What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Seven (7) Truths

1. Larry the Cable Guy is not funny

2. A student protest is not effective unless the student are in college and actually have a clue what they are protesting.

3. A UIL OAP show has to be a tightly choreographed unit and cannot rely on the acting chops of the cast in order to advance.

4. Next week I get evaluated and so I have to stop showing my classes movies.

5. My one student, Michael, who walked out on Wednesday, knew what was going on and has my respect because he truly believed in what he was walking out for. He, too, was frustrated because no one else seemed to really care.

6. Sordid Lives opens tonight. I think it's good. It took an audience for me to come to that conclusion.

7. I've completely neglected my running and it's time to get serious.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The students at the school I teach at are all buzzing about the student walkout protesting the immigration bill that passed in Congress last fall. The funny thing is that the walkout has been going on for three days now and they are only now starting to catch wind of it.

Now I'm all for civil disobedience and peaceful protest, but I'm really discouraged at how little these students really know about what they're actually protesting. When I asked what the bill was about most of them weren't sure and some had only rumor to report.

In fact, if you don't know, the bill will make it easier for illeagal immigrants to be sent back to Mexico, expanding the powers of state and local police in handling the issue.

The students here only think that the bill will allow police to raid the homes of illegal aliens in the night and send them packing without notice to Mexico. I don't pretend to know all the details, but the ways that the students expound ridiculous rumors as being excuses for civil unrest. There was a fight this morning in the commons. All in the name of protest over this bill.

I guess we will see if it's all been talk or if they are actually going to walk.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Go check out my ClustrMap now. It's looking a little better. I'm interested to know who the people are from Russia and Thailand.

There is a permenant link to in the sidebar underneath the counter, so you can always check there in the future. Click on the little map below to view a big map.

Locations of visitors to this page

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Show is Almost on the Road or Picnic to the Rescue!

Don't forget about the openning of Sordid Lives. Anyone who can make it please come it is sure to be a wonderful time. Free champagne on openning night, too. It's the cheap stuff and you barely get any, but, still, free.

Well, the UIL OAP of which I ranted earlier had it's competition on Friday. The kids did a great job and the show (Picnic by William Inge) advanced. The contest was Zone, and now we go on to District. When I was in school there was no Zone, only district, but I guess they created zone to allow for...Well, I'm not sure what Zone is all about. They only do it when Districts contain 8 schools or more. This Thursday we will go to Kingwood to perform at the district level. I was very happy for the kids and for Mrs. Parker. I didn't exactly feel that I had much to do with it, since I just built some set pieces and helped organize set and strike. Anyone could have done that. But, nevertheless, I realized that out of 5 years being involved with the UIL competition this is the first time I've been involved with a school that advanced.

Like I said in my previous post I've never directed a show that won or lost, and that stands true, still. But, I have had a hand in 5 different UIL shows.

1995 The Crucible John Hale, Alternate at District
1996 What I Did Last Summer Charlie, Alternate at District
2004 The Eumenides Assistant Director, did not advance
2005 By the Bog of Cats Technical Director/Set Design, Alternate at Zone (Possible conspiracy/cover-up/disqualification, we're not sure)
2006 Picnic Technical Director, Advanced from Zone to District.

Picnic is the only show that advanced from it's first competition. While it feels good and I'm glad we won I still maintain that the whole system needs some revamping to make it more about learning and sharing with other school than about winning. The more I think about it the more I don't think that this will happen seeing as how the problem is just as much with the directors' additudes toward the competion as the system itself. But the UIL could certainly help things by loosening up a bit. There is a rule for everything. Somethings I understand. Capitals (decor that is placed on top of a pylon) cannot extend more than a foot from the edge of the pylon. I understand that this is to set a limit on adding bulky additions that could become cumbersome and possibly hazzardous. But, there are some rules that just don't make sense. All the rules I can think of right now seem to make sense, so I'm not really helping my case, but, trust me. Some of the rules are put in place for simple job of making things difficult and pointless. I was coming up with all kinds of rules that didn't make sense on the bus coming home Friday night, but I can't think of anything, right now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Effects of Old Spice on the Human Condition

I detest the smell of Old Spice. It makes me sick. For years I've worn Old Spice High Endurance Fresh Scent deoderant, but my wife, bless her, accidentally bought the Original Scent awhile back. For about 6 or 7 months time it would sit in my cabinet, only seeing the light if I had run out of the good stuff. The days that I smelled like an old prospector were often wrought with headaches and nausea.

This went on for a while until recently I ran out of deoderant again and had to wear the original scent. I decided that this had gone on too long. I was so sick of my backup being the Old Spice smell that I decided it was time to get rid of this stick of deoderant. But, my OCD kicked in and I became incapable of throwing something away that is bought and paid for and perfectly good (if it's your bag). I decided that I had to use the stick completely up and then, and only then could I really go back to my beloved "Fresh" scent.

I've been thinking of this experiement as a sort of Lent. I'm giving up the smell of a young strapping young man for that of a 75 year old. Don't underestimate the significance of this sacrifice. While under the influence of Old Spice Smell (OSS)I have experience the above mentioned symptoms along with fatigue, confusion, diaharia, sorness, and liver spots. OSS is wrecking havoc on my immune system. Last week I wrote my congressman. I mean, this is getting serious. But I am determined to rid my cabinet of this tumor without resorting to wastefullness.

The mid morning sickness has stopped, but I've been tired and cranky and complain about the post office a lot. I kind of think I can feel my blatter shrinking and my libido is disapearing. I feel like Morgan Spurlock. Damn. I should have cashed in on this experiment.

Almost to 10,000

Let's evaluate our progress, shall we?

This is a cool map showing where each of my nearly 10,000 visitors are located. As I type this I've never actually seen the map, I just copied the HTML code. So, this will be interesting for us both.

Locations of visitors to this page

Okay, this doesn't tell me anything. I hope it's not counting from here on out. Can someone tell me how to phenagle this thing so that it will count past hits to the site as well? Me gotsta know.

REMINDER!!!! Sordid Lives is just a week away. Please come and support your local artsy fartsy people.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One Act Play

...since my last post which was only self promotion anyway. It's also been over a week since I ran. I really don't like just rambling on about nothing, so I have gotten out of the habit of just sitting down to write about my day or my random thoughts which were the original purpose of this blogspace, afterall.

I've just been very busy with a number of things. We are deep into the middle of UIL OAP season among other things in my life. If you don't know what this is, OAP stands for One Act Play. We take a shortened play to a contest where a single judge decides which play he/she thinks is the best and sends it on to the next level of competition. It's like football or any other sport in that you go from District level to Area, Region, and eventually State. Usually, two schools advance from each level. It requires a much less involved set (a unit set that everyone shares, and a limited amount of furniture and decoration) and a shorter play (it must come in under 40 minutes) and yet high school theatre teachers spend more time and energy on UIL OAP than any other show in the year. If you asked them how they felt about the nature of putting art in direct competition with other works of art they would tell you the same thing that actors or directors who are up for Oscars tell the press. "Oh, you can't judge different peices of great art together using the same criteria and say one is better than another." Or something along those lines. But the truth is the directors and actors and theatre teachers are out for blood.

The problem with OAP competion is multileveled. Aside from the inherit problems of competition among things that are not competitive in nature, I believe the OAP competition is harmful to our schools theatre programs and to the perception of he arts being spread to the world. It spreads the notion of competition and sport to areas that they don't belong. I believe competition is healthy, don't get me wrong. But why can't somethings be good and meaningful just for the sake of being?

If you aren't buying the idea that art and theatre shouldn't be made competitive, I completely understand. It's ingrained in our being. We want to pit everything against everything else. It's human nature. Let's spend some time thinking of how this relates to educational theatre, then.

Theatre teachers are, by-and-large, not competitive people. In fact, most of your theatre teachers were, in their youth, the anti-jock. Even when compared with other artistic disciplines theatre attracts the athleticly challenged. Band members, with the attraction of the marching aspect, are often more competitive people. At least in the South, choir kids are often athletes, as well. I think this has to do with church and singing and it being seen as a good, clean pastime. Kind of American. Just a theory. But fine arts like theatre and art often attract a different type of individual. Students who excell in art are often introverted and therefore express themselves better through non-performing means. Generally, your typical theatre student is the kid who didn't find acceptance in the more competitive area of sports and popularity and therefore found theatre as non-judgemental alternative to the other arts or extra-curricular activities. There are always exceptions, myself being one, but this is a generality.

When we force competition on these people they don't really know what to do with it. They know that they want to win, as any warm blooded creature would, and so they devise strategies to win. This is okay in sports, as winning is the goal. A play that stands alone does not have this goal. The goal is convey a message and tell a story in a creative way. These strategies will often be counter to at least one of these goals, most often the creativity. These are some talented people who sacrifice true ingenuity because their reputation, program, and sometimes their jobs are connected to winning. Afterall, we live in the state that judges the worth of a teacher on the TAKS test.

ONe of the main reasons that they involve themselves in theatre in the first place is because they want to be accepted for themselves, warts and all. But, instead these kids get dragged into a show where their teacher becomes an obsessive maniac, their friends are suddenly, driven to win at any cost and this subjective artform is reduced to letters and numbers.

I know that UIL OAP isn't going to go away, and there are many positive aspects of the competition that might make it worthwhile. The kids get to mingle with other school's kids and see their work. At the state level of competition there is the opportunity to gain scholarships. I would propose a new approach to the competition, however. One which focused on the quality and creativity of the show instead of the adherence to a set of prescribed rules.

I have never had the opportunity to direct a one act play, so I don't think that this come from bitterness at having never won. I've never lost either. It is coming from the point of view of outsider, really, having never been all that invested in a particular show. I am a part of a program where the other teacher directs the OAP and I'm usually ready for it to come to an end, to be honest. I hope, if I ever get to direct the play, that I will take a different approach to the contest. My hope is that I will have the sense to realize that, in this case, winning or losing really doesn't matter. If we lose because the play wasn't good enough then we should be disappointed, but because it wasn't our best work. If we, as a theatre troupe performed the play as well as we knew how then what have we to be ashamed or angry about? It was one guy or woman's opinion in most cases that our play wasn't superior to another, and most of the time they are right. Most of the time the play is superior. Maybe our school doesn't have the talent, maybe the director doesn't have the talent, maybe the director attempted something new that just didn't work, or perhaps the judge simply didn't agree with the director as to what makes good theatre. All of these things are possible and valid reasons to give a higher ranking to one play over another if, in fact, we must have a winner. It should not, however pressure the teachers or the students into changing their approach to directing as they already know how.

In summary: The UIL OAP make theatres teachers like a monkey with a laptop. They don't know what to do with competition and so they end up screwing up what they are supposed to be good at. We shouldn't care so much. More focus should be put on the positive aspects of the contest, which are now downplayed.

UPDATE: A typo in the 8th paragraph created a double negative and made it sound like I am bitter about losing. I am not. I've corrected the problem. You probably knew what I meant, anyway.

Monday, March 13, 2006


"Edgy!" "Touching!" "Hilarious!" "Side-splitting comedy!"

These are some things that I'm saying about the new Baytown Little Theater production of.....

The provacative dark comedy by Texas playwright Del Shores, author of Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will.

Directed by Kyle Martin, this play will run March 31-April 2, April 7-9

Call 281-424-7617 for tickets and directions. Or, visit the BLT website.

I would love for everyone I know to come see this play if you are able to. It's kind of a stretch for this little community theatre, and the board is concerned about attendance, but I pushed for it and now I'm trying to get as many people to show as possible.

This is not a show for the young 'uns, but if you appreciate dark humor and rednecks in drag, please COME! You can contact me throught comments here, or emailing me at bullmartin@mindspring.com if you have questions.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy Blogaversary!

It looks like the winner is The Date of March 11. I think that I didn't really give the Counter a good shot at hitting 10,000 first because I haven't been blogging as consistently as I should. Also, I'm not reading other people's blogs. I've found there is no better way to promote one's own blog than by visiting other's blogs, and commenting. You don't even have to say "please come read what I'm writing!" If you comment then they will come. When I am heaviest into blogging and reading blogs is when I tend to get the most traffic myself.

Well, in honor of having blogged exactly one year today I will re-post my first blog. Afterall, that is the traditionally lazy way of commemorating this occasion. Here we have...

What the heck

I first heard about blogging when I saw the word sprawled across a sample webpage design on the website that I use to build my website. I thought it was a funny word, but had no clue what it was. Later I found out that it was a kind of online journal. At first I thought that I surely had to have something important to say in order to have a blog, but after surveying the multitudes of friends and family's blogs I realized that I was being closed minded. I don't have to be important or have any thing relevant to say in order to have a blog. I just have to like writing and saying stuff. "That's me!" I exclaimed as I jumped out of my chair. I can blog! And so, here I am. Blogging. My mom tells me that blog is short for Weblog, which somehow brings me more comfort in using the word so much. As if somehow, such stately sounding origins justify such a rediculous sounding word.

So this is my first blog. Let's hope I can keep this up.

I got 4 comments on that one. Two were from a random person who just happened to drop by my blog. I figured that was typical. It's never happened again. He posted to let me know that I spelled "ridiculous" wrong.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why Brokeback Mountain Should Have Won

It's been awhile since I posted and I won't lie and say that MySpace isn't a culprit but it isn't alone. I've also been quite busy outside of computer use. What with plays I'm directing, and whatnot. I don't spend nearly as much time on MySpace as I do on this blog when I'm into it heavily, but I will admit that sometimes after I've been on MySpace for a few minutes I don't have the desire to write here as much. It takes less time to check over there and it gets out the urge to comunicate, even if it is superficially. I realize that my post of late have heavily favored a MySpace subject, and this will hopefully be the last one since the subject is tiresome.

On the subject of the Oscars I'd like to chime in a bit. I watched with everyone else as Crash won the Oscar over Brokeback Mountain and I can only say that it further indicates the insignificance of the award. Best picture is supposed to be the pinicle of excellence in the film industry for the year and above all other awards, it is the one you want to win. Personally, I don't think that it matters near as much as the individual awards, for director, cinematography, and acting. The selfless, humble thing to do is to play the "no 'I' in team" card and root for the play to win above all. Of course this is preposterous when you see one movie win every award except best picture. The message there is that the movie had all of the elements but couldn't put it together well enough to beat out the other movie that had inferior acting, directing, etc. I find this ridiculous in the case of Brokeback Mountain, where directing, acting, cinematography, and the script all came together to create a great movie. I don't think that anyone would deny that. So it should have won best picture, hands down. I didn't see Capote or Munich but Good Night and Good Luck was one of the most original, creative movies I've seen in a long time, and is really in a class of it's own. I would have gladly accepted it as the Best Picture winner, but I knew that was highly unlikely, given it's narrow appeal. As for Crash, I liked it. But I also liked The 40 Year Old Virgin and Fun With Dick and Jane. Crash was about much more serious subject matters, granted, but like other decent flicks that shouldn't be winning Academy Awards it was one layered. It tried to teach you one lesson and then teach it over and over again using different people and multiple interlocking situations. I'm not saying, like other would that this is an unforgivalble sin that completely ruins the movie. I still enjoyed the movie. It shouldn't have won the Best Picture Oscar, though. It wasn't that good.

With that said, The Academy is not a single entity that gets together as a committee to discuss these things. Votes are left to individuals with individual opinions and these opinions are collected to form a final conclusion, without a debate ever taking place on the matter. Let's face it, the decision simply isn't that important. I've been disappointed in the choice of the Academy before and it won't be the last time. i've also thought that the award went to actors or directors who didn't win it based on one film, but on a body of work. Was Denzel Washington's performance in Training Day better than Russel Crow's in A Beautiful Mind. Please! But, I was glad they gave it to him. He deserved it. Crow had stolen the statue from Tom Hanks the previous year, so I wasn't too heart broken.

It's these little neuances and politicies that make the Oscars kind of a faux awards show. In many instances the Academy's decision is based on the awards that precede it in the year. The Oscars, being the final award handed out, is more redundant, most years than this. But, then again, like I said. It's not that important.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Blog

I decided to create a brand new blog to cronicle my running apirations. I call it:

Run, Fat Man! Run!

Please visit and help me keep it up. I thrive on encouragement.

Thank you

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Race is On

The title isn't related to my previous post, but it is somewhat of a coinscidence, no?

What it is referring to is the fact that two blogging milestones are approaching. On March 11 I will have been blogging for one year AND I am currently at 9,515 hits and project to soon hit the big 10K. When you factor in the fact that I didn't add the counter until about May of last year and the fact that probably a good quarter of the hits are of my own I think we are roughly correct in assuming that I've had around 10,000 hits.

The race refers to the big question of which will make it first: the one year mark or the 10K mark?

Personally, I'm going for the 10K because I'm going to do my best to write some really great inciteful, thought provoking stuff in this next week. Oh, the stuff I have lined up! It will singe the hair on your face, I'm telling you.

I want your predictions. Will it be the One Year Mark or 10K Hits in the winners circle?

Winning predictions will win a special prize. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I'll leave you with these words: "$240 worth of pudding. Aww yeah..."