When Star Wars, Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith, came out, I had a party. An all-day marathon, really. (There were themed snacks.) We got together at about 9am, watched the first two, went to the theater for episode 3, then came back for episodes 4-6.
We made it through episode 5, The Empire Strikes Back. The pussing out happened at about 11pm. Which, as it turns out, is EXACTLY when we hit the wall at the improv-on-tape marathon.
There are times I feel so lucky to have found the people I improvise with I can barely stand it. At a Tantrum rehearsal a while back, I asked, "What would you guys think of maybe sometime watching some long-form shows on tape just to, you know, see what other groups are doing?" (There were probably a lot more "ums" in there. Because I was afraid to ask.)
Miracle of miracles, enough people to fill my living room said, "Yeah. Cool." Which should have been my first sign that things would go horribly wrong.
Pete is hiiiighly allergic to cats (I'm overusing vowels. Deal.). So I knew I'd spend most of the week doing some hard-core vacuuming the hell out of every fabric surface. Sunday night, after some de-cluttering, I plopped down to watch Iron Chef. Aimed the remote at the TV and... ... ... nothing. Then, finally, a little blinky red light at the bottom of my 42" Sony Grand Wega. And a memory of a salesguy at Sears: "At this point in time (late 2004), the LCD projection model is more cost-efficient than the Plasma, but you'll have to replace the lamp every three years or so."
MOTHER pus bucket.
So I order the lamp. I think. Two days later and a $20 shipping upgrade, I realize my online order didn't take. Friday, the lamp arrives—I come home during lunch to make sure no one walks off with this $129 UPS package, and I take a crack at installation.
Mother PUS bucket.
I head back to work, hoping to get off in time to pick up a tiny hex wrench so I can install this overpriced light bulb (which looks NOT MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE $5 LIGHT BULBS I PUT IN MY STUPID DESIGNER HALOGEN LAMPS.)
I find it ($5.36). Following the instructions in the manual, I (against all better judgement) use force to pry off the front panel of the TV, pull out the lamp, and realize Blue Star International has sent me the Advanced Version ($129). Apparently there is an option to order replacement lamps pre-fitted in a little box.
This is not the one I have ordered.
So I use hex wrenches, phillips screwdrivers and regular screwdrivers and eventually get the lamp in the TV. Victory!
In my imagination, we watched a bunch of videos from 7 years of improv festivals. But 1) I couldn't find the really good ones and b) I listened to the ones I found, and the sound quality suuuuuucked.
Mother pus BUCKET.
I have a one-hour podcast of the best show in Chicago. Score! I just have to hook my MacBook up to my newly functioning big screen. I have a cord, either from my old Powerbook or my MacBook in my Big Box of Random Computer Things. I just need an S-Video cable and a mini-plug with stereo audio for the TV.
So I hit Radio Shack at lunch ($20ish), feeling quite smug that I know what I need. I get off work a little early and come home to hook up...everything.
Lamp is in. I get ready to hook up the computer and...
MOther pus BUCKet.
Cord doesn't fit. Quick trip to the Apple store ($19ish) and FINALLY, I am fully functioning. And feeling like a bit of a badass for getting all this crap functional. Ultimately, I spent more time setting up the TV than we spend watching videos.
(Which mainly is why I'm watching Drum Machine while I type. I. Am. Not. Done.)
But is cool. Because I got to spend four hours, which I would have been happy to spend alone, watching Asscat, TJ & Dave and Beer, Shark, Mice with people as entertained and inspired by this as I am.
Every now and then I think, "Damn, I spend a lot of time worrying about how well I make shit up." But mostly, I just laugh my ass off. It's watching performers like UCB and Jill and the folks at iO that reminds me this is legitimate theater—without the training wheels.