The Cost of a Birthday Dinner

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 by Melanie

  • Ingredients for homemade zuppa toscana and garlic loaf -- $21.

  • Realizing we don't have any soup spoons and picking up some plastic ones -- $3.

  • Zipping back to the store for a nice Merlot -- $13.50.

  • Having the Bodacious Brit slurp down a spoonful of soup, moan in ecstasy and say, "This is absolutely gorgeous! Why haven't you ever made this before? What's in it? No, I don't care -- I'm eating it anyway. Is there any more? There is? I love you." -- priceless.

Another Review

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 by Pat Gaik


Review: Barn troupe delivers with 'Unnecessary Farce'

Posted using Share This

By Patricia S. Stiller | Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 8:05 am |

The Barn II comedy squad is at its finest in their latest offering, Paul Slade Smith's award-winning side-splitter, "Unnecessary Farce," making its Central Illinois debut in Goodfield this summer.

Set in adjoining rooms of an economy motel in "anywhere USA," this comedy centers around the undercover police investigation of a possible embezzlement scheme involving a town mayor.

At the center, two inexperienced officers, Eric Sheridan and Billie Dwyer, begin their day checking their surveillance equipment and running quality control checks on the doughnuts.

The officers are working in cooperation with the town's accountant, the lovely Karen Brown, who secretly has a thing for officer Sheridan, unbeknown to him.

Just as Brown is revealing her passion for the junior detective, his partner switches on the video camera in the next room, capturing the entire steamy interaction on tape just in time for the mayor to enter the scene.

Things go from bad to worse when the mayor's head of town hall security, Agent Frank, arrives and nervously erupts with information about the Scottish Mafia and the assassin known as Todd the Highland Hit Man, who is connected somehow to the missing money.

"No one is safe," Agent Frank warns.

When Billie returns to her room to check the equipment, she discovers a plaid duffel bag containing bagpipes in her room.

Lucky for her the mayor's wife, looking for her husband, arrives - or is it?

The ensemble delivers, with outstanding performances by John Johnson as Eric Sheridan and April Wyant as his partner, Officer Billie Dwyer.

Also giving it their best are Miranda Axsom as Karen, Dan Challacombe as Agent Frank, Mary Simon as Mrs. Meekly, and headliners Bob Lane Jr. as Mayor Meekly and Pat Gaik as Todd.

Patricia Stiller is a freelance writer who reviews plays for The Pantagraph.

Unnecessary Farce

Venue: Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre, Goodfield

Times and dates: Thu.-Sat. evenings and Sun. matinees, through Sept. 13

Cost: $31 to $35

Running time: 2 hr., including 20-min. intermission

Review: 'Unnecessary Farce' pushes the right buttons - Peoria, IL - pjstar.com

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2009 by Pat Gaik

Yay! It plays in Peoria!


Review: 'Unnecessary Farce' pushes the right buttons - Peoria, IL - pjstar.com

Posted using ShareThis

Review: 'Unnecessary Farce' pushes the right buttons

Zany show follows conventions of a farce, but does it well

By GARY PANETTA
of the Journal Star

Posted Jul 26, 2009 @ 12:28 AM

GOODFIELD — Bagpipes, bumbling cops, a kilt-crazy Scotsman - what do you do for an encore?

If you're the alliteratively named playwright Paul Slade Smith, you might toss in standby gags such as trousers falling down and men in funny underwear.

That's what the actor/author does in the amusing and highly theatrical "Unnecessary Farce," which opened Friday at Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre.

The show begins with a pair of Keystone Kops in a sting operation trying to catch an embezzling mayor on video.

Everything, of course, backfires: Doors are slammed, identities are feigned as the plot grows ever zanier and a kilt-sporting, bagpipe-playing Scotsman wearing a fuzzy hat brogues and rogues his way across the stage.

Farces are almost by definition formulaic. Any writer who tries to produce one works within a narrow set of conventions. Yet for this very reason, farce has certain appeal.

Some basic elements of theater - stage business and gesture; verbal playfulness; a clever premise with great comic or dramatic appeal; story reversals that are surprising but plausible in retrospect - are at stake. How cleverly can the playwright manipulate them?

In this case, pretty cleverly, it turns out. Smith, who is touring with "Wicked," demonstrates an actor's pleasure in physical humor in "Unnecessary Farce." Only consider the opening moments of the play, when Officer Sheridan - bumbling cop No. 1, wonderfully played by John Johnson - plays Twister with uncooperative shirt and pants as he fields a telephone call from his angry boss.

It turns out Sheridan has just been playing twister of another sort with Karen, the fetching young accountant and intended jailbait for the mayor, an amiable but apparently clueless fellow played by Bob Lane.

Struggles with bothersome outer garments continue moments later as Karen - the funny, over-the-top Miranda Axsom - is busy unzipping this and peeling off that on the bed before the couple is embarrassingly interrupted.

But even the tangles of sheets and clothing are soon outpaced by tangles of a more verbal variety. The brilliant Pat Gaik, who cuts such a glorious figure as the fully costumed Scotsman, rapid-fires a stream of verbal nonsense that passes for dialect with admirable speed and ability. April Wyant - who plays Officer Billie, bumbling cop No. 2, the only character who can understand the Scotsman - just as admirably repeats it all in English, winning applause Friday night.

Smith's scene setting also is packed with comic possibilities: The play takes place in two adjoining motel rooms, one with a computer screen that monitors and records the goings-on next door.

The back-and-forth action between the rooms and the situation's built-in ironies are milked endlessly by director Mary Simon.

Combine all of this with additional, very weird characters - Agent Frank, who receives a loopy and odd performance from Dan Challacombe; and the soft-spoken Mary Meekly, well played by Simon, who wanders on stage like a ticking time bomb - and you have the makings of an amusing show.

"Unnecessary Farce" is a well-crafted farce that finds new energy in a familiar theatrical form.

DQYDJ 79: Intervent This, Bitch

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 by Melanie

EP 79: Intervent This, Bitch (35:28)


Welcome to Episode 79 of "Don't Quit Your Day Job: The Podcast!" where Stacy debates the finest vintages that ever came out of a box, Patrick helps out our boys in Iraq, Melanie really, really, REALLY needs a frosty adult beverage, and Jerry has his first Chicago Dog (and Kiev hottie).

We have email!
Miss Wes
Bjorn
CJ Black

Send us email: dqydjpodcast@gmail.com
Send us voicemail: 206-666-4187

And remember, Angelenos, this is still running, but tickets are going fast!



Jeffrey Combs in
NEVERMORE
STEVE ALLEN THEATER
at the Center For Inquiry
West 4773 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-4268
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
7/10/09 through 8/2/09

The New Doctor

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2009 by Pat Gaik

What do we call this look for the 11th Doctor? Prof-geek-chic? The full article is on the Mail Online with more pics, including new companion Amy and the re-done TARDIS exterior.

Best...birthday present...ever!

Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2009 by Melanie

I didn't want to add this to the review because it's more of a personal aside, but I also got the best birthday present ever last night (and no, Patrick, oral gratification was not involved. Does it always have to be sex with you? But I digress).

I was sitting in the front row with the beauteous and talented Elisa, who runs the Combs Corner, and since this is a faux recital Jeff actually talks to the audience, so we got a couple of comments directed at us (I played along, since I was well-trained by the Nathan Lane of Mid-Central Illinois Dinner Theater). But we were also sitting on the far edge of stage right, where he was supposed to take a scripted fall off stage after giving a very iconoclastic performance of "The Bells." Now, I knew this was going to happen, and even tucked my feet under my chair to make more room, but I got so wrapped up in the performance that I kinda forgot about it--

--and was abruptly reminded when he suddenly went *airborne* right in front of me, landing in a heap at my feet. I actually lunged forward in my seat, grabbing for him on autopilot before remembering, "No, it's part of the act, don't touch...uh...he's not getting up...um, is he okay?"

(I assumed he'd take some sort of gentle stumble offstage -- more fool me. This was, after all, the man who leapt on Harold Gould in SKIN OF OUR TEETH like Simba taking down a wildebeest. )

As it turned out, he was fine. And in retrospect I probably should have checked on him -- I think he was angling for more audience participation. But now I can say, hand on my heart, that the highlight of my birthday month was having Jeffrey Combs at my feet. And the icing on the cake? After taking his bow, he started walking off stage, then turned and gave me this little "gotcha" grin. Bliss!

Awestruck

Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2009 by Melanie


Many moons ago, when the earth was young and Ann Coulter roamed the plains, I developed an unshakeable squeeing fangirldom for a young actor named Jeffrey Combs, who rose to fame in horror classics such as RE-ANIMATOR and THE FRIGHTENERS. Trek fans will know him from his numerous characters in three of the ST incarnations, and as well as his many, many movies he's also appeared in a variety of TV shows such as CSI and COLD CASE.

And tonight, after waiting for 22 years, I've finally gotten a chance to see him strut and fret his hour upon the stage in NEVERMORE, a one-man play that recreates one of Edgar Allen Poe's touring lectures and follows his descent into sorrow, loss and madness. To say that Jeff was magnificent is to do him a disservice -- I was floored, people.

Look, performing in a one-man play is never easy. Performing in a one-man play without an intermission, where you breathe life into an increasingly drunk and erratic Poe, cover the emotional range between out-and-out belly laughs and the blackest of sorrow, leap about like a crazed howler monkey while singing "The Bells," fall off stage while begging your disgusted fiancee not to leave, and leave every member of the audience stunned with your agonizingly powerful recital of "The Raven" -- that, my friends, is a masterful achievement of stagecraft.

If there was any way I could stay over and see it again tomorrow night, I would. Jesus God, but the man can act.

Russell T. Davies, you heartless pigfucker

Posted on Sunday, July 12, 2009 by Melanie

It's 7:27 AM and we just finished watching all five eps of Torchwood: Children of Earth. After picking my jaw up from the floor, I asked the Bodacious Brit why his countrymen felt the uncontrollable urge to burn everything to the ground, then piss on the ashes.

"It's a hobby," he replied.

Yes, CHILDREN OF EARTH was amazing and powerful storytelling. I'm not knocking that. But DAMN, Russell...

DQYDJ 78: Goodbye Mrs. Slocombe (And Her Pussy)

Posted on Sunday, July 12, 2009 by Melanie

EP 78: Goodbye Mrs. Slocombe (And Her Pussy) (41:01)


Welcome to Episode 78 of "Don't Quit Your Day Job: The Podcast!" where Jerry is off attending a writer's group meeting, Stacy shops for defibrillators, Patrick has a bad day with his Scottish regalia, and Melanie is torn between Lance and Jeff.





We have voicemail!
Brian
Kathy

We have email!
Christopher from San Francisco

Send us email: dqydjpodcast@gmail.com
Send us voicemail: 206-666-4187

And remember, Angelenos, in two weeks I will be in your neighborhood for this!



STEVE ALLEN THEATER
at the Center For Inquiry
West 4773 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-4268
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
7/10/09 through 8/2/09

They say it's your birthday!

Posted on Saturday, July 11, 2009 by Melanie

Happiest of happies to the one and only Super Bee, and enjoy the frosty adult beverages!

Re-purposed LOLcat

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2009 by Pat Gaik

Dignity, Always Dignity

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2009 by Pat Gaik

The things I do to earn a buck!

The hilarious new comedy "Unnecessary Farce" by Paul Slade Smith makes it's Illinois debut at Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre in Goodfield beginning July 23.

Come out and watch me "blowin' oan mah bags!"

video

Acceptable in the 80's

Posted on Thursday, July 09, 2009 by Melanie

Yeah, yeah, I know Patrick, it's not Doctor Who, but this is great nonetheless. For all you Blake's 7 fans out there, you can thank Walt for this:


We get e mails!

Posted on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 by Stacy

Yes listeners, we have received yet *another* email that thankfully has not been tampered with.

At all.

Really.





Dear all dqydjpodcasters, (including stacy even)

>Please stop podcasting.
>I now have a job again, and am listening to you at work. My boss is
>not impressed at my laughing during data-entry time!!

After listening to the sniveling, mouth breathing pin-head that thinks he's my boss I decided to stand up for my rights and exclaimed to all that would hear:

"LISTEN UP HITLER...I'M DAMN WELL LISTENING TO WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT TO AT WORK!!! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, TELLING ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT DO?!?! HUH?? HUH??? HEAR THIS FUCKWAD, THE BEST PART OF YOU RAN DOWN YOUR MOTHER'S LEG!!!"

As I stopped to catch my breath from this inspired oration, an epiphany struck me almost immediately after seeing the shock and awe stamped on my fellow employees' faces.

Right then and there, I decided to strike a blow for millions of disgruntled drones across my proud nation.

I dropped trou, bent over and screamed from behind my scrotum:

"KISS MY ASS YOU OPPRESSIVE BASTARD!"
and thus made a forthright and majestic stand for men and women working everywhere.

The cellblock that I'm currently in is modern in design and we are allowed to write emails during break time after we have our meds.

>Thank you
>
>Scotty.
>Australia

DQYDJ 77: Kissing Grandma Inappropriately With Tongue

Posted on Sunday, July 05, 2009 by Melanie

EP 77: Kissing Grandma Inappropriately With Tongue (44:12)


Welcome to Episode 77 of "Don't Quit Your Day Job: The Podcast!" where Melanie is the Cutoff Nazi, Jerry fondly remembers "Kung Fu: The Next Generation", Stacy wonders what a sling is (it's explained as a swingset for adults), and Patrick's Scottish accent wanders around the British Isles, plus we welcome our special guest Taffy Carlisle Huffington.




We have voicemail!
Walt
DQ Rick

We have email!
Marc Johnson

Send us email: dqydjpodcast@gmail.com
Send us voicemail: 206-666-4187

And remember, Angelenos, in three weeks I will be in your neighborhood for this!



STEVE ALLEN THEATER
at the Center For Inquiry
West 4773 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-4268
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
7/10/09 through 8/2/09

I'm gonna live!

Posted on Saturday, July 04, 2009 by Melanie

Well, until Patrick and Taffy kill me for not telling them about this in Orlando, but whatever.

For most of this year I've been experiencing an increasingly unpleasant array of medical problems. There was the edema in my legs -- I've always retained water like a sponge, and indeed have looked 9 months' pregnant upon occasion due to the tummy bloat, but my feet and ankles were also starting to swell up horribly, which just wasn't good.

And then there were the heart hiccups, as I like to call them, or premature ventricular contractions as the medical profession prefers to call them. I've been having those since 2005 -- had them checked out by the doc at that point, he put me on beta blockers, and they did absolutely nothing. They seem to come more frequently in the time between my fertile period and my period period, but could pop up at any time.

And then there was the fatigue that would crash over me like a tidal wave, leaving my ass bone tired and unable to muster the energy to do even the simplest things like do laundry or write, for God's sake. I would literally stagger home from work, crash on the couch, get up reluctantly to go to sleep, then drag myself out of bed and head back to work. Weekends -- what weekends? I slept through them.

And then there was the lightheadedness, which was the final straw when it happened all during Gay Days and left me wondering if I was going to pass out a couple of times. It's also been kind of hard at times to think straight, which is just not good in my line of work.

Usually, these symptoms taken as a whole indicate some degree of heart failure, which would suck, but if that's what I had I needed to get it treated toot sweet. So I went into the doctor on June 22 and had a general physical and an EKG. On the plus side, my blood pressure was 120 over 80 -- it just doesn't get better than that. And my EKG showed normal sinus rhythm, so everything looked good from a cardiac point of view. My lungs sounded clear, and he didn't find anything wrong with my skin, joints or tummy -- all very good as well.

He was concerned about the edema, fatigue, dizziness and recurring heart hiccups, however, and sent me off to have some bloodwork done (CBC, sed rate, cholesterol, thyroid, and glucose), which required three test tubes of blood and three failed attempts at a venous puncture (and this is after I chugged a bottle of water) before the Pro from Dover was called in and nailed a vein in the back of my hand. Damn my tiny and painfully shy veins.

He also renewed my scrip for Synthroid. This is important, because while I waited for my current scrip to run out, I did some research on my symptoms. It turns out that a large number of people have experienced, well, pretty much everything I'd experienced this year while taking levothyroxine, the generic version of Synthroid. Apparently there are issues as to how levothyroxine is taken up and distributed by the body, plus different generics are not always bioequivalent and since your pharmacy could give you pretty much anything as long as it was generic, you could run into problems with how much hormone you were actually getting. And since Synthroid is a narrow-index drug (meaning small changes in the dosage could have major effects), receiving a varying amount of hormone based on what your pharmacy decided to dispense that month was Not a Good Thing At All.

So, my angels, three guesses what I've been taking since 2005 or so?

Yeah. So I refilled the scrip and told the pharmacist that I wanted the name brand of Synthroid, not the generic. Started taking that on June 25 -- within three days, almost 90% of the symptoms had disappeared (I still had the occasional PVC, but that may have been due to the Crimson Tide, which is when they tended to happen) and I started swimming every night. By July 1 I was getting housework done, swimming every night, writing every day, gardening out back (which included cutting the Triffid that hides the pump equipment back down to size), cleaning the patio area so that we could barbeque over the weekend, plus I planned on spending the three-day weekend getting the bedroom and master bath whipped into shape. Two weeks ago I was lucky if I could haul my ass upstairs to record a podcast. You can't tell me that generic Synthroid and the name brand stuff are bioequivalent.

But still no blood test results, which bothered me some. And then yesterday the doorbell rang -- it was my neighbor from down the street, who had received the blood test results from my doc (this is normal for my neighborhood -- we routinely get other people's mail, and I just redeliver it). Slightly nervous, I opened the envelope and read the results.

Ta da! No diabetes, no cancer, no infections or any kind, no liver or kidney problems, heart's in good shape, and I just need to work on my bad cholesterol which is slightly elevated (watching fats and weightlifting will fix that, and my good cholesterol is at a nice level). Dr. Allen added a note saying that the labs were all good, asking how I was feeling, and offering to prescribe a diuretic if I felt I needed it (we have a very good working relationship, and he knows I won't ask for something unless I feel it's necessary).

I need to let him know what happened now that I'm on the name brand Synthroid. Who knew that something as simple as dumping a generic would have such a massive effect? Phoo.

Our salute to Independence Day!

Posted on Saturday, July 04, 2009 by Melanie

Because it's just not an American holiday without the Swedish Chef!

I don't know why, but this makes me giggle like a little girl

Posted on Thursday, July 02, 2009 by Melanie

FAN MAIL FROM CALIFORNIA

Posted on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 by Stacy

Mel, I don't think you sent that last email right.

According to my *completely untampered mail* it reads like this:

>Hi Melanie and other DQYDJ'ers!!
>
>Boy, was I shocked when I checked out your blog and saw your post
>about Petaluma! This is Christopher from San Francisco. You may have
>heard of me when I've written in to QCast, WMBYS, etc.

ABOUT HOW BIG A FAN I AM OF STACY'S

>I've been a
>loyal listener and fan of your show

WHEN I GOOGLED STACY RELENTLESSLY

>just never have written in.

JUST SENT STACY FAN MAIL TO ASSURE HER THAT *SHE* IS THE UNIVERSALLY LOVED PODCAST MEMBER OF YOUR SHOW...AND NOT THE OTHER GUY WHOSE NAME I WONT DEIGN TO MENTION.........BUT IT RHYMES WITH HAIRY. THATS ALLLLL I'M SAYIN.

>Bad
>pod-fan (did I just invent that word?), I know. I grew up in
>Petaluma (Sonoma County about 30mi north of San Francisco). When I
>come up here to visit the fam, babysit for my niece and nephew, I
>always bring my laptop and check out the blogs.

TO SEE WHAT STACY IS UP TO. GOSH HOW THE HECK DID YOU GET SOMEONE AS WONDERFUL AND TALENTED AS HER?!?!?


>Have you ever heard
>and/or been to my neck of the woods before?

I DON'T GET OUT MUCH BECAUSE I'M DESIGNING MY OWN STACY THE DQYDJ NEWSGIRL FAN WEBSITE!!

>I'm making my first trip
>to Texas (Austin) next week

BECAUSE I'VE HEARD STACY'S BEEN TO TEXAS!!

>and so looking forward to it!
>
>I love, love, love your show and

STACY

>and have listened and re-listened to

STACY

>and your past episodes. Hope you're all doing well and from this point
>forward, I promise to write in more and keep in touch.

YOU KNOW THAT OLD DEBBY BOONE SONG? YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE?!?!!? I THINK IT'S ABOUT STACY. MY BOYFRIEND SAYS I'M CRAZY SO I CUT HIM WITH CUTICLE SCISSORS BECAUSE HE MALIGNED THE BESTEST PODCASTER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD - STACY.....AND HER FRIEND KATHY THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT WHO IS *NOT* IN REHAB....SHE'S *WATCHING* REHAB. HE SAYS HE'S SORRY BUT I DONT THINK HE IS....I'LL SEE IF WE HAVE ANY STEAK KNIVES TO DRIVE HOME MY POINT ABOUT HOW MUCH THE MIRACLE THAT IS STACY MEANS TO ME.
>
>Oh, yeah and as for your question about weather on the left
>coast....sunny and gorgeous!

LIKE I JUST KNOW STACY IS IN REAL LIFE, HOW I WISH, I WISH, I WISH I COULD BE LIKE HER OR JUST, YOU KNOW MEET HER OR PERHAPS POSSIBLY TAKE HER SHOPPING. AND PATRICK TOO JUST BECAUSE HE SANG STACY THAT BEAUTIFUL SONG AND STACY THINKS HE HAS A GREAT VOICE!

>Now if I could only marry my boyfriend

OR STACY

>(which I met on the subway last year while watching a video cast of
>the QCast connection), it would be perfect!

JUST LIKE STACY
>
>Much love to you!
>
>--Christopher from San Francisco. : )
>
>p.s. I've enclosed of pic of myself so you can see who the love is
>coming from. The woman in the picture is a lovely coworker of mine.

BUT NOT AS BEAUTIFUL AS STACY.....AND KATHY.....AND PAT. BUT DEFINITELY STACY.