Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington
    98109

Monday, April 25, 2005

It's The Little Things

Yesterday was tremendous. I saw Long Day's Journey Into Night, making for two very good shows in one weekend. A trip to Elliot Bay Book Company blowing $60 on scripts. Still need a bunch more for my monologue work, so I'll be calling a couple local bookstores to order them. I ordered the one I wanted to start on through Amazon. It is the one where I get to be a bad fellow, so it jazzed me the most.

Then I met up with Steve and Paula, and we went to the Elysian. I called Gregory and he was thinking about going to work. I pointed out he needed sustenance. As we were finishing our food, after having socialized for several hours I blurted, "This is my favorite way to finish the weekend." A lot of "Yeah, me too." followed. Gregory will be leaving for Rutgers' a few days after Steve and Paula's wedding, and again I was thinking of how dynamic friendships are on the way home. I think you can never make new friends too many times. Old friends are always a part of you, and those relationships enrich future ones. New friendships can invigorate and enrich old friendships too.

Tonight in class I sang in front of the whole class, and while I could see how the Alexander work helped, I was horrified at how badly I was off key. Despite my disgust and the abject fear I had worked up, I kept going. It was a personal triumph, and it will make the work down in the subsequent classes easier.

I was thinking of Tennyson's Ulysses which I just memorized, because I like it and I thought my Dad would really like it. Of course, I may never recite it for him. Anyway, I had a meeting with George Lewis, who assigned the last bit to us in his class a while back. We talked about the mask class, and other things. It turns out I may not need to use much vacation time for the Shakespeare Intensive. Freehold is thinking of doing it in the evenings and weekends, which means I could probably work 30 hour weeks. I'm not sure how I feel about that, after having saved all my vacation time for 16 months. Also, he mentioned the ETI (Ensemble Training Intensive) program will likely have hours where I could reasonably work 3/4 time. Would Expedia support that for ten months? If not, should I bag high tech now? God, that will be a hard choice.

I saw the two full-length Shakespeare productions the ETI class did several years ago when Gregory went through it. A couple other people I knew went through the program, and the work they did was inspiring. The awe came from having seen their work before. While it was at least two times the time commitment of Meisner, I'd say the growth was more than two times what we experienced. Without Expedia's support in working shorter weeks I would have to sell my house to do the program. Oh God, I thirst for something like that.

Injury Report:
The right foot is nearly the same color as the good foot and the end of day swelling is noticeably less for the first time since I broke the leg February 19th. I can walk without pain! Well let's be honest, I can limp in a big way making me look like a duck with hemorrhoids, without pain. It may not be a pretty sight, but I can do it. I go for the pain, and a more normal stride. It has worked so far to accelerate the healing, but succumbing for a few steps every once in a while is an amazing treat. Walking (limping) without sharp pain is terribly nice, and a harbinger of better things to come. It still seems like it is taking forever to heal, though I know I am ahead of the curve for people my age. Pretty good for an overweight programmer. Somehow, I don't find it surprising for an actor.

Totally tangential, but it took me a couple years to feel comfortable saying I am an actor. I credit that self-perception with my faster than average healing for my demographic. Thank you Paula, Steve, Gregory, Robin, John H, Rachel, Sarah, John A, Gary, George, Kate, Robin, Jessica, Tess, Jody, George, Lynn, Vince, Ben, Matt, Lucia, Rachel, David, and Robin. Those are the instructors/mentors(directors) that pop into my mind -- a couple listed more than once because of their impact. The classmates and cast comprise an even larger group, and as important. My Dad and StepMom who are two of my best friends have encouraged me the entire time. They even considered leaving Hawaii and Spring Training in Arizona when I had my motorcycle crash and then broken leg while roller-skating a few years later. I'd have been horrified if they gave up their vacations, but knowing they thought of it and would have without hesitation or regret is wonderful. Good God! How is it all you wonderful people have been such delightful and meaningful parts of my life the last five years? Like I said you can never have too many close friends.

If I see this kind of improvement with my leg the whole week I'll be calling the orthopod for physical therapy referrals. The interesting thing I've learned. I can deal with a great deal of pain and maintain a positive mood, something I could not do a few years back, even if I had no pain. Today... Well, I fucking love life, and I never fucking thought I'd fucking say that! Hmm. My vocabulary. Maybe I am feeling ready to get fucking laid. Or maybe I just feel like being a potty mouth.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sated

It may have been a hard choice to pick a show tonight, and I don't think I could have chosen better. I'm going to write to people, it is not a show to be missed. There were six scenes, some had story, some had humor, some had truth, and all were engaging and had deep beauty. If you like movement pieces this is for you, if they have left you unsatisfied or bemused in the past it is for you too. Like the work Akropolis does, it is a journey of wonder for the audience, not a narrative. In this show you recognize human situations, relationship turning points, pain, joy, and of course wonder. I can't tell you what the story was, I simply left the show feeling privileged to have been there.

I'd seen pieces of the show before in development when I worked on other shows in the Studio Series, and that added to the experience. These are eminent professionals, and having seen a little of the process of these established artists was terrific. I have had several classes with George, movement and mask, as well as chatted and worked on props or set pieces here and there, I'd consider him a casual friend. Having someone who is a friend in a show always adds something for me. Also, there were a handful of people I knew in the audience. Bryan who was in my Meisner class, and his girlfriend Brenna, Susan who is the BookPal coordinator, Emma from the Singing and Alexander class I started, and some other folks. I didn't expect to see people I knew, so the socializing was a bonus. It really is a theatre community, and I adore being a part of it.

A great night. Art and friends. What else do you need?

First, In conclusion

Nice quiet night. It's about time to roll home. Hope you all have a great weekend. I'm written out for now. I reversed the times in my posts so they'd be in time order, also serving to put the disjointed vent at the end.

I just finished learning Tennyson's Ulysses, so I'll be reciting that on the drive home to stay awake. It is a lovely piece, George Lewis had us learn and recite the last fourteen and a half lines (starting with "Come, my friend,") during the movement class I took from him two years ago. I'll be watching the master tonight.

I started laundry before I left for work tonight, and forgot to put the sheets in the dryer. I need another set of fitted sheets for the water bed. I'm tired enough that nearly anything will do... Sleep well my friends.

Cuppa One

Release night, and all is quiet. I hope it stays that way. They do a good job here, so the chances are very good. I left just in time to get here, and didn't get a chance to stop by the store for snacks or a sandwich. While it would have been nice it certainly was not a priority for me. I grabbed a couple apples, a pear, and some nuts, plus We've got V-8 in the coolers. I love the complimentary beverage policy here. Especially when it complements my snacks. If I want something more carby, I can always walk on over to the cafeteria which is open on these special nights.

Funny thing. I used to be such a junk food guy. Don't get me wrong, I still like the occasional DQ meal or chips, or a few cubic yards of good cookies, just not all that often. Neither my body, nor my taste buds meekly tolerate it now. It somehow seems weird, but I enjoy my food more, even though I eat slower, less, healthier. Sounds pretty radical to me.

Paula called up about 8:00PM as I started getting ready to go. We talked about theatre -- imagine that! Paula's mind goes a zillion miles an hour (as mine does at times shooting from obscure tangent to tangent) and she was talking about wedding planning. Whoa, I was still processing something else, and realized I'd heard what she had just said, but hadn't fully absorbed it. Was I paying too close attention to the conversation, savoring, thinking, and not catching up, or drifting? The former I think because I was trying to figure out how we could see some of the shows we want to see. Rather how to miss the fewest shows with people we know in them.

There are three shows I want to see tomorrow night, one at Freehold a wonderful movement piece which I saw in development and which George Lewis encouraged me to come when I called, one a musical by Annex Theatre with to actors I know, and the other a comedy in Port Orchard with three actors I know. This will be my only chance to see the movement piece, and the other two both close. Damn, it was hard, but I picked the movement piece.

Paula and Steve making wedding plans, Paula also wanting to AD for Bart if it works out for Three Sisters, and won't hurt day job prospects too badly. "We're picking Sunday afternoon, even though people with matinee performances will miss the ceremony." Oh shite I missed some details, what day? Uh, month? Whew, I'll be done with my show and Shakespeare Intensive by then. Paula was as relieved as I, saying "If Scott couldn't make it, well that would too much." Golly! Tremendous friends as I've said before. They continue to surprise and warm me. I look at my dynamic group of friends in awe. What did I do... Best not to dwell on it, I'd rather dwell in it. Thank you my friends, near and far, close and potentially close.

I see a little brown spot in my apple. I wonder if I just ate a little protein. Eww. Well, probably less than what you'd find in a modest bite from a healthy granola bar. The healthier foods do tend to have appeal to other organisms. If bugs and such won't touch it, why the hell should we?

Almost time for another cup of coffee. Maybe it'll get me rolling on a political rant. It's been building the last few weeks...

[ Actual time of post 12:23 AM ]
[ tweaking to sequence posts ]

Cuppa Two

Ahh, the coffee tastes god awful. Mmm. I sure drank it down fast. Started the decaf pot brewing, so after three cups I can go unleaded.

You know what? It is quiet, I'm tired, caught up on high priority work, so I don't feel a need to work on things while my mind is fuzzy. Over all, not what you would call a riveting moment. Crap filled mittens! I just discovered I left the can of mixed nuts at home. I'll have to go over to the cafeteria sooner for some protein. Fruit doesn't sate hunger for very long without something a little more substantial. I'm having fun. Bizarre, or is it? I'm pontificating, listening to music, and just enjoying, well being. Pretty goddamn cool. I wish the same for everyone, no I pray. It would solve a lot of the societal problems about which I'll be venting about. I'm just not in a venting mood yet.

In three weeks, maybe a little sooner I'll be starting rehearsals for The Cherry Orchard. Tomorrow after I pick up the good motorcycle from the shop I'll be heading to Elliot Bay Book Company to see if they have a copy of the script, either the Frayn (who wrote Noises Off) translation which we'll be using or the Rocamora translation Rachel recommended. I started a new class at Freehold and monologue coaching. Nearly ready to start pushing my theatre idea again. It sure feels good to be getting back into the swing.

Still, I don't feel it explains this sense of well-being. Neither do I think the lovely Spring weather is to blame. I'm not complaining mind you. I'm not sure whether I'm once again gleefully rolling in cosmic fertilizer over the seeming permanent change to my outlook or just puzzled. Maybe I should just go with it, and continue listening to opera (Maria Callas), Dory Previn, Jimmy Stafford, Queen, Adam Ant, George Thorogood, et al.

I've been thinking of my mother the last couple weeks. Not constantly, just a few minutes here and there. I saw her for the first time in over two years on Christmas. She decided to play the suicide game, and I had told her should she ever do that I'd write her off. I was thinking about, though not as much as you might think. Even when she did it I waited a couple months before saying farewell. There was some anger in me, which is why I gave it some time. I couldn't envision ever wanting her in my life again. Still can't. The anger is gone, and as it faded so did any hope of having a healthy mother-son relationship. I was concerned at some level lurked a desire to get back at her. I'm sure it was there no matter how little I was aware of it.

There is no feeling of urgency to maintain distance from my maternal parent, neither is there any to connect. Indifference is the opposite of connection. I know it is a sad thing to be indifferent about a parent, to know their death would not move you much, if at all. Yes, I know it is sad, but only logically, it does not move me. I've been thinking about that, in a dispassionate way. I just realized I don't need to avoid her any longer, as I would not give her power over me again. Neither do I need to seek her out.

Good news, I found my Planter's can. I put it in the wrong drawer. I'll still need a meal, but it'll hold me for a bit, and keep the appetite in line so I'm not tempted to get too much.

Injury report:
The leg still slows me down at times. Last night I wanted to go to a show, I even rode the motorcycle to work so I could get downtown and find parking easier. By the end of the day I just wanted to go home. Bummer, Paula and I were hoping to see a show, but we made plans to get together on Sunday. I miss going downtown all the time and seeing Paula and Steve. They haven't got dependable wheels at the moment, and we do like getting together regularly when we aren't working on shows.

I can see glimmering at the end of the tunnel. I know the day when I can walk without pain is in the future, and not all that far off. Without any discomfort or limp, maybe a little further off. In some ways it seems like "only two months?", others like I have never had a good right leg. Ironic because I've done damage to the left leg several times in the past. Severely sprained knee and surgery in junior and senior high. Severe sprain in basic training putting me on hold for six weeks, followed by an extremely severe sprain three weeks later putting me on hold for another fifteen weeks. Then a motorcycle crash two and a half years ago, snapping part of the quadriceps. The left leg didn't feel weaker, but it was just slightly smaller in girth. I guess this is old lefty's big chance to catch up.

The way I like to tuck my legs under the chair intermittently. The way I like to position and curl my legs when I'm sleeping. Normal things. I'm starting to do those now, though comfort becomes an issue with healing and rebuilding of the atrophied parts. It is an interesting, amazing, and somehow exciting process which I hadn't noticed from past injuries. Thanks to the type of theatre training I've pursued I've become aware of my body and comfortable in it. I still want to lose weight, but the shame is gone along with the conviction I'm ugly. I see pictures of myself now and it doesn't bother me. Yet somehow looking at pictures from my college or navy years surprises me. I wasn't ugly, actually I was a damn good looking young fellow. Where did that skewed perception come from? It is funny, humorously so now. I don't consider myself ugly now, but some part of me is still surprised when I see pictures showing me as young and handsome. Retrograde baggage? Despite my positive self-image now, my memories of the past are still flavored by the self-image I had then.

Interesting where healing takes your musings. I was really pissed off Thursday, when I felt a need to give myself more rest. I'd rather socialize than convalesce. Healing quickly is the better option -- delayed gratification. Oh, bugger all, I will be happy when the leg is not central to my social life, day job, and theatre work. They say itching is a sign of healing. Well, my spirit itches like a freaking demon right now. I can walk easily without the cane, but I'll stick with it for a while yet. I helps me to walk with a straight posture and to use full movement in the bum leg. Again, delayed gratification, which I expect will allow me to walk without a limp that much sooner.

[ Actual time of post 3:00AM ]

Cuppa Three

Sort of. Post Cuppa Three. I scarfed down the final leaded coffee as I was proofing and posting my previous. Now I'm on to my placebo -- decaf.

I'm buzzing, and this a first writing along some specific rant lines. If it doesn't tie together, tough.

Powell finally found his balls. I bet he's been missing them, and wonder whose pocket is a little roomier now. I was astounded when I read in the news he spoke unfavorably about Bolton. After his lap dog status as Secretary of State I didn't think he'd ever speak out in the political arena. Is the man we admired in the past re-emerging? I have spoken very harshly of the man because the courage and integrity I'd once admired were sacrificed on the alter of obeisance to the most corrupt administration in my lifetime, likely our country's lifetime. Thank you Colin, for restoring a smidgen of the admiration you trashed over the last five years. I am hopeful.

Every time I read the news my rage simmers. I can usually let it go. Is that a good thing? I sincerely believe our country is in the throws of mass cowardice, a theme I've explored before. Greed and bigotry are simply types of cowardice and our leaders embrace them all. Their is no other way I can understand our headlong rush into war. You need fear from the populace to send our troops to die, a profit motive from the people in charge. Bad intelligence? What a joke, I spin up every time our leaders throw that one out. They had good analyses, and threw them out, discredited and/or punished the people writing them, then ordered 'corrected' intelligence. Why else was Tenet honored with a medal?

Conservatives laud the action. How brave is that? "Uh, we didn't really go in to get wmd's, we went in to neutralize Saddam. Not really, actually we went in to liberate Iraq." By killing more innocent civilians than Saddam? The resistance? We label them insurrectionist. Nice. Hey you conservatives look up the definition of the word insurrection, if you have the balls to peer through the curtain of your own demagoguery. Somehow I don't think we can actually be considered an established or constituted government. Oh, it is so much easier for the conservative to dismiss all Arab folks who call us the aggressor as terrorists. With a mindset that any non-christian, non-white person who disagrees with you is a terrorist, how can we carry on a dialogue with the Arab world? Saddam is a bad guy. So what? He was trained and funded by the very folks who have taken him down along with the rest of Iraq. You notice he has been silenced? Can't have old Saddam saying things which would make us look more ludicrous than we already appear for not throwing some other choice war criminals like Cheney and Rumsfeld in the clink with him.

We are a country run by religious zealots. As a whole, we see no inconsistency with Microsoft insisting we enforce ethical conduct on their customers, going so far as to call them pirates. Yet when lightly pushed by fundamentalists they go back on their commitment to treat gays with fairness and respect. The word they explicitly gave carries no weight, but it is not an ethical problem? Burning a copy of their software is a big problem? Call on ethical conduct by all individuals to protect the uber corporations, but don't dare hold them to any standard but expediency.

The Catholic and other fundamentalist christian sects have proven themselves to be modern day Pharisees. Again, look up the definition of the word. Who is the first to throw stones at people they disapprove of? That's right, those who claim they are doing God's work. How nice it must be for God to have them making judgments. He/She must be a little miffed at their loud inference he is not doing a good enough job. I remember when the previous pope started, a man who offered such promise, but when it came down to brass tacks didn't have the courage to address the most serious problem on the planet. Over population. Instead he was more concerned with usurping God's judgment on earth, and stone people like those scary queers.

Still, he was considered liberal? To make up for it, they put a modern day inquisitor, the man who more than any other is known for squelching dissent in the church by any means, in the seat of power? Hate and fear, the tool of fundamentalists from all religions, are once again in the mainstream of the western world. Oh, it makes me shiver with ghastly anticipation. From the letters to the editor and other bits I've read the voice of reason and conscious, or liberalism the close-minded would say, in the Catholic church are going to be attacked. Go you Jesuits, do what you can to promote decency and dissent in your church. You may disagree, but be careful, I believe your church is less worthy of dying for than ever before.

I was raised a christian, in a relatively open church. The Methodists have moved to the right, deciding it is time to join in the paroxysm of orgasmic hatred and stone the queers. Who will be next? Get the colored folks back where they belong? Put the bitches back in their place? Burn heretics? Just how far back will the conservatives take us before we rediscover our courage and ethics? I fear it will take much longer than it took Colin Powell.

[ Actual time of post 5:00AM ]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

zzz

It's been a busy week, I just got home from work. Kind of fun actually. Challenging tasks don't drag you down when extra hours are the exception. Thank you Expedia!

Monday was the first day of my Singing and Alexander class. We did work in small groups, and the last few minutes two or three people worked in front of the entire class. I want to get more comfortable with singing in front of people. I wasn't one of the two or three. That's not surprising, what is surprising is why I didn't volunteer. It wasn't nerves, I didn't want to be the guy who always volunteers first. I do like going first for exercises, and while I do volunteer often, I keep it to half the time or less. Avoiding habits and being a dweeb. Pretty cool that was more at play than apprehension.

That's it today. Time for food, and I will be writing a lot Friday night. Another prop night, when we release upgrades. The last three entries in February are topical. The first two were written while I was doing the 10pm - 6am shift. 12 hours later I broke my right leg, that is the topic of the last entry of the month. Took me a while to get where I could sit with a computer.

So, this Saturday I'm not going roller-skating. :)

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Water's Fine

My last post got some very nice and thoughtful comments and E-mails. Thank you! I've been swamped with work, and haven't responded like I should. Speaking of which, it is Rachel's first day back at her Microsoft day job.

Hot damn. I had a great time during my first audition coaching session with Jessica yesterday. It was such a gift to do a little deep work with someone. It occurs to me I've not worked with text in that kind of setting since I finished the Meisner Progression last year. It was nearly surreal. When Jessica gave me directorial notes, I didn't try to be "this way" or "that way." Rather I adjusted the way I/my character felt and let that inform my reading. It was not deliberate, I didn't realize the profound change in my process until I was driving home.

I wasn't doing tremendous work, but it certainly wasn't suckage either. Definitely better than the recitations of poetry or scenes for a few friends and relatives I've done the last year. Those make me nervous as Hell, though I like the challenge I let others make the suggestion so as not to be a boor, or at least to be a boor at someone else's request. I wanted a foundation, that's why I applied for the Meisner Progression. It is experiences like this and the audition a week or so back which tell me how much I developed as an artist. Up until that point when I was working or taking direction I was very aware of how I thought I appeared. That does not enter my consciousness much at all now. I instinctively work to find the character. Fellow actors will understand the huge beginning step this is, and I hope I gave others a feel for it.

Jessica taught the Meisner Progression before Robin. I'd guess Robin will pass it to someone else at some point. I found it a sublime, wonderful, and ecstatic experience. It is also an exhausting program, and for a connected and fully present instructor it must be more so. Maybe that is why Meisner himself had a reputation for being a mean old son of a bitch. People I've chatted with who studied under him loved him, and the fondness radiates through their descriptions of him as a "mean old bastard." Given his generation and background, I wonder if he could have dealt with the constant deep work in any other way.

Jessica studied under one of Meisner's students. Her experience with and teaching Meisner was very nice. It of course gives us additional common acquaintances, it also gave us a common vocabulary. When we were done she complimented on doing some very nice work. I suspect she was being a bit kind, but I was also grateful and believe it was sincere. I really enjoyed myself and she gave me some great monologues to work on. Most of the monologues she gives to people are pieced together from a play, so while bits might be seen, nobody will have the same monologue.

I rented a copy of On The Waterfront to watch per her advice, looking at the type of characters played by Brando and Malden. Also, I'm to look at Randy Quaid and his roles. Never thought of myself in that light (cool), so it should some fun homework, along with reading eight or ten plays, and analyzing the monologues.

I could go on, it was a great 90 minute hour. She enjoyed my comment, "That happens when you get two garrulous people together." One more thing though. She and her husband have a pair of cockatiels. I've never been much for birds, but I was swayed. The male is the friendly one, and he didn't want to take a nap so he joined us. A very friendly little fellow, and like the other bird, gorgeous. He liked opening the packet of raw sugar, seemingly aware he was being naughty. Their chirping and calls did not bother me while reading, though when he started climbing up my leg the first time it threw me, and I started over. When I finished Jessica was surprised, "He's never done that with a stranger. Really." I'm a cat person and it surprised me the bird took to me so. I really liked them, so maybe that was enough. He gently climbed my trousers, to my shirt, then to my shoulder, using feet and beak. Fifteen minutes later he did it again. I really like that little fellow, and hope he is just as precocious next time I visit.

Afterwards I headed to Gregory's for his moving sale. He is starting the MFA program at Rutgers next Fall, and is purging a lot of stuff. In addition to 60+ scripts and some utility shelves I picked up his rapier (certified for stage combat). It was a little big for him, otherwise he'd probably keep it. Being a bigger fellow with larger hands it seemed perfect for me. I guess I'll just have to study stage combat next year.

Speaking of moving, I expect Steve and Paula will be moving in the next year or two as well. It is part of the joy of theatre. I'm not being facetious. My best friends will likely live thousands of miles away before long. We'll always be friends, likely we will get together many times in the future, maybe even working together again. Theatre has taught me you can make new close friends, and if anything it strengthens your existing bonds. That sure won't make my eyes stay dry when the people I'm closest to move.

Sunday was my busy day. Saturday I mostly loafed with my leg in the air. It was pretty done in by the end of the week and needed the rest. Beth came over Saturday night and we had pizza and salad and watched Star Wars 4, or Episode One as they call it. I wasn't so irritated by Jar Jar Spinks, but only because I knew not to pay attention to him this time. It's all in preparation for the new movie coming out.

Earlier in the week I rented Shark Tale. Utter crap, you never cared much about the characters, and they never stepped away from formula or stereotype for a moment. It seems silly to slam a cartoon, but it was so stereotypical it made me edgy in a cross way, like an amplification of the uncomfortable feeling for a joke going horribly wrong.

So, I started with Sunday and quickly backed up to my last post. Let's check out Monday. The kids were at school this week, and really liked my cane. "He's gonna hit us with the stick!" was an oft repeated joke. Too bad they have that long Summer vacation. I'm going to really miss them while I'm waiting for a new class or two.

I start the "Singing and Alexander" class. Singing? What was I thinking? Oh yeah, get a good introduction to the Alexander Technique and follow my fears. Maybe I'm not healthy enough to make the commute? Nice try, but no cigar. I commuted on the old motorcycle today. Again the hard part was putting on the boot, but the ride was worth the effort. Along with the audition coaching it is a milestone marking my re-entry into theatre since getting injured, because it allows me to get to classes and rehearsals without having to leave the office early.

I now think of theatre as my second vocation or career. Or maybe my first since I think of Expedia as my day job. It came up with both Gregory and my weekly chat with my folks* that I'm toying with the idea of looking into MFA programs in a year or two. Obviously (to me) I need more time on the boards, and it is not something I'm dead set on, yet I have certainly not ruled it out. With Gregory we were talking about how many schools pay you a modest amount, and for me that is important because I don't want to raid what retirement savings I have. With my Dad we were talking of my cousin who is a year and a half older than I and going to law school with his wife. They are a great example, reminding me I can still look into graduate programs.

* My folks are starting the drive back to the Puget Sound region this week. I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

Short injury report:
The weekend was a welcome respite. I've been taking it easy, but using a cane has put a lot of work on it. The shin region near the tibia fracture site hurts like the blazes. Something like really bad shin splints. I suppose the damage is fairly similar to real shin splints. Strength is returning, it is not a big effort to stand on the bum leg. Next is being able to lift my weight with the calf. Standing on the toes of my right foot is not possible just yet. I can move my foot enough now that the ankle cracks a bit when I'm limbering up. It feels good, and I take it as a very positive sign.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Da!

I'm listening to Gustav Holst's The Planets as performed by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. His name is on the cover, so that is my guess. It starts off with "Mars, the Bringer of War." Wow. There are tracks I restart on a number of CD's, like bits from Rigoletto, The Beatles, etc. There is something about Mars, though. What a way to start. I really like a lot of the other tracks too, maybe some better. Mars is the perfect one to start with. What Stephen Dietz called the "stop moment," when he spoke to a playwriting class I was taking. He compared it to walking down the street when someone breaks a large window. Passers by will stop a moment. Starting a play you want to do the same thing. Hook 'em at the outset. The first movement of The Planets is a stop moment for me.

I just got an e-mail from Vince, the Artistic Director of Exchange Theatre, asking if I wanted a small part in their production of The Cherry Orchard. I checked back with Freehold about the Rehearsal/Performance class I left a message about, and my leg wouldn't be an issue, since it had been full since the second day of registration. So, Chekhov? No brainer. It doesn't get me out of the comfort zone as far as auditioning for roles, but who gives a shit? Chekhov. I was trying to decide if I should audition for this production, I was thinking I wouldn't be comfortable until I had some dedicated classical training. Then I found myself in the hospital the first day of auditions. Assuming the director is okay with me, I'll be playing the Passer By in Act 2 who is supposed to have a wonderful speech and presence, and the Post Master who does not have lines. Guess what I'll be reading the next few days? (Anyone local have copy of Frayn's translation?)

Some numbnut filled the decaf carafe at work with regular coffee. Set me up perfect for a weekly meeting with the folks for whom I am doing the most work at the moment. We chat anyway, plus being excited about the part, I was a little manic. Most of us are artsy outside of work so it was a fun conversation. Nice to have as the third, fourth, and fifth people I told.

I called my Dad in Arizona, and happened to catch him at home. He is the person in the family who would most appreciate the opportunity, being a theatre fan and actor too, so I was happy to share it with him first.

I was exchanging E-mails with Greg about my minutes and thoughts regarding my nascent theatre company aspirations, when Vince contacted me, making him the second person I told, and a very appropriate person to share my excitement with. I believe the reputation of Freehold's advanced training programs like Meisner made the difference, and what they have seen of me since finishing the program. I know the stage manager, and last month he told me they had no shortage of talented people auditioning, so there was more than just my reputation for playing well with others and reliability at play. At least that is the interpretation I am choosing, and I'll not be asking anyone to confirm or deny. :) Why do I think it apropos I happened to share it with Greg so soon? He is currently undergoing the Meisner Progression.

Right now I am finishing up at work, waiting for the results of some unit tests. For you non-geekly folks, unit testing is what a software developer does before turning it's programming effort over to the official testers. It is all looking good. Dinner and the mattress are calling...

Leg Update:
This stupid son of a bitch is hurting much more this week. I know it is from walking with a cane. Good progress, helping to speed along further progress, and I'm not especially happy about it at the moment. I nearly reverted to the crutches this morning, as the middle of the night business was something less than fun. I thought I'd pee myself before I made it to the intended spot for that function. It wasn't quite so bad this morning, but the muscles and such are sore and stiff. Reminds me of early basic training under the loving care of marine drill instructors. At least it is only the one leg right now.

If I ever have a part where a disability of some sort is needed these journal entries will be handy for research. Other than that I'm not sure there is any reason for writing or reading them.

Summary of the last couple months:
1) A broken leg hurts like the devil.
2) Sometimes it hurts a lot more.
3) Friends are a blessing too wonderful to categorize
4) Number 3 makes 1 and 2 an adventure of sorts instead of a trial.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Spring Fever

Ow-. My leg already feels like it is the end of the day. Damn. A quarter after ten in the morning and most of the day left to go. Damn. My kids are on vacation. Double Damn. I drove out to the school, forgetting to check if their district was having Spring break. Triple damn. Monday is my favorite day of the week because I get to start out spending time reading to a room of wonderful 4th graders, but not today. Hell! (The only time I remember my paternal Grandmother swearing was when she didn't realize I was around, "Damn, Damn, Double Damn, Triple Damn, Hell!" It's been a favorite ever since.)

I had fun yesterday though. I have the pictures of the kids I took last week back, two copies of each. I put little post-it notes on each one, with the kid's names, so I can have them double-checked. I also read forty pages of the book we are working on so I could make notes, condensing the parts of the story I'll not read aloud. The good side of the vacation day is I will be able to practice read a couple more times. I'm worried what I have prepared will take a little longer than the time allotted, so now I'll be able to read it a few more times with a timer.

I got in touch with Jessica yesterday, perhaps the best regarded monologue coach in the region. She has a reputation not only for helping people prepare, but for picking out wonderful pieces for people, and once you've worked with her she will send you ideas many years later. I met her briefly, having sat next to her at Peter Brook's Hamlet at the Mercer Arena in Seattle. I really enjoyed talking to her last night. She is passionate about theatre and craft, and I got recharged just chatting on the phone. I'll be giving her some more information about myself, bringing along some monologues and pieces that have gripped me and working with her for our first session next Sunday at 1 PM.

It is now two weeks ago I had a meeting with Greg about my nascent theatre idea. I'm still chewing over his questions. I have a pretty good view of what I want to
work towards, it's the inception and beginning for which I need a better vision. Tomorrow is my deadline. My cogitation is transparent to everyone else, so I'm already running the risk of implicitly telling people this is not a serious venture on my part. I'm also thinking of taking a "Singing and Alexander" and possible a rehearsal and performance class. So, with the recovery I'm jumping back into theatre pursuits.

I'm listening to Rigoletto, and stepped out for a moment during one of the last few tracks. Car radio syndrome. When I came back and hit play it seemed a LOT louder than when I paused it.

Why am I looking at classes? I wanted to get into a production before July, but thanks to the leg, my time window has shrunk dramatically, and most casting directors would be justifiably leery of a fellow limping in on crutches or a cane, claiming he is in the middle of a speedy recovery. Heck, when I broke the leg I thought I'd be able to start auditioning in a couple days instead of months. I was probably still in shock, and didn't appreciate the systemic impact of breaking a major bone.

Gotta' stay current, and sane. You know, I've a quite a number of friends who go into seclusion when things are tough. I used to do the same, and for me it is not a helpful or healthy place. I've ruled out a lot of relationships in the last ten years with people who are like that. No way did I want to risk a synergistic effect, making me feel more blue. Now that I am solidly out of that mode I still don't consider people like that for serious relationships, at first because it could be too easy to slip back into that way of not coping, and now because I would not be very patient with someone still operating in that mode. A lot of my friends wonder why I don't pursue serious relationships. That is one big reason. I definitely don't want to be with someone who shuts down again, and for a while I worried I'd be that person in a relationship. First though, I need to get busy with some new projects for myself.

Another reason I'm not all excited about serious relationships goes back to my short marriage, which lasted a little less than two years. Never have I been more miserable. Maybe I'm too gun shy, but there is still a feeling that nothing could be as good as that was bad. In reality, I don't think about it much anymore. This is the most I've thought about it in a very long time. I truly love so many people around me you'd think I'd be over it. So, even though I don't think about it much anymore, I suppose a lack of excitement regarding deep committed relationships stays with me. Sort of a vestigial remnant of the marital bliss I experienced. Well, it is Spring and woman seem especially attractive again. You know, late Fall and early Winter does the same thing for me. Is that weird?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Getting Ahead

The baseball game was great. The lead changed the last four or five innings, keeping us all pretty engaged. It was a lot colder than I expected, but the exciting game and a bit of discomfort from the healing leg helped me forget the cold. Willie Bloomquist, the young utility player from my hometown done good, padding our final lead with two points hitting a 2 rbi double for his first at bat of the season. It was especially nice because they'd just walked Ichiro loading the bases to get to Willie. Final score, 9-6, the Mariners winning.

Now onto some musing on our leadership. Are Americans really so stupid? There is the obvious, of the conservatives whining about the taxes and policies which gave them the very opportunities enabling them to get where they are today. I guess being conservative means being too cowardly and avaricious to permit the same possibilities for others. I'm not quite sure why they feel allowing other people to do well is so incredibly threatening. Neither do I understand their passive, yet favorite recruiting tool, racism and discrimination. Theirs is a mind set I have trouble understanding.

They never give up, the greed motivates them so well. George couldn't quite get people excited with the big social security lie of an imminent collapse, but they still want to get the money out of the hands of those who it protects (retirees) and back into the hands of those (predatory businesses) it was created to protect the retirees from. Now George, the wall street shill, is touting a new way to get the money out of social security and into his cronies' pockets. It is certainly in their interest to spend billions on advertising to convince people that having their safety net raided is in their best interest. If you don't think our corporate folks aren't capable of such amoral behavior, just watch commercials without blinders. Speak of the devil, there is a MacDonald's commercial on right now telling people to come to MacDonald's where you can eat healthy...

I believe they have a better than even chance of dismantling social security as a viable or reliable safety net. It has already been raided to subsidize other programs, basically through unsecured loans, and the profligate spending of the current administration, has as one of it's goals to further raid and cripple social programs.

I don't thing there will be a viable candidate who would do it, but if there was someone who had as part of their platform to investigate and prosecute Bush, Cheney, et al for war crimes, embezzlement, and fraud with the same vigor used to persecute Clinton's marital infidelity they'd have my vote. Embezzlement is the wrong term, but taking money away from the taxpayers and military for bastards like Haliburton is certainly a high crime.

Now for today's injury report.

I have two canes, one was part of a gag gift for my 40th birthday and the other belonged to my stepfather. The gag cane got some epoxy and a rubber tip, as it is a decent cane, but the tips fall off too easily. Jack's old cane needed repair as well. It is has a handle which is basically like the cross bar of an elongated 'T'. It was loose, so I drilled a new hole, added epoxy and a three inch wood screw. I was on a cane for a little while several years ago as a result of my motorcycle crash, so I knew what both canes needed. The glue will be completely hardened tomorrow, so I'm back to a single crutch for the remainder of the day.

I am looking forward to the day when the pain starts to decrease. I'm still experiencing rapid recovery, and push to keep the pain at an even level. It can't go on forever. I think. I wonder if that is part of the whole healing process. The initial injury is pretty intense, and the pain during the healing process is much less. That initial spike, makes the lesser pain easier to deal with so it can be used as guidance instead of avoidance during the recovery. There was one bit I thought was kind of funny last week. When I first started putting weight on the right foot again, there were a couple strange sensations. It felt like muffled bubble wrap, a gentle crackling as everything was starting to work and move again. There was also the feeling of a rusty hinge squeaking. Like tenosynovitis, but without the discomfort.

I'd planned on giving the leg a break (unintentional bad pun) today, but all the little things I did around the house have given it quite a work out. Moved my sleeping quarters from the couch back downstairs thinking I won't need to elevate the leg any longer at night. Showered without a chair. I know, "Big deal" you say, but that is something I didn't expect to be able to do for at least another week.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Fighting Cabin Fever

Yesterday was a neighborhood comedy of errors. I was enjoying my morning stint on the throne, holding court over the crossword when there was a loud crashing sound and black out. It turns out the garbage truck was driving around the corner with the bucket up in the air. First mistake. I'd bet the second mistake was driving too fast. I keep expecting them to take out one of the kids walking to the junior high across the street.

The wire was pulled hard and far enough the telephone pole in my yard was pulled from upright to 45 degrees. The wires whacked my roommate Aaron's car enough that the paint and taillight cover on his new Prius were scuffed up. My truck got the brunt of the wires, but who could tell? My truck is afflicted with typical American made car quality, a 1989 model GMC with the paint coming off in great sheets thanks to the factory use of a water soluble primer. Because of the adventure I'm tempted to tell the power company they made the paint peel.

Aaron was out talking to the first response crew, and they told him they were going to remove the wires from my truck, as that was the only vehicle actually draped with wires. So, I took a shower, by candlelight, figuring my truck would be ready to roll when I was done. Wrong. All the power company trucks were gone, but the wire was still on my truck. I wandered outside to check it out, and saw it was the heavy bundle of wires which fed the streetlight on my wounded telephone pole.

I thought about moving the wire, but against it for two reasons. One, I've learned from numerous experiences over the last few years that PSE (Puget Sound Energy) is not to be trusted. "They said they shut off the power," wasn't enough to make me risk my life. Secondly, the 15" steel bar in my leg covered by relatively fresh incisions and metal crutches makes me a freaking lightening rod. The idea of assuming the same power company which forgot to remove the wire from the truck really remembered to shut off the juice was not very solid.

I called the power company. "We'll have someone out in a few minutes, to see if it is a power line. We can't move cable or phone lines."

"It's a power line."

She responds, "We have to see if it is a power line first."

"It's the large power cable which is attached to the street light." I answered.

"We have to check."

"Well, last I heard neither cable nor phone lines were used to power street lamps." Light humor not appreciated by officious lady.

"Watch for the service truck and talk to them. They'll be there in a couple minutes."

An hour later I called again, the new lady cracked some whips and got a linemen out in twenty minutes. Of course, he arrived five minutes after the new telephone pole, making me believe I was only being humored the entire time.

As I hinted it's, not my first encounter with PSE. My favorite started about six years ago. They harassed and threatened me with litigation for six months calling late at night and early in the morning, leaving threats pinned to the door, etc., wanting to cut down all my trees. I decided to go along, realizing I wanted to get rid of the trees which were too close to the house, and was just resisting because they were being fuckheads about it. At that point, they of course refused to remove the trees, and even lied to Senator Esser's office when I reported the attempted extortion when they were hot to take out the trees. Twice since then my neighbors and I have had to call 911 to get the branches trimmed, because they would not trim them in a timely manner, even when we told them the branches growing into the wires were smoldering and sparking. There were lots of sparks and smoke in the trees this morning when the pole was taken out, but thanks to yesterday's morning rain and the power outage it was no problem. Good thing this didn't happen three months from now during the dry weather when my firs and hemlocks turn into tinder.

Today, I rode my motorcycle, for the first time since February 19th when I broke the leg. I was hoping to get it to the shop tomorrow for some general maintenance and brake work. The hand brake, which I expect to favor for a bit, is out to lunch. My ride back was available today, which was important as I thought I might need someone to ride it to the shop for me. Aaron and I fixed the brake temporarily last night, by bleeding it and adding more fluid. This morning Aaron rolled it out of the garage to make it easier and I rode it to work, then to the shop during lunch, where I met Bob who gave me a ride back. Oh my God. I forgot how much I love riding. The hardest part was indeed putting the boot on, and now that I know I can do that, I'll be riding the old Suzuki until the Guzzi is ready.

While we were bleeding the brakes last night the power was restored, giving me just enough time to bake a couple hot pockets. I don't eat them much anymore, even though they are a hundred times better baked. Thanks to the leg recovery my body has developed a taste for healthier fare, and lets me know if I get careless. Time was short, and only one junk food meal in several days seems to be allowed. Then Aaron, Beth, and I went to see the "pay what you will" preview show at Second Story Repertory in Redmond.

Sylvia is one of my favorite comedies. The actors did a darn good job for a preview. The woman playing the wife, Kate, was the exception. She was out there all by herself, not letting herself be changed, just 'emoting' in a premeditated manner. The show would have been three times as good had she been generous with her fellow actors. I was thinking this all through the first act, and found myself actually cross with the woman. Probably because I felt she had the experience and wherewithal to know better. The last third or quarter of the second act she connected with the other actors and the audience. I'd like to talk to someone who sees the show later, to see if she is connected throughout the show. They have makings of a very good show, and that would make a bigger difference than anything I could think of.

Today I'm about to head out for my first baseball game of the year. Beth, and my friend Wayne, and his son or wife are going. I am really looking forward to it, especially today, when we were unexpectedly blessed with a beautiful day.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Baby Steps

Today's journal title brings to mind a Bill Murray movie I want to watch again. It may be an obscure reference limited to my family. Does anyone else have a clue as to what movie I'm thinking of?

I haven't heard back on the audition I attended on Sunday, so I'm going to look for some auditions for next week. I'm hoping to start commuting on the Suzuki next week, as the Moto Guzzi is in need of servicing. Besides, the Suzuki is lighter, so it will be more comfortable to ride for a bit.

I haven't ruled out the Port Orchard production, rather I figure I've been ruled out. I've got to find a project or two to work on before I go (more) nuts. We all have to be deliciously nuts to be in this business, just not seriously nuts. Is the kernel of my thought clear, did I get to the meat of it, does the thought bear fruit, are the lame puns too nutty?

Oh, and writing too. I need to get my butt moving. Several people in very different circumstances have got me thinking of my McCarthyism piece recently. I need to get over my anger at our current crop of homegrown despots, and learn, think, and write about it. I also need to finish rewriting The Thai Getaway.

And now for the ongoing injury report.

It is not earth shattering news. I put on my trousers and shorts without sitting down and rising. Did it all standing up. Such a small accomplishment, but meaningful. Balance and strength are returning enough that with just a little effort and discomfort normal tasks can start being done in the normal way again, even if it is painfully slow. I'd sure like get the chair out of the shower in a week or so.

Yesterday I started wearing a shoe on my right foot. I was worried the swelling might force me to take it off. It was not necessary. It turns out the hardest part of all was putting the shoe on. The shin felt like it was on fire. I need to stretch and do some weight bearing leg flexes before donning the shoe next time. I'm thinking my goal to start riding the motorcycle in the next week won't be based on whether the right leg can bear enough weight, but on how much it hurts to put on my riding boots.

It was fun to tell people who noticed I wasn't wearing the knitted slipper, using a southern accent, "Well, I ain't worn a pair of shoes in a coon's age." I suspect friends are getting tired of bad broken leg jokes.

The trauma based weight loss program. When I broke my leg I was ranging between 248 and 254 in the morning. The last four weeks, I've been right at 230. This weekend it increased a pound or two a day, and I was at 234 yesterday. This morning I was back down to 230. I'd forgotten how much my scale fluctuates, and was going nuts trying to figure how I'd put weight back on so quickly. Still, it seems I lost a good twenty pounds, and have kept it off. I'd guess I'm still on a gradual downward trend, my appetite is still much smaller, though since the pain seriously ameliorated at the very end of week two I've started eating pretty regularly. I lost twenty pounds in the first week or two, mostly by not eating much thanks to the pain.

Using crutches and adapting habits to get around and about is a decent work out, so combined with the reduced intake I'm guessing as I got food back into my alimentary tract I was taking off real weight at the same time. It shows. My waist is reduced, I'm the most likely person to notice that. What other people notice is my face. When I lose or gain weight that is the first place it shows. The discomfort initially made my face look gaunt. Now that my disposition is closer to normal, people have started saying, "You've lost some weight," instead of, "You're looking pretty banged up."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Getting Jiggly

I love Mondays. I read to the kids again today, chapters four and five from King Of Shadows. There were descriptions of chamber pot usage and dumping the contents out the window to the street below, and of decomposing heads on posts on London bridge. Lots of "Ewws!" The kids are enjoying the story. They are not like grown ups. They are constantly fooling me. The one who is pushing a piece of dust around the hills and valleys of the carpet with a fingertip is the one who seems to have been listening the closest. After a long meeting I sometimes can't tell you what it was about, and by the time I get to my office I can't remember the most interesting part, how many holes there were in the ceiling tile. The kids seem to remember it all.

This week when I came in, the kids were asking, "Did you bring your camera?" That has been a fun request. Several weeks ago, I asked if it would be alright to take pictures, so I could remember the kids names faster. Ever since they have been asking if I brought my camera. Well, a friend has been borrowing it. Last week I told them if I didn't have my digital camera back, I'd get a disposable one, and I did just that. Richard asked if he could be first, and ended up writing down everybody's names as I took the pictures. We had a lot of fun, and when we were done we did two more pictures of the whole class and Ms. Hulteng.

I was nearly late. Yesterday I forgot to change my clock, was only vaguely aware that Daylight Savings Time started on Sunday. I went to an audition, and instead of being forty minutes early, I was twenty minutes late. Luckily, I wasn't the only one. I debated internally about this audition with myself quite a bit. It is another community theatre production, and on the one hand I find it especially challenging to apply and develop the tools I've been working to learn. Of course, that challenge makes it something to take on. That, and I committed to auditioning for more shows at the Port Orchard community theatre. Not that anyone but myself remembers or expects me to live up to that commitment. I continue to believe community theatre is important and vital to the community, the arts and artists, and supports the bigger, posher productions.

I've grown in the three years since I last sought out an audition for community theatre. Then I was intimidated by the experienced folks. Now I ask myself, "How will it be working with these people?" On the surface it is much the same question as I asked three years ago. I was worried about making an ass of myself, and of course now that is a goal. Seriously though, I am wondering more about the art we will create together when I ask myself that question now.

I auditioned for the lead. I haven't done that before, and figured it was about time and it would challenge my process the very most, as I'll be working to pull the other actors along. I've noticed in the community theatre productions I've worked in that an experienced and connected actor can draw deeper performances from the other actors. In classes I've had I've noticed this too, particularly in Rachel's classes at BCC. The second and third quarters I was paired with talented actors who enabled me to attain performances beyond my level. By that I mean I didn't have the tools to create such rich characters on my own, but my scene partner and Rachel's approach provided gifts letting me see what could happen. I hope give that gift to others someday.

It turns out I was the only one auditioning for the lead yesterday, and the director was very pleased with my work. He made a point of telling me and thanking me at least three times. He even told me that there was a good chance I had the role, unless someone really good shows up tonight. I was very encouraged, as I wasn't very mobile on stage, staying in a chair almost the whole time thanks to the bum leg. Maybe that was a good thing, as directors are always telling me to stay planted, as it serves to give me a strong stage presence. I don't imagine the crutches do much for a strong presence though. I keep thinking, I'm not a Tiny Tim, more of a Giant George.

I should find out tomorrow or the next day if I'm cast. It is a fun comedy, and a character who would be fun to develop playing with his moral strengths and lapses. It is a bit of a send up of modern marketing, but not terribly deep. A good fun community theatre piece, and if I get the part I'll do my damnedest to build an authentic, engaging, and enjoyable character.

I've still got to write and send minutes for the meeting I had with Greg last week about my nascent theatre idea. He got me thinking about what I want with the theatre. Not the long term goals I've mentioned, but immediate desires. I want a chance to do some meaningful work, using the tools I've worked to obtain, with other people wanting to do deep work with a similar process. Very much an ensemble of like-minded people doing art. An audience, and then a venue are in my mind, but the ensemble is what drives and excites me. How to put it in words for the people I'd like to attract.

The leg still continues to improve. It can bear more weight every day, and range of motion is now increasing daily too. It still hurts, but seeing the improvement keeps me from slacking off. I've been unbreaking an old habit. I was a constant leg jiggler for years and years. Well, it seems to help the leg muscles and range of motion, so I'm doing it deliberately. Hopefully, it won't be hard to give up the jiggling again.