Just Giblets

My Friend, Tracy

5th July 2010
by Michael

My Friend, Tracy

Tracy Wright was the recipient of the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film’s “Career-so-Far” award in 2006. At that time, I was pretty familiar with her film and television career, and I did some research to fill out my knowledge about her theatre career. You can read my tribute honoring her acting career at the 13th Annual Awards page. But what I knew about Tracy Wright that night was a mere fraction of how I have come to know her in the three+ years since then. Three years ago she was a talented actor that I admired. I was in fact, in awe of her talent, so natural, so creative, so understated yet powerful. In the last three years she has added to her already impressive resume, adding starring roles in Reg Harkema’s MONKEY WARFARE, and Bruce McDonald’s TRIGGER, among others, but for me personally she has become something much more. She has become my friend.

It happened so fast. She was instantly warm, funny, engaging and fun to be with. She was self-deprecating but funny; experienced but down-to-earth; optimistic but at a career-crossroads. She worried. She laughed. She engaged. I felt so lucky to spend so much time with Tracy during her first visit to Boston, and when she returned soon after for MONKEY WARFARE’S stint at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, I felt even luckier. Then there were the couple of trips to the Toronto International Film Festival where we hung out and a final trip in the last month just to see her. Every single one of these visits brought me closer to this amazingly honest, direct, warm, engaging woman and enhanced the quality of my life.

I also learned, through her circle of friends, that she was loved. People loved Tracy, and it was easy to see why. In this way, her life touched so many, whether she was a wife, a long-time friend, an artistic collaborator, or someone she met a few years ago and only saw a handful of times. When we heard she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was without a moment’s hesitation that Scot and I decided we would travel to Toronto to visit her soon. We were fortunate enough to get there over Memorial Day weekend, and despite the fact that she’d just had surgery, we were able to see her several times. Our last visit was lovely and we were able to connect with her for a nice amount of time. She was in good spirits and as happy to see us as we were to see her. To hear of her passing just three weeks later filled me with sadness, and gratitude that I had been fortunate enough to know Tracy and to call her my friend.

Tracy, you are so loved, and you are so missed.

Tracy Wright

(This picture was taken by a friend of Daniel’s. I really love this shot. She is so beautiful and full of life.)

posted in Nonsense | at 8:01 am | 0 Comments
4th July 2010
by Michael

X-Men #57 Splash Page by Neal Adams featuring Lorna Dane

X-Men #57, 1969 by Neal Adams

Please excuse this splash page from X-Men #57 from 1969, drawn by Neal Adams, featuring Lorna Dane. It’s one of the very first comic books I ever remember reading, and I clearly remember it getting me very excited about comics. I’m posting this for Gail Simone, who asked for it.

posted in Nonsense | at 9:42 pm | 2 Comments
25th June 2010
by Scot

Update on the cat box

I tried the Pam idea a couple weeks ago and sure. It helped a bit, but you know what I discovered? What really helps is adding more litter to the box. I know: DUH. The more litter, the less likely the pee-ball will be to reach the bottom of the box and therefore stick.

I’ve come up with my own version of Boyle’s Law that I think demonstrates the reality of kitty litter buying:

pV = k

In Boyle’s Law, p means pressure of a gas, V means the volume of the gas, and k is the constant representing the relationship. Of course, k can also represent the relative temperature, because if the pressure increases and the volume remains the same, the temperature goes up. So, in essence, k represents temperature.

But if you consider kitty litter, the inverse relationship between (temperature and (pressure or volume)) in gasses also applies to relationship between the (environmental friendliness and (smelliness or weight)) of kitty litter.

pV = k

p represents the smelliness (pee-yoo!) of the litter, V represents the weight of the litter, and k represents the environmental friendliness factor. So let’s examine some common litters.

Traditional Clay Litter

5 * 5 lbs. = 25 EFV

Clumping Clay Litter

4 * 4 lbs. = 16 EFV

Silicon Crystals

1 * 2 lbs. – 2 EFV

Pine Litter

3 * 2 lbs. = 6 EFV

Swheat Scoop

2 * 4 lbs. = 8 EFV

Of course, there are lots of crazy factors like “tracking,” “covering of poop,” and “frequency of scooping”, but this is my subjective analysis of the different options. In the end, I’m happy with Swheat Scoop and shall continue using it for the meantime. If you have thoughts about the subject or my formula, please leave a comment. Heck, leave a comment regardless.

posted in Advertising, Crazy Ideas, Kitties, Products | at 6:41 pm | 3 Comments
8th June 2010
by Scot

Crazy Idea of the Week #1

Swheat Scoop LitterSo, today is “trash day”. Meaning, we gather the trash, put it out in barrels tonight and the city picks it up in the morning. Michael’s job is to gather all the little rubbish bins from the various rooms in our condo and mine is to clean the litter boxes. We have two, because we have two cats. One little one who is very persnickety about the cleanliness of her box, and one big one, Parker, who is on a diet but still lays cable like a doberman.

Like everyone in the 1990’s, I switched my (now deceased) cat Kitty Carlisle from plain clay litter, which needs to be changed in its entirety on a periodic basis, to clumping litter, which can (and should) be cleaned of waste regularly so the litter that remains can be used for a longer period of time. That was fine, but even the “flushable” stuff isn’t really flushable and it’s heavy. I mean, it’s still clay, right?

Then, a couple years before I met Michael, I discovered crystals! Wow, is that stuff great! It’s light, meaning you can carry two bags of it under one arm and that can last you a month if you have two cats. Well, not with finicky Gertrudis, but still, it super effective. It’s incredibly absorbent too. You can’t smell a thing unless one of the kitties just took a big dump and didn’t even try to cover it. A couple problems, though. All litter gets tracked through the house. No matter what the package says, it’s going to get everywhere, but you learn to live with it. Still, little crumbly bits of silica are much more unpleasant to step on than bits of clay. They crackle under shoes leaving a fine dust like salt. And in bare feet — ouch. The biggest problem, though, is the environment. Silica is what glass is made of, in essence. That shit don’t degrade. After a while I started to imagine landfills full of Pampers and my cat’s used litter.

So, what’s a kitty-daddy to do? After Kitty died and we adopted 23-pound, one-eyed, lovable Parker, we switched to pine litter on the advice of our first-floor neighbor Karin and renowned cartoon/writing genius Lynda Barry. Yeah, it smelled okay. And it was light too, like the silica. And sure, it is biodegradable! (But trust me, it’s not good for the compost, no matter what Karin tells you.) But you know what? That shit don’t clump. I felt back to square one with litter. You have to dump it all every week. And when it gets tracked, it gets tracked.

Lately, we’ve been using a litter called Swheat Scoop. It’s made of wheat, so yay! It’s biodegradable. It’s still pretty heavy to carry, but it masks the smell of cat waste, as long as Parker covers his dinosaur turds. And yes, it tracks, but no worse than first-generation clumping litter and doesn’t crumple into dust like crystals. Still, I’m pretty unsatisfied.

Why am I unsatisfied, you ask? Because when a cat pees in wheat, what happens? It clumps, yes. But it clumps in the way flour does. In fact, when I clean out a dirty Swheat Scoop litter box, it has the smell of bread dough made with cat pee — cause, that’s what it is! And when those glutens start to strand, what do you end up with? A sticky glob of cat pee and grain stuck fast to the bottom of your cat box. I had to buy a metal scoop to replace the plastic one in order to dig all the glop out.

Therefore, my crazy idea for this week is to spray the bottom of the cat box with non-stick cooking spray. Specifically, I used Pam Professional. Think about it. When you make bread, what’s the first thing you do with the dough? You put it in an oiled bowl and put it in a warm place. So, if my cats are spraying warm liquid on raw glutenous grains, shouldn’t I coat the surrounding container?

I have no idea if this crazy idea will work. But exactly one week from today is trash day, so I’ll let you know!

Update: Here’s what I found out.

posted in Advertising, Crazy Ideas, Kitties, Products | at 10:34 pm | 1 Comment
18th April 2010
by Scot

Promises, Promises

Promises, Promises was more delightful than I had imagined!

Going in, I was most scared for Sean Hayes, but dammit, the boy can sing! (He does mug a bit in the middle, but not all the way through.)

Kristen is miscast. She’s neither young enough nor vulnerable enough. But she sounds great!

“A House Is Not A Home” has no place in the musical and should not have been added, but “I Say A Little Prayer” is a nice way to give Kristin a big number early on and helps even out the ballad/uptempo balance for her.

The male dancers are great! Very athletic and joyful.

But the biggest surprise was Katie Finneran! She was my favorite part of Wonderfalls on TV, but damn. She steals the show in the first scene of Act II. She should get another Tony for this performance.

Finally, I’m very glad that no one wore pink and orange together. I was worried when I saw the show logo. That color combination nearly made me ill in the Sweet Charity revival.

P.S. I was so excited by the music that I had to go home and download two Jill O’Hara albums. She was the Fran in the original show and I have always dug her voice.

posted in Music, Musicals, New York, Theatre, TV, Whacky People | at 11:15 am | 0 Comments
15th January 2010
by Scot

Believe You Me

Just stop it. You can say that you believe any opinion:

  • “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” -Abraham Lincoln
  • “I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.” -Steve Martin
  • “I’ll ne’er believe a madman till I see his brains.” -William Shakespeare
  • “Despite everything, I believe that all men are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank
  • “I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.” -Kinky Friedman

You can even say you believe (or disbelieve) dubious or unproven facts:

  • “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “I believe that I was a dog in a past life. That’s the only thing that would explain why I like to snack on Purina Dog Chow.” -Dean Koontz
  • “I am not a lesbian and I am not a slut, and somehow I am going to make people believe me.” -Vanessa Williams
  • “Everytime a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there’s a a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.” -J.M. Barrie

But you can’t say you believe or disbelieve a documented fact. Consider this statement by Scott Brown, republican nominee for the vacant Massachusetts US Senate seat.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. States should be free to make their own laws in this area, so long as they reflect the people’s will as expressed through them directly, or as expressed through their elected representatives.

Guess what, Scott? If you are implicitly saying that you disbelieve that marriage is between two people of the same sex, you believe a lie. Because I’m married to a wonderful guy. There are people all over the globe whose spouses are the same sex they are. I really don’t give a flying fart what you believe.

Isn’t it funny how he avoids using the word “gay” or even “same-sex?” His implicit criticism of the judicial rule that denying same-sex partners marriage licenses is unconstitutional (as opposed to putting minority rights to a majority legislative vote) is really hateful too. Scott, you don’t get to reinterpret what our laws say — an accusation leveled at gay marriage supports frequently.

Now, prepare to lose on Tuesday.

posted in Homo, Massachusetts, Mean People, Politics, Quotes | at 11:51 am | 4 Comments
12th January 2010
by Scot

Another creepy visitor

The wildlife on our back porch has been pretty quiet since winter hit. None of those visitors I saw on Halloween. But this morning, I went out back to find this bird of prey enjoying his breakfast on a limb about five feet away from the deck. (And by breakfast, I mean another bird.)

A hawk with a bird in its talons

The beauty of nature... being eaten by a hawk.

And if you want to see the feathers fly, check this out. It’s HD, so go ahead and fill your screen.

7th January 2010
by Scot

Children Will Listen

Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to post a little kid cussing! And these two are adorable!

posted in Advertising, Computers, Kids Cussing | at 5:41 pm | 0 Comments
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