Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Yes, and...

"Yes, and" is a teaching tool for one of the basic improvisational theater techniques - repeat and agree. It's a way of keeping the scene going by not saying "no".

Like this:
You: The sky sure is orange today.
Me: Yes, the sky is orange - and there are a lot of pink elephants up there.
You: Yes, I noticed those pink elephants. And they're all flying west.
And so on. Building a picture in the audience's mind, one piece at a time. As a training aid, beginners are instructed to always use the words "Yes, and" as they build the scene.

Repeat and agree is essential to improv, because saying a flat "no" gives your partner nowhere to go and shuts down the creative flow:
You: The sky sure is orange today.
Me: Looks blue to me.
There are ways to say "no" in improv, of course, but that comes later. Eventually, the technique gets ingrained so you don't have to actually say "Yes, and". Like this:
You: The sky sure is orange today.
Me: Nice shade of orange. Goes well with all the pink elephants up there.
You: Sure does. Wonder why they're all flying west today?
Anyway, I wrote all of this beacuse someone over at Metafilter pointed to a website of improv resources, which is called And now you know why.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Arthur Dent, amateur actor

I have proof that Arthur Dent (the hapless protagonist in Douglas Adams' Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series) was an actor in community theater:
"Thursday. It must be Thursday", Arthur said. "I could never get the hang of Thursday".
My reasoning: The community theaters I've been involved with perform Thursday through Sunday. And the Thursday shows tend to have some of the more interesting mistakes, just because we haven't been in the theater for three days. Then we all remember how the show is Supposed To Be Done, and get it together for the weekend.

Last night was very Thursday. We had a forgiving audience who had fun anyway, but it was definitely Thursday.

So on Arthur Dent's long-gone alternate Earth, he was a part-time actor. I rest my case.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's Been Done: one in a series

2004: In London, the BBC is going to stage an opera, unnanounced, in an Underground station.

1998: In Berkeley, college students do a Disney musical number, unannounced, on the street.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Not your average debate

From last week's A Prairie Home Companion:

The first Presidential Blues Debate.

Real Audio or Script; listen if you can.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Please Come to Boston

As a person who reads Making Light daily (though I hardly ever comment), I have noticed an increasing tendency for people to post their Worldcon schedules. This is a useful thing - Worldcon is still big enough that it can be hard to find people.

So here's my Worldcon schedule:

I'll be very hard to find at Worldcon. I'm going the opposite direction that weekend: I will be in California providing technical, musical, moral and immoral support (as required) for a new CD being recorded by my girlfriend and friends. Details as they become available.

Perhaps next year in Seattle or - if all goes well - Glasgow.

What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?

While I was off learning my part of a show, Philip Agre was off answering an important question.

- Link via More Like This

Bumper Sticker du Jour:

Bush/Cheney 1984
War Is Peace

If I'd spend some time online, I'd find all of these witty bumper stickers: indeed, I have a small-scale side business selling witty buttons. But it's more fun seeing these on actual cars as I did today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Jerry Pournelle on office cleaning:
My routine involves getting a lot of boxes, and piling everything, including contents of book shelves, into those boxes. Eventually I have made some clean flat surfaces. I keep that up until it's all clean. Then I dust and use lemon oil. Then I begin unpacking the boxes: Deal with it if it needs action, or throw it away; or put it where it belongs. There is a"residual" box for stuff I don't know what to do with. When I am through most of the boxes I take the residual boxes and go through those. Eventually there will be one or more boxes of residuals that I really don't have much use for. I should throw them out, but what usually happens is they go back to a back room to age, and one day I come across that box and wonder why I kept any of that junk, and then it can go.
I must try that. Soon. Before the junk eats me alive.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

As The Candle Burns... both ends. Thus not much going on here in the Village.

It's tech and dress rehearsal week at Footloose, which means long nights, incoherent days, not enough sleep (though I reset the alarm to 7:00 from its usual 5:30[1]), and bad food. Thus very little web updating, no music editing or practice other than for the show, and I have exactly 1.5 brain cells left.

Ahh, show biz.

But the show is going well and once we open, my schedule will go from insane to merely overloaded.

I can hardly wait.

[1]: Not that I get up at 5:30 - the clock radio turns on and Bob Edwards Renee and Steve fill me with the day's news for an hour while I try to sleep. Then the radio shuts off, I realize I'm late and leap out of bed.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Secret Service: Defenders of the Currency

Or: Homeland Insecurity

It's ironic that there were three bank robberies in Davenport, Iowa yesterday while Kerry and the Shrub were there campaigning. We'll begin our coverage with this headline from WQAD TV, which has a map for those of you playing the home game.

Naturally, there was extra media coverage of those robberies.
Though security was heavy for the two campaign events, [Davenport Police Lt.] Gano said police met their normal patrol demands by working officers overtime.

"We did not shortchange the city with patrols," he said.
No, just with overworked police. WHBF TV asks the obvious question:
The question on everyone's mind: Did the robbers hit on Wednesday morning because they thought the police would be distracted by the political events in Davenport?

"That would be speculation on our part," said Sgt. McKee. "It is certainly ironic but I wouldn't want to speculate."
However opportunistic these robberies were, there's more:
Police don't know if these three bank robberies were connected with one another or if any of them are tied to the recent string of holdups but they say it's quite a coincidence that each of the robberies happened at approximately the same time.
- WHBF Channel 4 news
And that's fine. The police really aren't supposed to speculate in public. That's my job.
A string of robberies, several timed to the campaign stops. I'd say, except for the one that got caught yesterday, there are some fairly clever monkeys robbing banks in Davenport.

I won't deny the fact that Presidents and candidates need protection. But it goes too far, too often. Case in point: me. I work near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, and whenever Bush is around, there's a good chance I'll be one of many people stuck in a traffic jam. Bill Clinton immobilized half of the metro area on the spur of the moment once - he was here for something-or-other at Luke Air Force Base out on the West side of Phoenix. Luke can handle big planes, so Air Force One landed there. Barry Goldwater was in the hospital in central Phoenix. Clinton decided to drop in. Pandemonium as I-10 was closed with no warning at rush hour.

I think the next time I have to make a tough decision in a Presidential election (maybe next time), one of my factors, all else being equal, will be this: I'll vote for the candidate who will vacation farthest away from me.

Of course, if I have to choose a candidate on that basis, either a miracle or a disaster will have occurred.

A miracle: Either person can do the job, their differences are minor, and their advisors don't scare me. This is how I voted in 2000: Scariest advisors (Bush's keepers) lost my vote.

A disaster: Both teams scare and depress me. An igloo in the Yukon looks like a good place to live for a few years.

Anyway: Here's to the overworked police in Davenport. May you catch your bank robbers soon, and may you not be beset by politicians for years to come.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.

This appeared on LiveJournal a few days ago, and now is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

There was an overwhelming number of comments on that post.
I repost it here in an effort to share the load.

Note that I cannot forward comments and will close comments if necessary. See the comments at the end of the post.

After a dear friend of mine was raped a few weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about sexual violence and how you're not supposed to talk about it.

This friend of mine who was raped recently isn't the only person I know who has endured being raped and lived through the aftermath, just the most recent. She isn't the only person I know who has had to try to figure out how to glue the broken bowl of her life back together after having it shattered by sexual violence, praying that it'll still hold water when she's done.

As I have altogether too many times in the past when other friends have become victims of rape or other sex crimes, I have wondered what I can possibly do to make it better. But I also know I can't take it back or prevent it or even really make it easier. The best thing I can do is come out and let her know that she's not alone, that there are others of us out here, that she can make it through, because I'm a rape survivor, and we do make it through.

I was thinking in the shower this morning about how many people I know -- women, men, transfolks, others -- have some sort of sexual violence somewhere in their pasts, wondering how many more people I know have some sort of sexual violence lurking in their future.

I wondered for a moment what it would look like if just for one day, everyone who had survived sexual violence were visible as a survivor, if we could actually see the extent of it, if we could all know just how very not-alone we are. I wondered how angry and sad it would make me to know. I wondered how much power there might be in the truth.

I'm not sure what to do with this, yet. But I do feel like outing myself, and encouraging other people to out themselves if they feel okay about doing so. This isn't about telling the story of what happened -- just for the record, I don't generally like to talk about it much and I get uncomfortable with other people's voyeuristic curiosity about what happened to me, although other people feel differently about telling their stories or being asked questions, and I think people should be free to place their own limits on how and with whom they want to talk about details.

This is about being public in regard to something that is normally kept a very big, very dark secret, thus ensuring that we can all pretend that This Sort Of Thing Doesn't Happen To People Like You And Me.

It does happen to people like you and me. Trust me, I know.

I'm Hanne. I'm a survivor of sexual violence.
No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

And on the huge number of comments she received:

Edited Once More To Add, 8/3/04: I have closed down comments on this post. No further comments on this post will be displayed. It has received close to one thousand comments in a little over 24 hours thus far, and has just been linked to on MetaFilter, which will be bringing a huge amount of new traffic this way. I simply cannot keep up with the deluge of posts, and with the MeFi influx, there is no way it's going to get any better. Because this is an important issue, and because this is my journal, I feel that if I cannot responsibly handle the avalanche -- and I can't, not at this rate -- I need to do the responsible thing and put a cap on things.

I apologize to anyone who wanted to add a comment here in solidarity and in witness to their own strength and survival. I encourage you to create spaces in your own journals to continue that process. There are a number of journals now engaging in discussions on issues of violence, sexual violence, and surviving these things as a result of this post... I am humbled to have unwittingly generated such an intense groundswell of activity, and I support you all from the bottom of my heart as you grapple with these issues. That I cannot continue to be the host for such a large share of the discussion saddens me, but the simple truth is that I can't. The more we share, the stronger we grow. Thank you for sharing so much with me, and thank you for continuing to share and speak out and stand in solidarity wherever you can, whenever you can.

God/dess bless you all.


Your morning dose of surrealism

I put the word Arizona into this surrealistic product generator and got this:
Arizona is a greetings card! It shouts 'WARNING!' at the first sign of danger!
Well, no it doesn't - but it should. Broiling desert, not enough water, snakes, right-wing Republicans.

Here's a couple more:
Slashdot is an electronic implant that has a leopardskin print!
Well, yeah, of course.
LiveJournal is a hearing aid that's made of glass!
Politics should not be forgotten in this election season. Here's a little something for both sides in the American elections:
George Bush is a shirt button that hovers three feet from the ground, keeps your breath fresh for up to twenty-four hours and cuts through stone as if it were butter.
John Kerry is a candle! It detects background radiation!
And this weblog:
Villagers With Pitchforks is a belt buckle that improves blood clotting and bleeps when you whistle for it.

Just what I've always needed.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I bought one of those George Foreman Grills. It works pretty well, but I hate the way it makes everything taste like George Foreman.

- Matthew Baldwin, Defective Yeti, to which I should just link all the time.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

I'm more of a word person than a photo person.

Photoblogs leave me cold. Instead of studying the photo for its artistic merit, I glance at photos and move on. It's just how I'm wired.

Here's a photoblog which is all about the words: Signs of Life

- via Byzantium's Shores