2002

The good folks over at Netslaves found an excerpt from an uncorrected proof of Phillip (Pud) Kaplan's new opus, F'd Companies. I am staggered by its wit and whimsy, and look forward to more works from Mr. Pud in the future just like this one.