Friday, October 29, 2010

Evil Dead: The Musical

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when my brother Curtis invited me to go see Evil Dead: The Musical with him, cause I've never seen the movie version. I was also in a downcast mood, mourning the death of one of the kitties we'd been taking care of, and didn't bother actually getting dressed, but went in the yoga pants, t-shirt and sweater I'd been slouching around in all day.

Turns out none of that impacted my enjoyment of this musical in the slightest. It started out silly and hilarious and stayed that way the entire time. I cannot remember ever going to a staged production and laughing as much as I did. I swear, we were belly laughing at LEAST every ten minutes.

Here's a brief run-down from the folks who put on the show:

(Click here to see embedded video)

The first few rows (where I didn't sit) were the "splatter zone" where tons of fake blood was shot over the people sitting there, both by hand-held devices the actors held and by blood fountains that shot out from the stage itself.

Some extra bits of silliness came from one of the actors sulkily going off to read a book that just happened to be Bruce Campbell's autobiography, and then later one of the actresses kept ripping off pieces of her tear-away costume in a totally ridiculous fashion - even more ridiculous than Kirk's shirt-ripping action in old Star Trek episodes.

You still have time to go and see this, if you haven't yet! It runs through Nov. 6.

Related posts:
Show Review: Spring Awakening
Mr. History (Show Review)
Kids In the Hall at the Uptown

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Tuxedo Kitten Costume

My challenge this year with Halloween was to think of a costume I could make using stuff I already had, since I'm broke as a goat these days. I couldn't settle on anything for a while when one day, while staring at my Inky cat, I had a revelation! I had purchased a tuxedo shirt for super-cheap at Boomerang earlier this year, which, combined with my black pants & blazer would be perfect for the basis of a tuxedo kitty costume!

The basics

I sketched out my idea and figured with a few simple purchases and a little more work, I would have a very cute costume.

The general idea

I went back to Boomerang and found a pair of white lace fingerless gloves, a black bow-tie, and small black scarf, which I later rolled up and sewed together to make myself a short tail.

George thought I was showing her new toys when I brought these out for the photo.
Eventually she sat down and licked herself, distracting herself enough for me to snap this.

Next, I found a white eye mask I had from a few Halloweens back and using a Sharpie I colored the mask except for around the eyes holes, took some ribbon with wire-enforcement which I fashioned into ear shapes and then used craft glue to attach black yarn onto for the ears, and finally sewed on some pieces of waxed dental floss for whiskers.

Cat mask on the cheap!

All I had left to decide was the shoes to wear with it, but after a few moments thought, the answer was just too obvious:

And this is how it all turned out:

Holding my inspiration...
You can't see the tail in this, but it's there all the same.

Pretty nifty if I say so myself! Especially for a budget of around $10.

What are you going to be this year?

Related posts:
Happy Halloween
What Scares Me This Halloween

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Wearing my "Think Pink" necklace I made earlier this month

Matt and I walked in the 2nd Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society this Saturday with my friend @darcybl and a couple other friends, which composed the "Create Your Own Reality" Team.

Team Create Your Own Reality! (except for me)

My tweets
about it ran thusly (read bottom to top):
Matt made the Glee comment during the opening speeches.
Amusingly enough, the YMCA team performed "YMCA"
at the end of the walk, and that was kinda like Glee.

You'll notice I was under the delusion we were taking a 5 MILE walk instead of a 5 KILOMETER walk (which was just over 3 miles) up to when we made it to the 3 mile mark and suddenly the finish line was in sight. Doy!

The line of participants was soooo long, you could see the other walkers
behind and in front of you most of the time.

It was really funny to me that everyone was wearing either pink, black/gray or white. It was like we'd all called one another to discuss what to wear the night before or something :)


We had a fun time walking all around Liberty Memorial, Crown Center, Penn Valley Park & back to the Memorial in the lovely autumn weather.

Stopping for a photo op.
Right after this is when Elizabeth caught up to us.)

I had wanted to bring my pink parasol but with the cloudy skies when I left in the AM, I was worried it would rain, so I brought my yellow one, which is the only one I have made out of umbrella material instead of paper. Turns out that was perfect because my older sis, Elizabeth, was also walking (unknown to me) that day and she found us because of my parasol (which she purchased for me in Chicago's Chinatown)! So we got to cross the finish line together, and that was pretty awesome.

With Elizabeth & my parasol @ the finish line!

I was happy that my fund-raising efforts raised $75 (THANK YOU to all who contributed!) and our total efforts, as you saw in the tweets was about $200,000! Hooray!

Related posts:
Breast Cancer Awareness Art Festival
October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Friday, October 22, 2010

More Stray Cat Love

Since my favorite stray Ginny was given a home by our friend Rose, this little girl, whom we call Isis, has pretty much taken over our porch. She spends hours sleeping on our chair and guards the food from those she doesn't like (at least, when she's around). There are a few cats she likes/tolerates including "Inky girl" (so called cause she looks like my Inky but is a girl), "Fluffy Face, "White Cat," and, if she's sleeping, "Orange and white." [Real descriptive names, huh? ;)] The few other cats she doesn't approve of have to come by when she's off on patrol or when she's fast asleep and doesn't notice.

Isis in her usual spot

One of the other cats she liked and who shared her porch-napping time for a while, is this little girl that Matt named George, after the main character in Dead Like Me. After she'd been hanging out there for a while, Matt decided she was small enough that our cats would accept her and that we should adopt her. Me not being the type of person to deny a cat a home, I capitulated and this little cutie has been part of our family ever since.

We're slowly integrating her into the household, locking her in the bedroom for the first couple days and we still do sometimes just to give the cats a break from stressing each other out, and to make sure the big cats don't eat her kitten chow. We also lock her in there when we're out of the house and when we sleep, which means she's been keeping us up a bit, but so far we've had no cat fights and that's great! Just a bit of hissing and lots of curious butt-sniffing from my boys who mostly ignore her.

At this point Pinky & Frederick have become sleepy old men who nap together and don't do much else, but Inky is still young enough that I think if/when he and George get used to each other, they might play with one another. For the moment, though, George just gets weirded out when Inky follows her and tries to play.

George is such a sweetheart and it's been great having another lil fuzzy friend to cuddle with. A side benefit is that Inky has been extra cuddly lately as if to make sure we don't forget we exist - as if we could! In fact, he's the inspiration for my Halloween costume.

All any1 gets to see before the big day is the mask

That's right, I'm gonna be a tuxedo kitty :) Good times.

Related posts:
Stray Cat Love
The Chronicles of Shoulder Cat
Cat Wrastlin'

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry

Got to visit the woods where I played as a girl when hanging with my younger brother last week for his birthday.

I immediately felt peaceful and playful. I love that strip of suburban wilderness so much. It will always feel like home to me.

Related posts:
Childhood Memories of Trees and Cats
Plastic Jellies & Summer Memories
How the City Hurts Your Brain (And Nature Helps)

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Water For All

Image Source: Protected Water Fund

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers unite from around the world to raise awareness about a specific topic. Today that topic is water.

Now for most of us, unless we're homeless or behind on the water bill, the most difficulty we have obtaining water is walking to the tap and turning it... or maybe we might have some "first world problems" like having our water temporarily shut off for maintenance or having roots get into our pipes.

Hopefully, we've been a bit more aware of our water as a valuable commodity since witnessing the unfolding horrors of the BP Gulf Leak, but for most of us, these problems are still very far away. I know even I forget how amazing it is to drink water whenever the heck I want, enjoy it clean and filtered (by both the City and my Pur filter), shower in hot water at any time of the day or night and not think a thing about it.

But "clean water is surprisingly scarce. Less than 1% of all fresh water is readily accessible for direct human use, representing only 0.007% of all water on earth." (Source)

So here's 5 Facts about Water You Might Not Know (originally posted on the Blog Action Day blog):

1. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it’s no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.

2. More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.

3. Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.

4. It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that’s just one meal! It would take over 1.8 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.

5. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using just 10 gallons to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.

Want more info? Check out's handy resource guide.

Want to do something? Sign the petition to create an international water treaty to provide clean water everywhere, or make a donation to or CARE International.

Related posts:
Poverty and Hunger (Blog Action Day)
Women Bear the Brunt of Hunger

Blog Action Day: Simple Steps to Save the Planet

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

World Homeless Day - How To Help

Circa 1930 - Image Source: Archives of Ontario

Today is World Homeless Day, which is "to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage an ‘international day’ provides." (source)

In that vein, I would like to share this list from Mary McLaughlin, PhD, called "Suggestions for Helping Others." These are simple things you can do to help make a needy person's life better. Without further ado, here you go (I've edited it a bit):
People are often stymied about what they can do to help others. I have posted numerous suggestions on Twitter. All of them are based on true stories of real people needing assistance. Here is an easy-to-read summary:

How to Help: send me a direct message via twitter (@DrMMcLaughlin) or post a comment here with your suggestions for helping others.
How to Help: visit This website lists many options for volunteering your time to help others in need.
How to Help: donate to Person/Family-in-Need anonymously if you (or they) will feel more comfortable
How to Help: purchase a gasoline gift card and give it to someone who is unemployed.
How to Help: donate $5 – $10 grocery store gift cards to a food bank so that recipients can buy fresh food of their choice.
How to Help: purchase $5 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, etc. and give to Person-in-Need.
How to Help: ask a single parent or senior citizen if he/ she needs help installing a summer air conditioner.
How to Help: offer to help someone who has had to move due to the economy to clean or repair the new residence.
How to Help: purchase a gift certificate to a barber shop/ beauty salon and give it to an unemployed person
How to Help: give a gift card for supplies at a hardware/ home-improvement store to a person who had to move
How to Help: give a roll of quarters for use in laundry machines to a person in need.
How to Help: wash/ detail a senior citizen or person-in-need’s vehicle.
How to Help: change oil or pay for oil change in vehicle of Person-in-Need
How to Help: arrange for required vehicle inspection of Person-in-Need and pay for any necessary repairs.
How to Help: give your extra vehicle to a Person-in-Need. Pay for vehicle insurance, registration and tax if you can.
How to Help: have a garage sale and give all proceeds to a person/ family in need.
How to Help: do you have a storage locker? Review contents and add most to your garage sale for person/ family in need.
How to Help: do Person/ Family in need have a cherished pet? Buy pet food and/ or offer to pay veterinary bills.
How to Help: arrange and pay for dental services, cleaning, and/ or replacement teeth for Person-in-Need.
How to Help: pay annual health club membership fees for Person/ Family in Need where showers are available.
How to Help: no person wants to wear used underwear. Give gift card so that he/ she/ they can buy it new.
How to Help: appliance repairs are very expensive. Pay for washer, dryer, water heater, etc. repairs or replacement.
How to Help: give bus, subway or train pass to unemployed Person-in-Need, Senior Citizen or Disabled Person-in-Need.
How to Help: set up and pay for monthly taxi cab account for Person-in-Need who cannot use/ access public transportation.
How to Help: deliver a load of wood to Person/ Family in Need with a wood stove. Help to stack it.
How to Help: give cell phone to homeless/unemployed/other person who needs phone/voice mail. Pay for call minutes.
How to Help: give a sheet of postage stamps to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: avoid criticizing priorities, choices of Person-in-Need unless Person-in-Need asks for advice or suggestions.
How to Help: do not ask personal or invasive questions. Respect Person-in-Need’s privacy.
How to Help: give a pharmacy gift card to Person/ Family without prescription drug coverage or for prescription drug co-pays.
How to Help: tip all Service Persons as generously as possible.
How to Help: a NYC worker requests half his restaurant meals be pre-packaged as “take-out” to giveto or leave for a hungry person on the street.
How to Help: a NYC worker sometimes buys an extra restaurant meal and leaves it on a bench or on top of a trash can for hungry street person.
How to Help: give gift card to store where unemployed Person-in-Need can buy new shirt or blouse and shoes for interviews.
How to Help: give gift card for new athletic shoes to unemployed/ other Person-in-Need who runs/ walks/ jogs.
How to Help: volunteer to help out at the small business that can no longer afford to employ you.
How to Help: out of school for the summer? Can’t find a job? Helping others will look great on your resume.
How to Help: forgive small/ medium debts family, friends, associates owe to you – do this in writing.
How to Help: improve terms of repayment for those who owe you or your company money – do this in writing.
How to Help: provide basic TV/ Internet service to Person/ Family in Need and pay the monthly bill.
How to Help: provide free storage area to Person/ Family in Need who has had to downsize living space.
How to Help: give toy store gift card to Person/ Family-in-Need to use buying small gifts for children/ grandchildren– it is especially painful not to be able to give small gifts to children you love.
How to Help: help to pay travel expenses so that Person/Family in need can attend out of town/state family wedding/funeral.
How to Help: pay travel expenses for Person/ Family-in-Need to attend family reunion or to visit sick relative. Use your air miles?
How to Help: bring hot, fresh meal to Person/ Family-in-Need. Let them know in advance when meal will arrive.
How to Help: buy bookstore gift card and give to homeless/ other Person-in-Need who has no TV/ Internet service.
How to Help: got a truck? Help Person/ Family-in-Need to move. Or pay for a rental truck to help move.
How to Help: at Person/ Family-in-Need moving or garage sale, pay more than the asking price.
How to Help: pay more than the asking price for boat, motorcycle, camper, other RV’s being sold by Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: notice homes for rent/ sale in your area. Offer to help in any way you can if Person/ Family needs help.
How to Help: help to prepare a house for sale (cleaning, painting, staging, landscaping) for Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: landlords, lower the rent for Person/ Family-in-Need. Let them out of the lease if necessary.
How to Help: provide transportation to/ from AA, NA and other self-help group meetings to a Person-in-Need.
How to Help: purchase movie/ theatre gift card and give to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: invite unemployed Person/ Family-in-Need to lunch/ dinner at your home or at a restaurant and pay for it.
How to Help: give Person/ Family-in-Need gift card to an ice cream shop.
How to Help: hunger is physically and emotionally painful. Give cash/ grocery gift card directly to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: If a disadvantaged person refuses your help, don’t criticize. Ask what made your offer unacceptable.
How to Help: do not attempt to impose your preferences, priorities or preferred solutions on Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: disadvantaged people are often angry. In conversations show respect, listen patiently and politely. Don’t argue.
How to Help: veterans, maintain the same loyalty to disabled colleagues that you had while serving together in the military.
How to Help: teach a struggling small business owner how to set up and maintain a web site to promote his/ her business.
How to Help: do not “blame the victim” for not asking for help… people in need are often weary of being put off or ignored.

Hope that gave you some good ideas! If you have any, please share them in the comments.

Related posts:
We Need a New System of Economics

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Upcoming Art & Charity Events

Hey Everybody!

Told ya I'd be back when I had something to say, and I've got a couple events coming up this month that I'd like to share with you.

Squier Park Home and Arts Tour
Sunday, October 17 · 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Squier Park (Paseo to Troost / 39th to Amour Blvd.)

Squier Park (where one of my friends just moved) is having its Biannual Home and Arts Tour. You will meet local artists (like myself) and tour the 100+ year old homes in the neighborhood! Tickets can be purchased for $10 (Children 10 and under are free) the day of the tour at 36th and Forest. I'll be one of the artists featured in my friend's house at the corner of E 37th and Holmes. I plan to have some of my latest drawings, paintings and more available for viewing/purchasing. For more info visit their website at

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
October 23 at Liberty Memorial

I'm going to do my first walk for a charity this October 23 , taking part in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. There are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors who celebrated another birthday last year because people like you made a donation in support of people like me. Helping the American Cancer Society continue their work in the fight against breast cancer is really important to me. Last year, Making Strides raised $60 million to help people stay well and get well, to find cures, and fight back against breast cancer and it happened one $10, $25, and $50 donation at a time. I’ve signed up for this event because I really want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer and your donation of any amount will help me do that.

Hope to see you at one or both of these events! Happy October!

Related posts:
Breast Cancer Awareness Art Festival
Event Pics: KC Chalk & Walk

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