Friday, December 17, 2010

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Mandy and I saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Steppenwolf last night. I'd seen the play before, and read it. It's one of those plays that everyone involved in theater is familiar with on some level. But in spite of my knowledge of the play, this show brought me to the point where I was holding my breath because I didn't know what would happen next. It was amazing. Exhilarating. Insane. I've seen this play before. I know the big twist at the end. And still, when the moment happened, there was a whole audience with a "Holy shit!" expression on its faces.

This is the second time I've seen Tracy Letts, who played George, on stage. I saw him last winter in American Buffalo, also at Steppenwolf. With both shows, I left the theater knowing that I want to do that. What I saw, just then? I want in on that. How do I make that happen?

No, seriously. I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Money: It's a Gas

I don't understand money.

No, that's not it. I don't understand finance. For example, I got into a short-lived Twitter-based argument with a complete stranger over a link to a petition demanding that the FCC protect net neutrality and prevent Comcast from blocking Netflix. I will freely admit it's not an issue I fully understand. My argument was this: Netflix provides online content I want to access. I pay Netflix a monthly fee to be allowed to use this content. Comcast provides the means of accessing online content, and I pay them a monthly fee for that service. If Comcast blocks access to the content I want, what am I paying Comcast for in the first place? My worthy Twitter opponent schooled me (seriously; he said, "Get educated.") with this link.

I confess I don't understand everything I read there either. But basically the gist seems to be that Netflix somehow costs Comcast extra to provide it to its customers, and so Comcast wants Netflix to pick up some of the costs. Makes sense, I suppose. Of course, either way it means something is going to get more expensive for me, the consumer. I'll either have to pay Comcast extra, or Netflix will raise its fees instead. Probably both. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how much longer Netflix can keep doing what it does. Netflix does not create anything. It's just a middle man. It was one thing when it focused on mailing out DVDs, but its stated intention is to become primarily an online service. But it doesn't make the movies, so eventually somebody's going to find a cheaper way to do it. It might even be Comcast itself -- they already have fairly expansive "On Demand" content; if they could create their own library to rival Netflix, there would be no need for Netflix at all.

Then the other night I watched Michael Moore's film, Capitalism: A Love Story, and now I'm all like, "Corporations. Fuck 'em." Businesses are like bottom-dwelling sea creatures. They do one thing: Take in money. The products a business produces are merely lures to attract the money. Anything else (Paychecks, insurance, etc.) is a by-product. There's more to this rant, but I'm at work right now so it's hard to focus.

I've been thinking a lot about money ever since we bought a condo. I get nervous because this is a level of financial responsibility for which I have not been tested. Furthermore, I have been tested for lesser levels of responsibility in the past and I did not do very well. I have spent the last decade trying to fix that, and I think I've done pretty well so far, but this is the first time I've really taken it out for a drive. And so I'm sweating a little.

I think I had a point when I started writing this, but I've lost it somewhere. I don't like money. I don't like worrying about it. I don't like needing it. But I don't know what to do about it.