What? I Have A Blog?

John Middleton, Leigha Horton and Tim Hellendrung are lousy neighbors in Ben San Del's "Minnesota Middle Finger" at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The two remaining performances are Friday and Saturday at the Theatre in the Round.

If I had written all the blog posts I meant to over the past year, I would have been a prolific blogger. There would have been posts about wonderful plays, delightful concerts, county fairs and city carnivals, and all sorts of things weird and wonderful. I might have imparted words of wisdom that I’ve since forgotten. And yeah, there probably would have been a few cat posts, but to be fair, I usually mock the cats rather than gush over how cute they are. Cats really don’t need any boosts to their self-esteem.

It’s not that I’m lazy; it’s more that I lack discipline. I procrastinate to the point that things don’t get done, which is why I added a $25 late fee to my rent payment this month after  I drove around for days with the check in my car.

I have the best of intentions. If had more oomph behind my intentions, I would be wandering around my lovely neat apartment in my size 10 jeans (I’d say 8, but let’s be realistic).

Also, I over-extend myself. At any given time, I’m helping someone or other with something or other — my parents, my kids, friends, co-workers. I’m a chronic helper, often to the detriment of stuff I need to do in my own backyard. Don’t get me wrong; I love doing it. I’m at my best when I am being helpful. If my job description was “bringing sunshine to the lives of others,” I would be all over it. But when I go home, the clouds hang over my own stuff. :)

Then there’s my computer. It beckons to me. Facebook wants to tell me everything my friends are doing. Article links link to article links. Plants vs. Zombies, Osmos and Peggle peer out from the desktop, chanting “Play meeeeeee.”

The blog posts go undone. But instead of my usual hapless whining, I’m vowing to start posting regularly, if only to post snippets from time to time. And after a busy August, I think I’ll do one of those “30 Days of” (movies, photos, whatever) Facebook things. I hate to commit to much of anything, but sometimes doing what you hate turns out good.

I don’t expect to post daily on a regular basis, but I might try to get close to that for the next week or so, since I’m spending the weekend at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, where I’m fortunate enough to be close friends with a Fringe regular whose show, “Minnesota Middle Finger,” is phenomenal. Ben San Del and I worked together as reporters together in 2003 in Crookston and I’ve followed his career from journalism into stand-up comedy, storytelling and theater.

I saw “Minnesota Middle Finger” last weekend and will see it again Saturday. It’s an incredible show with an equally incredible cast depicting three lousy neighbors stuck in a house under 100 inches of snow at what appears to be the end of the world.

I had seen John Middleton in Joseph Scrimshaw’s 2010 Fringe show “The Damn Audition,” and a few weeks ago was in Minneapolis for a Tim Minchin concert (more on my favorite comedy rocker in a future post) and caught John in “Street Scene” at the Minnesota Theater Garage. I had seen Tim Hellendrung in back-to-back Fringe shows (both of which earned him top honors as male performer in the Fringe), in 2009 as a nasal little kid in “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” and in 2010 in “Speech!” Both were perfect for their roles in “Minnesota Middle Finger” and a delight to watch. (Actually, it was reading John Middleton’s blog posts at http://minnesotaplaylist.com/magazine/column/johns-blog that made me remember how much I enjoy doing this.

I’d only seen Leigha Horton once, in “See You Next Tuesday” during last year’s Fringe. Her character was completely different from Flo in Minnesota Middle Finger, so it was harder to know what to expect, but she’s absolutely charming. And in the climactic scene, she just erupts.

I wouldn’t mind seeing this show more than once again, but I can’t. It’s on again tonight, Friday and Saturday and I won’t be back in Minneapolis until Saturday.

For last year’s Fringe, I took a week off work, but I didn’t ask for the time off in time this year, so I’m limited to back-to-back weekends, as I live four hours away. I really miss not being there during the week. The pace is a little more relaxing, the after-parties less crowded.

The Fringe is the coolest thing I have ever seen. And I’ll write more about it later. I’m off to see “The Full Monty” at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji. It starts in 25 minutes and I have a second-row seat. I’ve heard awesome things about this show, so it should be a way to cap off the season. I’ve loved all four of the other Playhouse plays, and I still think it’s awesome that Ryan Parker Knox is in every production this year and lists his residence on Facebook as Bemidji. :)

Wherever you are, enjoy what you’re doing …