Wednesday, April 30, 2014

'Cause 99 miles per hour, baby, is how fast I like to go.

Ladies and gentlemen ... 49 Playlist for 49 Years.

2014 Playlist
Happy * - Pharrell Williams
Wut - Le1f
The Walker - Fitz & The Tantrums
Turn Down For What - DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Do What U Want - Lady Gaga ft. R. Kelly
Talk Dirty - Jason Detulo ft. 2 Chainz
Animals - Martin Garrix
Harlem - New Politics
#SELFIE - The Chainsmokers

Oh! Miss Stephani ... that one was nasty.

Temperature: 52°
Climate: rain
Distance: 4 miles

All right, goal met and made. All forty-nine playlists completed within the first third (hey, whut?) of the year. That's right. We made it through the Polar Vortex and the year is only one-third spent. Last night I though the house was going to get blown apart, but hey. At least the grass is growing ... and growing ... and growing ...

Regardless, we made it through. Time to enjoy the good running weather while it is good.

Interesting factoid ... 49 Playlists Median Temperature: 39°

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A half a million thoughts are flowing through my mind.

Sporting my CLE 2012 T-shirt today, the girl remarked that she is in this for the shirts.

Girl On The Run
Temperature: 45°
Distance: 2 miles (running & walking)

The big issue right now is cramping. She, like most people, gets stitches when she runs. She takes it very hard. I told her the same thing I have told several of my adult friends, the challenge in running is not strength training, it's not your muscles or your weight. It's breathing.

She says she breathes all the time, she is breathing heavily when she plays soccer. I tell her it's not the same thing, and try to explain why, but she is too disappointed to listen. Maybe she's listening anyway. But we need to work on breath, that's all there is to it.

Temperature: 54°
Distance: 4 miles

2004 Playlist
Based upon "Bolero" - Jazzelicious
Call On Me (Eric Prydz vs. R------- Funk Mix) - Eric Prydz
L-L-Love - Astaire
Everyone Is Someone In L.A. - Felix da Housecat
Short Skirts - Felix da Housecat
40 Ft - Franz Ferdinand
Lebanese Blonde - Thievery Corporation
In The Waiting Line - Zero 7

Best. Summer. Ever.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This is my road to my redemption.

Twenty years ago, one life ended, another began. On the surface, this departure may be obvious. It may appear facile to suggest that the sudden and complete collapse of a five-year relationship and recent first marriage represents the end of a "life" or that my current "life" is defined by the commencement of my relationship with the woman with whom I became romantically involved at that same time.

In fact, the loss of our first child in 2001 marked a much more significant change in my sense of self, redefined entirely what I feel is important or where my concentration truly belongs.

And yet. The near-nervous breakdown I had in early Spring was before my relationship with Toni began, and though that set the stage for what was to follow, I will not concede our "hooking up" to be the catalyst for the lines I was about to cross, in my personal relationships or in what at that point had most defined my professional and artistic career, Guerrilla Theater Company.

By the end of 1994, I was unsure as to whether I had a single friend in the world apart from her, nor exactly who I was going to be for the rest of my life. I had spent my life following people. I resented them for it, but that is where I chose to be, it is what I was used to. From that point on I began my uncertain attempt to take control, and to lead.

Lucky for me, I found someone who believes in me. Or more to the point, who I believe believes in me.

Temperature: 50°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Remember: Do not run on an empty stomach.
The air is moist before the dawn. The inferno on the horizon racing me towards home. Pam pam pam my feet hit the pavement pam pam pam. Pick ‘em up, put ‘em down, pam pam pam. Pam pam pam! PAM PAM WHOOSH! Light as a feather, heading for home, my toes barely touch the street, worry and fear and shame and doubt have brought me to this place, devoid of mass. Light as a feather, I fly home.
- from And Then You Die (How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years)
I began starving myself around Memorial Day, 1994 - and running. I ran further than I ever had before, not even sure where I was going, uneducated on these neighborhood streets, from the house we had moved into seven or eight months earlier.

Carrying a Walkman, like a brick, in my hand, I would run for an hour, listening to The Downward Spiral.

Amplified Heart was released July 19, the week Toni and I fell for each other. We listened to this album over and over during a weekedn in NYC together in August. It is a powerful album, and a swan song for EBTG's light jazz of the 1980s and early 90s. Later I learned it was their first album after Ben Watt had almost died, so it was also a rebirth. From their 20s into their 30s, and presaging my own. Abandoning a facade of maturity, moving into true crisis, stripping affectation (see: 1992's Worldwide) embracing true adulthood, but also the joy of ever-present now.

1994 Playlist
- or -
"Amplified Heart" by Everything But the Girl
Troubled Mind
I Don't Understand Anything
Walking To You
Get Me
We Walk The Same Line

Friday, April 25, 2014

Love is on the run. Wish you were here.

Last night we ventured into the swanky murk of the Katz Bar to join friends and new friends for a journey into aromatic, vaporous fluids. I am not a connoisseur of spirits, but occasionally I am aware I am in the presence of greatness, and even though we were there with them only a brief while, I was staggered by the potency of what I had taken in.

Then we went home and had the best and biggest fucking artichoke my wife has ever prepared. That's not a metaphor, I am talking about artichokes.

This morning I found it very difficult to happily make it conscious. Time to sweat it out. Tonight we retrieve our children, and I am looking forward to that.

Temperature: 54°
Distance: 5.15 miles

Smoothie: Yogurt (plain), banana, oats, honey, carrot ... and ice cream.

1984 Playlist
You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) - Joe Jackson
Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
Wish (The Lads Were Here) - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Me Ship Came In! - The Style Council
William, It Was Really Nothing - The Smiths
Cue Fanfare - Prefab Sprout
Fascination - Everything But the Girl
World Shut Your Mouth - Julian Cope
Rock Me Tonight - Billy Squier
Skankin' To The Beat - Fishbone
Cherry Bomb - Joan Jett
To France - Mike Oldfield

Look at this. It's worthless - ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless. - Dr. René Emile Belloq

Like pop music from 1984.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

You'll take an inch but you'd love a mile.

Chilly, brisk, pre-work morning run, or wait until this afternoon when I may or may not be in the mood or have the time when it is in the mid-to-high fifties?

That's right.

Temperature: 32°
Distance: 3.25 miles

The past two evenings, some colleagues and I have been staging a private performance in a home somewhere in Cleveland. They have been late nights (for mid-week) making for some challenging mornings ... but there are no kids here this week. They are still with their grandparents in Athens.

The days are much longer without children. More time to get things done. More time to think, I wish there were kids around here.

1974 Playlist
Jackie Blue - Ozark Mountain Daredevils
O My Soul - Big Star
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Lilywhite Lilith - Genesis
Loose Booty - Sly & The Family Stone
Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5
It's Only Rock N' Roll (But I Like It) - The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I know it's growing strong.

No kids in the house, no lunches to be packed nor breakfast to be served.  Time for a morning run.
Temperature: 60°
Distance: 2 miles
Climate: cool, rainy & damp

"I'm gonna finish this race on my hands and knees if I have to."
- Kathrine Switzer

Sorry, I have already played the 1967 playlist this year ... so in honor of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to (officially) run the Boston Marathon (1967) how about this:

1969 Playlist
Come and Get It - Badfinger
Sour Milk Sea - Jackie Lomax
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Ain't That Cute - Doris Troy
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
Friendship Train - Gladys Knight and the Pips

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

Morning after run for the girl, last night after pushing it out for three miles, she collapsed a bit. Had a few complaints in one knee, one foot. After a lot of recent drama regarding her new running shoes, she has picked up a pair of her mother's old shoes and is very happy to be running in those.

Her feet are currently the size of her mother's, and unfortunately for my wife that will not last. I am sure Toni was looking forward to "borrowing" her adult daughter's shoes.

Today the girl wanted to make two miles, but in the end ran three-quarters, walked a quarter, ran a quarter, walked a half, and ran the rest of the way. You do, as they say, the math. A perfectly acceptable "day after" run for a young person training for a race.

Girl On The Run
Temperature: 65°
Distance: 2 miles (running & walking)

Goals are important.

I had hoped to complete forty-nine runs by the end of April, that's why I do the annual Playlists thing, it keeps me running during the challenging winter months.

However, I ran last week, yesterday and today without making progress on the playlists -- for the girl. And I think those count, too.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Let the saints appear.

Girl On The Run
Temperature: 74°
Distance: 3 miles

One dream ends, another begins. The girl was on the fence about whether or not to join me on the Hocking bike path, but decided to. A mile and a half out, a mile and a half back. Only time to stop and breathe for thirty seconds in the middle.

This was my first time giving my daughter the nickel tour of my college memories of South Green. She was a very attentive listener, occupied as she was with respiration.

It was hot, the sun was high. She was breathing hard and steady, but she did it. First time for everything, now she's on the couch with an ice pack on her forehead. I think she'll be okay.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I cross the street, take a right.

On your left. 
Etiquette for Runners: Passing. Alert pedestrians when you are passing them – don’t assume they are aware of their surroundings. A simple “on your left” warning will suffice. - Road Runners
And yet ... when? Is it necessary to holler from half a block away? I find that if I speak up too close to the person I am passing, I scare the crap out of them. Then there are those who are listening to headphones, who do not hear me anyway. Also, those who weave down the sidewalk, be they addled, elderly, or douchebag. May I pass on the right, or must I pass on the left regardless, even if it puts me into a hedge?

However, it wasn't until seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier today that I became truly confident of exactly what to say. It always came out, runner on your left or passing on your left. From now on it's ON YOUR LEFT. I said that three times tonight.

Those who know me are aware I am probably on your left already.

Footskills Run

Temperature: 61°
Distance: 4.75 miles

Dropped the kids at Friday evening soccer practice and went for a hard run around the Heights. Meanwhile, these new supporters are horrible, I will make note to rat them out to everyone. I thought they would soften up, but seriously. It's like sandpaper.

1999 Playlist
Five Fathoms (Kevin Yost Everything And A Groove Mix) - Everything But the Girl
Hyperactive - The Donnas
Accepting Application at University - Lilys
Big Pimpin - Jay-Z ft. UGK
The Future of the Future (Stay Gold) - Everything But the Girl w/Deep Dish
A Tab for the Holiday - Lily
Honey - Moby
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer
Steal My Sunshine - Len
Leo Ryan (Our Pharoah's Slave) - Lilys

Great gift idea.
Daddy got a birthday coming up.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A billion feet sound just like a billion drums.

The boy had soccer practice, so I suited up and went running, rather than just heading to a coffee shop shop and binging on Facebook.  This was my first Shaker Lakes Run, something some of friends have the opportunity to do all the time ... though I think I prefer the traffic in my neighborhood.

Still, running next to a body of water, even a small one, is a great way to get your head away from the city.

Shaker Lakes Run
Temperature: 64°
Distance: 4.5 miles

Everything that happened in 1989 happened a quarter century ago, and that's all I am going to say about that, except I have been wrong about many things, but I was right about the Beastie Boys.

1989 Playlist
Dry County - The B-52's
The Sensual World - Kate Bush
Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over) - Technotronic ft. Felly
Across This Antheap - XTC
Sin (Dub) - Nine Inch Nails
Shake Your Rump - Beastie Boys
Pet Semetary - The Ramones 
King For a Day - XTC
Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Hathaway Brown 5K

2014 Hathaway Brown 5K
Start: 9:00 am
Official time: 22:16.4
Place overall: 24
Men 45 to 49: 3rd Place

A good morning to run a 5K, cool and bright. Maybe if I had actually had something like a breakfast I would not have felt as weak as I did or perhaps I would have placed better -- but this was an improvement on my last 5K, last summer.

Observation: The Doppler Effect makes the song "Happy" sound really unhappy.

The girl and I will run a 5K in a little over a month, for Girls On The Run. She wanted to see how well and how fast she could a one-mile today, and so stuck to the "fun" run. She came in second overall, with a neat 6 minute mile! Not bad considering how many crying children she had to get around to break out of the pack, who were instructed to stick to the sidewalk.

I wasn't sure how the boy would do. I stayed a few steps behind him and to my surprise he never stopped. He was beat by the time we finished (see photo above) but in a brisk 6:42 and I am very proud of him.

After, we ate way too many pancakes.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

While my blood’s still flowing.

Calves, shins and ankles very stiff and sore this morning. Hobbling around the house, making coffee and toasting bagels . No doubt the past two days I have been charging a bit too much, high bpm, going fast, lifting my toes.

Boy Bike Run
Temperature: 70°

Distance: 2 miles

Just on my way out to enjoy this amazing afternoon, the boy asked if he couldn’t ride alongside me. This does not make for a good run, as it involves running, slower, more carefully, fretting about him not pitching off his bike, and all the necessary walking up the hilly parts.

Of course, I said yes. Because that’s where the father-son talk happens.

Distance: 3 miles

Sweaty, humid, new scene idea for the children’s script, thought of a great bit for the private performance - because this is where the thinking happens.

2009 Playlist

Help I’m Alive - Metric
Hi Friend! - deadmau5 ft. MC Flipside
Pick Up The Phone - Dragonette
When Love Takes Over - David Guetta ft. Kelly Rowland
Rude Boy * - Rihanna

Good Lord, I signed up for a race for tomorrow. Totally slipped my mind.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Now is all we get.


Out into the world. This afternoon a former actor-teacher and I met for Dynomite burgers on Star Plaza. Just as the weather breaks Playhouse Square, the neighborhood where I work is being festooned in preparation for a huge celebration.

Some colleagues of mine and I are preparing a special performance event, I am flipping between several rehearsals. Tomorrow I have events to attend at the Hanna, my folks and my brother’s in-laws are going to see As You Like It tomorrow afternoon, I have to be there to represent the company in a few capacities.

Sometimes I feel so tethered to me social media, like I can’t go two minutes without checking my email or Facebook, and yet there I also am, with the wife, watching soccer practice and talking to fellow parents.

Tonight a run, because who knows if I will get a chance tomorrow, I will be so away from here and busy. It is a goal to wrap up 49 Playlists by the end of April, and that will take commitment.

Speaking of which, I have decided never to run the same marathon twice. How many do I have left? So NYC and CLE are out. But there are many others and I may have chosen one.

Temperature: 54°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Oh, how I have missed a cool nighttime run! However, that is as close to a live possum as I ever want to be, ever again, ever ever never.

1979 Playlist
It’s Different For Girls - Joe Jackson
Ready for the ‘80s - Village People
Bad Girls - Donna Summer
Voulez Vous - ABBA
Planet Claire - The B-52’s
Plastic Passion - The Cure
Tusk - Fleetwood Mac

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My temperature is rising.

Hide the kids, time for:
Free-Love Cleveland's Easter Egg Hunt

This morning I sat out on the front step with the girl, waiting for her bus. I tried to picture the familiar frozen landscape of just two months ago, the heaping mounds of never-melting snow, the crisp, crystal, almost deadly stillness of the air. The memory so recent and so vivid, but impossible to believe it did not happen on some other planet. 

Temperature: 70°
Distance: 5.15 miles

Warm, hot. Fast and loose. But damn, every direction I turned, wind. Felt much further than five miles.

1995 Playlist
Just a Girl - No Doubt
I Don't Wanna Grow Up - The Ramones
The Last Polka - Ben Folds Five
Ball of Confusion - Duran Duran
Scream - Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
White Lines - Duran Duran
The Tra La La Song (One Banana Two Banana) - Liz Phair w/Material Issue
California Love - Tupac ft. Dr. Dre
Stutter - Elastica
Statue of Liberty - Joe Jackson
Brain Stew - Green Day

Gen X father skateboarding up Boynton. This is my neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I feel good.

Sunshiny day, hard to believe it's lower than fifty. After tomorrow we are supposed to be in full spring. Fascinating day, this morning I was a judge for one writing competition, this evening for a completely different playwriting competition. Dinnertime run, and then I will be out of here. I enjoy this life.

Temperature: 48°
Distance: 3.25 miles

1975 Playlist
Journey of the Sorcerer - The Eagles*
Tush - ZZ Top
Stand By Me - John Lennon
Life is a Minestrone - 10cc
Death On Two Legs - Queen
Young Americans - David Bowie
I'm Not In Love - 10cc

* Suprisingly decent running song. Most excellent bpm, even better when the record gets to the good bit.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Work it out.

Spring has sprung, and not a moment too soon, so has As You Like It at Great Lakes Theater.

Full disclosure: I work for Great Lakes. But I will also mention that I have developed serious attitude about As You Like It. It is such a popular piece of work, and is performed so often, that in spite of my being, in a word, sick of this play, I have now seen it eight times.

Eight times. Second only to the number of times I have seen Hamlet - and I will travel to see Hamlet. I will watch it on TV.

You can read a full account of my numerous opportunities to see As You Like It here. But now, allow me to enumerate just a few of the many reasons that the current production at Great Lakes is the best production of As You Like It I have ever seen (apologies to all other productions, you were all very pretty):
  1. Director Edward Morgan has created dramatic tension which provides context for the behavior of the villains. For example, Orlando is usually just this handsome, put-upon guy. As performed by Torsten Johnson (who is very attractive, with or without a shirt) his bitterness towards his oppressive brother Oliver manifests itself in actual menace. He is a capable, strong, motivated individual. No wonder Oliver feels threatened. This is just one example where Morgan has made a surprising discovery that illuminates and expands on the text.
  2. Touchstone is really difficult. First off, he makes jokes which probably played very well for Shakespeare’s audience, but in the mouth of a modern actor don’t make any sense. He must be a true comedian - he can’t just say funny things, he has to say things funny. Also, he’s kind of an asshole, whining about everything, and expressing contempt for everyone. Dustin Tucker embraces all of Touchstone’s flaws unapologetically, but also never stops playing for the crowd, like a true clown. He is brash and unafraid and totally sells the mustard bit. He also does a nifty two-step.
  3. David Anthony Smith as Jaques, performing the Seven Ages of Man. Enough said.
The entire company is solid, the Industrial Era time period working for the text instead of against it (Adam in the Union soldier uniform of his youth, for example, is very touching) I would strongly recommend this production to anyone, it’s just beautiful.

Temperature: 46°

Distance: 3.25 miles

2005 Playlist
DARE - Gorillaz
Touch the Sky - Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz ft. De La Soul
Pon de Replay - Rihanna
Badass - The Crystal Method
Marvo Ging - The Chemical Brothers
Tear You Apart - She Wants Revenge

Girl Run
Temperature: 50°
Distance: .85 mile

That was an unhappy run. Sometimes she asks to run, but then the process of putting on the shoes becomes an issue. I won't go into the details. It is enough to say I am not convinced it is the shoes, because I am sure this behavior doesn't manifest itself at GOTR. Sometimes it is about her feet, or her confidence in herself. She describes the feeling of being excited about going running, but then she suddenly feels like cold water has been thrown in her face and she doubts her resolve.

I though that an apt metaphor. Haven't we all felt like that?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Make it easy on yourself tonight.

Yes. A seventy-degree day came and went this week, and there was no time to run - none. Not from 5:30 AM to bed. Of course, by then it was blustery and miserable. The good news is that the girl went out that day on her own to run around the block. I regret being unable to join her.

Writing has been unsatisfactory, pretty much since I finished that last book. I am not sure what the two have to do with each other, but I do know that they do. What I can say is that writing continues, every morning, even when it is nonsense. And that is something I would truly miss, especially these days.

Meanwhile, my job has put me exactly in the right place at lunchtime to be near a young performer who has 1) the inability to pack a lunch and 2) no sense of thrift, who then invites me to join them at the fast-food place for lunch. This is what I get for supervising the program.

The portions afforded people at these places are unconscionable. The burritos at Chipotle are legendarily obscene (sure, the ingredients are of a higher quality, but there's too fucking much of it) and do not lend themselves to saving part for later. A glob of goo partially wrapped in shredded tin foil? Yeah, let me put that aside for later.

 I could throw half away but I have developed a Recession Era mentality that borders on greed. I paid for this, I must have it all.

I feel as though any physical gains (or losses) I have made in the past six months have just dropped away, as muscles slacken and the belly grows.

I am 175 pounds. I have been 175 pounds. I will always be 175 pounds. I love Big Brother.

Temperature 50°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Climate: not raining

A lot of rain today. The girl reports she got two laps in at GOTR before the deluge, but her coach cried, "WHO WILL RUN WITH ME IN THE RAIN?!" My girl and two of her friends were more than happy to join her. That's my girl.

1985 Playlist
It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back) - Eurythmics
? (Modern Industry) - Fishbone
Nemesis - Shriekback
Radioactive -The Firm
Jungle Love - The Time
Stop Dead - The Cure
I'm Your Man - Wham!

Wow. Breezy cool. Great music, youthful. Strong, not rushed. Sometimes I wonder why I ever feel like not doing this.