Suck on the loose

Lately, I’ve felt chased by a giant improv cloud of suck. For some reason, I’ve also been thinking a lot about my high school chorus. Our choral director was probably the most skilled teacher I’ve ever had. (Debate amongst yourselves, Clarence High grads! But for sheer teaching ability, I have to vote Vehar.) And singing was not my forte. No, I sucked at singing. But I was so damn determined to get better that I actually took voice lessons over the summer in hopes of improving. And this is what I remember from that time: You have to hit it hard. You need a lot of air in your diaphragm; you need a lot of power for the high notes. You will botch them if you don’t go in with a ridiculous ton of energy. The same, I think, holds true of improv. You put in less “hit it” energy because you’re afraid of sucking, and you will, automatically, suck.

I remember sitting in the old chorale room for voice labs, absolutely dreading my turn to sing in front of everyone, holding my little Xeroxed notes and trembling. Vehar would come over and literally straighten my back and chin into alignment, then run to the old upright piano and plink the same notes over and over again until I got it mostly right.

A kick to my Italian head

Jeff and I went to Bucca di Beppo last night. Somehow we’ve begun to take a perverse delight in chain restaurants. For example, Chili’s. I think our delight stems from some combination of irony and nostalgia. Plus a huge desire for menu items named things like “Quesadilla Explosion.” Anyways, at Bucca (my own affectionate nickname for it) I thought about two things.

1) I remembered the only other time I’d been there, with the staff of the Daily Northwestern, when I was too young and intimidated to say more than three words.

2) The bajillions of photos on the walls most prominently feature, as Jeff put it, “pets, children, boobs and wang.”

In other Bucca news, Jeff was complimented twice by separate waiters on his Saddle Creek Records t-shirt, and we ordered so much food that I will be eating Macaroni Rosa for the next five days.

An additional Italian update: Becca and I ventured to the Bridgeport neighborhood to pick up a package at DHL, and ended up at 31st & Halsted for some awesome Italian ice. Becca got the watermelon flavor, and it had real pieces of watermelon (and a couple of seeds) actually in it. My lemon ice was dreamy.

Lately

… been missing Eliina and Henry, been biking in 100-degree sauna weather, been waking up for a late breakfast and then falling back asleep, been working hard at things that should be easy, been looking for a new job, been writing the play with Becca, been collaborating with geniuses, been watching a scary centipede bug skitter across the wall, been paying way-overdue bills and watching the bank account drain, been listening to friends get more and more addled by life, been lounging and lunching like a lady of leisure, been helping Jeff move by drinking Gatorade and watching the truck, been wondering whether I am qualified for anything I actually want to do, been thinking that the world is a vampire.