Sunday, June 24, 2007

The art and tragedy of flying a kite.

This afternoon, my fellah and I took advantage of the first rain-free day in quite some time, and we bought two kites. I bought my kite for $4.00. He bought the "better" model at $14.00, plus $3.50 for extra string.

This is the $4.00 model:

And this is the $14.00 (+ tax) model:

I felt so bad I bought him a sandwich.

And still it grows.

This is Norah Gaughan's Bella Blouse from the most recent Interweave Knits, well on its way to completion. To think, I started with this, and now I have this:

And someday, I shall have this! (In blue.)

Once again I am made to feel like my eighth-grade self who, confounded by basic algebra, is forced to conclude that I've discovered a new mathematical principle as the instructions for shaping the armholes and neckline just don't add up. Or rather, they do add up, but to zero stitches on the shoulder strap rather than the prescribed six. But I won't bore you with my confusion. I'm altering the pattern in hopes that I'm right and Ms. Gaughan, whose designs I adore, is not. Shall we take bets?

(Save that for trying to explain to me why they insist on calling it a first down, even if you managed to complete it on the third or fourth down. I'm telling you, I'm right about this. (And don't roll your eyes like that, Marci.))

Friday, June 22, 2007

I have news!

I've been trying to hold back until the right time to tell all of my family and friends. I guess some people would say that a blog isn't the right place to announce something like this, but I really wanted to make sure everybody found out at the same time.

We've been talking about this for months now, and we wondered when the right time would be to make this huge transition. We talked with our friends, I've watched them take a big step like this themselves over the years, and I think we really learned a lot by taking our time.

However, this week we finally made it official. I'm not looking back.

There's a new member of the Cobbe family!!!!!!!!

See? Here he is:

Well, more of a she, really. She's a Toyota Rav4 with less than 40K miles. A sad goodbye to my standard-transmission Honda, who was kind to me for many years. I feel like moving to an automatic has taken me from the honors class to regular... but that's my only complaint.

I think I'm going to name her "Anyang," which is Chinese for "hello," and the name of a character on the now-deceased show Arrested Development. A Toyota is not Chinese, but the personality of the car is one that will come up to you and say "Hello!" obediantly and often.

Corner shot:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It must be mentioned.

I learned that in today's Austin American-Statesman there ran an enlarged version of the photograph I mentioned here, the one that I won't actually link to because it's so unpleasant to look at.

Let's be honest here. All of us have, at one time or another, rehearsed an acceptance speech for the Oscars. We've all flirted with the possibility of appearing in the pages of high society rags, with captions highlighting who designed our shoes and our recent professional achievements, in that order.

This picture of my Fellah and me at the SVT opening party is about as close as I'll ever get to being the target of fashionable envy.

And this is what we get?

I happen to think my Fellah is downright handsome. His smile sets my heart a-pitter-patter. Me? I have my good days.

This was not one of them.

My Fellah looks like someone poured salt on his eyeballs. I look like he just broke my neck in order to get it into the nook between his ear and shoulder, which doesn't explain the ridiculous smile on my face. But then, nothing explains that.

Plus: we neither of us were wearing our very best. We were there for the chocolate covered strawberries and the brie on toast, for crying out loud! I didn't pull out the Kenneth Cole or Marc Jacobs.

At least the caption makes us sound like we have great personalities.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Click here.

Please click and read:

"Let's Watch a Girl Get Beaten to Death"

Now act.

How strange that a man who feels things are apocalyptic most of the time can restore some of my hope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It is called "A Mighty Good YARN," after all.

Still knitting. I'm in the middle of a sweater that's taking me forever, but I stopped off briefly to finish this hat for a friend.

Nothing extraordinary about it; a knit beanie of my own "design." The yarn is Knitpicks Swish Superwash, in Dark Navy and Coast Gray. It's ordinary stockinette with 2x2 ribbing around the edge. Two skeins makes an adult hat.

My self-photographic skills are, ah, elementary.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wish I had a camera...

All the times this week I wished I had my camera with me, and not once did I swing it.

1. Tuesday. I tutored a student who, to be honest, was smarter than me, in ACT Science. Not picture-worthy, but still.

2. Wednesday. Lunch with a theater producer with many helpful things to say and more energy than most four-year-olds. While waiting behind his South Austin house to walk to Guerro's, we chatted for a bit with a couple firemen, who had just finished a footrace through the neighborhood, ending at their firehouse. They were very nice, and one even scaled a rope hanging from a tree without warning while continuing the conversation, which was about bagpipers and (what else) fires.

Attended half of a sacred music concert at my church, and very much enjoyed the Anglican chants and other traditional music. Our choir is superb.

Then I jaunted off to a rehearsal for the Backyard Plarty. More later.

3. Thursday. From 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., we rehearsed for the Plarty outside, on what I'm calling the first real day of summer in Austin. In other words, you have to keep drinking water or else you'll have one of those hyperthermic seizures.

Then a lovely, enjoyable $8 boat ride on Town Lake to celebrate the birthday of my fellow playwright and collaborater, Aimee Gonzalez, and to watch the bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue bridge. The bats, oddly enough, just sort of dribbled out this time, unlike the fantabulous swarms that I've seen twice before. Maybe they were hungover?

Then the fellah and I dropped by the Salvage Vanguard opening night party for 15 minutes, long enough to get our picture taken for a certain publication's blog which gets no link because, let's face it, not the prettiest shot of either of us. But can you blame us? Check out what else we did that day! We're allowed a little smudgy frizzy frazzledness.

4. Friday. The Plarty was a roaring success! The scripts were silly, but I have nothing but compliments for the people who worked on it. The members of Full Service have never been in a play before and yet worked so earnestly and with such dedication, and it really did show. They were joined by two teenage neighbors, one of whom even learned his lines (we'd said it could be on-book). Our one professional actress, Laura Heidinger, of course did well, having just come off of playing Sonia in Uncle Vanya.

I am so honored by the hard work of the entire cast. They all tried different things, they took risks, and they offered their own ideas. As a playwright, you don't always get that much dedication from professional actors.

Then Full Service played a set from their CD Recess. It was lots of fun.

5. Saturday. Book sale in the morning! A charity event sponsored by Literacy Austin. I got four books for $8! That includes a $1 copy of Le Petit Prince in French, with a French-English dictionary of the vocabulary and a guide to the grammar at the back.

At night, I attended the bachlorette party of a lovely friend. Not my thing, but she's a sweet person, and I was happy to celebrate with her.

However, the next time I go to 6th Street, I'm taking a bunch of girls and sticking a dopey little mock-veil on somebody's head, because you would not believe how many free drinks we got. The bars there pay people to walk the streets and recruit girls to come and drink at their establishment, and bachlorette parties are top quarry. (Yellow Turtle: you game?)

Saturday was also the one-year mark for my fellah and me. I think that's just neat. Now, why, you ask, didn't I do something with him?

I wrote out the little dialogue of the amusing conversation we had on just that score, but it didn't play. So really, it boils down to a committed anti-sentimentalism combined with a shared bad memory and poor advance planning skills.

We were going to do something tonight, but then when I called him last night, he reported that his high-end monitor went kaput, and there went our budget for dates.

My opinion is that even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be romantic, if served properly, so I'll just put on a pretty dress and bring the Smucker's and Jiffy sometime this week.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

All at once!

Last night, I had the pleasure of presenting several awards at the annual Austin Critics Table Awards. (How exactly I got to be a presenter, I can't quite say, but even artistic gift horses should keep their mouths closed.)

All kinds of info, plus pictures, will be available here when Statesman writer Michael Barnes posts about the evening.

Instead, I will kill a joke by repeating it. It was up to me to present the Special Citation "Good on Us" to all of Austin for their participation in 365 Plays/365 Days. So I asked all of Austin not to rush the stage to give their thank-yous and compliments. Instead, I said, "On my signal, I would like everyone to say something good about yourself and the person sitting next to you."

It worked. If you ever get the opportunity to lead about 200 people in complimenting themselves simultaneously, I encourage you to do that. The sound is both deafening and hilarious.

I was also delighted to present the David Mark Cohen New Play Award to Zell Miller III for My Child, My Child, My Alien Child. I only know Zell from seeing him perform in that play, but I hope more recognition comes to this funny and talented playwright/performer.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

It's a Plarty!

I bet you think I misspelled "party" in the title. Nope!

My friends and I are staging the world premiere of a play, which will quickly turn into a party. Thus, a plarty! It all happens in the backyard of the headquarters (and house) of Austin's very own rock/reggae band Full Service.

Fellow Austin playwright Aimee Gonzalez and I have collaborated on a series of short plays about an adventurous "Day in the Rough" at middle school. That's right: the principal's got everybody outside and learning, with calculators, chimichangas, cicadas, dissected frogs, and lots of dangerous geometric calculations. We will light citronella candles to keep you safe.

The plays feature the members of Full Service, two teenage boys who live down the street, and one acclaimed New York actress.

I'm not sure it's theater, but it is f***ing hilarious.

Then it's Recess! Full Service plays songs from their latest album Recess. Need I say more? Check out their website.

So mark your calendars, plarty people, and get ready for a very Austin sort of evening.

Friday, June 8, 2007 at 8 p.m.
3601 Wilson St. in S. Austin
(Turn east off S. 1st Street onto Alpine, between Oltorf and Ben White.)

$2 to get in
$3 more if you are 21 or older and you feel like serving yourself from the KEG OF BEER.