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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't Collect $200

Yesterday was a good day for my bruised rib, relatively. It was the first day I didn't wake up with increased discomfort. The damn thing hurts at the sternum when I breathe and at the spine when I lie down on my back or lean into a chair. At times it is pretty impressive. It's a constant discomfort which has me just a little, but chronically nauseated. I think it is finally getting better, though the sneeze a few minutes ago made my eyes water for a bit.

I left a nasty, snippy comment on a blog, then later found I couldn't delete my post with the beta blogger comment tool. I didn't want to take any more ibuprofin. I take 3 tablets, and avoid doing so more than twice a day. I'd had my two doses, before and after combat practice, so had a couple shots of whiskey instead. That took the edge off. Then I checked my comment, realized it was awful. Not really coherent, and it sounded like I was channeling my mother. Eek. If I keep on like this I'll have to say I'm a republican in order to make a living.

I almost visited Madison a couple years ago. I had plans to go to the Toronto area to visit my friends Dave, Kalon, and the kids. A library, I think the university library, has some papers from or related to Harvey Matusow, and I was going to stop on the way and review/copy them. Then they got eminent domain'd and moved to Vancouver Island. Missed my chance to research Matusow. The Wikipedia description doesn't pick up the dysfunction and wonder of the man. A dope, a genius, cowardly lying informant, and courageous whistle blower. Those conflicts make for a wonderful character, and I've written about him here a number of times.

A couple days ago the following george w bush quote showed up on the widget on my page. Pretty much summarizes his policies and dreams.
"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."
Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rave On

W is whining about the leaking of a classified report for political reasons.

Excuse me monkey boy, you're the "DECIDER." Remember? Now, your medications may have not been properly balanced at the time, but there was enough press coverage that even you must remember declaring yourself the "DECIDER." That being said, you have continually leaked carefully picked intelligence to mislead the country you're serving for political and corporate gains. Hence the sobriquet in the left hand column of this journal. (Leaker In Chief)

As the "DECIDER" you demonstrated countless times that leaking intelligence for personal gain is acceptable to you. You DECIDED to set a corrupt precedent, again DECIDING to be a corrupt president. I've always thought you to be an immature coward, and it gives me no pleasure, Mr. DECIDER, when you repeatedly prove and lower my already low opinion of the leader of my country. A country which you have changed into a hateful, fearful, vassal to uber-arrogant corporate interests; a country which I no longer recognize.

If this was a real letter to you I'd sign it,
- Scott Maddock, a combat veteran, who actually served, who hasn't used privilege to hide my military records.

If this was an oratory to you I'd conclude,
- ... And the horse you rode in on, you Bitch of a Dick.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bonk

I forgot to mention my Saturday mechanical foray. My friend Beth's car was dead, needing a new battery and alternator. I knew it would be interesting, as I'd looked under the hood before. The alternator was packed in their with no easy access, and I don't really have a good set of tools any more. Or at least, not all in one place where I can find them. I've a gray plastic case with full socket sets -- somewhere. My older toolkits need a steam cleaning and sorting. I found everything I needed, eventually.

Of course to get the alternator out I had to detach numerous brackets and the steering fluid and radiator fluid reservoirs. As I did that I had special thoughts for the Ford engineers. If there was enough space and a sensible mounting I could have changed it in five minutes instead of three hours. To top it off, in addition to heavy bolts securing the alternator, it had a friction fit with an orientation that made knocking it loose a bitch and a half. It was much worse going back in, and I finally removed the grill so I could get it lined up for a good whacking with a breaker bar once the top fitting was finally aligned. I only swore once, and nobody else heard me. It was a bit tiring on the back, as I was leaning over all the time to work because it's a compact. My truck, is much easier for that kind of job.

Then off to do some combat practice with Tina, and back home to bolt some food and clean up. Beth and I then met up to see The Real Inspector Hound at The Second Story repertory at Redmond Town Center. Beth gave me a ride. I was tired, and was delighted not to drive, and she was delighted to have her car running again. They did a good job with the show, and we had quite a good time. It is the third non-musical I've seen there. The first was Sylvia and after that I'd not planned to repeat the experience. Then my friend David wanted to see Waiting for Godot, the show where we saw Rachel waiting in line and met up. They did a very good job with that production, so I decided to give a non-musical production another go. I remember seeing Noises Off at The Village Theatre, which consistently does great musicals. They didn't do a good job with Noises Off. Like Sylvia it was very painful, with no change between the two worlds portrayed. It makes me wonder if farce is harder for musical theatre production companies to pull off. Not enough of a genre shift? Something to think about next time.

Afterwards we dropped by Border's Books, to check for Cabaret and they had it. I wanted a copy to prepare for the show for which rehearsals start tonight. My character references having worked in a couple shows, and I already had a copy of The Rainmaker. While we were there I saw a dvd set for Kolchak: The Night Stalker. A show with fond memories for my brother and I. One episode in particular was fun for me. There was a swamp monster which had this Darth Vader breathing thing. Maybe it is where Lucas got the idea? Whenever little brother got to sleep in big brother's room or vice versa, that breathing sound freaked him out. It always happened when I was asleep... Kolchak is a reporter who follows stories akin to the earlier X-Files, before they got stuck in the tedious conspiracy theory line. It was quite fun, and I watched the first two episodes over the weekend, the stories were fun and as they go on I'll bet formulaic. What made it stand out for me was the acting. You don't need a totally brilliant plot if the actors invest themselves. Not surprising Darren McGavin would do a good job.

I got in my long walk yesterday, taking the circuit through the Redmond West Wetland, a joint effort of the city and MS, and a very nice walk. Then through a bit of Bridle Trails State Park. I've lived thirteen blocks from the corner of the park for a decade and this is the first time I've walked more than a hundred or so feet into the park. Very nice, with wide smooth trails for the horses. Nice for walking with a script in your hand, though you do need to look ahead once in a while to spot those horse apples. I've the first half or third of the script down roughly. Ahead of the schedule, but with a full time day job, it is a necessary start.

We worked with our fight instructor/director at UW last night. It was fun, and there were of course the technical and intention notes, and a couple notes about phrases which were ponderous, meaning they were too slow. As we've sped it up, certain parts have stayed slow. I guess we weren't the only ones. It seems a strange problem, but not uncommon. I did something to my ribs. In one of the falls, and not the big forward shoulder roll, but a smaller one I got my arm under the right side of my chest and bruised some ribs. I can feel it a bit when I breathe deeply, and it twangs once in a while with stretching moves. It kept waking me up last night when I rolled onto my right side. Not nearly as bad as when I landed on my cell phone at 60mph, but it doesn't feel good either. There is one point where Trina gives me a bear hug from the back. It is pretty funny, because I effortlessly lift her completely off the ground, trying to dislodge her. I sure hope the tenderness abates before Saturday's test.

I regularly read a couple Wisconsin blogs. I think they are both in the Madison area. I don't have them on my list, because I'm pretty certain they never read this one, and it would make me feel stupid to do so. I hung out with jocks once in a while as a kid, but I didn't call them my friends. They were nice enough, but like the blog community, it's a bit of a two way deal. The one blog, which is written by a younger fellow is more thoughtful and intellectual, generally engages in comment conversations. I like most of his ideas and comments. The other, which is written by a fellow a little older than I has an eclectic mix, everything from his remodeling projects and motorcycle riding to his new twin granddaughters to political rants. And I do mean rants. Lots of radio-show type name calling, and some great links. He frequently bemoans his low number of readers, then never responds to comments or blogs from new people. Go figure. They are my peak into Wisconsin's liberal community. Not all that different from our's.

It's my feeling that the lack of unity in the liberal community is due to one thing. Liberals use their heads. We don't goose step with wannabe dictators shaking their viciously glossy pamphlets. There's things I disagree with these guys about. For example, the new grandaddy seems to be one of those who would be okay with spitting on returning soldiers in airports. He slams the little guys in the military ten or a hundred times as hard as the leadership and contractor/mercenaries. I don't let them off the hook either, but I hold the guys at the top more accountable, and have a deep and abiding respect for the rank and file. Okay, I'm a veteran, and I hope that is not the only reason for my respect. It's a charged issue, and in person he could easily push me to physical violence. I don't for a second believe he would. He has a view I don't understand or agree with, and I'd guess he'd see my view in the same way. Still, I'd enjoy fishing or hunting with him and popping a cold one or four afterwards. I would be hesitant about doing the same with a conservative with very different views on a personal topic. Especially since the boss conservative demonstrated they pop their cold ones before putting sharp items or guns in their hands. Like I said. Liberals don't agree as often, because we actually use our noggins at times.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Losing

Wow. 228. I've a weird scale. I'd like to find one that is not a piece of crap. This one is fine, for averages. Just like it's analog predecessor. This one prefers even numbers, though the occasional odd one shows up. The last week it was reading 230 or 232. Before my vacation it was reading between 230 and 234. Not only day to day, but hour to hour. I make a habit of getting on the thing several times as I get ready for work in the morning to get a feel for the average. So I figure over the last several weeks I went from roughly 232 to 231. Am I creeping towards 230? It's been over ten years since dropped below 235. When I broke my leg I did for a week or two but that was induced by the trauma.

When I started this elimination diet I was surprised how quickly I dropped to and through the 240's. The thirties have been much slower. A healthy pace I suppose. It's the American predilection for instant gratification I suppose. I like the feeling of being lighter, and have to remind myself I don't want to lose too much muscle mass as I slim down.

Things I've noticed. I'm not the great bug attractor. I used to be better than a dozen tiki torches. The gnats, mosquitos, and yellow jackets were the iron filings to my magnet. Now they seem to have lost most of their taste for me. Stage combat is easier, especially things like the shoulder rolls. I was actually pretty good at them anyway, but there is more ease and lowered apprehension now. My knees hold up better, though I'm going to start wearing the neoprene brace for combat again. They still like a little care once in a while. Now here's a weird thing. I run hotter. I expected with the loss of insulating body fat I'd feel cooler. Not so. I must be metabolizing better?

It is a spectacular day out, and I'm going to go walking for two or three hours, and learn more lines. I've got the first chunk down fairly well, and I'd like to get the next one down. Then picking and reading the book for the kids tomorrow, and off to UW to meet up with some ETI classmates and Geof, our revered combat instructor. The certification test is next Saturday, and yesterday Trina figured out we should be able to get together during lunch hour all week. We wanted more times to practice, but it really feels like things are coming together nicely. We'll have more definitive feedback on that tonight and next Saturday...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ready, Set,...

There is one thing I forgot to mention earlier this week. A most important item. I arranged for doing the BookPals thing this year. The year before last I participated in BookPals reading to one of the 4th grade classes at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary. BookPals did not replace the Seattle coordinator when she moved on, so we aren't really supported any longer. I wrote BookPals asking if I could work under the aegis, mostly to promote the program, but I don't expect to hear back from them.

With or without being affiliated with BookPals, I start reading to both the 4th grade classes on Monday. Even though the teacher I read for two years ago has moved to a different school, both teachers were enthusiastic. Last year during ETI I had to give up reading to the kids. It was the hardest thing for me to give up. I remember what a wonderful thing the kids did when I broke my leg. Of all the wonderful support I got, the gift and timing from the fourth grade class was the greatest thing. My first day back to work started with reading to the kids, and I don't think I'd have gotten back so soon. The doctor expected to stay home twice as long, but my misery hanging around the house with nothing but pain meds that were nominally better than the pain (vicodin and percoset) and desire to get back in the classroom got me out of the house.

Monday is going to be a fun day. First rehearsal for Amateurs and first day reading to the kids.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Irony In The Kitchen

Cooking stuff. Possibly of interest only to me, a proud carnivore, with a very limited diet at the moment.

Last night I fried up some ground lamb in the form of meatballs, using a good dollop of rice flour as a binder. It came out very nice, but no drippings worth making a gravy. So I improvised. Despite numerous pours into the trash, I still had a nice bit of grease in the pan. I'd forgotten the ground lamb didn't leave anything behind, but clean tallow unless you do two batches in the same pan. I only used a pound of ground meat (lamburger?), so only one batch. I drained off most of the remaining fat, and dribbled in a little balsamic vinegar. The heat removed the tartness (acetic acid), and the body of the remaining vinegar created a nice psuedo dripping as I'd hoped. Sprinkled just a touch of rice flour too, so I'd have some more browned material. Ah ha, I thought, adding a thin dribble of honey. I did not want sweet, I wanted caramelization. The rice flour, rich vinegar, and honey did the trick. No sweetness once they were caramelized, but they nicely mimicked drippings and I made a dandy gravy. Or should I call it a sauce? Either way a bit of reducing and thickening with rice flour and I had a comfort food type gravy for my meatballs. It was good for dinner, and again for lunch today. I'll probably use that last bit tomorrow.

Here's irony. I added sweet items in the form of balsamic vinegar and honey to create a sauce/gravy that was not a bit sweet, and it worked. Tonight was the opposite.

The marinade with balsamic vinegar, Worcester sauce, smoke flavor, a fruity hot sauce and salt which I like so much has very little sweetness. Okay, the vinegar has some, but it is a small part of the marinade which is cooked off, and after tossing the marinade very little of it remains anyway. Yet this was a mildly sweet dish. A different level of caramelization. I sauteed the marinated chicken chunks, then removed the chicken and reduced the liquid which cooked out of the chicken just a little. Then in went coarsely chopped carrots, which were steamed/sauteed in the chicken stuff from the previous step. I actually seared the carrots at the end. Then scrape it into the holding bowl with the chicken, add a little more olive oil to the pan and add a couple medium sized chopped yellow onions. Sautee them till they caramelize. This adds the sweetness. Add some water and thickener (either corn starch or xanthum gum work quite well) and reduce as needed. Then dump the carrots and chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes. The sauce matures and blends. Spoon it over something like rice and enjoy. I made a moderate batch, and will have enough for three more entres. Maybe more.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Discovery

Met with Trina last night at the Pro Sports Club, and we reviewed our fight choreography in a vacant racquetball court. Wow, all sorts of memories and inputs. It's been too long since I played racquetball. I played regularly in college, and a couple times in the Navy. Here's to hoping a niece or nephew that likes playing goes to college locally. I'd also forgotten about racquetball court acoustics. We worked in some great text from the Kate/Petruccio scene, and making it understandable in that echo chamber required some of the enunciation tools from Speech classes.

I'd also forgotten about the elitist feeling of that sort of club. My Grandfather was a life long member of the Washington Athletic Club, which I last visited with him about 25 years ago. Going into that atmosphere again after living a life around wholesome people was a little discomfiting. I expected some big vicious bastard in a too tight tux to roughly escort me out the door for being too poor. I think the locker room was bigger than the last health club I visited, and posher than the last couple dozen upscale restaurants I've been in. It made McCaw Hall, the very posh venue for the opera and ballet seem a little seedy. It was very nice, but the $18 guest fee seemed out of line, but then again I didn't really use the facility. The only reason I saw a small part of the locker room was because they didn't label the toilet. Couldn't think of a suitably Victorian word I suppose. No coarse signs indicating where you could pee. Eventually I found the appropriate porcelain fixture, but not before the drinking fountain started tempting me. My mind was occupied during the search with trying to guess whether I'd be sent to a secret prison in Eastern Europe or Gitmo if I committed the collegiate faux pas of using the wrong plumbing for my need.

I'm thinking of joining a health club. However, the Y is more my speed.

We had a good rehearsal. Getting our fight scenes back up to snuff, and really having fun with the text. The break, though unplanned, may have served us well. We're getting the awkward parts to flow well, and doing a better job as well. It is really fun now and I'm actually looking forward to the certification test.

I hung around the office last night until it was time to meet Trina, and hilighted my lines for Amateurs. I mentioned I was cast as Wayne, the role which was my second choice. After the quick read while hilighting Wayne moved up to become my favorite role. The character has an arc and journey. I'm really looking forward to it, and getting ready to start in depth character and text analysis. I was talking to Bob yesterday and mentioned that one thing the training has done was make for more work when doing a show. You learn and use different techniques for working with characters and text, and they become part of your process. Enjoyable even. Using the tools all year long on a daily basis can't help but create a habit and faith in the effectiveness. Many of the discoveries I'd made in the past while on my feet in the rehearsal room can now be made during the research and analysis phase. Something I hadn't really appreciated, until a little while ago as I started feeling antsy wanting to dig into the script. Well, I'm going to follow that impulse and head home now to do just that.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Eating Up The Kids

A couple food related items from my vacation. First is maple syrup. I found a book in Duncan, BC a couple years ago about making syrup and such from bigleaf maples instead of sugar maples. Bigleaf maple has a lower sugar content, half to two thirds that of sugar maple if memory serves. The disadvantage of having to collect more sap to make the same amount of sugar may be offset by the much more robust nature of the bigleaf maple. Some people like the flavor of the bigleaf maple better, though I suppose as a result of needing more sap, it has a slightly stronger flavor.

I didn't get a copy at the time, and kept looking every time I went north. I finally found the book again last week, two copies in the first bookstore I checked and got them both. One for me, and one for Aaron and Sonya. I don't know if they'll care, but the whole self-sufficiency life style they like makes it likely they'll at least enjoy the idea.

I'm trying to find someone with a good number of maple trees on their property. Say 10-20 in one place so I can keep the logistics simpler. I'd like to make 10-15 quarts and the book said about a tree per litre is needed until you develop a feeling for trees that produce well. After that 2 trees should provide at least three litres. Well, I may not be able to handle the sugar -- only time will tell. Still, what a great gift. I like things people make. I'd rather have a drawing from a nephew or niece than some glossy wrapped thing found on sale at Costco or that most evil supporter of child slavery and abuse, WalMart. (If George had even a vestigial remnant of his cajones, he'd go to war against those pedophiliac greedy bastards who single-handedly promoted the architects of Tianamen Square to legitimacy.)

Back to the point. I'd rather have a drawing that took my nephew or niece five minutes to produce than a gift that took an hour's wages from the parents to buy. I like to do the same. In the past it's been custom grown produce (with things like the kid's names etched into pumpkins), homemade country wines, mead, and ale. Would you rather have a bottle of mead someone found on sale at Costco, or one someone made themselves using honey they spent days tracking down? If the latter, then you're like me in the gifts you like to give, and those which have meaning when received.

I left those dandy books in Duncan, BC. I thought I'd packed them, and I even double checked the spot on the table where I'd left them. With any luck I'll get the book back in time to locate and order supplies and find someplace I can tap a bunch of maple trees. I've thought about the National Forest Service lands, and while that is viable there are two drawbacks. Around here they are higher in altitude, so I'd face the freezing which shortens the season and it is a much longer drive. In places like Vermont the season is typically only two weeks long, whereas here it is five months (November - March) unless you live someplace with lower temperatures!

The second item is the stuff I made yesterday. I was at the Golden Steer a month back and found they have two pound packages of frozen kid they sell pretty cheaply. Now, I'd tried kid a couple years ago at a restaurant with South American cuisine (at Wall and Vine in Seattle's Belltown district). I'd joked with children that I liked eating kids, and felt obligated to give it a go. No matter how hard I try, children are not afraid of me. What I got were hard frozen chunks of young goat with the bone still in it. Thanks to the significant population of Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, and such in this high tech area there is a demand for curry meats. They told me at the store that the meat had pieces of bone, which sank to the bottom of the pan for curries. It didn't break down that much for me, though it was close.

Most of you could care less, and likely wish I'd let it go and go smoke some of Denman's Best. My Dad wanted me to relate this when we chatted yesterday. I started by sauteeing the pieces of goat. It was perhaps the most scrumptious smell of cooking meat I've ever encountered. All I did was add salt, ground pepper, and rosemary to the bag of meat, shake it, then dump it into a frying pan of hot oil.

I turned the meat once. I'd hoped to create some savory drippings and cook the meat about half way, and it worked. Then drippings and meat were put in the crock pot along with the balance of the tomato sauce I made a couple weeks ago, two chopped medium large onions, and chopped carrots. Add some spices (sage, coriander, etc.) and a couple hours later my kitchen smelled heavenly. Dad was enthralled with my description. I'd had two shots and a couple tokes by the time he called. Not much really, but I was beat. It surprised me I was able to communicate my culinary efforts at all. I could literally hear Pop salivating over the phone. If he reads this he'll see I had a mild buzz on when I talked to him. What a great end to a long anticipated vacation. Talking to my Dad and Stepmom who are also two of my very best friends, having an aromatic kitchen promising great things, and a silly movie (Hoodwinked; you should rent it) to enjoy, and a leisurely wind down for returning to the day job.

I think the bit that really appealed to Dad was my excitement about the pieces of bone in the goat meat. Now you're certain Scott has lost his mind, but I pray you, read on. When you know there are chunks of bone with angled corners courtesy of a cleaver or band saw, you are forced to eat at a leisurely pace. I was looking forward to that aspect, and it resonated with Pop.

So Pop, if you're reading this, the goat meat was truly delicious. It would have been overly chewy but for the crock pot. I wasn't especially enthralled with the gamey taste of the fat, but there wasn't too much of it so it served as a nice counterpoint. I had it for dinner last night, and for lunch today. It will be my lunch for the next few days as well. It seems to agree with my system, and I look forward to more experimentation with goat meat.

I found chicken sausage at my neighborhood grocery this evening. Cooked up eight links, made a gravy using rice flour (if you want the method that seems to work for me write me and I'll pass it along), and had a nice comforting dinner. I'll likely have the same for breakfast, with more goat for lunch. I thought a good name for this entry might have something about getting one's goat, but that will likely be a title in the future.

Recharged

What a great vacation! I never checked with the office, not even checking E-mail until I came in this morning! Woo hoo! Even better, no loose ends which I may have forgotten came up to bite my lazing ass. No work, no rehearsal, though I did do another awful audition on Saturday...

I got out of the house nice and early a week ago Sunday, in plenty of time to catch the 8:20am ferry. Good thing I was going a bit over the speed limit. Even with no traffic moving at a good clip it still took much longer than the expected 90 minutes. I started reading Lost In Yonkers and the trip went by in a flash, with lovely views of the archipelago every time I glanced up from my script and coffee. Motorcycles were let off first, and customs was fast. I was asked a few questions and waved through before I even had a chance to take off my helmet.

I stopped to call Dave and Kalon part way up Vancouver Island when I filled up the motorcycle, and when I was ordered to put in $2 for the first minute of the call, I decided to stop by instead to set up logistics. Kind of funny. They were still surprised when I arrived Tuesday evening. Another two hours and I was at the dock for the ferry to Denman Island to visit my other former roommates, Aaron and Sonya. I just missed the boat and had to wait, so I got out the script and headed to the waiting room. I chatted with the women working at the dock, they were painting molding in the waiting area, and realized they forgot to put up wet paint signs for the door. The blue paint all over the sleeve of my white shirt was the hint. They were horrified, so I didn't tell them it was the first time I'd worn the shirt. They found some soap and I quickly got all the paint out. One of them went to the ticket booth and got me a refund. I was never upset, and was quite surprised to get a free round trip on the ferry. We chatted a bit more, and then I finished reading the script.

I had a great visit with Aaron and Sonya. I arrived about 4:30pm and we went to a barbecue. Pretty fun. Denman Island is prominent for locally grown produce, of an illicit sort, turning the barbecue into a bake. On Monday Aaron and I rented kayaks and explored. We went to the lighthouse on Chrome Island. There were petroglyphs, which I sat down and looked at -- my fear of heights kept me from going to the edge of the bluff and looking up. On the way back a fist sized granite rock on the beach caught my eye, and I paddled to shore for a souvenir. It wasn't long until my shoulders got into the swing of it, and I was moving at a good clip, leaning with my weight to turn the boat as much as the rudder. It surprised Aaron, as he expected to be waiting for me to catch up. Wide shoulders and several years of paddling when I was in Georgia made a difference.

The next day we went on the horses to the neighbors, their land partners on the other side of the eighty acres. I'd not ridden except as a nine year old at a church camp. I enjoyed myself, and even figured out how to guide Shamrock lightly using my knees instead of the reins. Their land partners are artists, and I picked up a nice turquoise pendant. The chain is what they happened to have, and I'll be getting something slightly heavier for it. I really like silver and turquoise so it worked out nicely. That was Tuesday, and as I'd worked out with Dave and Kalon, the day I planned to return to Vancouver Island and visit them in Duncan. Our last errand on Denman Island was to the Butchart Gardens. It was a great day, and I was glad Kalon had a good time. Cullen got a little cranky about halfway through, and fell asleep until we got to the gift shop. I found a metal sculpture in the entrance lobby -- a wall hanging with what appears to be enamel lacquer. I kept coming back to it from different angles, liking it as much or more every time, and I treated myself. It was delivered today, and if I get a chance I'll post a picture. After the gardens we went on a 3k charity walk with Dave and his office. Nearly half the walk was going from the office to the official starting point and back. After that we met up with Donna (Dave's sister) and her significant other, Bob and had Thai food in Victoria. It was quite good, and I think I accidentally splurged on some wheat based noodles -- they looked just like the rice noodles. It was all tasty, and the price paid was small. Cullen was full of mischief, but he held up like a champ after the long day and slept the trip back.

The next couple days Dave took off from work. Thursday we walked around Royal Roads Academy where Dave got his network admin/ops certification. It is a lovely facility, with some of the rare second growth forest. Like here, the conservatives are trying to let their buddies log it for the fun of defacement and teeny profit. We drove by Hatley Castle, but it is only open for tours on Mondays. Well, I'd seen the interior like most of you in X-Men. We walked several miles in the forest, as Dave did during all his class breaks last year. Cullen got tired after a while, and didn't want to ride in the stroller or walk with us, or anything. It was his only real tantrum the whole time I was there, and we kept him in sight as he walked screaming fifty feet behind us. Those big old trees absorb enough to where we let him get it out of his system for a little, then a few seconds in the stroller and he was in a satisfied daze simply scolding his Dad for the roots growing across the trail. I mused how there weren't many tantrums during the pioneer days. Screeching just doesn't need to be dealt with the same way as when you're in a mall. The five or ten minutes hollering really wore the already tired little guy out pretty quickly, and he slept most of the drive back to Duncan. Again, he really was a champion, and a very agreeable two year old.

That evening I took Kalon and their oldest, Jade who is nearly sixteen, to see Lost In Yonkers. I'd enjoyed reading the script, and it was a wonderful production. It was opening night, and the doorknob for one of the two stage left bedrooms fell off early in the second act, forcing everyone to use the same door the rest of the play. The actors didn't pause, and the first time when Uncle Louie exited through the door and the knob fell off, and he entered through other door the audience screamed laughter. Disbelief was maintained, and it was an homage to the actor accentuating the humor of the moment. We chatted with one of the actors after the show, who was still a little humored by it. Too bad they'll have fixed it by the next show.

Friday was kind of a loll around the house day. We'd hoped to give Kali a motorcycle ride, as she'd sort of lost out on visiting because of school and the play being a bit much for her age, but they didn't have the helmet for her. I asked before I came up and they thought Kalon's helmet would fit, but it turned out they'd given it to our mutual friend Kate. We still went to the video store so Kali could pick a movie, but by the time I'd cooked dinner she'd already watched most of it. Kali loves her visitor's, and if you remember my first post about visiting them she'd cried during the whole farewell. She does much better now, as she says goodbye, and then I think goes and cries in private. It's touching either way. Myself and another family friend, Doug, are her favorite men going back to when she was an infant. Kalon had been on her own so much, she really latched onto us as well as her future stepdaddy, David. She's in fifth grade now, and the whole family lived with me starting when she was a bit younger than Cullen. It is nice to be reminded that you are an important and happy piece of a young person's life.

Saturday I made the trip back home. I had an audition at 4:30, and had the ferry offloaded as they usually do I'd have been very early. For some reason they unloaded the motorcycles last, and we had to wait for all the RV's and almost all of the cars, which typically take many times longer to clear. So, I got home with barely enough time to bolt some food. I was starving, having no appetite in the morning, and getting on the ferry only to find the things I could eat had been taken off the menu in the last week, not to return until next year's tourist season. At least Customs went very quickly once I finally got to them. I was a few minutes late for the audition, not an hour or more early like I'd planned. Like most auditions they were running late, so I didn't appear to be late. Damnit, that's three for three. I can't get off the bike after riding a couple hundred miles and make a good showing at an audition. I'm getting better at it, and will continue to plan for early arrivals looking forward to one where the logistics work out.

While I was talking with my Dad yesterday I got another call, which turned out to be an offer for a part in Amateurs. I'll have the old hilighter out tonight. I got my second choice of roles, and one which will be more challenging to pull off, so I'd say that's a good thing. I need to get out of what might be a comfort zone. That is about all I did yesterday. I wasn't feeling particularly sharp. Chills and lethargy, though no real complaints. Just reacting to the first cool weather of the year and the end of nice long vacation. I feel much better in the office. Mission accomplished. Really!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nothing To Do!

I got my coding finished sooner than I thought. That means I won't have to work tomorrow in order to take a guilt free vacation. No homework. No work. No rehearsals. Total vacation. It's been over a year. My break last Winter was taken up with homework assignments for the second term of ETI. Now, I'll probably bring along the script for the show which I auditioned for last Friday. I don't know if I'll do much with it, as I won't hear back about casting for that until I get back.

I'm thinking of seeing Lost In Yonkers while up north, so I may read the script. I've at least two copies if I can find them. For the most part I'm going to be totally lazy, and daring with my diet. Like trying fish and some other things. There is something which is not agreeing with me, so I'll start over when I get back. It is a slight disagreement, and I'd rather have small list of things to eat next week, instead of just two things. I've lost over twenty pounds, so there is that added incentive to try again. There are some food sensitivities that cause weight gain. I suspect it is akin to skipping breakfast. Your body feels it is short of real sustenance and goes into starvation mode, making you retain weight.

Assuming the weight loss continues, when will I need a new headshot. The first place weight changes show up is in my face. My face looks thinner than the rest of me. Actually, thinner is an adjective that is nonsensical when speaking of my overall physique, but maybe that will change. We'll see in another month.

I'm about to leave the office, and not come back for over a week. Well that's not entirely true. I've a piece of furniture, a small rolling cabinet with a thick butcher block top which I hope will replace my kitchen table. I'll be selling/giving away a nice oak dining set once I get that in place. So, I'll be in tomorrow morning with the truck I forgot to drive in today, so my officemate doesn't have to stare at it while I'm on vacation for a week.

Now it's into the motorcycle boots, and off to the chiropractor. If'n I don't write next week I'll be thinking of all of you.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Three

The Friday ride to Portland was miserable. I wasn't quite over the bug, and it was a very hot and slow ride for the first three hours which should have taken less than half that long. An even less delightful ride in full riding gear. I got to Portland a few minutes before the audition, rather than the hour I'd planned for. No time to really relax and prepare for the audition.

Luckily Micki understood the toll of the ride without explanation. So, we did the monologue three times, with direction for the last two. While I wasn't able to show much of my range, at least I was able to demonstrate I am directable. I think I would like working for Micki, so my fingers are crossed.

It turns out she came up here to observe Jon Jory direct Heartbreak House, for which Dan whom I auditioned for on Tuesday, was the assistant director. Small world. I just hope she breaks with coincidence and casts me. (Dan wasn't able to use me, and as I happened to see on of the other headshots for an actor I know and respect, I saw he had quality folks to choose from.)

I learned much about auditioning this week, a good deal of which we covered in class, and going down in flames certainly helps encourage one to take those lessons to heart. I was feeling ill for both of them, and didn't mention it to the auditor. What would it gain me? Nothing. It could well give me the appearance of one that alibis their auditions, and I certainly don't want to be like that.

I had a short visit with my sister's family while I was down there. Their pet rabbit died Friday night. I guess I was able to make the boys feel a little better, particularly the older one. He has problems listening to what other's say, having already made up his mind what to believe. Having a biology background and having raised rabbits in high school I was familiar with the infection they get so easily, which generally kills them when it develops into pneumonia. It took some browbeating, which made me feel bad, but I was able to finally explain how it is a fairly painless death despite his preconceptions. He is very bright, and at thirteen has no difficulty understanding complex subjects, once he focuses. Apparently it really helped, and my sister sincerely thanked me. I was similarly distracted and bright at that age.

The ride back home was still pretty hot, but at least the traffic was moving right along. Coming north through Federal Way, I saw a fellow in the southbound lanes riding a wheelie. I was at once impressed by his skill and by his stupidity. While traffic was moving right along it was also very dense. A pebble on the roadway or a bird or large insect smashing into the chest could create an uncontrolled fall, guaranteed to produce some compound long bone fractures, and likely to get one mashed by the surrounding cars. Looked kind of cool though.

Did a little work, both around the house and office over the weekend, and just got back from a flight lesson. I can tell I'm still getting over the bug, as I had to clear my ears fairly often, and I don't remember having to do that for other flights. As promised I won't go into flying details, except to say I'm starting to get the hang of it.