My Internet service is back up. What was the major issue? I have no idea. I unplugged the modem, plugged it back in, now I have Internet. Doesn't seem like a particularly good solution should this become a recurring problem. Sort of the modern day equivalent of whacking the side of a television set.
Last night, I went to The Second City Holiday party. When I first got hired into the touring company, this was a very exciting thing. I felt like I was part of an exclusive club and felt acknowledged by the comedy mother ship. Ten years later, I approach these parties with a sense of dread. It's cool to see some folks I haven't seen in awhile, but there's a layer of schmoozing and partying and, quite frankly, trying to remember names, that I'm just not that into. Plus, this year, more than any other, I noticed how unrecognized the training center is for being a part of the big machine.
Three standard highlights of the party are the staff show, getting your holiday gift from the company (This used to be accompanied with getting your holiday bonus. They wisely did away with this aspect. Rather awkward to open your envelope next to someone who inexplicably got more or less than you.) and the raffle. The staff show was very funny, especially if you are also on staff or are in one of the resident companies. And, yes, in Second City-sized terms, that's not even half of their holiday party audience. But they did do it well and if you didn't know the people they were referencing, you got an idea of what the joke was. Still, in this little revue they did, the only mention of the training was a reference in one scene that most of them take classes there.
Second City does do the holiday gift well. This year, it's a stainless steel thermos and travel mug. To pick up your gift, the hosts call up people by their division. It starts with the mainstage and trickles down to the training center. We were somewhere after the custodial staff and before the homeless guy who regularly stands out front begging for change.
The raffle was sad. They used to load it up with tons of awesome gifts, like DVD players. Now, it's mostly bottles of booze and underpriced gift certificates (Really? A ten dollar gift certificate to Flat Top Grill? That won't cover one meal there. Any gift certificate that requires you to throw in your own money isn't a gift certificate, it's a coupon.) Whenever someone from the training center had their name pulled, it was usually followed with a "Am I pronouncing that right?" or "I don't know this person."
All this I can take in stride, but here's what really made the evening sour for me. My name wasn't listed in the calendar. Every year, Second City puts together a calendar loaded with photos from the year and with everyone's birthdate in it. EVERYONE's birthdate. If you work at Second City, you're in it. I share a birthday with Jimmy Carrane and Ruby Streak. It was always a thrill to see my name and theirs listed together.
This might seem petty to you, except that my name hasn't been in the calendar for over seven years now. At Second City, I have performed in the touring company, taught classes, produced and directed in Detroit, directed in Las Vegas, directed the national touring company, have done bizco stuff, helped create the writing program, was a core faculty member, have directed a buhjillion Skybox shows, am listed on two alumni lists and I still can't get my fucking name in the company calendar? I must have really done something horrible to whomever it is that actually puts the little names in the little calendar boxes. Over the years, I have periodically tried to go through administrative channels to get this corrected. A few times I have been told it's been taken care of only to get the calendar and find that it has not. I gave up on it. This year, an e-mail went out to all faculty saying they wanted to make sure everyone was included and to please send in your birthdate. I did so immediately upon receiving that e-mail. I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football.
It is a small thing, but that's what makes it feel so important. It's a small detail that makes a difference on feeling a part of the company. Now, I'll go sip coffee from my new mug.
THE BS NEWS QUIZ OF THE DAY
Yesterday, I asked...
"Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered a gene in fruit flies that make them what?"
13% said "Aggressive"
- Don't piss off a fruit fly. You wouldn't like them when they're angry.
12% said "Republican"
- Yep. It makes them conservative and compassionate. In other words, a freak of nature.
No one picked "Scared"
75% got it right with "Homosexual"
According to Science Daily, a team led by University of Illinois at Chicago researcher David Featherstone has discovered that sexual orientation in fruit flies is controlled by a previously unknown regulator of synapse strength. Featherstone and his coworkers discovered a gene in fruit flies they called "genderblind," or GB. A mutation in GB turns flies bisexual. It not only explains why some male fruit flies try to copulate with other male fruit flies, it also explains the origin of their name.
Phillip and Derek make some sweet, sweet fruit fly love (courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times).