Acting Up

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

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

Back to Blogging

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

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

Friday, January 19, 2007

Going Down?

The last week has been a bit weird and traumatic. It started with a happy disaster.

I got to the theater last Friday in plenty of time to prep for the show. Interstate 90 was slightly icy but uncrowded and the traffic was going at the speed limit, with a couple people going about 90. I suppose they felt joy at seeing open roads and couldn't relax the accelerator pedal, but it had me thinking of Darwin.

So, as I am backing into a parking space there is a huge "Wham!" and the front of the truck drops at least a foot. I guessed the front left wheel had gone into something like a manhole, and I was wrong. I got out and saw the wheel had broken off, with only the tie rod holding it on. I couldn't help but think of what would have happened had the wheel failed on the floating bridge. The lucky timing of the unfortunate event put me in a good mood. Still, it was a bit of a shock and took more effort to prepare for the show.

Speaking of the show. It went quite well, especially Saturday and Sunday. I finally had time Saturday morning and afternoon to do some (Meisner) homework for the character and relationships, the first time since my last minute offer and acceptance for the role. As I was the main character it had a huge impact, and the post show mood for our cast and crew went from happily satisfied to jubilant exuberance. The hard part for me other than the extremely short rehearsal phase, was being a jerk. The director had to work with me to flatten my language and inflection, kind of the opposite of what I worked on all last year. Once we limited my character's (Frank) vocal range, then came intention and action, which is what I worked on Saturday. I tend to fade the end of my sentences, and I think Frank really got over that bad habit of mine too. He pissed off the other characters and audience just like he should have.

Again, this was a staged reading. Using the classical and naturalistic processes served me well, and I was delighted to see how it worked for me while doing a staged reading. I'm glad I did that homework instead of using the time to get off book. I toyed with that to let me connect better, but the other homework did more good. Since we were all on book it wouldn't have had as great an impact as the character homework did. Like always I would have liked doing better work, but I feel good about this show. Playing a totally different character than ever before, a staged reading, a four day rehearsal process -- all new challenges and I did okay -- I got some sincere and meaningful compliments. There is a small chance we'll be called upon to go up again for encore week. I'll do some more homework in case. I really like the piece and I'd sure like to work on it again as Louise develops it further.

So, with broken truck I was limited to the motorcycle this week. (The vw needs a new exhaust system and tags.) With the persistent ice and snow that was out. I rode the bus for the last two shows, and was fortunate enough to get rides home with friends. Then, I found a bus route for work which is direct. Cool, Monday -Thursday I read two and a half scripts, and found a number of dialogs I can turn into monologues. Three from Brilliant Traces alone, thanks Rachel! Yesterday on the bus trip the second bombshell appeared, so to speak, and it made my truck seem a tiny little issue.

It is tearing me up, and I'll say more later.

As dark as it is, personally there is a silver lining for me. It was not quite seven years ago I got out of my rut, and got involved in things, ultimately becoming a serious actor and artist as well. I have a support system now. People I can and have called and talked to and told exactly what is going on. I don't know how I stayed sane without a support group. Maybe I wasn't sane, I felt numb, so maybe I wasn't even alive. If one of the very few friends I had then needed support from me, I'd have offered it, but it would have been of questionable help. I feel things deeply now, and I'd still give support, and now it would be meaningful and it is more likely I'd be asked for support.

Things hurt right now, and I prefer the pain. I feel it now, it is part of the richness of life. Even this is better than depressed numbness. I found I could not live a flat featureless life at an acceptable level. I did level off peaks and valleys, but it was very low ride. The average now is much better, higher than the rounded peaks I'd find once or twice a year. I'm rambling because of the anger and sadness this situation has brought up, and it is true and a solace.

PS - I've some pictures of the truck, which I'll post once I find or get a new flash card reader. Misplaced my old one, and the one for the printer up in Canada. It is my old roommate Aaron's printer, which he's left behind, but forgot to leave the reader. Oh well, they be cheap now.

And here are a couple pictures. First, minutes after the wheel broke:

The Parking Drag
Originally uploaded by Scott Maddock.

And now here it is in it's temporary resting place in front of my house the next day:

Truck Hospice
Originally uploaded by Scott Maddock.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tearing It Up

Well, I lost a follow-up post to the ridiculous deification of Gerald Ford, expounding a bit on B.D.'s comments. Maybe it's sitting unsaved on my home machine, or not.

I wrote a letter to the editor, which I didn't expect would get published as I was sure there was a slew of responses.
Change? NOT
So how is this allegedly new tactic different from saying we'll stand down when Iraq stands up? Why is the media letting him get away with this make-believe change? Will the more than 20,000 troops who will be put back in harm's way while the commander in chief kicks back for an undeserved rest at his private dude ranch be proud and eager for another shot at getting into Arlington or Bethesda?

The media reports on the democrats 'arguing', rather than saying they are 'debating' the issue. I guess they are so accustomed to congress saying, "Yes sir, Mr. Cheney! Yes sir, Mr. Rove!", it is now assumed congress should be an unthinking rubber stamp. Where is this liberal media when you need them? How about, at the very least, an impartial one?

As a combat veteran, I thirst for an impartial and responsible media, one that understands that supporting the war and supporting the troops are actually distinct concepts. The next coward who tells me we have to support the troops by sending more to their deaths to honor our shameful sacrifice of those we've already killed and maimed will get an earful. Invariably it is some young man, who when I tell them they could best support the troops by serving with them, panics saying they can't possibly leave their families and more lucrative careers. I guess the war must not be that important to the supporters after all. It has certainly given me the impression that greedy people lack any vestige of courage.

Today's headlines. Bush crying at the ceremony awarding a posthumous Congressional Medal Of Honor. If I'd been family I'd have wanted someone else to award it, but out of respect for the tradition I would not have. Why was the pathetic pipsqueak bastard Bush shedding a tear? I'm incredulous. Was it fake? Possibly not. For the heck of it, lets assume it was a genuine tear. Was it for the bravery and romantic picture of a man throwing his body on a grenade? Was it because Bush realized he was directly responsible for wasting this brave man's life? Does Bush deserve the relief of shedding a tear.

The Whitehouse Weasel got his wish and had Saddam hung, though not as cleanly or secretly as he'd wanted. I got to thinking. Who has killed more innocent Iraqis? Saddam or the Whitehouse Weasel? Debatable. Which is the bigger terrorist? The one who killed with American made chemical agents or the one who killed with thousands of tons of American made bombs at a time? Oops both of them used chemical agents, our recent use of white phosphorous being the most recently publicized. Saddam used bombs, but not nearly as many. Again debatable. I'm really struggling to find any mitigating circumstances for the Whitehouse Weasel. I don't detest the man, but it is an exercise I should do. I've heard the conservative talking points, and they invariably cover up and obfuscate rather than promote transparency. Will we ever see justice? I want this to be debatable.

PS - I used a few blatant literary devices, to sate the same urge which gives rise to a tedious level of profanity. ;)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

On The Rocks, On The Boards

Well, I'm working on a show. Our piece is a staged reading, and we got the final (we hope) addendum to the script at the dress rehearsal/preview last night. I was cast a little over a week ago, and have the lead I suppose. Certainly the most lines. Working with a music stand is new for me, but the big challenge is being really mean. An authoritarian prick actually. Ironic, with all the auditioning I did I ended up getting the main character in a piece I didn't audition for.

With the storm moving in last night I was keeping an eye on the DOT (Department Of Transportation) site, and decided to give myself an extra 45 minutes, leaving by 5pm for the 6:30 call. I like to be early, and with normal rush hour traffic it takes 35-50 minutes to get to Freehold. As I was gathering my coat and bag, Steve in the next office said he'd spent twenty minutes getting out of the garage, and upon seeing the roads, turned around. He actually spent the night here, along with a lot of other people.

The traffic was still backed up and it took me longer to get out of the garage, at least 30 minutes. I emerged to an ironic sight. Along with the incredibly long back up, a tow truck had crashed into a tree or pole just across from our parking garage. I'm guessing what happened was they'd impounded some poor persons car because they get stuck, and probably parked in a private lot. I'd also bet the warning signs were obscured, and some heartless person with no regard for weather exigencies and safety called for the rapacious tow truck. Well, that was my fantasy of the situation. Flatbed tow truck up and over the sidewalk, stuck in the dirt where he struck the tree. Beside it and askew a compact with the fender and hood mashed in a peculiar way, but with no other marks.

Another 60 minutes, and I had gone 3/4 of a mile or so to the on-ramp, and turned off for some gas and a restroom. I wasn't sure I could gut out either liquid level. I'd left my cell at home, so I also called our director to see if we were canceled. The weather wasn't so bad in Seattle, so we were a go and both of us were going to be late, as she was not too far from where I was. People were weird the previous day in anticipation of the weather, so I had to call, which is why I thought the extra 45 minutes would be fine last night. I don't recall ever having to call because I was delayed, and now, two nights in a row. I've been delayed in the past, but as I am generally quite early it wasn't a problem for anyone else. I'm leaving really freaking early tonight.

The gas station didn't cause me to lose more than a few minutes, as it is at a traffic light that puts you almost on the on-ramp. Lots of cars stuck there, so a very messy push, but people were much more polite than usual. I was on the road for two and half hours, and had gone barely more than a mile. I was surprised to see troopers signaling the traffic into the two left lanes. Risky business, as we were driving on compacted snow and ice, with a thin layer of water. The temperature was right at freezing, so it wasn't melting or freezing, just maintaining the slickest surface possible. Then I saw the author of the traffic problem, which was so much worse than I expected. At least until the traffic suddenly backed clear up to my parking spot.

An articulated Metro bus had jackknifed across the freeway, leaving only one particularly icy lane open. That was what would be the first five to ten minutes on a clear to moderately busy day. In just fifteen more minutes I was at the theatre, safe and sound. It was an okay run, though we some new text, and still a bit off from the commute. Some jocular swearing and stretches helped to relieve some emotional and physical tension, and served to remind me why I like to arrive well before call. I do like to take my time and do my little ritual, of simply sitting somewhere in the seats for a minute or ten.

I came to work quite late, by surface streets, which were still sheathed with wet ice. Not much traffic, so I was only delayed a couple minutes. If I ever get rid of my truck, I'll miss the 4wd on a vehicle I don't have to worry about scratching or denting. It sure is a champ in nasty weather.

It was breath taking when I got home last night. I don't know that I've ever seen such a lovely snow at this house. We've had stuff that was pretty deep several times, but never that powdery kind that sticks to the trees, without piling up too deeply. I took some pictures, and when I have time I'll see if they came out. The morning pictures are probably nice, but boring and it didn't look so magical. If any of you have a photo load site you really like, could you leave me the URL in comments? I've not tried loading my pictures before, and I'd like something where ease of use is number one. I don't care for any cutesy functionality, just the ability to drop files.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lapdogs To The Drop

Much of the evidence for our government's complicity when we actually acknowledged war crimes as being illegal, has been forever destroyed. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush I, and many others likely feel more and more like they have gotten away with providing Saddam with WMD's for use against Iran and his own dissidents. I like to think that most of our country was disgusted by the execution. If it had been done without good old Texas style mockery of the condemned, (Google on Bush and "Karla Faye Tucker" and you'll see that mocking those about to die is a standing tradition with w.) it wouldn't have been so egregious to many, though the whole kangaroo court should be shameful to anybody with even a modicum of integrity or courage.

Let's take a quick look at our vicious little neocons. They'd jail drug abusers (except for the Rushes), and as for drug dealer? Well, they are targeted for much harsher punishment, both by law enforcement and legislation. Should we let arms dealers off the hook? Let's insist that we be consistent, and go after the arms dealers who supplied, enabled, and encouraged Saddam. Wouldn't leave many people in the white house, and only a craven coward would say we should let war criminals off the hook for the good of the country. If that sort of acceptance of atrocities is good for the country, we have a lot more fixing to do.

I didn't support Ford's pardon of Nixon. He did not do it heal the country, that's what neo-con historians (fiction writers) would have you believe. Look at the actual interviews, where Gerald Ford stated his reason for pardoning Nixon was because he considered Tricky Dick a great friend and warm human being. I don't recall him ever qualifying his reason. Not to run down Ford any more than he did to himself by elevating amoral people like Cheney and Rumsfeld. He had the appearance of a nice man, and was less of an entity in the oval office than Carter. Letting Nixon off the hook was wrong. If he'd been held accountable maybe the current crop of corruption would have been a little more circumspect. Our leadership is so damaged, dishonest, self-deluded, and arrogant I don't think they would have been curtailed, but the specter of accountability would surely have been enough to disillusion some of their accomplices. But, the blatant abuse of power was never prosecuted, and became to many conservatives an admirable goal reflecting the good days.

For the good of the world we cannot let w's crimes go unanswered. We didn't have the courage to stop his headlong rush into an illegal and unjustified war that has killed over 3000 US troops, and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. It would take more courage and integrity to bring w and company to task now. Will we as a nation rediscover the courage needed?

If there are any chickenshits out there who want to pardon President gw bush, I'll compromise. My idea is let's drop one charge against w for every questionable death sentence he commuted while governor of Texas. Oops, he signed more death warrants than any governor in the history of Texas. Too bad a really fair and appropriate clemency program would not even get a parking ticket overturned for w.