Wednesday, April 26, 2006


As of 3:15 this afternoon, I have resigned from my third job in 17 months. That's got to be worth some sort of weird recognition. Job 1 was a no-brainer. 10-12 hour days, piles of paperwork and no progress made it easy to leave. Job 2 was a short run. The work was pretty cut and dry. The supervisors were great. When Job 3 dropped out of the sky, Job 2 had to go. This most recent position was tailor-made for me. Everything I had majored in at college and grad-school prepared me for it.

Catholic High School Theatre Teacher!

I went to Catholic School and studied theatre, so why not? It wasn't an easy transition - my predecessor had been here for 15 years and his exit was messy. I had to prove myself to a lot of people. 10-12 hour days again were the norm. Round trip is 90 miles. But I made it through the season with a lot of help from students, parents and staff alike. This school is a really, really good place to work.

However fulfilling the job has been, I have missed out a lot on life at home. The past year has been a blur and I have been absent from a lot of my children's development. My wife has been more patient than I have deserved and now it is time to get back to the basics of "working to live". I think I've got that term down correctly.

The 4th job in 19 months begins in June. Pay is not great. I can walk to the building if I choose. I get to hang up funky posters in my office if I choose! I'll be working for the arts again. Most importantly - I've got another chance to get pack to parenting and "husbanding".

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cause Celeb

My wife and I have mostly differing tastes in entertainment. She likes the 3 Irish Tenors and I like counter-tenors (i.e. Martyn Jacques of The Tigerlillies). I love "Kenny vs. Spenny", she loves "Designed to Sell". The list goes on. What makes our marriage work are a small number of convergences in our preferences. We watch "The Office" and SNL together. We've even seen the Kids in the Hall live. Public Radio also unifies us. "Wait, Wait" and "Car Talk" we can both agree on. The hands down favorite, though, is any spoken essay by David Sedaris on "This American Life". I can't recall the first time I heard him speak. I started reading his books a few years ago, and now I'm hooked. My wife, who does not enjoy reading books, loves his written work. We even went so far as to interpret his work on stage (I directed "Santaland Diaries" and she delivered his piece on the "turd").

Last night, while vacationing in Florida, we finally had the opportunity to see Mr. Sedaris live. We were comped in at the performing arts center we both worked and met at several years ago. For those of you who have never seen him live, he essentially reads four to five selections from his published and soon to be published essays. Sedaris also read from a Princteton commencement address he has been working on, as well as snippets from some of his diary entries. It was a treat for the both of us, since all of the material he read was new to us.

As part of the complimentary package, we parked in the staff lot behind the theatre and had to walk past David Sedaris as he was smoking a cigarette before a round of book signing. I wanted badly to heap praise and thanks upon him for his body of work, but he's probably heard it all before. We stopped for a split second to address him. My wife said, "Good job!" and we both thanked him for the show. Then we left.

I guess it is nearly impossible to say something memorable to a celebrity under such circumstances, unless you say, "I want to wear your skin as a suit." or something provacative like that. When I've met entertainers that I've truly admired, I've usully found myself saying little more than a "thank you". What follows is my top ten list of celebrities I have seen:

1. Carol Burnett - While working at the arts center mentioned above, I volunteered to hold microphones in her show during a Q and A. Met her after the show.
2. Lee Majors - Waiting to see Ms. Burnett after her show.
3. Mikhail Baryshnikov - Got to hand him a fax backstage before his show. Small fella.
4. Ozzy Osbourne - Sold him and his entourage popcorn and soda at a cinema in 1989.
5. Richard Simmons - I was Technical Director for his appearance at Lucy Fest in Jamestown, New York a couple of years ago. The guy is exactly as he is on television.
6. Ben Stiller - Our paths crossed in an office bathroom when I worked as an extra on "There's Something About Mary". Another little fella. I was coming, he was going.
7. Matt Dillon - Another "Mary" bathroom encounter. I was changing, he was primping - in character.
8. Shirley Maclaine, Peter Boyle and the guy who played Mr. Bentley on "The Jeffersons" (I put them together because I saw them all in one afternoon in NYC. My Trifecta.
9. David Sedaris
10. Peter Cetera of "Chicago" - This is my personal favorite. I was in the Dallas airport, waiting for a connection, when I spotted him. I followed him for several minutes, because I wasn't sure it was him. Finally, I approached him in a store.

- Mr. Cetera?
- Yes?
- I'm a big fan of your work. Thank you for the music.
- You're welcome.

And that was it. Thing is, I'm not a big fan of his music. I just had to say something to justify my curiousity. My memoir will be titled, "The Day I Lied To Peter Cetera."

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Local News

I read a newspaper article yesterday about Katie Couric leaving NBC for CBS. It was published in the local paper of the city I work in which has a few network affiliates. A few passages into it, I realized that this was not an Associated Press piece, but one written for the paper by one of its own writers. There were a few paragraphs at the start of it detailing Couric's move. Then the rest of the story was dominated by quotes from Katie's "peers" about town at the various local news stations.

This type of journalism bugs me. A national story gets press in a smaller city only as a way to promote something locally. I'm behind running an AP article as well as an article showing the views of local newspeople. But when the focus becomes about how a national story affects a smaller area, I can't stand it. Why are these area broadcasters considered "peers"? To my knowledge, none of them have hosted a nationally broadcast morning magazine show. They do fine work, but they certainly aren't on the same level or even in the same genre as Couric.

I chalk it up to the "little city that wants to be big" syndrome. This happened a lot when I lived in South Florida in the mid to late nineties. When a sudden national story would hit (natural disaster, bombing, etc.), inevitably the local network affiliates would make the briefest mention of this headline, then immediately detail how it affected a local citizen who had the thinnest connection imaginable to the whole affair. It played out like 360 Degrees of Separation.

My personal favorite was when a Palm Beach affiliate, faced with leading off their broadcast with a national story (that all of the other stations were starting with), decided to postpone that until the news of a Shar Pei being mauled to death by another dog in a private kennel was related. I wish I could remember what the bigger story was, but I was so pissed off at the audacity of the station that it is now gone from my memory.

There is room enough for local and national news in our area broadcasts. Can't we just give them each their equal due?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


A colleague of mine came into my office moments ago with an attendance sheet in hand (I work at a high school). She opened our dialogue by saying "I don't want to seem nosy, but...". She directed my attention to one of my students who was marked absent on said sheet. In our school, if a student is absent, he/she may not participate in extracurricular activities for that day. In my particular activity, an absence could result in that entire activity shutting down for an evening. This student has no replacement or back up to fill in for him. There are 8 students who can't be replaced at this point.

Now, I have known this teacher for almost a year now and she has been incredibly supportive of the extracurricular activities I loom over. I believe she wants only the best for the school and her intent in showing me the attendance sheet was to help put out a fire (The student was tardy - fire extinguished). The paranoid part of me believed, from the moment she said the word nosy, that she was indeed being nosy! If she had wanted to be anything but, she would have sat back and let me check attendance for my activities students. There are over 80 students involved in my activity. Why is a teacher from outside of my department scanning the attendance sheet looking for these names?

In my heart of hearts, I know she was looking for one of the 8 names just in case. She's watching my back. But I don't want my back watched in this case. Am I out of line?

In the beginning...

I'm going to follow my wife's lead (she writes the Preppy Girl Guide) and post an explanation of my web name and blog title:

Size 15 is my shoe size.

Galoot is a nickname given to me by Dad.

The Hoot Page is something Mike Watt (Minutemen bass player) created for his own website. Hopefully he won't mind. Plus Hoot rhymes with Galoot.

There you go!