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Thursday, September 29, 2005

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: MY HEALTH
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 19:16:52 +1000
From: Cindy Shong


I always thought hemophilia was a hereditary thing. I didn't realize there was an acquired variety. I guess Dad is one in a million.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rice, Beans, Cheese, and Salsa ... it's a great food!

One day, I will make this lame little jingle famous with my rice, beans, cheese, and salsa international franchise.
Michael Brown is a terrible, terrible cunt. Just ... wow. I was listening to his speech before congressional investigators on NPR this morning, and both Matt and I broke out into yelling at his assertion that the Republican states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida had their act together better than blue Louisiana. My god. How can anyone be such a stupid pit of cunt?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Some things never change. The sky is always blue on a sunny day, potatoes are always better with salt, and Judging Amy always makes me cry. Afterwards, I'm always disgusted with myself for investing my emotion in a fucking schlocky chick program. Goddamn, I am so uncool.

I've had two odd dreams lately. Last week I dreamed that I was buying vanity plates for my dad but having terrible trouble filling out the form. Every time I tried to write "SHONG," the G would turn out looking too much like an A. I used some Wite-Out, but it disintegrated when I tried to write over it. I tried writing "SHONG" again in a wet red ink, then walked outside with the form into a dust storm which stuck to the ink and made it impossible to read.

Last night I dreamed ... holy crap, I have forgotten it. Damn. I remembered it when I woke up this morning and wanted to blog about it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sorry about the mess. Now that the Gamut website is up, apparently I am experiencing blog diarrhea.

I have to name my cello, but I haven't even figured out if it's a male or a female yet. And, yeah, I know I need to move my bow stroke closer to the bridge overall. Shhh, I'm working on it.

At Gamut over the past week or so, we have watched a really remarkable six-part series called Slings and Arrows. The last episode had me in tears (for the third or fourth time today, after the website launch and Hamlet rehearsal). Ahhh, I am too tired and fried to explain exactly why I love it so much, but it really made me remember why I quit medicine to pursue the hopeless dream of becoming an actor, and how good I feel about where I am right now, and how marvellous life is.

So, yes, I would recommend that everyone somehow find a copy of Slings and Arrows to view, especially if you're an actor with a Shakespearean company and you are fond of screaming with laughter and bawling your eyes out alternatively.

Maybe I'll name the cello Geoffrey. Or maybe not. I had a guinea pig named Geoff once.
When I was three or four years old, I read a series of picture books about anatomy which my mother and I found at the library. This was way back when my mother's sole purpose in life was brainwashing me to become a doctor. There was a book for every system in the body. My favorite was the digestive system because it wasn't uncomfortably rude like the reproductive system, but it was still rude.

It's strange how some things stick in your head. The book guided the intrepid reader through the mouth and the esophagus, down into the stomach and duodenum, through the meters of small intestine, the absurd-looking large intestine, and finally into the rectum. And one sentence in the book, after twenty-two years, still sticks in my mind.

"Life would be very difficult without the anal sphincter."

I was so confused by this sentence that I asked my mother why life would be difficult without the anal sphincter. She hypothesized that without a circular squeezing bottom muscle, we would have to cut our poo into chunks with a pair of scissors as it came out. Yes, I thought, life surely would be difficult if we had to manually cut our poo into chunks with a pair of scissors.

These things go through your head when you're three years old, and also when you haven't slept enough.

Of course, she's wrong. The real reason life would be difficult is that poo would leak out of your rectum all the time since there would be nothing sealing it in. Perhaps we'd all have to wear corks or something. I guess she didn't think of that.
look at it you goddamn bastards look at the goddamn website oh my christ it's so big truly I am a god humble yourself before me

If it doesn't work for you, your DNS sucks. Or maybe you need to reboot.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Haha, Angela my singing teacher is now reading my blog. Hi, Angela! :)
God fucking damn.

I am pissed off that I have enough common sense to realize I shouldn't go to the Nine Inch Nails show at Madison Square Garden on November 3 even though I am technically free that night.

The next day, I have a performance of Hamlet (in which I am playing Horatio, Ophelia, and Guildenstern) in the morning at ten o'clock, AND a full three-hour performance of Henry IV in the evening. Seeing a NIN show in NYC the night before attempting two arduous plays in one day would be really fucking retarded. Plus, the night before that is the Washington DC NIN show, which means I wouldn't even be able to put sleep in the bank to get through it.

So it looks like I can only go to the Washington DC show on November 2 (I have a kids show the next morning, but at least that's not two fucking Shakespeare productions in one day) and the Wilkes-Barre show on November 6 (we're going to have to book it up there after the Henry IV matinee). I'm also missing the Philly show because of a Henry IV performance.

I had an amazing talk last night at a pub with Tim, a friend of mine (I play Juliet to his Romeo at Seventh Sister). Turns out he's met the love of his life in Peru after a recent mindblowing trip to Cuzco and the surrounds. The similarities between his story and mine are amazing. I'm so happy for him! It's wonderful to speak to someone who's going through exactly the same things Matt and I went through - the worrying yet not worrying, the intense feeling of knowing that's it's the right thing to do, all the crazy decision making that needs to be done.

I mean, sure, it makes us somewhat less unique, but no less rare, I think.

The Gamut website is so close. I think I'm fixing up the domain transfer today, wahoo! There's still a few things that need to be futzed with, but I think it's ready to go live.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Popcorn Hat Players presents ...


The path to Grandma's house is no walk in the park!

September 21 through October 15
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 AM and Saturdays at 1:00 PM

Tickets are just $6.00 per person (child or adult)

Popcorn Hat Players is located on the third level of Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg.

Visit our website at or call the theatre at 717-238-4111 to make a reservation.

We're rotating the cast, so I'll be playing the role of Little Red on Sep 21, 22, 24, 28 and Oct 13, 15. Don't worry, I won't have to wear the blonde curly wig. Blonde looks very, very wrong on me.
I haven't written in a while because I have become completely obsessed with practicing my new cello and getting the bloody Gamut website complete so we can take the damn thing live and GET IT THE FUCK OUT OF MY HAIR. God, I just want it to be finished so it's there and no more questions and HUURURRRRRRRRRRHHHHH HOTSPUR SMAAAAASH.

I want to post a picture of me practicing my beautiful new cello, but every time I pick it up I forget about mundane things like taking photos for my blog.

Little Red Riding Hood opens this week! We're off-book for Hamlet on Friday. I'm now playing Justice Silence in addition to Hotspur in Henry IV, so when I'm dead and thus no longer indulging in rage-fueled rants, I'll be a drunk senile old man, which is awesome.

If I can just get this website up, I'll feel a million jillion bazillion times better. Most of what needs to be done is Matt territory - hooking up form scripts and secure credit card payments and such (which I refuse to learn how to do because Matt can do it, and besides, I figured out the basics of CSS what the fuck more do you want GAAAAAHHHH).

Oh, and in my spare time on Friday and Saturday, because I am the world's most idiot masochistic sucker, I designed a quicky site for Maria's online shop, Idle Hands. It didn't take very long, but I'm still an idiot for taking anyone on right now.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Apparently I'm on television - the Bobby Rahal Honda commercial in which I and assorted other Gamut folk appear is in rotation, though I haven't caught it yet.

I might pick up my new cello today, provided it's ready and I have time to go there over lunch.

Crazy busy. Crazy crazy busy. I'm finalizing the Gamut site, which is two weeks overdue mainly because of the retreat and London. On Tuesday I designed the Popcorn Hat part of the site - my first design for kids. I discovered during the design process that the general rule for kids pages is to take everything you know about design and taste and do exactly the opposite. Somehow that seems to work.

On the performing side, I've been cast as Hotspur in Henry IV. Little Red Riding Hood opens next week, and Hamlet rehearsals are in full swing. I'm back at cello and singing lessons after a bit of a break. On Thursday nights, I'm working in the studio on as many Smart Talk shows as I can fit into my rehearsal schedule. And I haven't even started looking at my Sociology textbook yet (the single HACC course I'm taking this semester, via the Internet).

There's all this other Gamut stuff that I haven't had time to work on during my work day for the past week - PR stuff and costume shop stuff. Again I find myself wishing I didn't need to sleep. My god, the things I could do with those wasted hours.


You know I love and thrive on the pressure; I just need to vent occasionally.

In other news, I have a bunch of new underpants, the first non-plain-black underpants I have bought in years. They have crazy designs on them - cats playing the guitar, anthropomorphic spiders, that sort of thing. Some of them even glow in the dark, as I discovered to my alarm (followed by delight) when I took off my clothes in the dark and crawled into bed the other night.

Maria laughs when I say 'underpants.'

Monday, September 12, 2005

All right, I went into the violin shop and put down a deposit on that cello I want. I'll be picking it up for real next Monday. Eek! I know I'm doing the right thing - that it's impossible for me to go to a proper music school with a cello that cost $80 on eBay - but every guiltometer in my mind goes haywire when I spend a bunch of money like that. Thank goodness PSECU is so willing to give me a loan at the drop of a hat. Wow, maybe one day they'll even give me a credit card with a limit greater than $400.

From Matt:
What was once a dirty, smokey practice room adorned with Slow Andy flyers, Tarantino posters, and a whole lot of Subway trash and empty Pepsi bottles is now a room with pink and purple striped walls, two pianos, and little piles of cat shit everywhere. Slow Andy have been kicked out of the room they've been practicing in for years and years and years.

While my drums sit in my basement and I try to eliminate the distinctly fetid odor of old cat urine from them, I need now a new place to practice with my band.

The ideal situation would be somewhere we can practice twice a week -- Wednesday and Sunday evenings. If it's something we can only occupy once a week, that's doable too.

If it were between York, Hanover, and Harrisburg, that'd be great, because the band is spread far across the land -- and a spot between those three megalopoli would probably not have neighbors who get upset.

Free would be awesome. $100 or less a month would be feasable.

I would love for it to be secure enough that I could leave the drumkit and the PA speakers and other annoying things there while we don't practice, without fear of vandalization or theft. It should also be impervious to the elements, and have electricity.

If you have this dream practice space, please let me know. Also, I want a million billion dollars.

Thanks for reading.

Goddamnit. Woke up this morning with a painfully immobile neck. I have no idea what caused it.

Also, my nose is running and my throat is itchy. It's pharmacy time.

In other news, last week I ordered a kit that will teach my cat to crap in the toilet. Yes, that's right, Tripoli is going to crap in the toilet. For the last three days, my mind has been obsessed with and boundlessly excited by this notion.

I also ordered a 2.5 kilogram tub of Vegemite. Yes, a whole fucking TUB of the stuff!! Clark and I are going to go halves. I also threw in a packet of Tim Tams so I can teach everyone at the theatre how to do the Tim Tam suck.

In other food news, I have found my favorite bread in America.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Day two of the trip to London is now up. Blecch.

You know what I hate? DVD regions. It kills me that we can't figure out how to permanently unlock the multiregion capability of our Cyberhome CH-DAV 415, yet we know that it can play other regions because if you repeatedly hit '1' on the remote as a foreign DVD is being inserted, it plays the last chapter on the DVD perfectly. Both of us spent a good hour of our anniversary night scouring the Internet for an effective unlock code to no avail. We had to bust out our old DVD player to watch Shaun of the Dead. Lame.

I wrote an e-mail to the Violin Shop, and Quince came back with a lower price of $3900 for cello, bow, and case. That's down $300 from the price he gave a few weeks ago. I don't know what to do. I'm going in there on Monday.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The first day of my trip is detailed below.

Today is Matt and my second wedding anniversary!
Me: The second anniversary is 'wood.'
Matt: Wood?
Me: Yeah. Wood. Heh. Hehehe. You got anything made of wood to give me, Matt? Huh?


1) Have you never experienced the divine?
I think everything is, in a way, divine, but there my definition of divine probably deviates from the norm. I think humanity is divine, but how can humanity be 'more than human'? I think happiness is divine, but so is pain. Sloth is as divine as boundless energy. Living is divine; death is divine. It's all greater than us, but we are also divine. There's probably a fat lady wearing tie-dyed cheesecloth in California reading this and nodding her head emphatically.

I think I can say I had never experienced the divine until I was 18 or 19. I caught glandular fever ('mono' to Americans) and was depressed for six months. A micro-organism made me shake off the emotional boundaries I had set for myself all my life. Isn't the thought that parasites can exert some control over your thoughts a little terrifying?

Divinity is also the thoughts flying between my head and Matt's head before we can give them wings.

2) What do you want them to say about you when you're gone?
That I did everything I could. That I looked life square in the face. That I inspired and was inspired. I only want them to say these things if they're true, though.

3) Why do adolescent girls stand with one foot perpendicular to the other, hips jaunty, and arms crossed?
It's the womb; it develops lop-sided during puberty, creating a twisted posture, then straightens out in the early twenties. Also, it makes their arses look all pert. Lovely, sweet, adolescent female arses. Wait, did I say that out loud?

4) List and describe three pieces of music that can make you cry.
1. The overture to Tristan und Isolde. This was, in fact, the first piece of music ever to make me cry from the sheer emotional power of it. The "tristan chord" was revolutionary to Western music, and Wagner was a fucking master at manipulating his audience by delaying or denying a resolving chord. But more than that, the overture is the most perfect musical representation of aching sexual hunger and lovemaking, and there are seven - count them! - seven simultaneous orgasms contained within. God.

2. Right Where It Belongs, by Nine Inch Nails. I listened to it a fair bit just after I heard about my father's cancer, and it touched a very cathartic nerve. It begins distorted and distant, but halfway through, it switches to a clear sound underscored with the roaring of a crowd. Somehow it makes you feel surrounded and alone at the same time, and the suddenness of it forces a kind of inner release.

3. One little duck went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
And none of the five little ducks came back.

I forgot this nursery rhyme for many years. One day I heard my mother singing it as she hung out the laundry, and I wept. I don't even know why. Something about the brevity and transient nature of life, maybe.

5) If I come down to Harrisburg this fall, can we, like, jam?
I would be pissed off if we didn't! And you must be coming down to Harrisburg, since you're playing my wife in Henry IV, huzzah!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hold a little longer on the London stories - Greg, Jill, Anita, Meathead, and Cliff are all in Harrisburg for Labor Day Weekend. Yes, that is me on City Island riding a Segway. All seven of us chipped in and rented one of them for an hour so we could try it out, zipping around Kipona (Sean: "It's Native American for 'really lame waterfront festival'"). The Segway is just as incredibly easy and fun to ride as they say; I would almost want one if I didn't feel like the world's biggest cheese-filled dorkroll.

And yes, we all proved rather soundly that we have better balance than the president.

If you're interested in a few pictures from London, here. Words to accompany them soon. Keep checking back and scrolling down.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I am home!

Leaving London with so much still unseen was a sad occasion, but I have never been so happy to be home again after a trip abroad. Pathetic as it may be, I would rather be bored in Harrisburg with Matt than living it up in London without him.

There is much to tell once I get over jetlag and sleep deprivation, which may or may not be one and the same. I will fill in some dates between this entry and the last one in the next 72 hours or so, and post many, many pictures. In the meantime, besides a serious lack of serotonin, I am dealing with a backlog of work and e-mails, a mound of laundry and housekeeping, and the fact that the city in which Matt and I fell in love looks like Dawn of the fucking Dead.