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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Peter Files Blog is Back!

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Hi there! Wondering where we've been? Sorry for the long absence.

I don't usually talk a lot about myself in this blog, sticking with humor, but this once, I should try to explain where I've been.

One of the things you never see behind a blog like this is the life of the person behind the blog. I've kept that quiet for a number or reasons, spousal request, a desire for privacy, the freedom to make fun of whomever I wanted, but the slow down in posting has gotten so bad compared to early years that it deserves an explanation I think, to those of you who have followed this blog since the beginning.

Sadly, the truth is that this blog started because I became disabled and unable to work at a real job. I'm a chronic pain patient, serious pain, and that does some things that slow my progress here.

The first is that such pain comes with depression and disorganization as a matter of course and that is especially true in my case. So the blog has been helpful to me in chasing those naughty blues away that come with the lifestyle of being in pain constantly.

The second is that the struggle to do even the minimum needed to get through life is draining enough that I don't have the energy I need to get through the normal tasks of life.

In addition, this type of experience tends to be incredibly isolating, and this blog HAS helped to work on that. Some of the comments I have gotten from friends and contributors over time have been quite nice. Thank you all. But, its the nature of this type of blog to get fewer comments than I might get elsewhere. Some of that by choice, because of the psuedo-anonymity I write with. Most of my friends have identified myself pretty easily with the clues I have left for them here.

But the biggest factor, honestly, is that like much of the inter-verse, the universe of the internet, I've been sucked into the world of social networking through Facebook.com at a key time when people my age are the largest joining group of the service.

That's been good for me personally. I am very grateful to Facebook for helping me reconnect with, and improve my connection with almost two hundred people right now that I hold in high esteem and who have been close friends or associates in humor and life over the years. For someone like me, this has been a huge deal. I'm a very social being and in my previous career I worked closely with a couple of dozen people on a weekly basis, but over the course of a year, dealt with several hundred people who I liked, respected, esteemed, and in some cases, held among my closest friends.

My work life was incredibly busy. I had invested most of my being in it with the exception of family life, which got shorter shrift than it should have.

Like many freshly disabled people, it comes as a shock, a great shock, and one that you have to work through. For a long time I let myself believe that I would feel better next week. Surely things would improve, and I would spring back into shape and resume my work and life style. I was deluding myself and it was in the interest of myself to do that because it kept me focused on trying to find a way out of my predicament. Had I had another problem than the one I do, it just might have worked to. Sadly, such did not prove to be the case.

I've learned a lot about pain in the past five years. How much can be endured. What a struggle life is for some, many of whom have it worse than I do. I have a modicum of mobility, I can type and walk or example, where others cannot. One of my cousin's cousin became paraplegic and lost nearly all motor functions.

Another close friend, one of my very best friends in fact, died three years ago in an MS related accident. No warning. Horribly shocking. Then two and a half months later, my mom died, cancer, 10 days from diagnosis to death. The two together were as or more emotionally painful as what I was going through as a result of the injuries I received six and a half years ago. Time flies.

So, this blog has been a great way to chase those naughty blues away, but did not get at my real needs, other than the need to feel productive at something useful to others. Perhaps some day, I could make a career out of it and provide an income stream of sorts.

Well, let me tell you, those ads I put up, don't help much. I still have yet to get a check from Google, though one day I may get enough page views and clicks to generate that first one. Some day. I predict that it will come before 2014 at this rate. Not that I am complaining. I'll take my wife out to dinner on that. Or buy something to keep this computer going. Or just pay my internet bill. (If you really want to help the blog, do your amazon shopping starting here. That is the single thing that could help me do better, just click on the Amazon link first here before you go over.)

Only one of my sisters has used the paypal donate link. I've left it up there though in case there is a foundation that wants to fund my comedy the cheap and easy way.

So, back to where I've been. Well other than sicker. This was a bad winter and in the fall late fall I slipped on the ice behind my car, making my injuries worse and added some new pain. Just great. Wish I had a video of it though. I sure it looked funny as hell making that pratfall YouTube.com worthy had only someone seen it and filmed it.

But the biggest factor has been Facebook, long the bastion only of high school and college students, Facebook has become in the last year flooded with people my age or thereabouts who have discovered that they can post pictures that they can control the privacy of, and create and maintain links with people they care for from far away.

The key element is privacy. If I put up family photos or the like, I can specify that only my family and friends, those I name as "Facebook friends" can see it if I so choose. Each display element has its own setting. I can even have things that only 1 or two people can see if I choose.

What has this meant for me? Connecting with more than a century and a half of old friends, keeping up with some family better, and once in awhile, making new friends. This has had a huge impact on my sense of isolation, for the better. It's been helped by the fact that quite a few old friends have started to catch on and join too.

Last week a friend joined who I used to sit at lunch with and gab through most of high school. We'd drifted apart and I missed him, but as time went on was too lazy or insecure to try to hook up again. Then, joy of joys there was a friend request from him. Amazing. Turns out he's still in town.

Each old connection that I make has helped to heal some of the wounds of lost friends to death of which I have more than I'd like to have had. It took a little prodding and begging, but I got some of my family members to join, giving us a chance to keep up better with what has been going on in their lives and to share the good things that do happen in mine. And that's an important thing. Despite all that I have gone through, life has had some real pleasant moments. Not the kind that you regularly crow at, but, the status messages that say how you are that you can set at will, make those little things news. The system prompts you to update your status with a "Peter is" statement (though you can delete the "is" if you want to.

"I've got a headache but am going to try to sleep it off."

Name "is making his fourth trip to Home (expletive deleted by him) Depot! This is it and he will have new plumbing, trap and faucet for his house."

Name "hopes someone knows a mechanic with a fix-wish to buy my Jeep..."

Name "is midterming. Wonder what the young people have learned thus far."

Name "Coffee..."

Name "is helping save the rainforest on (Lil) Green Patch! (http://apps.facebook.com/greentrees/d.php) -- Join us to help the cause!
2 hours ago - via (Lil) Green Patch"

Name "is ready for today to be over." Better write her a note and see what's up.

Name " is on the way to SNNOOWWBAAALLL!!(:.
Updated via Facebook Mobile"

Name "is in Day 2 of the No Negativity in Lent experiment. Serenity now!"

Name "was thinking that he should take up hunting like Jed Clampet."

Name "is watching Man on a Wire re: wire walking between Twin Towers, great documentary."

Name ""We can make it there slow just like a circus" Britney Spears baby ♥."

Name "is celebrating Losar....(Tibetan new year)...its the year 2135, so remember to date your checks accordingly."

Name "is impressed her son is attempting to speak French."

Name "Now that Mardi Gras has come to an end, it's time to reflect, and to decide that which I must give up for lent? Perhaps scotch? Or tequila?
Updated via Facebook Mobile on Tuesday"

Name "welcomes all former COMIC ASYLUM customers to ALTERNATE REALITY. 111th & Kedzie is not so far from 86th & Cicero!"

Name "is i love you."

Name "hates when he eats Cap'n Crunchberries, the roof of his mouth feels scraped lol." For the record I like Crunchberries, will have to tell my friend to let them soak a little more for softness. LOL


Name "is not able to read your post right now. However, your post is important to him. Please stay online, and he will read it in the order in which it is perceived." Good one!

Name "says please support this education bill http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=1035&GAID=10&SessionID=76&LegID=42707."

Name "is ZZZZZZ".

Name "is hanging w/my sister & niece after seeing Junie B. I'm also geared up & excited to start audtions for "Don't Drink the Water"!!!"

Name "is wondering what Roland Burris' next story will be.
last Friday"

Name " is ready to be at the beach already!" That's one thing about Facebook, you can make friends everywhere through their applications. Sometimes somewhere it is warmer, colder whatever, than you are. That can be good for perspective.

The Facebook privacy issue that hit the news last week has been settled. They announced a return to the original terms of service and promised that they would not make a change like that again and formed a standards committee of members. Good strategy. Because without that reassurance that your messages and data are private as you decide to make them, most of my friends would have left the service.

What Facebook is providing more than anything else is a PRIVATE space to share things, particularly photos. Yes, someone hacking is and sharing things is a small risk, but so far, they seem to be the best there is.

So, that's where I've been. Not just gabbing, but healing as well. And I have to say to my Facebook friends, you have no idea what good you have done for me over the past months. (They will see this if they choose because my blog posts go into my notes section automatically).

That part of me that felt like my past was disintegrating and leaving me in a "Jud-like" lonely room, is gone or at least a lot better, and if I am still not healthy enough to follow up on many of the invitations I have gotten, especially when they are to see plays (I have some great actor friends) that I may or may not have the energy for at the last minute (usually not, sadly), I appreciate them like nothing you have ever seen.

I feel much less isolated. For someone in my position, that is a tremendous thing. Reconnecting with some of the people who I care about is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And through their genealogy application I have been getting to know a lot of cousins I don't know well, (2nd cousins mostly, but still relations I wish I had known years ago.)

This is a great thing. But it has been time consuming and I have left the blog to spin in the wind a little. So, I am going to make an effort to try to post something here at least twice a week. Maybe a little more. Now that the election is past, my need to rant has quelled, and so other than a few irresistibly pokes at some of my local Chicago political players that are in the media now, I will try to lay off the political ranting for awhile. If I can stand to, I am from Illinois after all. But then Blago and company are such easy targets, it hardly seems worth the effort.

Finally, I will be trying in fits and starts to revamp the look of this blog. If you come here and things look strange, don't worry, they will look better soon. I just need to get converted to the new system and I have done so much customizing of my blog that it is hard to do that easily.

So, that's my view on the state of Facebook. I like it. I am using it. I feel good about it.

I think if you have a lot of distant connections you'd like to keep up with, or are nearly house-bound, you will love it too.

And for those who have kept checking back the last few months. Thank you ever so much! Even those who found themselves here by accident had lots of things to read in the archives. Try them, you'll like them!

Oh, better late than never.

The last night for AUDITIONS for S.T.A.R. Productions'The Makeover is tonight.

Here's the rest of the info, and apoligies to Laurie that this is so late. But at least this is advance notice of what I am sure will be a great show.

Audition Information
Auditions for our next production, The Makeover (a comedy/drama published by Samuel French just six months ago), will be held at Home Auditorium (address above) on the following night:

Thursday
Feb 26, 2009
7 - 9:30 PM

I assume the auditions are in their performance space, but you might want to call Laurie to find out.

PERFORMANCE SPACE:
Home Auditorium
4400 S Home Ave
(7000 west,
a few blocks east of Harlem)
Stickney, Illinois

MAILING ADDRESS:
S.T.A.R.
3637 W 51st St
Chicago IL 60632

(312) 802-8020

Auditionees are welcome at any time during advertised hours on either or both days. Please arrive no later than 8:30 pm to allow time to read with other actors. Most people tend to come on one of the scheduled days and stay until auditions are over. There will be cold readings from the script; monologues are not required. This play was just published, so it's not yet available online or from the library. It will be directed by Leo Rokicki and Laurie Reyna. For more information, call Laurie at (773) 585-5852.

Performance Dates
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Sunday, May 3 (matinee)
Friday, May 8
Saturday, May 9

The Makeover
By Patsy Hester Daussat

It's a typical Saturday evening as Mike and Melanie play games with their best friends, Victor and Paula. They have been neighbors for years, and their sons, who are friends, are both home from college for the summer. Little does Melanie know that her happy, comfortable world will soon be thrown into turmoil. Mike has sent a letter to Facing Facts, Melanie and Paula's favorite reality TV show. He believes Melanie, who has gained weight over the years, would be thrilled to have a makeover at Facing Facts' fabulous spa. After all, she and Paula rave about it. Unfortunately, every Monday night when Melanie and Paula watch the show, their husbands leave to play baseball. Poor Mike is clueless about the show's cruel, ratings-hungry host, Frances Montgomery, who thrives on humiliating those who are ambushed on the show. When the Facing Facts crew descends at her door, Melanie endures a disastrous ambush. Afterwards, she cannot understand why Mike would subject her to national humiliation. Melanie tells him to be out of the house when she returns from the spa. Mike is hopeful that she will change her mind, but things only get worse the evening Melanie returns. Frances not only belittles Melanie again, she sets her sights on an oblivious Mike. Melanie finally explodes, throwing the Facing Facts crew out of her house, along with Mike. Events in the days that follow bring Melanie to realizations about herself and the important things in life.

Character Descriptions
(Age ranges listed refer to what the actor should portray,
not the actor's actual age.)

Roles for Women

Melanie Barnsworth, 40s-50s, an attractive, middle-class, happily married "domestic engineer" who is padded to look heavier in the first act. She is fun-loving, but has not completely come to terms with her weight issue.

Paula Giacobi, 40s-50s, Melanie's best friend and neighbor, who is a thin, attractive "domestic engineer." She is no-nonsense, but has a nurturing, comforting side.

Frances Montgomery, 30s-50s, the haughty, snobby, attractive (surgically enhanced), thin, flamboyant host of Facing Facts, an ambush reality TV show. She has a patronizing, friendly attitude on the air, but is rude and selfish off the air (except to Mike).

Monica, college-age, Frances' cute assistant and Keith's love interest. She is energetic, a bit eccentric, and very patient (she has to be to work with Frances). She will speak her mind, though.

Roles for Men

Mike Barnsworth, 40s-50s, Melanie's handsome, fit husband, who works in an office. He loves his wife and is understanding, but he's sometimes oblivious and doesn't always listen.

Victor Giacobi, 40s-50s, Paula's husband and Mike's best friend, who owns a small construction company. Despite a bit of a paunch, he is fairly attractive. He is comical, but is sometimes overly flirtatious and can be abrasive.

Keith Barnsworth, Melanie and Mike's son who is home from college for the summer. He is studying to be an architect. He's the boy-next-door type, but he is not perfect. He has a loving and caring relationship with his parents.

Ricky Giacobi, Paula and Victor's college-age son and Keith's best friend. He is more of a free spirit than Keith, and he's unconventional. He is studying psychology. He and his mother are very close. He cares about his father, but they are not as close.

Role for Either Gender

Boz, 18-65, the camera-operator. This is an average-size role with specific actions, but few lines.

Again, the last night of auditions is TONIGHT Thursday 2/26/09, 7-9:30pm. See http://ChicagoSTAR.org/audition for details...

That's all folks!

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos
Http://ThePeterFiles.blogspot.com


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