Be Dissatisfied

Doing some reading tonight, and I came across this piece, and I really like it. As I have been working quite a bit on preparing for next season at the Williamston Theatre, as well as prepping for a season of my own more individual work as a director, this simple idea really spoke to me. I thought I’d share it…

An inventor was asked why he spent sixteen hours every day tinkering with his work. He replied:

“Because I’m dissatisfied with everything as it currently exists in its present form.”

Dissatisfaction is beneficial to the creative process. Otherwise you lose the prod you need to spot potential problems and opportunities.

Success can make us complacent. We think, “Everything’s fine. Why change anything?”

And we stop trying new approaches.

Often it’s only when our success is threatened that we seek to make improvements.

An example is the “Sailing Ship Syndrome,” named after the burst of innovation in the mid-19th century sailing ship industry. Only after it became obvious that the steamship would dominate the commercial sailing ship did the sailing ship reach its peak of efficiency.

Faced with the challenge of steam, sailing ships reduced the duration of the average westward crossing of the Atlantic from five weeks in 1840 to three weeks in 1860. Many of the changes that made this increase in speed possible could have been made decades earlier, but it was only when faced with elimination that the motivation was present to do so.

Moral: to remain successful, sometimes we have to be dissatisfied with the things that enabled us to be successful in the first place.

— What are you dissatisfied about?
— What isn’t sitting right with you?
— How can you turn irritation into inspiration?
— What previously successful assumptions can you challenge?

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From the “I Love Being A Dad” Files…

My kids concocted a scheme to scare Jeanne and I. They created this creepy little 2-foot high demon baby in a gown thing…

…and then they left it in the basement where, upon entering the basement and turning the lights on, it would be the first thing you saw.

Yeah, it was both as creepy & hilarious as it looks! 🙂

Now… Now I have to plan some revenge…

(insert evil comic-book-villain laugh here)

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Doritos, and hope

Three questions about Doritos:

1) Why do are Doritos so darned yummy?
2) Why does Frito-Lay keep creating so many flavors that are just NOT as good as the good old Nacho Cheese?
3) Why do I keep BUYING those flavors to try them, knowing that they’re never as good?

I personally think it’s just hope, hope that the perfect snack chip could be improved on, which would be an inspirational reminder that no matter how good something is, it can still grow. Of course, it may also be that I’m just desperate to seek justification for buying Doritos Pizza Supreme despite my current waistline and the history of heart-disease in my family. Oh, life…

So: a couple things about that. The Doritos Pizza Supremes were okay, but they were just okay. I mean, it wasn’t a yummy pizza, and it wasn’t a yummy Dorito. It was a weird mix of the two that did not leave me feeling happy like I usually get when I eat Doritos or pizza.


It’s amazing…
Cool Ranch Doritos? Gross.
Original Taco Doritos? Yuck.
Late Night Cheeseburger Doritos? Um… What? Are Harold and Kumar running the R&D Lab over there?
Ketchup Doritos?! Why the hell would anyone do that to a Dorito?! I mean, “Hey – best snack chip ever! Let’s get rid of your awesomelicious powdery nacho cheesy goodness and replace it with watery tomato drizzle!”

Even more amazing, when I sat down to write, I used that new website that all the kids are talking about, the google, to search for information on Doritos. And I found THIS!!! It’s a list of 86 Dorito Flavors!! 86!

So, see – hope! I think that’s why Frito-Lay keeps experimenting, too – THEY have as much hope as I do. Because even though I haven’t YET found a better Dorito, the Doritos Gourmet Fried Chicken With Green Onion Sauce may just be just what I need…

I can always hope.

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Hi again, 2:14am!

Tonight is my son’s birthday sleepover! Eight 11-year old boys are FINALLY asleep in sleeping bags in the basement, after hours of running around and giggling and playing games and being… Well, after hours of being 11-year old boys at a sleepover!

SO: yes, 2:14am is the perfect time for the Carbon Monoxide Detector that they knocked out of the wall to start chirping loudly and let me know a) the Carbon Monoxide levels are fine, but b) it’s unplugged from the wall and c) the battery backup is now failing and I should 1) replace the battery and 2) plug it back into the wall.

Okay. Good to know that’s still working. And is it just some “Dad Instinct” that kicks in once you become a dad that means you’re the only one in a house full of people to hear that particular piercing “CHIRP!!”? Because it seems like any time one of the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors has a battery running low it’s me who is wandering the house at 2:14am trying to figure out which one is making the noise! It really is amazing how you can wake from a deep sleep going “Chirp. I heard a chirp? I was sleeping, but I think I heard a chirp. Quick, before it happens again and I have to actually lift my head from the pillow – run through the possible chirp sounds that could be happening: smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, someone’s phone needs recharging, one of the many electronic toys the kids have was left on and is making some kind of weird noi- wait, nope, there it is again. Okay, lift head from pillow. Walk to hallway. Wait for sound again and begin narrowing down the location of the sound in the house… Yep, basement. Wade through obstacle course of sleeping 11-year olds…find the culprit. How can they sleep through it going off while they’re laying right next to it?!

And the most amazing thing is that it ALWAYS happens in the middle of the night! I do not think I have EVER had one of those things go off at a nice convenient 4:45pm. *sigh*. Battery backup replaced, detector re-plugged into wall… All is well once more.

So, I wonder if I’ll be able to get back to sleep… I also wonder if there’s any more of that birthday cake left in the kitchen….

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People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
-Dale Carnegie

I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.
-Thomas Edison

The more internal freedom you achieve, the more you want: it is more fun to be happy than sad, more enjoyable to choose your own emotions than to have them inflicted on you by mechanical glandular processes, more pleasurable to solve your problems than to be stuck with them forever.
-Robert Wilson

You must have discipline to have fun.
-Julia Child

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A trip to the ballpark!

As a fun perk of directing a play about Detroit’s most beloved baseball announcer, we got to go to the ballpark yesterday and be on the field as the actor playing Ernie Harwell threw out the first pitch! It was, for this baseball fan, a great rush! Being on the field right behind home plate with players and managers milling about – neat!
Here’s me with the cast, TJ Corbett and Will Young!

Miguel Cabrera was awarded his Silver Slugger Award from last season RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! I cheered and yelled his name. I’m pretty sure he heard me, and we’re best friends now. I’m just waiting for him to invite me over for a BBQ.

And this is the Olde English D behind home plate!

After all the fun, we went back across the street to rehearsal, AND had a fabulously well-received preview for nearly 400 people!
And the Tigers won their game 9-0!

Thanks, Universe, for a good day!

Next Season!

We’re very excited about our lineup for next season at the Williamston Theatre!

The Williamston Theatre 2011-2012 Season

The Dead Guy by Eric Coble
Directed by Tony Caselli
September 29 – October 30, 2011

The Pitch: You get one million dollars to spend over the next seven days. A camera crew follows your every move and broadcasts your adventures on national television. The Hook: At the end of the week…you die. The Best Part: The viewing audience gets to vote on the method of your death! For hard-luck Eldon Phelps, the deal is irresistible. But does America have the stomach for this much reality? What would you do if you had one week until you became…”The Dead Guy”? Stay tuned…

This dark comedy is hilariously funny, and wonderfully biting. I can’t wait to get into rehearsals for it!

This Wonderful Life
November 25 – December 23, 2011
We’re reprising our beautiful Holiday production of This Wonderful Life”, starring John Lepard!
Directed by Tony Caselli

This beautiful, funny, incredibly moving one-man re-telling of the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life was a huge draw two years ago, and since our audiences have been asking for it ever since, we’re bringing it back! Are we starting a new WT Holiday tradition? Only time will tell!

The World Premiere of Dead Man’s Shoes by Joseph Zettelmaier
A co-production with Performance Network Theatre
Directed by David Wolber
January 26 – February 26, 2012 at WT, then the show moves to the Performance Network!

Another wonderful dark-comedy, this one is a Western! Follow our revenge-driven hero as he embarks on a quest to right a horrible wrong. What starts out as a sweeping epic tale boils down to an incredibly funny, insightful and deeply personal journey for one man. Well, for two men. And a pair of shoes.

These Two Walk Into a Bar (a new musical)
Book and Lyrics by Alan Gordon
Music by Mark Sutton-Smith
Directed by Tony Caselli
March 22 – April 22, 2012

This will be the World Premiere of this funny, warm, exciting new musical!
In a bar, where “the usual” isn’t usual at all, we meet three wonderful characters and join them on a wonderfully musical journey through love and life! You’ll leave the theatre smiling and humming after this beautiful show!

We don’t want to officially announce this one until we are sure we have the rights, but we’ll be doing a wonderful American Classic!
TBA American Classic
Directed by Rob Roznowski
May 17 – June 17, 2012

Red, White and Tuna
Directed by John Lepard
July 12-August 19, 2012

A side-splitting spoof of life in rural America! Reprising their roles from our smash-hit production of Greater Tuna, Wayne David Parker and Aral Gribble return in the hilarious summertime sequel! Along with Tuna’s perennial favorites, some new Tuna denizens burst into the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion. This sets the stage for a show full of fireworks and fun from the land where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.

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