Monday, February 06, 2006

Long Ago

I'm sure you've noticed that peculiar mid-life slump in most blogs -- someone puts out enough interesting stuff to keep you casually hooked out of a) fraternal loyalty b) the promise of an occasional flame war c) genuine intrigue d) they have the most comprehensive buffet of hyperlinks you've found, which is handy because in this day and age I need someone else to do my mindless web-surfing e) they're pitching wholesale Snark by the "creative" "insertion" "of" "mocking" "quotation" ... "marks." Whatever. But suddenly ... it goes dark for a day. Then a week. Then a fiscal quarter. The life-support hyperlinks from virile blogs next door begin to vanish one by one. And finally, you see some hastily-assembled epitaph by the author -- always crafted with a flavor that's one part gratitude ("for my 'humble' readership of 18 pageloads a month") and ever twenty parts righteous abdication: "I'd love to continue feeding you digital tripe, but I now have far more important things to do."

Well, I'm not writing one of those right now. No, I have a lovely list of half-assed excuses which, combined, will yield perhaps 1.5 asses -- more than enough to explain the absence for anyone who cares. Everyone else may skip down a couple paragraphs for something resembling original content.
  1. Shortly after my vistit to NYC last November, my laptop started acting up on me. It would stay up late playing Woody Allen DVDs, ostensibly for its own amusement. It would catcall the sleek iBooks resting prone on the lap of some lovely coffeehouse misanthrope down the table from me at Tryst. It would audibly sneer at whatever I wrote and lacquer my words with protective air-quotes.* All without my permission! I can only blame those ten days in the Village. Adrift in the ample and infected wi-fi traffic of Manhatten, I fear, my poor laptop whored its country-mouse hard drive. I was told that my $300 protection policy didn't apply to software corruption. Luckily, a computer store was willing to charge me $300 to fix what was really wrong with my machine! How perfect is that? I sprung her from the ICU three weeks ago, only to experience the same meltdown. So after exchanging some angry words with the enterprising, cyber-snake-oil salesman who misdiagnosed it the first time, I passively surrendered my laptop to another repair shop for who-knows-how-long.
  2. I'm up to my third-eye in Hamlet homework. I would love to tell you all about it, but I think that would only discourage you from seeing it and prevent me from doing a decent job when it goes up. My girlfriend will ask me what I did today. I've said the same thing for the past two months:
    Darling. I could tell you about this pesky semicolon that seems to betray the entire axis of the story and then whip out arguments from Johnson, Kitteridge, Bloom, and Wilson to explain why this wayward typo took 6 hours to resolve ... or I could just say "I worked on Hamlet some more."
    My pre-rehearsal work on this play involves two equally-unbloggable adventures: text/punctuation analysis and some very basic (nay: remedial) body/voice reprogramming. I cherish my liberal arts education and I enjoy picking up vast swaths of expurgated literature piecemeal -- through five invigorating years' work "in the field" rather than three expensive years' work in grad school. But this is different. I'm less concerned with thematic or conceptual flourish (the sort of material that makes for dashing, incendiary blog entries) this time round. I'm more concerned with basic proficiency. Today, I fear the conceptual for its seductive Sith-like shortcuts; more often, these proprietary filters (He's Gay! He's God! He's Oedipus! He's a Locquacious Brat!) destroy more than they amplify. So it upsets me when the first question out of most people's mouth is: "Will you be wearing a codpiece? Or is it, like, you know, postmodern?" Yeah. I guess those are the only options.
  3. Pure Intimidation. I found this lively cohort of theatre bloggers -- all of which can be accessed on the well-pruned blogroll at Superfluities. I've started about three different posts in an attempt to join their debates at one point or another. They're all in the draft drawer now because the minute I come close to finishing a satisfactory post/comment/rebuttal, they're off to another topic. At this stage in my life, I'm too susceptible to idealism of any stripe -- whether it's George Hunka's passionately ascetic thanatophilia or Scott Walters's beauty = truth = beauty manifesto. I'm trying to be less trigger-happy in my posting and that means less posting, period. In-Yer-Face Theatre is the subject of the most recent discussion. If George, Allison, Scott, and Matthew Freeman are still on this topic by Wednesday, I might be able to interject before I vanish into rehearsals next week.
*Air-quotes. I've complained about incessant quotey-quote usage before. Here's a prediction. Remember when Microsoft Word had, at best, a shitty spell-check tool? Now the program purports to fix our grammer at the click of a button, right? Well, if the grammar check tool instantly elevates your prose to the veneer of Buckley-Chomsky ... don't you think there'll soon be a button labeled simply "Irony" or "pomo"**? Guess what THAT one would do!

**For the record, I use this term as an abbreviation first, not as some catchall invective for "postmodernism." I understand the term also refers to the native people of Northern California, so my apologies if there was some misunderstanding. Yes, I find the postmodern school to be insufferably self-absorbed and therefore it pains me to shed extra calories at the keyboard by typing the whole damn redundant, useless, inflated, hollow phrase again and again.


Scott Walters said...

Glad to have you back, even if only briefly. George and the gang seem to have decided to abandon the In-Yer-Face debate, but I'll probably flog it a while longer for want of a better idea. Please do join in!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to be among the first to congratulate you, Karl -- the Helen Hayes nomination for columbinus is well deserved! Here's to a great performance, and also to many more in the future.

Yours, Sara Cormeny,

hpmelon said...

Welcome back.

Glad to know that others are trigger shy when it comes to posting with Hunka, Freeman, Walters...etc. I enter the debate warily.

Also, I love hearing about your commitment to your actor homework. It surprises me how many shirk it when major intentions can change with a mere semicolon.