Sunday, November 06, 2005

Let's Turn Back on Forwards...

Is there anything on God's green, muddy earth more annoying than chain e-mails? Besides Paula Abdul's voice, that is? And Simon Cowell's--well, Simon Cowell?

I encounter these pre-fab messages every morning, but today was worse than most. I opened my e-mail to see literally dozens of e-mails with "FWD:" in the subject line. Sometimes they're really good jokes, which are fine. Because I like a good joke as much as anyone. But the ones I hate (and which I get the most) are those ones that are called something like "FWD: Fwd: fwd: Delete This If You're Ashamed" (a religious challenge even a moron could smell a mile off) or "FWD: Fwd: fwd: This Is Sweet--I'd Better Get It Back!" (Here's a tip: you won't get it back from me.)

What drives me crazy about these things is that they're not only full of preachy, holier-than-thou advice and judgement, but they're also spread with tired, stale platitudes thicker than the vile frosting on a store-bought cookie. Things like "It takes 48 muscles to frown, but only 20 to smile!" or "Every 60 seconds of anger is a minute of happiness wasted!" Such sentiments might have propped Ann Landers up during her entirely-too-long career of giving out no-brain advice on the obvious, but they aren't very compelling these days. You can practically hear the preface "My grandpappy used to say..." before these maxims, in much the same fashion that we say " bed" after a fortune cookie reading.

And let's not even get started on the ones that say "FWD: Please help. My daughter is missing." It's always from someone whose 12-year-old daughter disappeared from the Karmel Korn shop in a mall or something. And it's always the same picture, since 1997. I'm sorry, but that girl is at least 20 years old by now. And if she doesn't want to come home, she doesn't have to. Just hope that when she does come home, she doesn't turn up with a grandchild she expects you to babysit!

Now, I can hear you saying, "Why don't you just delete them?"

That's all very well and good, but if you happen to be away from your e-mail for only one day, you'll have 100 of these little bastards. It takes forever to slash and burn all of them. Besides, it takes 50 muscles to delete an e-mail, but only 5 to...oh, never mind.

Have a stress-free day...!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Through the dark, passively...

This entire week has gone by in something of a fog--everything moving so fast, and me just trying to keep up without straining something. At last, it's over! For now...

Wow, I've been a bad, bad blogger! I was in the middle of writing an entry last Saturday, but my mom called to let me know she was a few blocks away from my house, so I went down to let her in. Of course I forgot to save my draft...

My mom and Pam, a friend of ours, had come to see the Hell In A Handbag Productions Fall show, "The Twilight Gallery," which ran during October. The episodes (3 on Friday, 3 on Saturday) were send-ups of the Rod Serling shows of the '60s and early '70s. Everybody whose script was accepted picked really fun episodes to adapt.

Except me.

I chose a "Night Gallery" episode called "The Escape Route," which starred Richard Kiley as a former Nazi who was hiding in Buenos Aires, and Norma Crane as a German ex-pat hooker living next door to him in a flophouse. I realized that Nazis just aren't that funny, and this was a dark episode, so instead I made him a nasty New York theatre critic who wore out his welcome and ended up living on a Caribbean island. By chance, a few of his "victims" happened to be living on the same island, and of course, he ends up getting his comeuppance in a very unusual fashion. I called it "A Critical Juncture." I should have called it "A Complete Fucking Pain in the Ass."

The script was not a bad one, but it really needed lots of sight gags and "ha ha" moments to be entertaining. It was the Handbag talent that kept it from sinking like a lead balloon. I give them lots of credit--they are truly talented. This experience taught me that if and when I do this again, I shouldn't try to write something in 3 days without a good editor! I'm grateful to Handbag for the opportunity, though. And I'm grateful to James, Hilary, Ingrid, Rus and Trish (the cast) for making it as funny as it ended up being. Mom and Pam loved it, as did my friend Vivian from work, who came with her husband Rick and one of our colleagues, Nancy, who works as a freelance writer for some of our conference reports. I was sure it would offend people, but everyone seemed to like it. So maybe I was too hard on myself...

"Twilight Gallery" closed on Halloween night, and I decided to dress up (for the first time in 3 years). Of course, I was the only person in the theatre (except for the actors) who did so. I was sort of proud of my ingenuity, though (see picture--I'm afraid I blinked).

The rest of the week was hellish. I had a work conference out in Wheaton from Tuesday through Thursday, and came back to the office on Friday to play catch-up (which means answering people's questions so they can ignore me, forget and ask again next week).

I finally got back to the gym today. I haven't been in weeks. And it showed! I was shorter of breath than Bette Davis on oxygen...I feel better now, though. Now if I can just keep it up on a regular basis...