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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chain Meme

Okay here's a meme I've seen on Rachel's, then Kipley's sites. I'll put the answers in comments so you can easily skip it, and so you can copy it over easier. I italicized one that I added, as the ten year window was so freaking old, and on the initial read all the fives morphed into what I was doing five years ago, and I'd already researched a bit to figure out what I was doing five years ago.

What were you doing ten years ago?
What were you doing five years ago?
What were you doing one year ago?
Five snacks you enjoy:
Five songs you know the words to:
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
Five bad habits:
Five good habits:
Five things you enjoy doing:
Five things you would never wear again:
Five favorite toys:

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Beginnings

Top billing today for my pop culture friends. Don Knotts, Dennis Weaver, and Darren McGavin passed away this weekend. Three of my favorite character actors. Three of my favorite actors. The seem like friends because of the fun and enjoyment they brought me growing up.

Friday:   Don Knotts     81
Friday:   Dennis Weaver  81
Saturday: Darren McGavin 83

All three of these men created full, rich, and varied characters, which is why they were loved so much by so many generations. Don Knotts was perhaps the least type cast, which seems counter-intuitive until you think about the different roles over the years. They all had great range which people often don't recognize when someone has very distinct characteristics. My fantasy would be for them to work together on the boards wherever they may now be.

I didn't get to see a show on Friday. I didn't get to my brother's house on Saturday. To be more accurate, I chose not to do either. I was out of gas, and went to bed early both evenings. That was my exciting weekend.

Last week I was especially disgusted with the continuing entrenched, institutional power grab of the right at the expense of personal freedom, personal liberty, and personal health and wealth. This is a bit sad I suppose, that I need to be in good health and well rested in order to endure the steady slide of my once grand country into tyranny. Or, that I have to be feeling crappy to really see how fear is imploding our country.

It is nice to be in a better frame of mind. I missed a show a I wanted to see, some time with my brother, sister-in-law, and kids. I probably wouldn't have appreciated them anyway.

Yesterday was a strange class day. I did horribly with my Shakespeare monologue in the Audition class in the morning. Decent work as Petruccio in Acting/Text class in the evening. And for movement some amazing work in the afternoon. A soft breakthrough of sorts. The hardest part was listening to the feedback. It was amazing to hear what people said and I just looked and listened with glistening eyes, because I did not trust myself to speak.

I got into doing some very deep work, which apparently shook people up a bit, the sadness of my character zapping some. It is something which has been building the last couple weeks, and seeing what this new feeling of release can do when I give it reign and rein was affirming. The letting go wasn't that affecting. Neither was the work itself. It was a joy and relief in going somewhere with some facility, rather than an epic struggle and unique epiphany.

I resisted acknowledging the compliments at first. Again, that old make yourself smaller habit. I think there was also a desire to avoid making this seem a special event, as I don't want to get it in my head as some sort of rare moment. It was a rarity at one time, and if nothing else my aggressive pursuit of training has been to help me reproduce that type of truth consistently. I said, "Thank you George.", and shut up for the rest of the feedback. I suppose it was a beginning of bringing something new to my work on what I hope will become a regular basis, and such beginnings are rare.

Funny Lame

Slate has a funny article about Scooter Libby's web site to raise funds for his legal defense. I'm not sure which is funnier, the article or Scooter's web site. Who's buying this stuff? Pretty soon the GOP will have tapped out all the funds stupid people have to give.
Libby's site has a hard time, because it simultaneously is trying to argue that a) he was likely to forget the Plame episodes and b) he was hypercompetent. Are we supposed to believe Ted Olson when he bemoans how hard it is to remember details? Or do we believe World Bank President and Former Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz when he describes Libby as "a kind of perfectionist"?
Or Matalin when she describes him as "meticulous"?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The (Corporate) Curtain

I saw two new stories in the paper this morning. Our 'liberal' press would have immediately crucified Clinton for either of these. Yet, they appeared as filler in the paper. Have we become so inured to the administrations actions that significant items are no longer newsworthy? I feel like we're those frogs in a pot of water, not noticing we are begin gradually cooked to death.

All sorts of lame excuses about vetting people, and the only nominees thus far scream out conflict of interest. How long did it take the white house to vet their boy Alito?
White House civil-liberties panel created in 2004, still hasn't met

Really, can there be any doubt that this one has more to do with avoiding embarrassment than avoiding real security leaks.
US removing documents from public access: report

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Crystal Ball Says

I channeled my inner republican, right before it was evacuated, and witnessed the following conversation.

Dick Cheney:
Harry, the heat is really getting turned up because that sunnabitch Scooter spilled the beans, the spineless mother****er. I can't express how much I appreciate this. It sure will take the heat off. [Chugs a 32 oz Old English 800.]

Harry Whittington:
Dick, you know I don't mind taking one for the party. Besides, it'll help me bag some young 'quail', if you know what I mean. [Harry winks at Dick, takes a long pull from his hip flask.] You know, war wounds and all. Hell, maybe I'll even get me some fine young intensive care nursing.

Dick Cheney:
Now, hold still, so I don't spray your face.
Hic!Urp! Whoops_

Shotgun:
                                  BOOM!
Dick Cheney:
[Wiping moist belch residue from his chin.] Excuse me...

Harry Whittington:
[From the ground.] "OH! Owie, owie, owie!"

Dick Cheney:
Oh shit, bro, I'm really sorry.
[Aside to Secret Service Agent.] How do we make this disappear?

Secret Service Agent:
[Aside to Dick.] Oh, Sir Dick! I'm not that kind of agent.

Dick Cheney:
[Aside to Secret Service Agent.] Shit, this is the worst day ever!
[To Harry while gesturing his medical retinue.] Hey buddy, we'll get you the best care taxpayers can buy!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This One Will Kill You

You have to wonder if all the steroids which Arnold denied taking for so long took a heavy toll. He buys all these Hummers, and they apparently don't help either. Medical records are still private (thank God), though I'd bet viagra doesn't help either. It seems the only thing which does it for him is signing death warrants. Given his politics and macho facade I can understand the political expediency of killing some people. It doesn't explain his refusal to stall or overturn some cases where there were valid questions or reasons to. I do have a bias. And in that bias I'd say at the very least, the state should look for reasons not to kill people, not the opposite.

The following comment from the defense attorney for the next one Arnold gets to snuff is sadly bizarre.
In a declaration submitted Feb. 14, Heath said the involvement of an anesthesiologist "is an easily taken step that would greatly reduce the possibility of an inhumane execution."
Reduce the possibility of inhumane execution? That implies there is such a thing as humane execution. Utterly inane. Even for proponents of the death penalty, and I once was, it is not meant to be humane. It is meant to snuff out the life of a human being, who we believe deserves the ultimate punishment. Ultimate punishment and humane are not compatible. Duh.

The Original world wide web

My Monday experience is still with me. Mellower, as I expected, and assimilating. I'm not quite sure how, as there isn't a conscious effort to do so. There is an awareness of some walls being easier to work through and getting closer to my core in a more facile way. Maybe it was as much an awareness of a small step forward, as taking the step.

As part of the influx I realized was that it didn't matter if our new instructor this quarter doesn't like me. He's got a lot of knowledge and insight, justifying his enviable reputation of being one of, if not the local Shakespeare authority. For the first time in quite a while I didn't feel last at sea during scene work in class. I'm working as Petruccio in the scene where he and Kate meet. Quite a challenge for me in addition to that posed by working with the Bard. Things pretty much contradicted my impression of being actively disliked.

After class I finally remembered to call my Dad. His 75th birthday was on Wednesday, and while I did remember, it was 10:45PM here, an hour later in Arizona. I remembered fifteen minutes earlier on Thursday. It's nearly a tradition now, as for the last five years or so I call my siblings and father and leave a Happy Birthday song on their answering machines. I actually caught my brother at home this year, but last year or the hear before I did a very breathy version, claiming to be Marilyn Manson (whom I don't think I've listened to). It was a spoof of the Kennedy birthday song, and I think they listened to me record the message. I'm glad I didn't know it at the time.

After singing for my Pop from inside the parked Vanagon, I realized I was just a few blocks from Steve and Paula's place, so I called and talked to Steve and he relayed my message to Paula, to see if she wanted to see God's Country at CHAC. Then I reparked the car so I wouldn't have to feed the pay lot, and went to Caffe Vita's to read more of The Taming of the Shrew. I nearly called Rachel to see if she wanted to see the show, then realized it started in about an hour, an impossible last minute commute from the East Side. Barely possible if the traffic was okay, and for some reason I didn't think it was on a bitter Friday night.

A few minutes before I left to walk over for the show Paula called to let me know she was going, and when I was I going to be there. She arrived a few seconds after I got the tickets, and we chatted, got to our seats and chatted some more. A few seconds before I turned off the phone Rachel called, and we chatted for a few seconds. Then Paula saw Joseph Lavy sitting on the other side of the theatre, whom we chatted with during intermission and after the show. Then we headed over to meet Steve for his improv gig at the Historic University Theatre, which was cancelled. So, we hung out for pizza and a drink instead

Those calls and meetings were tremendous. We often get caught up in busy schedules, and feel disconnected. My Dad, Paula, Steve, Joseph, and Rachel within an hour or two, by chance, my initiative, and their initiative. And all outside of my work and ETI worlds. It's quietly profound. Each of those connections represent many other people, having them all come together at once is pretty grounding. It reminds me how connected we are, and how many other connections there are.

I'll see some more people this afternoon. I'm going to a birthday party at the Bellevue Skate King. Yes, it was Donna's birthday I went to last February 19th, where I broke my leg rather badly. As if there was a goodly. I'll pass on the skating this year, thank you very much. I'm just going to enjoy the experience of NOT having a broken leg. Sort of. It is a costume affair, so I'm going to wrap my leg in cheesecloth, which looks like gauze, but is much cheaper. I'll put a few swatches and strips of red cloth inside the wraps to give it that lovely post surgery look. I've still got my crutches and night splint to complete the picture. I'm wondering if some of my friends will assume I went skating again or dropped the motorcycle before realizing it is my costume.

Darn. My sinus just got a feeling like I had inhaled freshly chlorinated swimming pool water. I hope it is something I'm getting over, and not coming down with.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Des-Dick-able

I've been hunting a number of times in my life. While duck hunting I've been showered with spent pellets several times. Those are usually from so far away you don't even know where they came from. No more impact than moderate hail. I've accidentally discharged a weapon, brutally wounding the bed in the travel trailer I lived in my first year of community college. (If our old family friends to whom we gave the trailer still have it, I could show you the hole in the wooden slat for the bed.) Terribly embarrassing, and I immediately made abject apologies to my hapless victim, Mr. Shasta Trailer. He was unmoved.

I'll be up front about my feelings. I despise Dick Cheney as a man. His statements about Vietnam and his vicious attacks on people who did think fighting for their country was important, displays an arrogant cowardice. The circumstantial evidence abounds, and I believe the man has and will enthusiastically sell his soul and integrity to Halliburton, big oil, or anyone else willing to pony up. Sadly, he is still getting premium value for those used up resources. When Dick Cheney and truth meet it is a coincidence, a chance meeting between strangers.

Despite feeling Dick is the vilest sort of scum the human gene pool and modern culture can produce, I saw his hunting accident as nothing more than bad timing and and a minor lapse of judgment. A simple accident of the type we've all experienced many times throughout our lives. It was more dire, but no more nefarious than accidentally plugging my mattress. End of story. Or it should have been. The prolonged silence, which I didn't believe was a cover-up, but certainly produced the appearance of one, giving people a reasonable cause for thinking there was indeed an attempted cover-up.

The facts dribbling out indicate the prolonged silence was calculated. Wait and see how people react to the story, so statements can be made with the most effective spin.

The reaction to blaming Mr. Whittington for getting himself shot was immediately hammered by both ends of the political spectrum as disingenuous and a metaphor for how the administration demonizes those whom they hurt. Oops, that wasn’t according to plan, you'd better take responsibility on this one.

Had Dick apologized and taken blame for his actions immediately I would have believed him. Instead he 'allowed' Katharine Armstrong to disclose the incident to the local press. She was the one who test-blamed the bright orange clad Mr. Whittington who came up BEHIND for getting himself shot. There are lots of problems, all of which had been discussed in the press. First, the victim was well out of Dick’s shooting range which is the area in front of you. Second, the one responsible for where ordnance goes is always the responsibility of the shooter. Third, Ms. Armstrong did not even witness the event. She was sitting in a car, and commented she thought the medical folks were rushing out to assist Dick, guessing his heart needed another jump start. Then the silly bitch spent her credibility insisting an incident she did not witness was the victim’s fault. Her fifteen minutes of fame was being Dick’s sacrificial lamb. Poor lamb. There are more inconsistencies, but these are the most blatant and consitently reported.

Dick admitted to having a beer with lunch. Excuse me? Who really cares about everything else? A responsible hunter does not drink a freaking drop before picking up a firearm. Period. You don't imbibe until you have set the deadly weapons aside for the day. I'm sure alcohol was not a legal factor, even if the sheriff had the hutzpah to do a blood alcohol I assume it still would have been within 'legal' limits. So, how big was the beer? Was it a Good-Ole-Pal Super Gulp 800? After all, everything is bigger in Texas. And as anyone who ever drank in college, or listened to a problem drinker knows, an admission to one beer is a lie of omission almost all the time, as it avoids mentioning the other two or three which went along with it.

There was also expert conjecture on the distance. The pellet density is too high and penetration is too deep for the thirty yard scenario. This I'd say is debatable as we don't know if steel shot, or the heavier lead shot was used. Still, it sounds like the victim likely picked up more pellets than you'd reasonably expect at that distance. I wonder if beer makes judging distance difficult?

Most of these observations came from statements made by Cheney and his supporters. (Google the news stories if you doubt.)

Chertoff has copied Cheney’s example of belated assumption of responsibility. He like Dick, realized the bilateral public reaction to his actions was so adamant against him he came up with his own delayed and nearly identical 'heartfelt' response.

Chertoff called Katrina a storm of ``unprecedented magnitude'' and ``one of the most difficult and traumatic experiences of my life.''
I can’t help wondering about the dead and displaced people in the South. They didn’t need to face a senate hearing months later, they knew it was one of the most difficult and traumatic experiences in their lives when it actually happened.

In the interview with Fox News, Cheney accepted blame for the shooting and said it was "one of the worst days of my life."
Again I can’t help but make the obvious comment. Unlike Dick, I bet Mr. Whittington knew it was one of worst days of his life the same day it happened.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Still Suspicious

Weird dream this morning. I woke up still in the emotional and mental state of the dream. It was clear and specific. It was about an hour before I needed to arise, so I went back to sleep. The dream itself is gone, but the clarity from the state persisted when I got up.

Not surprisingly it was focused on my ETI training, though it also applies to the day job. Spending 'enough' time on studies is not enough. There is an additional surrender and ownership for which I need to strive. It is especially important because of my full schedule. Typically, it is one of my beloved dichotomies, or as a novice Shakespeare scholar, I should say antithesis. In the surrender it is the same struggle I have faced many times as an actor, and certainly not unique to myself. To let go of what I think I should be doing, and just do. Taking ownership is another simple and common concept which I continually struggle, that is fully investing myself.

Every stride you make is a new start, a new plateau, and often the focus on new skills and methods overwhelms the basic work you've done in doing (playing actions) and investing yourself. I feel I've made advances, and significant ones in the last few months, but there's been a wall, subtle and ominous. Not a wall which stops, but a wall which slows one down, like trying to swim in thick syrup.

The clarity was mysterious, a feeling I simply have to be willing. There is a triteness and depth to this. It somehow feels simply the awareness has made me willing at a new level, where I'd been typically getting in my own way. Is it really a step and an epiphany rolled into one, or a bit of self-delusion or encouragement? I'll know soon enough.

Interesting thing in drill this morning. I realized for the first time since I broke my leg last February, there was no pain in walking. Recently it's been fairly low level pain most of the time, usually tuned out but always present. And the last couple weeks it's been more acute. The new feel of freedom this morning urged me to run around the studio, a room named Crow for those familiar with Freehold, between seven and ten times. All my running since the break has been jogging or trotting. These were full loping strides, not at full speed, but still at a good clip. The speed and the length of the strides made the room tiny, and I was running as close to the perimeter as I could. I wanted to run more, but once I could sense the old pains begin to resurface I dropped back to a walk. Don't want to push a good thing. And it did feel good. The legs simply love that kind of stretching every once in a while.

Now questions and thoughts are buzzing. There is a feel of something changed within myself. Are the dream and clarity a manifestation of something real or desired? Is the getting over the hump in the healing of my leg coincidence, or real? Are the emotional and physical shifts related? Ask me in a week. I'm also feeling pretty tired -- hoping to get a little extra shut eye tonight -- something I've had difficulty with lately. I'm wondering what tomorrow will bring. Next week, ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bad Morality

Here is a really subversive idea. What makes it subversive? It is moral.

What if everything imported to the U.S. was required to be produced using U.S. labor law as the minimum standard for those who did the work? You think that might end or significantly reduce the terrorist threat? Consider we are the most blatantly affluent country in the world, and typically use predatory labor practices in the most desperate countries, practices which we haven't allowed within our borders in over a hundred years. Then add the looming presence of our military which is used by corporations to enforce 'corporate' entitlements.

What is it about this which would terrify the conservatives, causing wide spread panic attacks and accusing the originator of the idea of being an unpatriotic communist terrorist? Could it be that suddenly, we're forced to stop buying materials made by children? By people actually making subsistence wages? By people not working 16 hour days? By people who are not knowingly exposed to obscenely dangerous toxin levels? Or is the true terror making Americans pay 10% more for imported goods?

Such an idea would make our lobbyists and their pocketed conservatives screech like little stuck pigs. They'd whine to the heavens, "It would be a horrendous expense for businesses which would usher in the end of the existence!" All the self-serving lies and scare tactics which the avaricious can latch onto to would come out in full force. Still, I cannot think of one moral justification which holds water, for keeping people in other countries in bondage. Not one single moral justification. So if you are a (fiscal) conservative, what is your justification for not treating our global neighbors in a moral manner as though you believed them to be fellow human beings?

Now, if the conservatives truly had conservative values, they would leap at this idea as a way to restore some of the once traditional manufacturing jobs in this country which have been off-shored to modern day sweat shops.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fawning the Dawning

Reporting from other blogs. I thought it would be fun to go along with a blog world chain letter, or meme tag. Five of life's simple pleasures you enjoy most.
  • Watching or acting in a good production where the audience and cast are really connected.

  • The happy gibberish/english sounds of a young child just learning to talk.

  • A clear cool Summer's day, or a clear warm Winter's day.

  • Being toasty with clean soft sheets on a cold night.

  • Leaning into a corner on a motorcycle or bicycle.
Another blog I stumbled across had a great idea for campaign finance. I think max donations would still be critical, but I really like the concept.

I've been in a very sour and dour place lately. Work was long, unrewarding, and exhausting. It put me behind in homework for classes, mostly Shakespeare. Not something I want to skimp on for many reasons. I love Shakespeare, don't know much, and it is integral to the training. I suspect a lot of the technical training -- hitting words or phrases, grammatical parsing, dropping and raising the voice, etc. is taught here for a sneaky reason. The mystique of Shakespeare, and the difficulty of understanding the language today make us very open to the training. A lot of stuff we need to do for modern plays, but would resist considering it indicating or overly academic.

The fact Shakespeare's plays don't come to us first hand has much to do with the bazillion takes and interpretations out there. The closest, the first folios, were put together by actors and editors years after his death from memory. It adds to the mystique and frustration. (I wish the same would happen to the plays of some modern playwrights, who hobble directors insisting not one word be changed. Humble the pretentious yet sometimes talented twits.)

Shakespeare is fascinating stuff. The project from Hell at work is finally done. I've had a few days to catch my breath and start jumping into homework. Delightful. I felt my mood turning to crap, the Winter long doldrums I lived with for so long. I knew it wouldn't last, but I hated it all the same. It feels bitingly good to be coming back.

We had a check in of sorts on Tuesday after movement and combat classes, waiting for speech call. An instructor or administrator spaced, and we were all warmed up with no one to enunciate for. People were very candid about where they were personally and emotionally as we went round the circle. I told the group I was feeling my old moody thoughts, making me feel sad and untalented. Until I was 42 I thought happy people were fucked up, and I felt myself in that disgusting place again. I knew it wouldn't last, but it didn't make me any happier. And, I couldn't think of any group I'd rather be with when I was in such a fucking dark place. It really is true, and I was also right about it not lasting much longer.

There are some blogs I read occasionally and anonymously. I would be surprised if they even knew I had a blog. Some I know of outside of the blogoshpere, some not. It seems there is a parade of people who are pulling away from theatre (or their accustomed artistic outlet) because of the pain and hardship it brings. I am actually excited for most of them. It sounds like they are learning an openness and generosity of spirit which was subdued or missing. Whether they come back to theatre I suspect the growth has the potential to be profound for them and those they care about. Why do I care? I'm not close to any of them. I don't interact with them. Is it the joy of watching an anonymous flower blossom, or something for my dusty writer's toolbox?

Speaking of flowers blossoming. Last week a pot of three or four tulips next to a window in the Freehold theatre lobby was starting to bloom. It was early, and even with the indoor warmth, the light available from that window was limited. It was lovely surprise, and I pointed out to every one in the class who walked by. I don't think they were as moved by the sight as I. Similar this picture I found at http://www.hankinslawrenceimages.com/flowers/hli_fl4_std.jpg.