Acting Up

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

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

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Road Trip

I made it to Spokane and back without incident. It was warm, with Friday being the tail end of our most recent overbearing heat spell.

I drove out there a bit over the speed limit, and back a bit under. I was expecting to get better mileage, but it didn't seem to make a difference. Then again, my odometer doesn't work, so I can't be too sure.

I had a great visit with my stepbrother. We'd planned to head out for some stargazing, and as we finished dinner on Saturday we saw it was clouding over. Dinner was a treat. I'd bought lamb chops, and Rob had never had them before. He thought them the best meat he'd ever had and will be getting more himself. A friend of his had called earlier to invite us to a play, Shakespeare In Love which was part of The Royal Fireworks Festival & Concert. It consisted of three scenes, Kate and Petruccio from The Taming of the Shrew, then Henry and Catherine from Henry V and finally the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. They did each scene twice, first as a sword fight with no next then with an actor and actress using the text. Then in reverse order, with two male actors. A fun show, but we weren't able to find Rob's friend. Still it was fun to have an interested and inquisitive ear to share some of the things I learned about Shakespeare this year.

We did some errands, watched a few dvd's, and did a lot of talking. We don't get together often, which is a shame because we get along so well. I really wanted to hang around longer on Sunday, but the road was waiting. If I go with a motorcycle next time I'll come back a little earlier to avoid the traffic slow down just east of the mountains. The drivers were extremely aggressive, which makes for an uncomfortable ride.

Friday night I met up with Gregory after his shift, and we hung out at The Globe Bar & Grill -- nothing to do with the theater. The MFA program at Rutgers sounds pretty tough. It was interesting in that things that really bothered him I don't think would get to me, but other things that were just part of the course would. Things to make it tough for everybody. It was great talking and I look forward to when he gets over here for a few days. Like all great conversations we had to knock it off while we still wanted to talk. It was really late.

Spokane is a lovely city. I remember going there as an eight year old, and then it was gross to my eye. The world's fair in the mid 70's and subsequent development have made it into a lovely place. I hope to go back again in about a month and try stargazing again, and look forward to it.

Tomorrow I call about flying lessons. So, maybe I'll have more than travelogues to bore you with in the near future while I am on my short theatre hiatus. (I'm itching to get back on the boards.)

Friday, July 28, 2006


My posts about the diet are boring as Hell, but a good tracking tool for me. Here's a little treat. Anyway, I think it is great. I hope you enjoy it too.

I'm not cleaning up my beverages as quickly as I'd planned. Kind of an either or. I'll have my coffee during the day, or my evening drink. I always kind of linked them, so doing one or the other is a difference, but not what I'd aimed for.

I'm visiting my stepbrother and Gregory in Spokane, so maybe it'll be easier to drop the beverages. Well, maybe not coffee as Rob and I will be up late with our telescopes. Gregory's schedule is ucky, so I won't see much of him. Hopefully Rob and I will see lots of stars and other deep space objects. Some planets too. I do like looking at planets and their moons or rings. My favorite is the moon. The line of shadow is the best place, as the peaks and valleys are brought into relief.

I've noticed surprising things. My ear canal is larger. I'd no idea it was inflamed or swollen, and never would have thought food would make a difference. There's been little bumps on the triceps region of my arms since my twenties, not pimples or whiteheads, but similar. They have disappeared, along with some other minor skin irritations. My throat is clearer too. It has generally been a little cruddy as long as I can remember. I thought it was hay fever, but maybe not, or at least not entirely.

I tried peanuts last night. It's been nearly two weeks, and it seems that is one of the things that I should avoid. Damn, that has been a quick breakfast for me. I'll try again in several weeks, in case it was actually an additive in the lamb I ordered for lunch yesterday. I'm realizing reintroducing foods will be slow, as the ones that don't seem to be good for me will mostly get retested later on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sweat, Sweat, and Tears

Right, now I'm mostly serious. I've been only eating lamb and rice for a week with one exception, for lunch at the Microsoft SQL presentation last Wednesday. Now I keep those deadly dull rice cakes around in case of need. This Wednesday, I'll get fully serious. That means no more coffee, and no more liquor. The latter will be easy, as last week once I realized I was indulging more in my vices since starting the diet I indulged less. The caffeine though, will be tough to give up. I know it whacks my system. Right now I've a cup of decaf by my desk. Unlike nicotine which I quit a little over seven years ago, I can taper off caffeine. That will make my headache on Wednesday when I stop coffee easier to bear, or maybe I'll skip it altogether. Anyway, the decaf suits me just fine in the afternoon. I think I'll stop diet sodas now. I don't drink a lot of those, but that is a little more caffeine too.

Water, lamb, rice. I made it this far, and the challenge of coming up with something that you have not had the last couple days is kind of interesting. A week from Wednesday when I start trying other foods to see what doesn't need to be cut out of my diet will be my little version of entering the promised land. Now I am already feeling better physically, which given the hot weather we've had around here of late is significant.

It was in the mid 90's and 100's in our area this weekend, and barely cooler now. That reminds me of likely my biggest diet sin outside the lunch. I've had a little Gatorade this weekend. If the weather keeps up this way, I'll continue that little variance, and I won't reset the two week calendar for detox'ing my system. Better than heat stroke, which I had as a twelve or thirteen year old, and again in basic training at 26.

Of course, Friday when I went to ride into work I discovered my motorcycle had a flat tire. When it is sunny, it pours. Two weeks since I got the damn thing back on the road. Later in the week I'm going to go check out a used BMW. After two crashes, the ABS really appeals, as well as a bike that is better suited for all year use. So, instead of riding around in stifling heat, I was driving around. At sustained speeds between 40 and 60 the Vanagon seems to do fine. With higher rpm's or lower speeds a little extra is needed to cool the engine, so on comes the heater. Blechhh.

Saturday I went to the open house for some friends, Sally and Vince who founded Exchange Theatre. Vince who was artistic director wrote one of my letters of recommendation for ETI. Before I left Stuart who directed me in Exchange Theatre's production of The Cherry Orchard and wrote one of my other letters showed up. That was nice, then I left for Horseshoe Lake Count Park, in Kitsap County for my 30th high school reunion. I did not get off to an auspicious start.

I got a couple cheap styrofoam coolers, which I filled with ice and soft drinks to take along. Since I was driving with the windows open, I put a case of water bottles in each cooler. (I carried lots of water around for the hot rehearsals and performances of our show.) The stacking made the coolers top heavy and they rolled forward as I left the parking lot. Into another parking lot. It is amazing how much ice will melt in a minute at over 90 degrees. I reoriented the wounded coolers, and of course they fell over sideways this time. Now, one cooler was totaled, the other cracked half way down. By that time I had one cooler full of drinks and ice. Within a few blocks of the store I'd melted half of the three bags of ice.

About 45 minutes later when I got to the park the drinks were cool. I grabbed a couple and started looking for my old classmates. I didn't see anyone I know, nor any signs for "Class of '76" or "SKHS", so I headed over to my Dad's. I didn't have a phone to call the one person I'm still in contact with, or to let my Dad know I would be early. But, when I got home the next day my phone was fully charged.

I forgot their new house doesn't have a/c, and suggested we go to a movie for the air conditioning. So, we saw the new installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was fun, but if you haven't seen the first one don't bother. You won't have a clue. Afterwards we stopped by the store so I could get some lamb for my dinner and breakfast.

The following morning I cooked a couple lamb chops for Dad for breakfast too. He wanted to try it for breakfast, though he thought it weird. After breakfast he thought it a wonderful idea. He is usually the breakfast chef for the household, and now has a new trick. I've never been one to follow meal conventions, having casserole for breakfast or pancakes for dinner whenever the mood or laziness strikes.

We saw The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at the Evergreen Playhouse in Centralia. It had a/c! My niece was Mr. Tumnus, and did her role very well and had a good time. It was hot and we wanted to get on the road pretty quickly so we didn't hang around long after the show. We missed seeing her again after the show, but I'm sure we weren't missed. I only needed to turn on the heater for a little while on the way home, as the traffic north of Olympia was pretty miserable. A little before Tacoma things opened up, and I averaged 60mph the rest of the drive. I'd parked in Olympia, and rode with Dad the rest of the way. We had dinner in Olympia, then went our separate ways.

Too hot to do much around my house. Turned on the fans, watched The Santa Clause. Mindless, but it had snow. That is actually why I chose it. North Pole, snow, yeah baby, bring it on. I discovered my fridge door was open a crack, so everything on on the bottom shelf will get tossed. The produce felt nicely cool, but everything else felt like it was barely cooler than the house. So, no breakfast this morning as I didn't want to tempt the lamb or rice in the fridge. It is likely okay, but I'm not liking the idea of testing it.

I'm now waiting to hear back on a new works submission. I did a rewrite on a piece, and now I'm waiting. It was one I've had a couple people express an interest in producing, and I'd done a major rewrite so it was not back in the shape I'd of liked. I kind of doubt it will be selected, but merely submitting it last week was a big move forward. Now, back to some of the other writing projects before I get involved in another show.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not Silver Bullets

Why does brown rice smell slightly of scorched milk?

Is intelligent design a concept designed for the extremely unintelligent? If not, why does it only make sense to the hopelessly ignorant?

Why should we care if estate taxes are called death taxes? They only apply to those who can buy/bribe their way out of paying taxes while they're alive. Since they can't bear their share in life, I say tax them to death...

Why do we drive really fast on a Parkway and really slow on a Driveway? (Thank George Carlin, or was it Gallagher?)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On The Road, Not Again

In a couple hours I leave for the very last official activity associated with ETI. We'll be hosting a workshop at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy. It will be a drama and writing workshop like we did for Tent City 3 on Sunday. I think only a few of us are going, people were tiring.

Joy from my Meisner class is going, in fact driving her vehicle which I'll ride in. That should be fun, as the one other ETI'er I know is going is David, who was another fellow Meisnerite.

I'm bringing along a package of those rice cracker or biscuit things. Oh joy. Dullness in cellophane. I shouldn't have been surprised to see I'd dropped some weight this morning. The lamb and rice diet if nothing else must be reducing and improving my food intake. Particularly the crappy stuff we snack on. I like lamb, but I find especially when a reheat it a slightly unpleasant tallow smell. Kind of like simmering pork, even from wild pigs, smells of the sty. (A nice way of saying it smells of pigshit.) In both cases it is subtle, but unmistakable. In both cases the meat tastes fine, but in the preparation can suppress appetite slightly.

Of course, with the limited diet tastes and smells are sensed more acutely. And roaring good meals of lamb and rice over and over gets one to the point of eating almost solely for sustenance. Eat slow, lose interest once the hunger pangs start to subside. I'm getting hungry now, and will soon be heating my lunch. A nice lamb and rice entree I made last night. Pretty boring, but simple.

I boiled just a little water, then dropped a bunch of chopped lamb from a roast I cooked the other day. Added some salt, pepper, and rosemary, then simmered a bit in the microwave. Then I dumped leftover rice over the top and nuked it some more. The idea, being to steam the rice a bit. Worked well, as the rice pretty much broke up and made stirring and adding a bit more water easier for a couple more iterations in the microwave. Not bad, quick, and now I'll see if it still tasty. Tasty being a relative term. I'm looking forward to a couple weeks hence when I've been on the diet faithfully for two weeks, and can start adding other things.

As I think about what I want to add to my diet first, I'm surprised that veggies top the list. Potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots. Then some fruits and nuts. Fish and some more meats, then lots more veggies for cooking and salads. Wow, I'm starting to sound like a health food nut. Maybe not such a bad thing if I stay with it.

One thing I've noticed. I've increased my vices slightly. I'm drinking more caffeine, an extra drink or, er, smoke in the evening. Yet I'm still feeling better all around. I think I'll knock out most of my vices for a while and see what happens. Now here is another interesting thing. My spine is aware of when I indulge in my vices. It is tighter, and takes more work to warm and loosen it up. More and more I'm finding more personal anecdotal evidence how everything is connected. Diet, exercise, art, vices, spiritual/emotional events, etc.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I realized looking seeing the date, that my mother is 73 today. I won't call. I won't write. I won't think about it much after this. I may connect more with her at some point. I don't know why I would. That is sad. I don't know how, as I can't see myself in the one sided relationship I had before. That is sad. I know it is all sad, but it seems like it is happening to someone else.

I'm able to remember some of the good things. I don't have a good understanding of racism. Conceptually I understand it, but not personally. I can feel a bit of it, when I realize how I react differently to different ethnic groups. Like at night I'm more alert walking by a group of tough talking black or white guys, than a group of Hispanic or Asian guys.

Still, any sadness regarding my relationship with my mom is mostly intellectual. Is there a wall I've put up? There certainly was, but I'm not so sure now. It is more indifference. I make dark jokes about my relationship, but I don't seek to change anything. I don't feel obligated any longer. I'm comfortable with the distance. The immediate sadness in this for me, is that I understand very personally how one might sacrifice interpersonal relationships in favor of isolation. Spending too much time out of the world, whether it be reading, watching TV, drinking, medicating, or other escapes. It may be what drove me to find more in my life, not wanting to grow into something that other people need to cut loose for their own health.

Good Day Sunshine

I'm feeling cheery today. Funny since I started off messing up my diet a bit today. I was in a hurry for a Microsoft SQL presentation, and didn't pack a lunch, and skipped breakfast. Can you believe this? The box lunches didn't have anything with lamb and rice. I stuck to the veggies and meat, leaving the dairy, wheat, and sweet products behind. So, the deviation wasn't too bad. Not a big deal at this point, as I've been forgetting in the evening and eating peanuts for a snack. I have to stop doing that too.

So, while my diet is moving towards where it needs to be for the food sensitivity evaluation I'm guessing I'm forgoing enough things my body doesn't like that I'm feeling a bit better.

Also, now that ETI is done I'm only working full time. Another big difference.

I was thinking about my presentation of silly presents on Saturday. That is not something I could pull off in the past. I'd have a very specific presentation in my mind, and they never worked. Now I have more of an outline to wing it from, and roll with the situation. Improv and connection. It's satisfying to see how all this training percolates into other aspects of life. It is more of a raised baseline in my life, but that contributes cheer too.

The weather and a working motorcycle are a good cheery combo too. It was frustrating waiting for over a month to get a regulator, but it is sure sweet having it back. Even an uneventful commute on a nice day is a great way to start the day.

It is this type of mood which I remind myself will come along, like during mid January to mid February which was my low point this year, when the toll of training and work nailed me. Feeling talentless, bleeding, frustrated, unrested and sleeping poorly, frustrated, seeing no end in sight. For me that is where faith comes in. There is no end in sight, you just work forward like it is there in plain sight. I'm not sure when I learned to do this. I've never been in a more stressful time. When I was getting divorced it was close, but more limited in scope. I had more going on, and in comparison I dealt with it easily this year. I wouldn't have made it with the tools I had during the divorce. I'd have left the job or the training, or likely botched both so badly that I would be untrained and unemployed right now.

I struggled with staying invested in the training, rather than simply enduring it. I wrote of this around the time, but being in the midst of it I wasn't fully appreciative of the mess I was in at the time. I was looking to where I wanted to be, not at the morass I was caught in. That is what I did most of my life. Obsessed on how fucked up things were, making the morass ever worse. Like the giving up the keeping of relationship accounts, it was something I wanted to do. Simply wanting to do it was not enough, or was it? Maybe the realization of what I wanted was all I needed, it just took a while for old habits to fade in the face of new habits. It is debilitating to relationships to keep track of who owes who, and how much this balances that, and so on. It is plain debilitating to focus on the things that are making you blue, rather than things that will make you feel better. Now I need to work on being less pedantic. :O

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Getting It Out

I went to Paula's going away dinner at the Elysian on Saturday. I brought gifts. In case people forgot just who she is, a tiara. If they need a gentle reminder a scepter/wand, with flashing lights. Said wand to be wielded with an iron fist. I had a large foul weather riding glove, without a mate. I sprayed it with metallic paint from a craft store, and it looked pretty silly and properly intimidating. And finally, a pair of ruby slippers for when the directing internship is complete. Those started out ealier in the day as a pair of black pumps from a thrift store, an aerosol can of glue, and lots of red glitter.

Buying the shoes was kind of fun. I bought them at the Value Village, out in my neighborhood. Redmond is a little, well a lot, on the conservative side, being in the high tech area spawned by Microsoft. The shoes that looked perfect were pretty big, though I doubt they would have fit me. Judging by the way the cashier studied me I'd say she thought they would fit me. I still chuckle thinking about it.

Guido and Steph, were over from Port Orchard with their daughters and the older girl's good friend. We had a bit to chat about, as they gave the Vanagon I now drive to Steve and Paula, who in turn gave it to me. Later, I spoke briefly to the two older girls, who will be going to 4th grade next year, so they wouldn't feel left out by the grown ups and because I enjoy talking with children. They thought the fact I read to fourth graders was pretty cool, and told me all about their reader. Then it came out I know where there school is, since my Dad's last house was several blocks away and I grew up in the area. I was not given much of a chance to talk to the grown ups again. Not that I minded terribly. It was a fun evening. I am now looking forward to reading to a class all the more. Of all the things I gave up for ETI, that is what I missed most.

Well, that wasn't really accurate. I didn't get to see friends nearly as much, and that is what I missed the most. It wasn't something I decided to give up, but knew it would be something my schedule would put constraints on. Now Paula, will have it even harder as she won't even be in the area. Of course, there will be a whole new circle of friends she'll be working with, like we had in ETI. Steve will be staying Seattle, at least to start with, and that will be rough. I've a lot of faith though. In the Navy, with the frequent and lengthy deployments it was said marriages tended to be particularly short or strong as a result of the separations. I think they fall into the second category.

I'm starting to get back in the writing mood. There are five pieces my mind keeps coming back to. One is an absurdist piece that I only have a page or two written, but it draws me. I've no idea where it will go, though there were lots of levels at play in my mind when I started it, and still when I think of it. Another is a dark, and I hope, disturbing comedy/drama. The third is an idea for a short play, engendered by the workshop on Sunday we did for Tent City. Fourth is a novel or short story, for which I took home several hundred pieces of scratch paper. I want to draw and diagram things to help with this one. I'm not much when it comes to drawing, but it will help me picture things. I want to write with a bit of the lyrical feeling Tolkien has in his descriptions and settings. Actually I'd like to write with a lot of that feeling, but I'll be happy to achieve just a little.

My scratch paper is the separator sheets for my print outs at work. I keep most of them, and instead of simply tossing them into the recycle bin at work, I'll toss them in the recycle bin at home after they are done being sketches, diagrams, or ruminations. They will likely come in handy for the fifth project. This is one I talked of over a year ago. A piece taking a character from McCarthyism, one of the paid witnesses who recanted their testimony, and bringing him into a contemporary setting. Sadly, the viciousness and evil he was a part of in the fifties, has been reincarnated with virtually no changes. That is my stumbling block. It get into such a rage when I read of the evil under the surface in the fifties, which is apparently identical, deeper, and more insidious to what neocons celebrate outside the closet today, that I have trouble letting my creativity work.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Eliminatary

Haven't been writing much lately. At least I finally finished the post I started last Monday. Kind of catching back up with life. This weekend I finished three books I'd started. The Hobbit, a Louis L'Amour novel, and Prince Ezrick and the Morpheas Curse. The latter is the first of a new fantasy series I picked up at an independent bookstore, SoulFood Books in Redmond. It is a fun story, though there were some gaps. It felt there were a number of things which had wonderful setups and weren't really developed. I still enjoyed the book, and look forward to the next installment.

I didn't get out much over the weekend, as I had a stomach upset. My lower abdomen felt cramped. Same thing happened to me during the first few days of the Shakespeare scenes we did at the end of the second term. I started feeling ooky on Thursday, and even today I felt a little discomfort hitting bumps in the road. The area in the lower abdomen that gives you the delightful (or frightening) sensation on a rollercoaster or during acrobatic flight. Instead of feeling like being tickled, it felt like getting hit with a ball peen hammer.

I know I've some food sensitivities and/or allergies and now is the time to start figuring it out. The elimination diet. Eating nothing but lamb and rice for a week or two, as those are two of the rarest allergies. Then, assuming my system gets to a normal state start adding different foods one at a time to see what my system doesn't like. I'm kind of easing my way into it now, as I figure out the new rice cooker, which scorched the first batch. I used a slow cooker seasoning spice/sauce pack for beef and added a lot of rosemary to cook up some lamb in the crock pot. I also added carrots and potatoes, and it is very tasty. Going forward I'll use nothing but lamb and rice, and moderate spices. I'm assuming I'm not sensitive to spices, though I'll keep track just in case.

I already know I'm sensitive to eggs, and hope there aren't too many additional items I like on the list. I strongly suspect dairy and wheat, which really pisses me off, and is a great part of the reason I've put off checking for so long. Maybe it will be good in the long run if I have to give up some of my favorite foods. Help me to eat better, and even lose some padding.

It may be my imagination, but I'm feeling a lot better today despite my morning head butt of espresso. Despite feeling better, I feel a major political diatribe coming on. You may see my tantrum in the next few days.

Showing Up

I'm struggling with my audience skills. After all this time dedicated in the last ten months building up my acting skills and tools, it is harder to let go of my critical eye. In class and related rehearsals we were constantly critiquing each other and ourselves. I want to continue raising the standard for myself, while at the same time dropping the standard for others when I go to see a show, back to where it was. Not so much for those working on the show, but for me, to produce a more enjoyable experience. Watching the work of my fellow ensemble members, all of whom are gifted and emerging professional actors, is not a typical audience experience.

It's not so much the critical eye, as that when I see aspects which need work I am not compartmentalizing them and letting myself enjoy the show. I assume I'll be able to in the future, but I need more time to rebuild my audience habit. I saw Richard III at the Intiman a week ago yesterday. It was a very, very good production, but I was a bit disappointed for a couple reasons. First was my need to recalibrate my audience experience.

The second reason was harder to let go of. Expectations from other Intiman productions and King John. I thought Richard III was a great production, and it would have been even better for me if it didn't feel so much like other productions I have seen the Intiman. Joe Boling (a local icon) used to rag on Freehold for using ladders in so many of their productions. Intiman has the same problem with scaffolding. It made the play, which I've read several times, but never seen in it's entirety seem it was lacking freshness. I'm also realizing King John was a once in a decade experience. I feel it was in a different class. A play I had never read, yet I understood the text and characters so clearly I almost feel it is unfair to compare them.

So, I couldn't really enjoy the play until I stopped comparing it to King John. Their laser focus and connection with the text and other players spoiled me. I found it much harder to follow the story and characters in Richard III. Don't get me wrong Richard III was definitely worth seeing, but to fully enjoy it I needed to get previous Intiman Shakespeare productions and the King John production at CHAC out of my head. My Dad who had not seen any of these other productions thought Richard III was outstanding, and he has been attending theatre regularly most of his life, and is pretty balanced in his evaluations. I guess I've been spoiled recently.

Over that weekend I saw four shows, all of which were good. I saw a clown piece, Dario & Bario done at Freehold on Friday, taught by my movement/clown/mask instructors George Lewis and David Taft. Wonderful, but not as good as I've seen them do it in the past. This was a short engagement before they do a fringe tour. I didn't feel the focus and spontaneity I've seen in the past. Whether it was simply an off performance, or the updates are still working their way in I don't know. I suspect the former, as the audience takes and such felt very technical as though they weren't feeling that little extra which makes comic timing really zing. If you live in Minneapolis, Winnipeg, or Edmonton give it a look see. They are wonderful and generous performers (and instructors).

After that I headed for Jet City Improv. Instead of being a few seconds late, I was half an hour early. Bother, I was enjoying myself when I left the show. It was a pretty good show, with a good audience. Some very funny bits. I was awarded the best suggestion, and now have free tickets for one of their shows.

On Saturday I saw Pinter's The Birthday Part at CHAC. It was hot, hot, hot in the theater. I noticed it more than the same situation a few weeks earlier where I was one of the players. It is amazing what adrenaline can do for you. I was acclimated to the hot thanks the run of our show in the hot. Steve and Paula broke into a sweat long before I did.

Here's one of the quotes from the little applet I have in the upper left hand of my blog. It gives me the creeps more than most anything I've heard from w. It doesn't sound like he's the decider does it? It sounds more like he is talking to the real deciders.
Haven't we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again?
--George W. Bush

Washington, DC
Nov 26 2002
to economic advisers discussing a second round of tax cuts, as quoted by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Too Sweet

I don't expect this to go anywhere, but this is sweet anyway. Going after the money can get little crooks like Al Capone, but these guys have so much more money, power, and blood on their hands Little Al isn't even in the same orbit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Our closing show and graduation went extremely well Monday night. The show was great, I did well, though my training has me aware of things I could do better in each moment. My folks, my good friend Beth, her friend Lisa, and the Lavy's were there. My folks, Beth, and Lisa were right up in front. They have seen me from before my very first show, when we did presentations for the conclusion of Rachel's classes. Jennifer and Joseph haven't seen me work until recently, but they are professionals I admire. So there were comments on the change and growth people have seen, and those from accomplished professionals. To be honest, I don't recall many specifics. What stands out in my memory is how they were truly offered.

We become acutely aware of people searching for good things about us, that we probably see that qualification of the compliment even when it is not present. When you see there is no qualification of the comment, that it is on the front of their mind, it has an astounding impact. The absence of reverse transference. I very clearly see myself in others, searching for something nice and sincere to say -- is it real enough, did they really feel what you describe, etc. You expect it from others. When hesitation in time or thought isn't there denial kicks in, and the more notable it's absence the less it can be denied.

It was that kind of direct and unqualified feedback I've been trying to deal with. First, being gracious, and I've finally learned to do so. Most of the time. Then there is accepting it. That is even harder. It is a lovely confused refreshing conflagration, the clean glow of the compliments and the swirling of the knowledge of where I can improve. I think that may be the crux of my difficulty accepting compliments. A compliment is easily denied when you are more knowledgeable of the craft and/or you are clearly aware of what you can do to improve greatly. Let's look at that denial.

Someone compliments you, and you degrade the compliment in your mind. Patting yourself on the back for being so modest. In affect you have degraded the giver, and that serves nobody. Accept it, and express joy. It gives more to you, and more to the giver. To revel in a compliment is not foolish, or arrogant. It simply honors the person who gave the gift.

A compliment is genuine, likely more so, when you are not the very best. Neither is it in any way diminished. The art is meant to serve people, not just fellow artists. So, comments from those who are not educated or trained in your area of focus are the ones who matter in the end. The feed back of those artists of similar background are more critical in the growth. They are the comments that help you judge your art with perspective, telling what is working and where work is needed.

Both groups inform you of how you are doing, and how you have grown, and where you need grow.

I am privileged to have been blessed with numerous compliments the last couple weeks. I am deeply moved, and struggling to truly accept them so I can improve in confidence, and as an artist and human. Thank you all.

While I was talking to my folks and Beth and Lisa, I was looking for Jennifer and Joseph (I need new glasses). I couldn't spot them, then I saw Catherine dancing. Instantly I knew where they were. Young children dance all the time in parks, and I have no idea why I recognized Catherine without doubt, unless it was from watching her dance with her parents during warm ups for and Akropolis show over a year back while I was testing the video camera. After talking to everybody I went to help strike the show, then to Freehold to unload and have a graduation ceremony. It was simple and meaningful. Elegant in my mind. We got a Freehold diploma (the Antioch University diploma will be sent out later), a candle, and a skeleton key to unlock our talents and gifts. That will be framed with the diploma.

While I am planning on a short hiatus for flight lessons, I am already scanning local auditions to see what I might do. I found an interesting sounding production in the Port Orchard community theatre that appeals to me next Winter, so I'll probably order a script for that. Looking locally with an eye towards the Fall too...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

New Beginnings Again

Tomorrow we finish up ETI with our last performance of The Merchant Of Venice. Today we performed for Tent City at Saint Joseph's, and I bid farewell to Solanio and Tubal. Tomorrow we start with the other cast at 6PM in Volunteer Park, where I will bid farewell to Launcelot and The Duke. I love finishing a show. I hate saying farewell to my character(s). There is always a desire to do it better than the last performance, to really inhabit the character for the audience and self.

Live theatre is a very special thing, like any performance art. When a run is done, it is over. Never will it come back. Even if you could recast it with the same people, which would be a one in a thousand or million chance, it still wouldn't be the same. An audience that is there for the art experiences the same thing. And guess what? The best audiences were the prisons. We had 60-80 in attendance at the women's max security unit in Purdy, and 352 at the minimum/medium security unit at the men's prison in Monroe. The smaller audiences at the hospital and tent city were also very good.

Several reasons for this, but I think it is mostly two reasons. First these are the people Shakespeare wrote for, the groundlings. In these places we encounter more people of modest background/class then in a traditional venue. His bawdy jokes, pokes at the powers that be, etc. resonate more for the everyday people he was writing for, who most playwrights write for. This experience convinces me more than ever that it is incumbent on the artists to find ways to bring the people that matter, us everyday folks, to our work.

The second reason is in the prisons, and the other non-traditional venues we worked people weren't trying to decipher the language, they were investing themselves in the production, right there playing with us. The work actors go through to understand and communicate Shakespeare paid a huge dividend. They got the plot, the jokes, and everything else better than traditional audiences. They joined the world, the fantasy, the escape. They found it a gift, and we found it as great a gift.

At Monroe I had an amazing experience. From my first entrance as Launce the crowd really warmed to me. As I said, it was a big crowd. 352 inmates, then guards, administrators, etc. All sitting or standing in the yard. During the second act Launce runs around the audience and enters on the other side of the stage. Many times. They loved it, cheering, laughing, encouraging, warning of stage and lawn hazards so I wouldn't injure myself. I loved it, and my adrenalin was surging. Kinda' fat guy running is funny anyway, and the wonderful audience in Monroe helped me really go and invest.

That was yesterday, and today people were still talking about how I stole the show. I'm sure they really liked the pretty women too. We were delighted with how they got into the story, and were talking to the characters. "Go for it." "That's harsh!" "Get out of there before it's too late." Polite, generous, and participating. I'd like to encourage other audiences to get as invested in a show.

If you are in the area, and haven't seen the show come on over to Volunteer Park, for our closing show tomorrow, the 3rd at 6PM. Even if you have seen it. I think it has grown incredibly since we were in the theatre space, and would love to hear from someone who saw it in the first week and then the final show.

After the show we'll visit tomorrow, then have some sort of graduation ceremony. It is a mystery to us so I can't say more, then we'll party. I know I will not see some of these people again, so I'm looking forward to our final party and wrap, nearly as much as I am sad we are done. I don't want to think about that anymore now. I'll let myself cry and get all teary next weekend, assuming I can put off my emotional reaction that long. I used to bury things all too well, and I may have lost that ability. We'll see...

And now, like last night, it is time to ice my knee. The running at Monroe was a great workout.