Scene from a dressing room

Smell of inexpensive whiskey: You're naughty. You were supposed to say in this small box near all these strangers."

Through tears: "I don't like being alone."

"Daddy says you've been naughty all day. "

Cry whine: "I'm sorry. "

"Sorry doesn't make it ok."

Defiant cry whine: "Yeah it do."

Unintelligible whispering

Fearful cry whine: "I'm so sorry."

Smell of inexpensive whiskey: Walks out and hangs cowboy jeans on rack, disgusted because they don't fit.

Here's a great photoset of the VW Mircobus that was part of my childhood backyard.

The bus belonged to the photographer, Mark Duerr, but as a constant companion in my backyard adventures, the bus was as much a part of my transition to adulthood as it was his.

I spent one confusing highschool summer sleeping in the bus instead of my bed. One thing Mark and I share, I'm certain, is great memories of sleeping to the calming sound of rain pattering on the van's steel rooftop.

my old micro bus. . .

If you get a chance, be sure to read his fairwell, posted in the header of this photoset.

Now, covered with vines and rust it resembled a Mayan ruin. Fair well my friend, it was an honor to call you mine.

What is remembered lives, Mark. Thank you for sharing her.

I find having the Microsoft Reading Robot read to me a super effective way of making sure my stuff is as good as it can be before I send it out to anybody else to review.

I made a little video on how you can set up your copy of Microsoft Word to use the Microsoft Reading Robot:

When you have your work read to you, your listening brain will catch things your reading brain can’t.


I got a weird email the other day. So, I don't get a ton of requests from people asking me to put something on this here blog. And I'm not sure that I really qualify as a Milwaukee blogger anymore, what with me holed up the 'tucky of Jefferson County. But here's the thing: **You should totally take your family to see UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR: A TALE OF JACK FROST.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that this should replace your "Nutcracker or Not" weekend of slumming it with the Milwaukee Ballet or going on a Christmas Carol bender at the Rep. But like, tickets to UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR are only $21 bucks. Nosebleeds at the rep are like, $25, and you'll have to give them your phone number which they will aggressively use to call you for the rest of your life. (Editor's note: Seriously, Milwaukee Rep, you can do better. Have some dignity.)

UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR promises to be a family friendly story, it's for-real theater, and probably doesn't require you planned ahead and bought your tickets last June. And you can buy your tickets online, like a boss.

Milwaukee is, among other things, ripe with theater alternatives. I saw a production of "The Wall" at Thai Joes in the late 1990's that was as good as any show I've ever seen in a Thai restaurant. True story.

So, if you like theater, and want to support local artists, and also are not afraid of the world, you guys should try UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR out. The producers were kind enough to let me preview the script, and as alternatives to the mainstream Christmas stories, it's pretty good.

But here's the thing: the script is only part of the magic of theater, right? It's the collaborative performance of all the artists involved that make a night at the theater so great. And when those collaborators are motivated by a project they really believe in, that's when the magic happens.

I haven't seen this show. But I haven't seen The Rep's Christmas Carol either. But I'm willing to believe that both sets of creators really believe in what they're creating. So you really can't go wrong with either.

Except one you haven't seen before.

And that's probably worth something.

The show runs December 4 - 5, 10 - 13, and 17 - 19, 2015 at the Soulstice Theater, 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 2, St. Francis, WI 53235. (414) 481-2800

This is the blurb from the website: After a year of living as a human, Jack Frost must decide by midnight on Christmas Eve if he wants to remain human with the woman he loves. Pulling Jack away from mortal bliss are the immortal superheroes of the season – the whimsical Father Christmas, The Sandman, Wodan, and the dreaded Krampus.

Puffball Gift

"Do you guys know what a puffball mushroom is?" Teri asked as she went to sit down at her computer after lunch. 

And the next thing I know, she and I are headed out to the location where she spotted one on her way back to work.  

"Don't you have a 1 o'clock meeting?" she asked. 

I didn't. 

"Who cares?" I said. "This is a puffball!"

She directed me to the location. I did my best not to speed.

Photo Courtesy of TerriB

Sitting in the right of way between the road and private property was an odd little spheroid.. A lump of white about the size of a pair of venn soccer balls, overlapping at about 73 percent. 

It was the biggest, most perfect, magical puffball I have ever seen. I plucked it from the grass and it seperated from its stalk with a reluctant tug. It was firm' the skin was tight and not pocked or broken.  I pulled  a few tiny millipedes out from the mushroom's stump and tried not to think about them.  Terri and I hopped back in my van and we drove back to work.

We walked it into the office and I grabbed a knife from the office kitchenette. Terri and I had agreed to share it, so we had to split it up, but I knew that this was the moment of truth. When I sliced through this mushroom, I would either see tender, delicate white fungus flesh, or I would see the yellow streaks of a miracle just passed. 

Photo Courtesy of TerriB.  Pumpkin Grease Doughnut shown for scale. 

It was the purest white inside that I have ever seen. I believe I heard children giggle as I split the mushroom in two. 

After work I told my daughter what we were going to eat for dinner and she whooped and danced with her arms over her head for three full minutes. 

I took it to my father's house because I knew he had a well seasoned cast iron frying pan and two sticks of butter. I gently sliced and peeled the fungus into fillets the size of a deck of cards. Fried with some chopped onions, butter and a little salt and pepper, they were ambrosia. Crisp around the edges and creamy in the middle. Amazing. 


It is an amazing gift to find a mushroom this beautify. And it is an amazing gift to share it with three generations of my family. 

Thank you, Incomparable

Leonard Nimoy's passing has crossed nearly every cultural circle that I roll in. My actor friends, my musician friends, my nerdy friends, and my church friends. Every one of them has something to say about Nimoy-- and while I'll typically scroll quickly over the discussion threads on the social medias, I've caught enough of them to get a sense of the scope of the significance of Nimoy's death.

So, I decided, against my better judgment, really, to go ahead and listen to The Incomparable No. 236: Lived Long and Prospered..

And because it's The Incomparable, it was entertaining, tasteful, respectful and a delight to listen to.

And after Jason Snell signs off, the program ends with a recording of Nimoy's voiceover from the end of Star Trek II. This is when the lump caught in my throat. This is when I mourned.

The episode was a fitting tribute to Nimoy's legacy in every way.

Thank you, Incomparable.

Texts for my daughter.

We took Gaia to see Harvey at the Milwaukee Rep this weekend. We'd been teasing her by trying to get her to figure out where we were going. Before we went I sent her this text.


She was unfamiliar so this was not a good clue. But it set the stage for my favorite moment: the reveal of the painting during the play.

I watched her face light up with uncomfortable delight.

It was funny, she said. "But it was also scary"

The Prop folks at the Rep's production carried the show as far as I'm concerned. The painting was exactly right and the set was incredible.

The gallery doesn't do the craft service on this show justice.

Fake Internet Judge Judge

So yesterday, Gaia asks: Dehdeh, is Judge John Hodgman a real judge?

Me: No. He is a fake internet judge.

Gaia: What is the difference?

Me: Judge John Hodgman gets to use common sense and his sense of right and wrong as his guide. Real judges use giant rule books written by corporations and old white men.

Fake Internet Judge Judge

So yesterday, Gaia asks: Dehdeh, is Judge John Hodgman a real judge?

Me: No. He is a fake internet judge.

Gaia: What is the difference?

Me: Judge John Hodgman gets to use common sense and his sense of right and wrong as his guide. Real judges use giant rule books written by corporations and old white men.

Bad Marketing is still bad marketing.

Bad Marketing Ideas from History

The idea that there is a magical, silver bullet "audience" out there for your product is complete and utter horseshit and anyone trying to sell it to you is the modern day snake oil peddler. Google, MSN, Yahoo! I'm looking at you.

I just finished reading a white paper which "reveals" that internet advertising numbers are padded and that you may be only reaching 20-percent of the amount of people that Google, Yahoo, or whoever, is selling.

If only 50% of your target audience is identifiable by a cookie because the rest are being blocked or the cookie expires - and only one out of every three of those cookies you serve to is actually a unique user – then less than 20% of your audience is actually being reached.

Of course, the white paper from which I cut and pasted this quote does the typical assward thinking that all internet marketers fall for: It assumes that such an audience ever existed.

Of course, that's because the both the authors and the audience of this white paper are both desperate for the same thing: A magic formula that makes it easy for them to sell their shitty products to fat and stupid people.

There is no "market segment" that you can magically buy that will make your shitty product a good one. Please stop trying. You are wrecking it for everyone.

See Not the Fifth Light of DST

An update in which I argue that Daylight Savings Time is an Instrument of War.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Jean Luc Picard is tortured by O'Brien until he finally admits that he sees five fingers when O'Brien only holds up four.

I don't think it is unreasonable stretch to apply this same paradigm to Daylight Savings time.

DST is an idea born from one of America's most beloved charlatan narcissists Benjamin Franklin, who invented the concept as a means of scorning the French while simultaneously keeping French women as mistresses. And technically, he didn't really mean it. There was no such thing as standardized time in 1784, so really, Franklin was just being a dick.

Turns out, DST was actually invented by a New Zeland shift-worker who couldn't get enough time off to pursue his passion of bug-hunting. DST was invented again by a guy who felt like it just wasn't ok for Londoners to sleep as they choose, and besides, dusk really fucked up his golf game.

The first fullscale implementation of the deployment (and therefor rationing) of time was a product of deluding the masses to fuel the war machines.

Germany, Austria and Hungary were the first to adopt a time shift as a way of tricking people into using less coal during World War One. And because you can't coordinate having your soldiers kill other soldiers if both sides are using different clocks, Britain and her allies adopted a similar measure shortly thereafter. And the United States joined up in 1918.

If you're looking for a thought technology that rattles the pubic and keeps them stupid, there are few that are as effective, I think, as telling people that their natural chronobiology is wrong. Suddenly, you're tearing people away from their biological connection to nature for no other reason than it suits the war machine.

And there's plenty of evidence that keeping people stupid is exactly what DST accomplishes. The National Institute of Health suggested in 2001 that pubic health officials "should probably consider issuing warnings both about the effects of sleep loss" due to "Forced changes in the circadian patterns resulting from DST."

But what do we do about it.

I am afraid there is only one solution that I can think of, and Timothy Leary thought of it first. We are, I think, stuck with DST as a society. And in that case, the only possible recourse we have is civil disobedience. In this case, I suggest when you go to fall back this autumn, you set your clock back to Fuck-You:30.

Stay strong, my friends. Believe in your heart that you are right. You see only four lights. You see only four lights.

Card Battle Colleseum

Gaia and I have been playing Card Wars a lot on the iPad these days. It's an game based on the eponymous episode of Adventure Time-- it's clearly a parody of collectable card-battle games. It's also a beautiful homage to collectable card-battle games. Also, it's based on an episode of a pretty great cartoon series.

Betty and I all bummed out because there's no 2-player mode. We'd like to play each other. So we did what kids for generations have done. We grabbed some 3 x 5 notecards, a stack of D&D dice and some pencils and rolled up our own characters.

Here are some rules.

Character Cards

Here are our cards from our first couple of battles:

Rolling up some fighters

  • Characters get HP based on a roll of 4d6 and discard the lowest die.
  • Characters get an Armor Class based on a roll of 1d12.
  • A character's Attack level is determined with a roll of a 1d12, and this table determines what dice are used to determine the amount of damage a character deals.
    • 1-4 = 1d4
    • 5-6 = 1d5
    • 7-8 = 1d8
    • 9-10 = 1d10
    • 11-12 = 1d12
  • Each Character gets one healing surge, which can be used in place of an attack, determined with a 1d8 roll.
  • Gaia and I then give the character a name and draw a little portrait of the character.

Basic Gameplay

Basic Gameplay is essentially a simplified version of the standard D20 system battle.

Two characters take turns attacking each other, and each player rolls 1d20 to determine initiative. The player with the highest roll goes first.

The player whose turn it is has two choices. They can attack or they can heal.


The attacking character rolls 1d20. If the die is equal to or the victim's Armor Class, the attack is successful, and the attacker can roll damage with the die according to the character's attack level. The victim subtracts the total damage from their hit points. When a character's HP is reaches zero, they are out. Characters with zero hit points cannot use their healing surge.


Instead of attacking, the player can opt to use his healing surge, which returns a 1d8 roll of their health.


The winner is the last character standing.

Odometer retemodO

I'll confess.

I have a thing for palendromic odometer numbers. I love glancing down at my odometer and seeing a number that is the same forward as it is backward. The problem: I never seem to catch them. I predict there arrival, I get distracted by the task of driving, and the next time I check my odometer, the magic number that is the same backwards as it is forwards has passed me by.

This odometer reading is *almost* a palendrome.  

This odometer reading is *almost* a palendrome.  

I am then confronted by two feelings.

  1. I am sad and disapointed to miss such magesty as a number that is the same backwards as it is fowards in my odometer.
  2. I am quickly inspired as I consdier how long it will be until I come to the next palendromic odometer reading.

The Scott Walker cookie baller

When Wisconsin's governor Scott Walker sits on his throne of lies, I am sure he weilds this "cookie baller" as his scepter.


Much like Walker, this cookie baller does nothing it said it was going to do and what it does do is surprisingly ineffective. Furthermore, even the people who sold it to us don't want it back.

Good thing I stopped saying inflammatory things about politics.

Squelching the bloom

The education nonprofit inBloom collects and mines student data under the guise of revolutionizing personalized learning, but its critics question whether governments should have control of over 400 data points per student.

I am curious as to why I feel this is different than what Google/Facebook et. al do with data. I suspect the answer has to do with the fact that public education is not an 'opt-in' situation for parents and students. While Google and Facebook make us a value proposition in exchange for our data, I'm not sure what my child's teachers (or my child for that matter) are getting value back from the private interests who are reselling and researching from that data.

InBloom would certainly argue that the school district administration is getting value from the data exchange, but I'm not convinved that my child or her teacher is nessessarily getting any "trickle down" from that value. (And besides, it's not like trickle down works for anything other than rehtoric and pee.)

So the question: To whom does data collected in public trust belong?

I'm starting to feel a post-privacy world needs some sort of doctrine of public trust regards to data and data mining -- a sort of hippocratic oath for data collectors and advertising companies. The "Don't be Evil" mission of public enterprise seems to be whats missing here.