Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunflowers and Clouds

Not a single one of our Sunflowers was planted; they are all "volunteers". I was home this morning to take M to the orthodontist so I stepped out while the sun was shining to take these photos. I'm now at work, and the clouds have moved in.

[Just some wispy clouds this AM.]

I really need to learn (or re-learn) the cloud names. I knew them as a kid when - at age 8 or so - I developed quite a fear of severe weather. It helped to learn about clouds and weather so I could "know the enemy" and not worry about every single cloud that crossed the sun. I often wonder how a little kid handles weather anxiety today - what with the Weather Channel, the internet, and all? There certainly is a lot more information at your fingertips - would that help - or make it worse?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Can’t Eat All This!

The Dude contemplates dessert last night at Pizza Luce. Luckily he had six others to share with.

Monday, July 27, 2009

R.I.P. Australia

[Here's Australia laid out in his/her coffin. I should be so lucky when my time comes.]

Sunday morning dawned sadly when it was discovered that “Australia” the Dude’s tadpole had died. We are uncertain what happened, but he seems to have died shortly after changing the water and providing a “bubbler” to oxygenate the water. We’ve changed water before – but usually do it a little bit at a time. This time we removed a lot of the old dirty water and provided fresh. He must have really liked that old, scummy water.

Funeral services were held and Australia was buried in the planter right by the front steps. You may notice the "B" on the grave marker. That stands for Bub - the Hobbled Wife's uncle who first discovered the tadpole and gave it to the Dude.


We spent a lot of time with various in-laws this weekend. Here’s the Dude and the I-Man at the Harriet Alexander Nature Center, and later at the Arboretum.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Updates

M returns from camp this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to having her back. We were so busy last week with the play and she just "vanished" on Sunday off to camp. Never had a chance to de-brief with her - so I'm looking forward to catching up.

Busy couple of nights with the nephews! Those guys (OK - just the I-man) can really keep you running. Last night we were at the park and I just about lost it on one of those spinning things. I don't have the sense of balance I once had!

Here's a few shots from the walking path today. It stormed last night and early this morning, but the clouds are clearing. Feels like it's going to be a hot and sticky day - but then again I was wearing jeans (casual Friday), and there was no shade so I was guaranteed to heat up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rain Shadows

Interesting picture of the "shadow" left by a plane after a brief downpour at ROC yesterday. [Warning: annoying audio/video when you click the link.] The little Airlink plane had just been pushed away when I snapped this photo.

The photo was snapped in the airport bar - where we were killing a few hours during flight delays due to severe weather.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Buck Stopped Here. . . .

. . . so I snapped his picture. You are never alone on the walking path at West.

Whew! That Was Fun

[Non Music-Man picture. The Dude and I biked over to the local DQ on Sunday afternoon.]

Well it’s over. I should be happy with my new found free time, but I’m going to miss the show terribly. Having rehearsed 3 or 4 nights a week since June 1, and just now finishing up 6 performances with record-breaking crowds, I’m tired – but in a good sort of way. I learned a lot: I always knew I could speak in front of crowds; that never bothered me. Now I know I can sing and dance as well – provided I’m tucked away safely in a group of other singers and dancers.

Attendance was outstanding – best ever for a Rosetown Playhouse production I believe:

7/9: 480
7/10: 710
7/11: 705

7/16: 600+
7/17: 640
7/18: 879

Thanks to everyone who attended. Your support was appreciated by all!

I’d have to say the best part – for me – was spending that many hours with my kids – in an environment where they were definitely more at home than I was. They were able to teach me a thing or two – which I hope they enjoyed.

The cast party on Saturday night was a blast – a very loud blast. M had left earlier, but the Dude and I stayed until the bitter end, 11:30 p.m. Now the Dude – at the tender age of 9 – can say he’s been to a party that was busted up by the police. That’s an experience every 9 year old should have. Yes – we were making a great deal of noise, and being outdoors at the Como Pavilion, some of the neighbors complained. Lots of laughs at the end!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beatle Break

Finally you think - a non Music Man post. Hah - just wait and I will tie this video to The Music Man (beyond the obvious connection of course).

A friend and fellow Beatle fan sent a link to this video today. We both enjoy seeing the old guy play classic Beatles numbers - and not the obvious ones like All My Loving, and I Saw Her Standing There.

Obligatory Music Man tie-in: Note Paul is wearing suspenders - something I'm really finding enjoyable while in my Music Man townsperson attire. Didn't realize how constricting my belt was. Maybe I'll employ suspenders more often in coming months.

OK - the obvious Bealtes - Music Man connection. Dig the Spanish subtitles - bueno!

Not Your Father's Music Man

Rosetown Playhouse is not alone in staging The Music Man this summer.

Here’s an excerpt from Terry Teachout’s Wall Street Journal review of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Music Man:

The surprises start when a lone musician strolls onto Rachel Hauck's penny-plain clapboard unit set, pulls a harmonica out of his pocket and plays a medley of tunes from the show instead of the usual slam-bang knock-'em-dead overture. The stage fills with actors dressed in black, white and gray. This is River City, a town full of upright folk who lead ultra-proper lives (We're so by-God stubborn we can stand touchin' noses/For a week at a time and never see eye to eye). Then a too-friendly gent in a gaudy red waistcoat dances into town and tells everyone he meets that what they need is a brass band. One by one, the locals succumb to the in-your-face charm of the unscrupulous "Professor" Hill (Michael Elich) and sign on the dotted line--and as they do so, they start to sport flashy-looking socks, handkerchiefs and other accessories. By intermission, the stage is as colorful as a double rainbow....

Sounds like a great show.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stay Out of My Garden - and more Music Man

I’ve been meaning to snap a picture of the sunflower growing in our vegetable garden – before some squirrel comes along and takes it down. So far the garden remains relatively free of furry pests. In the past we’ve had lots of trouble with rabbits – they just hop the relatively low chicken wire fencing that’s installed around the garden.

My strategy this year has been to take all the hair we brush off Duke – which is a considerable amount this time of year – and sprinkle it around the garden. I’m trying to trick the various vermin into thinking there’s a large animal about so they should stay out! I now have dog hair in various states of decomposition in the four corners as well as placed throughout the middle of the garden. I’m not sure if this works – but I recall being in a barber shop and seeing a neighbor stop by and ask for hair. The barber was keeping all his floor sweepings in bags to give to neighbors to sprinkle in their garden to keep our deer. So far – so good. The dog hair seems to be doing the trick.

I’m excited to return to Music Man after 5 days off. Week one was quite a success – as I mentioned earlier. Here are the actual attendance figures.

Thursday (opening night) = 452
Friday = 710
Sat = 704

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jeely Kly– I Need Deprogramming

After the Music Man is over I will need to be deprogrammed. I simply cannot get the songs out of my head. Veteran cast members tell me it takes months – but you still have flashbacks years later.

One good thing – I’ve broadened my vocabulary of “cuss” words. I now employ “Jeely Kly” on a regular basis – but usually only with the dog, as in “Jeely Kly Duke – will you get out of the garbage.”

Definition: Jeely Kly—This is a regional phrase used as a more acceptable version of "Jesus Christ". Similar substitutes listed in slang dictionaries include Jeazle Peats, Jeezly, jeasley, jeasly, Jee!, Gee! Jee whizz! Jee Whillikins, and Jeasusly.

Morning Report - flu, camp, lots of walking

[View from my car to World HQ - 10 minute walk.]

We got off to a late start today. It’s that darn flu. I won’t call it what the doctor called it. That would just alarm people. They don’t even test for the darn thing anymore. If you have flu-like symptoms, and don’t have strep, you’ve got “that” flu. It’s quite mild, but the Dude had a fever and other flu-like symptoms for 4 or 5 days – and he’s still dragging.

Added benefit of a late start – got to walk the Dude down to the barn at Farm camp. That’s a nice 10 minute walk through the little forest and adjoining wetland – that’s building 11 to 17 for you following along on the map. The nice thing about being an hour late - he arrived just as they were finishing chores. I watched two - 9 year old girls mucking out the stables. Don't think the Dude felt too bad about missing that part.

Then when I got to work it was another 10 minutes across the lot from the farthest point out. Lots of good exercise. Of course I could have taken the shuttle (aka “Sissy Wagon”) but I actually beat the shuttle walking myself.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Music Man - Week One Update

[Hobbled Runner far left - top of bleachers, hand over heart.]

First three performances were great. Opening night set an attendance record for Rosetown Playhouse – about 480. Friday night drew even more people – approaching 700. No figures yet for Saturday night, but we set up extra chairs, and I don’t think I saw many open spots.

I see now why aspiring actors wait tables for years hoping for their big break. Even in a minor role like my own, where you share the applause with dozens of others, the adulation becomes a bit intoxicating. Acting full time sounds quite appealing. Alas, it’s probably too late to change careers. Besides, I’d hate to have my PowerPoint skills go to waste.

[Strolling the streets of River City, Iowa.]

One of the challenging but interesting things about the venue – Como Park Pavilion – is that there are no “wings” (as in “waiting in the wings”) or no real “backstage” to wait between scenes. There is a dressing room area under the stage – but it’s not the sort of place to allow for quick exits and entrances between scenes, because it’s down a long stairway, and accessible from the stage by only one door. The production calls for cast entering from all sides of the stage – including down the aisles in front – so we can’t all just wait down in the dressing room.

Instead we are encouraged to stroll around the edges of the audience in character, where we can make easy entrances when necessary. It’s fun – but a little exhausting “greeting” fellow cast members and holding mock silent conversations with them – all the while pretending to stroll the streets of River City, Iowa.

[M on left, with friend and fellow cast member in River City, Iowa.]

The Dude came down with the flu on Friday – skipping a few scenes and leaving early. He sat out Saturday’s performance – and is still under-the-weather as of Monday morning. We expect him back on his feet for the next performance on Thursday.

[Hobbled Runner pre-performance with fellow cast members.]

Pictures are provided by the Hobbled Wife and another cast member.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Opening Night

Opening night was a success! It was a packed house and everyone seemed to have lots of fun. It’s an outdoor venue, so weather can be a factor. We are covered, so the misty rain in the middle of the show wasn’t a factor, and the breezes were nice – though I suspect they created something of a challenge for our sound guys. Tonight may be warmer, and more humid. No pictures – as I didn’t want to carry my BlackBerry or the Flip on stage during the performance – like I did during rehearsals. I’ll be sure to have someone take some tonight for posting.

I could see how this could be addicting. My role is very minor. I’m never on stage alone or up front – but the applause and laughter of the audience is quite a rush! Everyone in the cast takes it up a notch in front of live audience – something I expected but was fun to see anyway.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Productivity and Disconnecting

This is a couple days old, but I’ve been thinking about it, and have returned to the post several times to check the comments. On Monday (7/6) MPR’s News Cut Blog (Bob Collins) asked whether it was possible to disconnect.

Kennedy says:

Being connected is about being the first informed, not necessarily the most informed. Being connected is about being involved in conversation, not necessarily adding value to the conversation. Being connected is about knowing the current buzz, not necessarily knowing what is important. Being connected is about being in the loop, not necessarily about being important.

Knowledge truly is power, and being the last to know carries a certain stigma. While people complain about being connected, I suspect some feel a touch less valuable when they are not connected and things continue anyway.

Posted by kennedy | July 6, 2009 3:40 PM

And this one by bob:

If your boss expects you to be connected at midnight and you aren't a soldier or a first responder, you've got the wrong boss.

In addition to the disconnect thread, the post asks whether technology made us more productive?

“Are you a more productive person than, say, 10 years ago?”

I’m not sure how to answer that one. The curmudgeon in me would say, “No.” But is that true?

I’m certainly busier now than 10 years ago, but am I more productive? I find myself doing more – but whether technology allows me to do it better, the answer is mixed.

When I entered the workforce mid-1980s, communicating with others was not as easy as sending an email to everyone in an email group – or better yet, selecting “Reply-to-All” and Send. We had to type a memo and make copies on the one copier shared by 13 offices. I recall making copies only for those you felt really needed to have the information – because you had to distribute those copies yourself (delivering by walking around the office, or stuffing envelopes to mail.)

No conclusions - it's just got me thinking.

Crash? Not Yet

I keep expecting to crash. Not yet though.

It’s too early and I’m still enjoying the experience, even with long practices, no free time, lack of sleep, and nervous anticipation of the upcoming performances. I expected to crash earlier – and I’m sure that day will come. Let’s hope it’s not until after the final show, July 18.

Here’s the notorious Shipoopi – which I think I’ve finally mastered – as best I can given the cramped dancing space. We were out of costume – and a little pooped after 4 hours of rehearsal – but they wanted to run it one more time – with a minor change.

M Flipped (is that the verb for filming with a Flip camera?) this last night. The Hobbled Runner is only in front during the adults dance break scene. Note also the Dude at the end – far left (stage right) with girl jumping on his back. He almost falls on his face.

Get your tickets now!