Acting Up

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

My Photo
Name:
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

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hacccck

So yesterday was my 400th entry, and I talked of breakfast purging. What a riveting topic that was. It bemused me anyway.

Not much of an audition yesterday. To cheer myself, I can compare it to what I was able to do last year when I auditioned for ETI. Compared to that I came off smelling like roses. Compared to the measure I have for myself since finishing ETI I came off smelling like that which makes roses grow healthy. I caught myself sounding sing-songy at one point, so I adjusted and worked my intention. I did manage to make some nice changes in the monologue, though not as many as I would have liked or am easily capable of. Practice, practice. Not horrendous for my first audition since completing the conservatory program, but certainly not triumphant either.

I did learn something, besides working on intention, where I came from, and technique. I arrived early, and Dan asked if I was ready to go. "Sure." There was no way I was going to be special and ask for a few minutes to prepare. Most directors would understand, but having to ask would distract me and make my preparation of questionable quality. Next time, before I even get close to the audition room I'll do some physical and imagery warm up. Voice too if I can find a place where it is comfortable, though I can usually take care of that while driving unless like now, I have a sore throat.

Yes, yes, I know it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a few minutes to prepare, and any director worth a tinker's dam would say "Sure." and mean it. I already hinted as much. The problem is me. I would have trouble focusing on prep, worried that I was being special when I didn't need to be. Better with my psyche to simply go up. So, before I get to where an auditor can ask if I'm ready to go, get as ready as I can. For me that can be done in five or ten minutes with some physical stretching and warm-up and a little imagery. Assuming I'm early next time, I'll do it in the parking lot. That should be enough to get me prepared up front. Hey, I like to have the space and time to stretch, imagine, and warm-up body and voice for 30 minutes. Not something generally available for an audition space, but if I can get most of the benefit beforehand, better do it.

Maybe Friday will be better.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Spud Dud

I didn't expect much when I watched the Dukes of Hazzard, but even with all the redneck appeal it was still fun, and made fun of the stereotype. There were a couple political lines that were hysterical in my mind. The one I remember is:
Cooter: [talking about the General Lee] I'm fixin' to fix it.
Rosco P. Coltrane: You're fixin' to fix it? Boy, you couldn't fix an election if your brother was the governor.

I made a dandy stew using my own tomato sauce, sauteed chicken, carrots, and onions. With some nice seasonings. And I added potatoes, time to try out one of my favorite foods. It was done cooking this morning, so I had some for breakfast. It really hit the spot. For five or ten minutes. Then very suddenly I was dashing for the porcelain receptacle, just making it in time. A few minutes later I was right as rain, except hungry.

Potatoes? Shit and damnation! I love potatoes. I hope it was something else, but I doubt it. If something had gone bad (highly unlikely) it wouldn't have hit so fast or settled down so fast. I'll be trying potatoes again, but not for several days. In the meantime what the Hell do I do with this stew? Put it in the freezer and take it for a family gathering I suppose. I'd rather be dining on it this week. Just getting over the bug, and was a day late getting my meals ready for the week, and now I have to come up with something else. I suppose that is not a bad thing to give up given my build, but Hell.

Got to leave in a few minutes for my audition. Not feeling especially perky today.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Got It

I was tagged by Ric Knight (see left margin), so I used his citing format.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions

Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest, then tag three people.

Consider yourself tagged, if you want to.
==================================================

Stoppard, Tom. 1993. The Real Inspector Hound and Other Plays. Grove Press. ISBN 0802135617.
BERNARD: I imagine that good farming land would be premium in North London. Is he prosperous?
ARTHUR: He has an income of £10.50 per week.
BERNARD: Hardly a pillar of the community, even with free milk and eggs.
==================================================
It took a while to find the pound symbol, and I hope it displays correctly in most places.

I ordered several scripts, and the one above happened to be on my desk, by my right elbow when I read Ric's blog, as I have deliveries sent to my work address. That avoids having to find time during the day to go pick things up.

It took me a few days to get it on my site, as I was tagged with a bug (cold or mild flu) first. I'm feeling mostly recovered, though my appetite is still off. Even without a bit of intestinal discomfort I lost ten pounds since Thursday. I know most of it will come back when I eat enough food to keep my system churning, but it is a cheap thrill just the same. My changed diet over the last four weeks or so has helped me to drop fifteen pounds. It does feel good to say I've lost twenty-five pounds, so I hope this fast driven loss the last few days is a preview of things to come, or rather go away.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

On The Road, Nearly

I cancelled my chiropractor sessions Thursday, a flight lesson Friday, and my plans for one today. A Summer cold or touch of the flu. What timing. It could be worse, as I'm taking vacation from the eleventh until the fifteenth of September. The nuisance part is I have two auditions coming up, Tuesday evening at UW for Capulet in their production of Romeo and Juliet. That would be a great experience, and while I'm not writing it off I expect it to be good audition experience.

The only suitable audition piece for the role I have near ready is Friar Lawrence from the same play -- which concerns me. I wonder if I should dare working on a piece from a different play, or risk the one I have. The latter I think, as the risks seem less. The fact that I've been sleeping most of the day since I put in a request for an audition time slot makes it difficult to get much prep work done.

On Friday I'll be auditioning for a community theater piece in Portland, Oregon -- the rehearsals and production will be in Seattle. I've worked with them before and hadn't really planned on auditioning for them in the near future, until I saw the resume for the guest director. She has an MFA and lots of wonderful professional experience and training, both as participant and facilitator. I decided I wanted to work for this director. The problem is the two audition days were in the middle of the vacation I've been planning. I want to visit my sister's family again next weekend, and Vancouver, Washington is just an hour or so from Portland, Oregon.

Two different productions, both of which I'd very much like be involved with for different reasons. The latter I have a better chance as I am a member of the company, which gives priority to members. The former, is Shakespeare and at the UW. I haven't figured out whether it is part of the BA or MFA program, though I suspect the former. Either way it would give me a chance to exercise my Shakespeare chops and to get a feel for the UW environment for future endeavors. The latter, a comedy with some delicious characters, and so far I like the lunatic host, would give me a chance to work with a professional director. I've done so several times before, and have enjoyed and gotten a lot out of the experiences.

Interesting change for me. I look for roles that I want to do and/or will help build a strong resume. Not long ago, it was anything where I thought I might have a chance of being cast. After working on a couple productions I didn't enjoy greatly and getting more training with an eye towards more, I have direction in what I'm doing, or at least what I want to do.

My friend George got married yesterday. He and Abby met several years ago at an astrology seminar. I think this was the third or fourth time I'd met Abby, and I like her more every time. Her mother read a short Dickinson poem, with a very nice brief impromptu exposition about Emily Dickinson. George's mother read from Corinthians, the verse which finishes, "and the greatest of these is love." I believe it was a Wiccan ceremony, and very nice in allowing the kids to participate, as they formed an arch with swords for the couple to enter the platform. In the navy we did the same for when they left altar, with a slap with the flat of the sword to the civilian getting married, and a "welcome to the navy!" None of that here. It was a very inclusive ceremony, so I doubt people of any of the many faiths represented felt uncomfortable.

I imagine George's folks had sort of a reverse My Big Fat Greek Wedding experience, though it was catered by an outstanding Greek restaurant (Yanni's). I'd not met them before, but heard lots. I was keeping an eye out for a bottle of Windex.

I'm still feeling a bit off, so I left pretty quickly after the vows, which were conducted by our mutual close friend Kalon. Murphy was unkind, as I hit a one hour traffic jam. I suppose sitting in the heat, in a suit, suited up for a motorcycle, helped cook out some of the illness.

Time to start cooking up meals for next week, watching Romeo and Juliet, reading more of Amateurs, and getting some rest. My nephew's band has a gig at 6:45pm, and I want to feeling as good as I can for that. Steve may join me for that, which will be fun. My nephew and nieces are a bit older than his, but just as charming if you ask me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where's The Beef?

In a fit of pique at both our senatorial candidates I sent off a letter to the Seattle Times a week and a half back. For you out of staters, Maria Cantwell is the democratic incumbent senator up for reelection. Her republican challenger, Mike McGavick, is one of those who have endorsed Joe Lieberman. I've written to Cantwell's office a couple times expressing my opposition to the war. In fact in early 2003 I asked her not to give w authority to use force, citing my experience in combat, as well as collecting and analyzing intelligence. The canned response told me we had to give w authority to go to war to honor our veterans. You can likely guess how calm this combat veteran's reaction to that bit of idiocy one was.

I was a bit surprised to see it now. The lemming parade of GOP'ers endorsing Lieberman seems like it is not all that current now. Oh well, making fun of idiots is timeless even if the bullet points aren't.

For your viewing pleasure/distress:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mmm

No flying since the last entry, and I'm thinking maybe I'll not blog about that. Maybe I'll do it on my class blog. I don't imagine others are all that interested.

If you're not into cooking, skip this entry.

On a culinary whim of sorts I picked up several pounds of vine ripened tomatoes. In the store I shop at they are medium sized, of a nice color, and are attached to the stem in bunches of two to six. That makes me wonder if that is considered on the vine, meaning they still aren't ripened while connected to a root system. They aren't nearly as good as home grown tomatoes, but they are much better than the regular old grocery tomatoes.

I cut the tomatoes into large chunks, 4-8 pieces each, and put them in the crock pot on high for a couple hours, along with some salt, oregano, and rosemary. Every so often I went at them with a potato masher. Then ran them through a strainer, using a spoon to push the pulp through. Then leaving the lid ajar on the crock pot, I returned the pulp and let it sit at low overnight. I wouldn't want to use any few tomatoes.

Sunday morning I checked my concoction and at first I thought I'd spoiled it, but it only looked like all the moisture had cooked off. It had reduced to just a tenth or less of what I started with, and dried looking skin formed on the top so it looked like a disaster cooked to the bottom of the pot. It was only skin deep, and a quick stir showed it to be a nicely textured tomato sauce. I tasted it, and got the shivers. I never encountered tomato sauce like that. Amazingly tasty, and it was hard to resist taking continual tastes.

Then I moved on to the rest of my project, thinking I had a batch of tomato sauce that was too good for this use. Diced a large yellow onion and 4 medium carrots and added them to the pot, stirred, and set it to low. In the evening I made meat balls out of ground lamb and brown rice. The broke up a bit, so I need to find a good binder. Maybe a little rice flour or xanthan gum? (I'm not planning to see if my system likes wheat for a couple more weeks.)

Added the meat balls to the rest, and simmered at low about one more hour to blend the flavors before refrigerating. The sample was pretty good, but it was hard to tell. I was cooking up a lot of stuff for the week, so it will be easy to eat without busting the diet. I grilled some marinated chicken breasts and fried some chicken sausage (made by a local butcher shop), and made chicken gravy using rice flour as a thickener. It was all a bit of work, and everything seemed pretty tasty. It was hot for our area, and my house was especially muggy. Not so fun for cooking, but I survived.

The gravy was a very nice surprise. I like the flavor better than using wheat flour as a thickener, though it tends to clump a bit more. Unlike wheat, the rice flour clumps are not icky at all. I suspect simply using a sifter when adding extra flour after adding water to the roux might do the trick. The rice flour seems more absorbent, so less can be used to make the roux.

The meatball concoction did make for a good lunch. If nothing else, this diet has made my sense of taste more acute. It was a very tasty repast. Last night I had Thai food at a great place in Issaquah, simple stir fried vegetables and chicken. I wonder what I'll find in restaurants, and this time I found that I could taste the seasonings, especially the fish sauce. Usually those flavors don't jump out as distinct attributes. A nice little surprise from the diet. Made my lunch more enjoyable too.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Un-Manic-On

"That was a sad performance tonight," I stated.

I had a headache yesterday, and my flying gave me a bigger one. Zach assured me I had actually done well. I wasn't trolling for compliments, and he actually convinced me. I was unhappy with having flubbed the landing a bit, my first night flight and landing. During the flight we were working with power off stalls and power on stalls. The former is for learning recovery during approach, and the latter during takeoff. The power on stall is easier for me, the power off stalls I find trickier. I hate the shaking before the stall and the dropping of the nose. I was going into too much of a dive after the stall, which you don't want to do on final approach.

Going into a dive felt like a habit, and now that I write about it, I realize it was. The stalls we learned to recover from as navigators were stalls at altitude, during maneuvering, typically during evasions or dogfights. In that situation you want to pick up speed and going into a dive is a great way to do it. It was part of talking a pilot out of an unusual attitude should they get vertigo, and we practiced it a lot in simulators so we had the physical action in our minds to go along with it.

That old habit is something I need to relearn for landings. It shouldn't be too hard, as it was quite a while back and only used for a month or so in the training command. I pitched up too much coming in for the landing. Otherwise I'd set us up fairly well, as Zach touched down quite lightly and smoothly at or close to the numbers (the runway numbers, which is a good place to touch down). I'd probably have planted the main gear too solidly with the nose wheel a bit too high.

Those two aspects were all that was running through my mind as we secured the aircraft. Zach pointed out it was my third flight, and we were doing some relatively advanced procedures. My steep turns (45 degrees) were doing nicely, the last few I stayed right at altitude, and I started getting the hang of the power off stalls. Okay, that's true and the last two stalls were a lot better. Night flight is fun, but you need to keep a closer eye on the instruments as visuals can be pretty misleading, and I did that well.

It was good to have someone call me for fixating on the negative. You'd think I'd know better from the countless struggles with that very thing in my acting. Speaking of acting... Zach is a young guy, and hopes to become a commercial pilot. Like so many struggling young actors, he has a day job at Starbucks, the closest one I know of to my office. I thought that was wonderfully ironic. Out of the thirteen of us who finished ETI, at least three worked in coffee shops, and Ben also worked for Starbucks, the next to closest one to my office.

Small world. Overlapping cultures. There is a joy in flying. Quite different from acting on the surface, but something which enamors those who have a taste for it. Like acting. There is a sense of freedom, danger, and living in a larger world which comes with flying. Often, that joy is crushed by the exigencies of being a professional. Without going into dry detail, it is much the same for actors, and I suspect other artists. The Navy crushed much of that joy for me, though not utterly. Is it luck, maturity, or being an artist that has thus far prevented me from being crushed in theatre? I've seen it happen to others, and like flying it gives you both a sense of sadness and accomplishment because it requires so much sacrifice, dedication, and probably a mania of sorts.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stars In My Eyes

I have my third flight lesson tonight. We'll probably take off between 8:30 and 9:00, so it'll be my first night flight. As an NFO (Naval Flight Officer) I loved night flights. The first two lessons moved along faster than I expected. I had hands on the controls for the takeoff and landing for the first lesson, and did most of the flying in between. I flew the takeoff yesterday and did the landing too, though my instructor, Zach, helped a touch when I was about 15 feet off the ground. I was surprised that was all he did, as it seemed so smooth. What he did was add a little more back pressure to pull us up slightly as we got into wing in ground effect. This is simply a point where the aircraft has more lift, about your wingspan in altitude. It's not the official aerodynamic description, but I think of it as the point where the ground is close enough to create a compressed cushion of air. It is typically used to allow the aircraft to settle more gently onto the ground.

On that first flight I was a little surprised to be flying the plane so down the approach. Turns out I have a pretty decent touch on the controls. I didn't expect to be advanced for a newbie, but all that time around aircraft in naval aviation, and the flight instructors who gave us lowly navigators stick time helped. Also, I became an informal PIC (Pilot In Command) for the full motion Blackhawk trainer at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. I took the midshipmen there quite a lot, and got quite a few hours myself.

I think all the theatre training and experience the last 6 years helped a lot. Hold on, I'll explain. I know from my flight training in the Navy that the takeoff and landing are the diciest parts of a flight. More critical things happening concurrently and the ground is very close. I would have been very tentative with this in the past. Wanting to only do one thing during landing, and not adding another aspect until I got that down solid. Partly by nature, and partly as a result of military aviation training. Going from someone with debilitating stage fright to an emerging professional actor (that is what ETI was all about) got me in the habit of facing fears with enthusiasm. The ones I want to face. I have no desire to get over my fear of heights and climb mountains. The approach, and departure to a much lesser degree, are nerve wracking for me. Even so, I found myself becoming more comfortable with it yesterday. If I'd had these skills in the Navy I'd have gone far, and looking at where I am now (and where my old peers are now) I'm glad I didn't.

We go out over Kitsap County, west of Seattle across Puget Sound. It is pretty fun as that is where I grew up, and haven't flown over the area much before. Holding straight and level flight is fairly easy, and doing so in turns up to 30 degrees of bank is not too hard. Add more bank, and it gets a little tougher as I tended to pull back a little too much causing me to climb a bit. Now I'm working to find the physical and visual cues that will make for better steep turns.

After the steep turns we worked on slow flight. Bringing down the power, and the flaps in three increments (10, 20, and 30 degrees) then using the power to maintain 40 knots. It took a few minutes but eventually I was able to control the plane without overcorrecting into a weaving situation, and we took the plane in to several stalls. I don't like them when I am flying, which is a good thing. Then the same exercise into a 65 knot descent instead of level flight. Zach talked me through it several times, then when we were on approach he did again. That was the point of the exercise. We came down lined up at the numbers. It was a good approach -- I can recognize that much from my Navy days. Of course the trick will be getting the procedure down to the point where I have good muscle memory and habit, then knowing how to set up for the approach without being talked through it. All doable.

While I was aware of how much there is to learn, I also got a feel of what it could be like to do it myself. Like an early rehearsal when you're first on your feet, and you see how much more work is needed but have a feeling where the play can go. I'm looking forward to tech week (flying solo and tests), then opening (flying my first time as a licensed pilot). Flying on my own when and where I want. It will make taking trips a lot of fun. I hope flying into Canada isn't too much of a pain. It would be terrific to visit my old roommates that way. Also my relatives at different corners of Washington state will be more fun to visit. No fighting interstate traffic. Getting ahead of myself. Got to get the license first.

Well it's time to start reviewing yesterday's lessons in my head, so there's less to go over again this evening.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Clouds Are Already Here

American oil companies had no presence in Iraq before the war. The last two quarters Exxon has had the largest profits of any corporation in the history of the world. They just happen to be at the top of the dominate oil companies in Iraq, with almost all of the other dominate companies being American. All the old contracts were cancelled by the first oil minister we appointed after dismantling the country, and new ones granted to Exxon, Shell, BP, etc. The profiteers Halliburton and Bechtel are seeing expansion and riches never before seen in their history.

More and more it is being pounded into our thick heads that this war is all about oil. Not about imaginary wmd's. Not about imaginary Al Qaeda ties. It does show us the neocons actually do have good imaginations when they want. Sadly people realize conservatives generally have very little imagination, and still assume these imaginings to be true.

The first war with Iraq, wasn't about oil. And for those who still think so in their knee jerk fashion, let's say it was not about American oil companies. Otherwise, they would have had a presence there at the end of Desert Storm. This time around is different. We're not even done with the war, yet oil is now flowing out of Iraq faster than before the war, and it is now flowing into the bloody hands of our oil companies.

A billion and a half dollars a week. Did I hear right? We're pouring a billion and a half a week into Iraq, letting the right wingers kill all sorts of non-white heathens and giving them further paroxysms of orgiastic delight with their feigned remorse over the death of our military members, who as they are low income people are viewed by neocons as being no more human than they view the people of Iraq. That is why I will never be able to compromise with the animals in this country who currently call themselves conservatives. Actions speak louder than words, and everything from embracing torture to cutting funds to support returning combat veterans show they view the people who are dying on both sides of the conflict as not being human. They can tell all the lies and make all the protestations they want. Look to their actions.

While their sex lives are propped up with their faux bravery, the actual sight of a flag hiding a coffin from view which is in turn hiding American corpses from view causes them to become flaccid and decry this disrespect to our service men and women whom they want to ignore. Except when they argue we have to sacrifice more of them to Exxon and Bechtel to justify those we have already sacrificed for their bottom line. If they are unwilling to allow us to even see the human cost to America, how can they possibly be expected to even acknowledge the cost to Iraq.

America is the aggressor. We are in the wrong. Yes, we need to attack terrorism, both the terrorists and their roots, and those that we planted will take the most courage to address. Make no mistake, truly fighting terrorism will take courage and sacrifice, not the shallow platitudes of the war criminals in DC. As country we haven't the little bit of courage needed to admit our own mistakes. Until we get our balls reattached we will continue to make our nest fouler and more dangerous. We're not the only ones in search of balls. Here's a recent phone conversation in the Blair Bush Project. It is of course fanciful, but there is likely some truth just the same.

Blair: Dubya, this is Tony. I have to arrest those people I told you about.
Bush: The democrats?
Blair: No, those are the ones you want to arrest.
Bush: [Slightly nasal, as finger is deeply probing left nostril.] What?
Blair: There is a domestic terrorist cell here in Britain, and we can't put off arresting them any longer. You'll have to use something else for the elections.
Bush: [Studying the large crusty greenish prize on the end of his finger.] Huh?
Blair: Listen George, can you put the boss on the line?
Bush: [Wipes his prize on JFK's portrait.]He's on the other phone with Joe, I can handle it.
Blair: Okay, we're going to arrest the terrorists.
Bush: Is that better than letting them finish up, and following the trail back to their sponsors?
Blair: We don't do things that way here.
Bush: Who's your Daddy?
Blair: Be serious George.
Bush: I am biotch. Who's your Daddy?
Blair: [Groaning.] You are.
Bush: Don't you ever contradite me again.
Blair: I think you mean contradict.
Bush: Now, what'd I just tell you? Ain't you lis'nin?
Blair: Yes, sir.
Bush: Yes...?
Blair: Yes. Daddy.
Bush: That's a good boy. Now, come sit on Daddy's lap and beg for a treat.
[Aside]They're so damn cute when they wag their little tales like that.
CLICK.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Happy Blues

On Sunday we saw Heartbreak House. It's my second or third Shaw, and I keep liking him more and more. The dark humor of the time, reminiscent of later works like the Addam'S Family as portrayed in The New Yorker and the parlor comedies like You Can't Take It With You and Arsenic And Old Lace. My folks had some trouble hearing, though I didn't miss much. A lot of local actors, including my favorite, R. Hamilton Wright, and Laurence Ballard who both did wonderful jobs (and were easy to hear and understand). It is certainly worth seeing, both for the laughs and thoughts it will engender.

Steve joined us and we all had dinner at the Mediterranean Kitchen Dad and Joyce brought along birthday cards and gifts. They had a couple nice pictures from The Merchant of Venice in my larger roles as Launcelot and The Duke. Also smaller pictures in a little snow shaker, one a school picture which I'd guess was between kindergarten and second grade. The other side was me at at one or two with a towel wrapped part way around, exposing the little twig and berries. The same one which went into the program for Rumors a couple years ago. I was tempted to bring that one into the office as it makes me chuckle, but then it occurred to me it might make a few people uncomfortable, even if I claimed it was a nephew -- maybe more so. Oh well. It will go in my home office.

Last night I made it down to Boeing Field for my first flight lesson. I'd cancelled Monday's lesson as my stomache was quite upset. This detox has made my reactions ot foods my system doesn't like much more pronounced. I didn't call until an hour before the lesson. An old navy habit. You waited until the last minute to see if you started feeling better, so you wouldn't have to go into a flight down status and see that dirty rotten bastardly hound of hell before you could fly again. The flight surgeon.

I did most of the flying once we were a couple miles from the field. I tended to watch the instruments too closely -- my old navy training as a navigator. About half way through I got out of the habit and gained a little confidence so I was outside the cockpit most of the time. There wasn't any of the thrill of a first time flight, but a definite sense of returning to an old and dear friend. I do love being airborne, and look forward to more flights.

I like preflighting an airplane before getting in the damn thing. I'm always a little uneasy getting on board a commercial flight not having had a chance to kick the wheels, check the oleo's (the shiny part of hydraulic shocks or struts), look at the fuel, check the control surfaces and fuselage for connections and integrity, and so on. I caught a missing rivet, which I expect will be repaired. I'll check the same plane next time I have a chance.

We were in a Cessna 172 a small four seater, and probably the same type in which my Great Uncle gave me my first plane ride. He owned a seaplane with three or four other people, and that ride is one of my most cherished childhood memories. A four seat Cessna looks a lot smaller to a big middle aged guy than it did to an second or third grader.

It will take me some getting used to. Straight and level flight feels like a slight climb to me, so I'll need to get the feel for that. I had a light touch, on the controls until we got to the approach. I flew much more of the approach than I expected, and I was overcorrecting a little there. Should be fun. I scheduled a couple times for next week, though I'll have to reschedule the Wednesday flight as I'm taking my niece to the opera.

Ventilating

How about Connecticut? The whitehouse is of course saying 'sold out Joe' was defeated by the far left, and one quick glance at Lamont shows this to be wrong. He leans right on at least as many issues as Joe. The whitehouse is also saying it means the democrats want to wave a white flag. Maybe we're tired of waiting for the checkered flag that was promised to come no later than late June of '03 when the whitehouse unilaterally initiated the undeclared war on Iraq.

Let's turn around the whitehouse whinings. Let's see, they are wrongly giving credit to the far left. Probably because they only understand extremes, black and white, and they are undoubtedly the far right, and it was enabling the far right depredations which cost 'sold out Joe' the election. In their arrogance they can't imagine anyone aside from nut-jobs on the left side of the spectrum attacking them, the penultimate nut-jobs on the right side of the spectrum. Using the far right they have handily defeated things like integrity, liberty and courage, which were once attributed to this country. As a country we may not yet see through most of their lies, but the rest of the world is not so afflicted. Probably because most of the rest of the world is non-white and/or non-christian and they have very good reason to feel that our country and especially our corporate entities through whom they experience us, do not value them as human beings.

This morning's news when I heard it was so predictable. The U.S. was caught by surprise with England's foiling of a terrorist bombing plot. The moment I heard it I guessed three things were going to happen. One that Bush and crew would be saying "9/11, 9/11, 9/11..." Second, they'd be stirring up the cowardly spirit of their base with dire statements about how we are still at danger and they have to be given carte blanche to do their secret stuff. Third, that they'd soon recover from their surprise, and boast of how they worked with England in foiling the terrorists. In less than an hour all three came true, like starving sharks going into a feeding frenzy in freshly chummed water. Funny, that they are at once the sharks and the chummers.

Make no mistake, we are still in danger from terrorist attacks, and this administration has done everything they could get away with to make it worse. They have set new levels of arrogance in the international community to build walls of non-cooperation. They refuse to consider anything which might reduce the resentment against us in third world and other subjugated populations. "It's bad for business. It's none of our business. It's the responsibility of the leadership corrupted by our corporate wealth to protect their own citizens." I of course don't buy any of these arguments, which are solely for the benefit of big business interests. Business in this country whines to slake their sense of entitlement and nearly always get it. Whether it be for toys like their sport stadiums or for increasing already obscene profit margins and ceo salaries with unwarranted tax breaks.

Bush, the illiterate wimp, calls the enemy Islamic fascists. More or less his new call to bring it on. They are terrorists first, Islamic second. If his goal is to alienate the rest of the Islamic world, he's doing quite well. Fascists? It is a nicely loaded word to help motivate terrorists and create more from those who might have been inclined to support the U.S. The sad irony is it refers to a governmental system where big business is in partnership with the politicians to rule the country. In the forties big business was called industry, today corporations.

This system of governance has had many names over the centuries, but like Italy in the forties, has consistently led to an environment of totalitarianism, violent racism, and blind nationalism and jingoism. Not a healthy form of government, and generally it is rather short lived. We call it privatization today, but that doesn't make the peril of sinking into that type of government any less. So, we'd best be careful about calling others fascists. Calling someone else names for the sake of calling them names is not the best approach, especially when the name is more appropriate for yourself. Of course, that is one of the hallmark strategies of the neocons, to accuse others doing the amoral things they are already doing. I keep waiting for one of the evil clowns in the whitehouse to brag how the trains are on time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back Home

No more weekend road trips for a little while. This weekend it was down to Vancouver, Washington to visit my sister's family. The first half of the drive on Friday was miserable, even though I ducked out of the office at 2:30pm. I expected to miss the worst of the traffic, but the slow down started before I'd gotten ten miles. Once past Fort Lewis it was open sailing, only dropping below fifty once, when I went through Olympia, and staying at about 75mph until I hit Vancouver's urban area.

My nephews were waiting eagerly for my Futurama dvd's. On a tangent here. I've always found the dvd logo to be mildly disturbing, in a dark way. It brings the Al Jolson stereotypical black face to mind. The first time I watched a dvd it took me a moment to realize it wasn't a face, and later the same day then I watched a Vaudeville documentary on Bravo or PBS. They had some archive footage of black actors mixing burnt cork with as base like grease paint to create the blackface, interposed with clips from a contemporary movie with black actors doing the same thing -- I believe it was a movie about that peculiar and stereoptypically moronic portrayal of blacks. It was interesting and burned the non-pc dvd logo association into my mind.

On Saturday we headed to Portland, Oregon for an afternoon of laser tag. It was a lot more fun than I expected. The first game I finished dead last with 3700 points. Next to last place was 5200 points. The second game I scored 11,303 points, one measly point short of first place. Well, at least my team won. I wasn't feeling all that competitive, but the juices kick in. I was laughing when I got tagged, but still kept going after the others. Surprisingly I walloped my sister, brother in law, and nephew at air hockey, though I let the nephew score off a couple good rallies. I'm sure I won't be able to do that much longer.

I had a great time visiting with my family, though I didn't get as much time to catch up with my brother-in-law. The boys like me a lot, especially because I'm big and tough looking, a combat vet, yet like to cook and do art stuff as well as make dirty jokes. Funny I don't think of cooking and art as possibly being non-manly things, though I remember when I did. Some things about being really young suck. As for the dirty jokes and remarks, they are quite toned down. Keeping it at an acceptably crass level for uncledom, though since my sister's sense of humor is about the same they probably think it means we're both crazy.

I walked over to a grocery to get some Gatorade as we were leaving the game facility after laser tag. I noticed that my shaved head and trimmed beard caught people's attention. It is a look I like, though usually reserved for the warmer weather. I realized people were occasionally looking at me and smiling more when greetings were exchanged. Living in Seattle my hair style (or lack thereof) does not raise eyebrows. Now I find myself wondering if anyone in Spokane got the chuckles the previous weekend. I hope so.

I figured out I can probably eat chicken and onions over the weekend, but something got to me. Either too much coffee or bacon. I hope it was the coffee. I'm just starting to feel back to normal now. Kind of pisses me off, that the detox has made my food reactions a bit more acute. I guess it is all for the good. At least that is what I'll keep telling myself. Sunday evening I had a shot of whiskey (George Dickel bourbon) on the rocks, and after letting it melt for 30-45 minutes I started sipping my favorite drink. Yuck. I didn't like the taste at all. It is generally a very good moderately priced bourbon, but maybe it was an off batch. So I tried a milder whiskey (John Powers Irish whiskey) and had the same experience. I don't suppose it would hurt much to lose my taste for whiskey. No fun if I don't like the taste. I'm wondering if once my stomach settles down if I'll regain my taste for whiskey. Oh well, not as irritating as finding out eggs are on my list of things to avoid.

I'd scheduled my first flight lesson for yesterday, but I was feeling pretty yucky all day. I postponed until tomorrow. I should have done it earlier in the day, I called about an hour before my appointment. It was an old Navy habit. Never cancel or postpone a flight for medical reasons unless you absolutely have to, because you'll be grounded until you see the dirty rotten bastard (aka Flight Surgeon) and get him to put you back in a flight status. Not that kind of pressure for a private license, so I put off canceling the day's lesson much longer than needed. I'm feeling fine today, so I expect tomorrow I'll get my chance to go putting around in the ether.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Squared

Damnit! I left my carrots at home. I'll certainly be hungry by lunch time! I got the whittled carrots, or as they're marketed baby carrots. To me it's kind of like calling the little smoky sausages baby pork or beef. Just because they are packaged smaller means they're babies. I guess the term baby doesn't have an official meaning for vegetables. Or it is meaningless for food products in general, and the reason we don't see it used for animal products is it evokes pictures of baby animals. The Hell I say. The cuter, the tastier. I have no class. How can you be square and crass? I'll keep trying.

Do you think everybody in Cuba is praying that Fidel lasts until Bush is out of office? (Thanks Piccadilly.)

Our popinjay in the Oval Office is posturing over Cuba already, and we haven't even finished throwing gasoline on the Middle East conflagration we started.

Speaking of square, from a geek perspective, I'm officially square today. 72 That's right I'm forty nine today, one year from the big five oh. I'll either go on vacation, or have a Black Friday Party next year.

Birthdays aren't at the top of my agenda any longer, and I only remembered because I saw something dated on a web site this morning and my Dad called to wish me Happy Birthday a little while ago. I do remember talking with my brother on Sunday that something reminded me my anniversary would have been on Monday. Surprisingly I totally forgot about that until I realized today was my birthday. Time is a wonderful gift. I remember being unable to imagine a day where I didn't think of my ex, and now that chapter rarely intrudes.

Dad asked where I wanted my birthday dinner on Sunday. I'd forgotten that is when we had our tickets for the Intiman. Rachel suggested I ask a fellow theatre nut friend from her acting classes. Thanks Rachel. H will be meeting me at the theater on Sunday. I didn't even have her phone number any longer. I deleted it a while back as we haven't been in touch for so long. Keeping unused numbers for too long seems kind of ookie, especially if they belong to a pretty young woman. I think the last time I saw here was in a production Rachel directed, where I also saw her husband Ian whom I knew from a couple old classes too.

Back to w. I still can't believe that twit is running our country. Do the republicans realize the best thing they could do for themselves is to quickly launch and execute impeachment proceedings? Of course booting the bastard out of office is no good, as look who is in line. That would be out of the frying pan and straight into the depths of Hell!

Here's an old video my roommate sent me. The link I used to have took forever to load, and had a little more up front with Leno talking about how this reminds him of the classic protest tunes from the 60's.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New Horizons

Today maybe I'll try carrots. Dark chocolate is tempting, but how many ingredients are there, and since I strongly suspect I'll need to avoid sugar there's no reason to hurry. On the other hand, some veggies to make my cooking more interesting has a big, big appeal. So does fruit. Maybe carrots today, and apples tomorrow?

This seems a pretty grand title for eating a carrot. I am really looking forward to it and who'd ever thought I'd get excited about carrots. Certainly not me. How many carrots will it take before I'm tired of them? Should I get regular carrots or the so called baby carrots? Both? Carrots with dinner. Carrots for breakfast. Carrots for lunch. Carrots for companionship. Maybe not.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cast Aside

Upon getting home I went through the fridge like a tempest. I kept two bottles of hot sauce (Tabasco and a local brand) which weren't very old and two bottles of cooking oil. Those are things which don't really need refrigeration unless they are likely to stay around for more than six months. Sealed beverages and other non-perishables, a tub of margarine, and the food I cooked last night stayed. Everything else went. Filled a large garbage can over half way. Many, many partial bottles of pickles, sauces, and such are all gone. The damn stuff weighed a lot. I rolled the trash can out to the curd side bin, which is only a little bigger, and lifted it up. I was impressed I was able to do so without straining, just a good clean lift and dump. All this training seems to have increased my core strength.

Not much in my fridge now. It was easier than I'd expected, as I didn't let myself examine things. After all the fridge got kinda' warm a week and a half back. It was a triumph though. I like an uncluttered fridge, and now I have it.

I haven't heard back on the script I submitted to the Freehold new play festival. Since Freehold is closed, and today is when they were going to notify folks I'll have to try again later. Lots of opportunities are available for new works so I'm not at all upset. I kind of wondered about that, but the relief at maintaining my leisure through the end of this months outweighed any disappointment I might have felt or buried. I'm excited about a couple other projects, so now I can get started on those too.