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.

Monday, November 24, 2008

In The Beginning There Was Darvon

Everyone did great work for the Solo Performance class presentations last night. I haven't been as nervous for a show in quite a while. We were all feeling that way. One talented young woman was really upset, and I hope she understood none of us minded her tears. They were ours too.

I ran my lines so many times I was at the point where I didn't know what I'd missed unless I really focused, which is a bad idea when you're driving, or trying to get ready for the day job without being late.

It is a lot easier in most ways to work with your own text. There is immediate knowledge when you are paraphrasing, and then you get/have to decide whether the paraphrase is better. One lesson I've heard and agreed to many a time, is that every word is important. It was never so immediate and personal before. Even if I never do another solo piece, I will strive to find that meaning in every word as I work with text.

It was a friendly audience, our eight classmates and ten or twelve guests. I was still playing with staging, and truth be told was just at the point I like to start from at the commencement of rehearsals. It was an autobiographical piece about the relationship with my mother. The working title, is also the title of this post.

The first thing for me in this process, along with getting off book, was getting my emotional baggage out of the way. That was a challenge. My emotions are part of the story, but not THE story. I did not want old dysfunctional familial responses getting in the way, as I wanted to go past them for a more universal story. So I worked to get a pretty neutral delivery. Then, diving back into my own text to make the desired moments and concepts pop. That might have been more challenging than working with someone else's text.

By last night I was getting the emotional and story arcs in the general vicinity of what I wanted. Not yet close to a sharp focus, more of an whispy haze. I also had several concurrent time lines going. My childhood and early adult years, mother's childhood and early adult years, and the last six years. Making the story clear without causing confusion around interwoven story lines was a big challenge too. Mostly technical with the writing, but staying in the moment(s) was critical too.

I had several tentative guests, and only one made it and he had to leave right after the show so I didn't hear from him. I was next to last, and before I went up I was relieved only one person showed. Afterwards I actually wished some more could have made it.

People found the story very clear which was very satisfying, as was people's emotional response and feedback. I was sincerely stunned it seemed to work well. I may submit to the Solo Performance Festival. My reasons for not doing so are because it's a personal piece of limited appeal and I want to move forward on a non-autobiographical piece. Is that good reasoning or chickening out?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Political Telegraphing?

The news about Mukasey's collapse broke in the last couple hours. I, of course, had a wickedly dark thought which will probably not be appropriate for a while. I realized all the editorializing (like "no-nonsense") and life background skated the edge of obituary territory. The so called liberal newspapers simply had less of the flowery accolades. That moves from biographical background to obituary notice territory. It's as though they have already written him off for some reason.

It sounds like he had a serious incident. I would wish that on no man, and hope he recovers quickly.

Perino's statement sounded like the president said, "Hope he can get up and take another hit for the team." What do you think? Here's what she really said, "The president has him in his thoughts and will be kept apprised and hopes that he will be back up and at 'em again soon."


Spoiler alert, if you're going to the class show I'm in this Sunday. That class is part of the reason I've been so quiet here lately.

I just ordered two tickets for Black Nativity at the Intiman. I've been wanting to see the show since I started subscribing in 2001. It's been nearly that long since I saw my mother for more than a few minutes at a time at family functions, every other year or so.

Seats E-111 and E-112 on December 3rd, with a dinner before the show. Mother is looking forward to the show as well. I also expect she is feeling some anticipation, though for different reasons. I will allow myself to fall into that old habit of putting others at ease, as I think it appropriate for the occasion and both of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Dysfunctional Relationship With... me

This weekend should be my first full day off since August. Office move, and my computers will be offline, so I can't even connect from the house to work. Yippee!

I'll be starting my annual two weeks of pager duty, but that rarely requires working on-site, as we are basically called when understanding the problem and reassigment assistance is needed. Here's hoping it's a call free two weeks.

I've been pretty busy with the day job and two classes at Freehold. The Solo Performance piece is at Freehold this Sunday at 8pm if you're in the area and interested. It is my first stab at solo work, and after only four weeks of work none of us in the class are sanguine about our work, though I think everybody else is doing great. I have a piece around McCarthyism I'd like to start developing with solo work, but I needed to get this more personal one out of my way for several reasons. I have had some success. My goal is to present the history around the dysfunctional relationship with my Mother, but not as a vent or a justification for either of us.

As Sgt. Friday would say, "Just the facts, Ma'am." There is more than that of course, and my challenge was to get through the piece without being overwhelmed by the baggage. Building on that analogy, there is a big pile of baggage, most of it meaningless, and a lot of it useless in that nothing can or should be done at this point. There are a few items which need to be looked at, and the trick is keeping out of the way when the rest come tumbling down.

I find myself going back to basics. Take the text and work on flat reads, so it's just the words and as they're mine, some concurrent wordsmithing. I'm working on getting to a pretty neutral presentation, then working the text. The larger beats I know since I wrote it, but working the operative words and phrases will allow me to say what I intended with the text, rather than the unhelpful habitual emotional responses from all that old baggage. It seems to be working a little... I hope I've got a lot more of those kinks worked out by Sunday.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Release Night at the Day Job #3

Only half an hour left, and I'm having my first cup of coffee in a few months. I've been here close onto fourteen hours and don't want to fall asleep on the way home. I got enough work done that I don't have to come in again until Sunday.

And I just did a little work helping some folks out and my shift is done. Sweet dreams.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Release Night at the Day Job #2

I got in early as I accepted a phone screen, a sort of pre-interview, forgetting I was scheduled for 8pm - 4am. So, in at 3:30 do the interview and clear a number of tasks. I'm not going to do much more work right now, as I'm pretty beat and I figure I wouldn't save any time as I'm too likely to introduce bugs I'll have to track down.

The good news, is the prospect I screened seemed good as did the last so we may soon have a new db dev. I'm considering cancelling my vacation plans in December which I don't want to do, especially because at this point I've not had a day off since August. Who has the world's smallest violin to go with that?

I'm still in shock about the election. I hadn't realized how much my faith in Americans had suffered as a result of our mad dash towards totalitarianism and demonization of the weak to distract us from corporate inspired depradations. I don't think we yet realize how far we have sunk, but to change direction is a wonderful step. We are moving away from denial towards healing, maybe even growth at some point. I posted this at the liberal discussion group at work.
It's only beginning to sink in for me. I'd gotten so pessimistic about our country and it's direction I was in a state of shocked denial last night. Today I'm getting intense emotional flashes. I'm feeling pretty whimpy for a combat veteran. ; )
I'm still getting emotional and the denial lingers. It's getting better and I've lost my five or six year obsession for checking new sites all day long.

Release Night at the Day Job #1

Well, it's another late on. I go home around 4am, and to start here's a few items for my Dad. The first is a piece which we play, though ours is a somewhat less complex arrangement, and he is much better at it. The second speaks for itself. And the third just because I think he'll like it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm 28 days older than Steven, my neighbor growing up and best friend and enemy throughout grade school. He was an average, perhaps slightly above average athlete, and I was a non-participant and I always felt a little kinship because of that. We found different social groups in junior high and high school. I never asked, and assumed he found a group in which he felt he fit in. That created a small bit of envy on my part.

I don't know of anyone from that early period in our lives besides us that spent significant time in the military. I believe his brother spent a couple years in the Air Force. I spent 9 1/2 years in the Navy, and Steve is getting ready to retire.

Steve left a note in January of 2006 on this blog and we've been trading several Emails a year. It was he who told me this September that our neighbor Ricky had passed away. Ironic, seeing as he is currently stationed in Afghanistan. Funny I forgot to ask what his rank is. We used to be a little competitive, and I was the first in the military, then he went in as an enlisted musician. That really impressed me as I admired artists (which I thought I was not), and then he went to chaplain school and is now looking towards retirement. I googled and found an article, and in 2007 he was a Major. Wow! I'm looking forward to seeing him when he is back in the area. As I work on a piece for Solo Performance I am going back to that world and he was a big and positive part of it.

Now, he is in Afghanistan. I pray for my chaplain friend. I don't know his politics. I don't know what type of religion he practices. I assume his choices are well considered, intelligent, and compassionate. I remember that of him and how he and his mother instilled some of that in me. At least, I hope they succeeded.

That said, I don't care a whit about his politics. I hope and pray for his safety, something I don't do often, as I have a contrary nature and only pray for things which are important to me, but for the benefit of others. I may not be much of a christian, but I am very spiritual and am okay with praying to something I don't understand. My spirituality serves to humble myself and challenge my preconceptions, which is perhaps my reason for feeling driven out of most churches. I have an perverse intolerance of intolerance which I have yet to overcome.

I haven't seen Steve in nearly half a life time, and find myself admiring him.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Getting Schooled

I'm taking two classes this quarter. I've not been auditioning for anything with rehearsals starting before January. I don't expect to have time to rehearse until December, and I want to take a two week vacation before Christmas, pretty much shooting down December. I've not had a full day off since August, and it looks like I'll break the streak this month, as we have an office move and I won't even be able to work remotely as my office computer won't be available.

So, I'm starving for art and decided to take a couple classes at Freehold I've been wanting to do for quite a while. They make me nervous, so I wanted to take them all the more. One is solo performance, and I got quite a bit out of the first class. I won't have the time to dedicate to that class I would like so it will cause some stress. I expect it will relieve a lot more stress than it creates. I don't do so well when I'm not actively working on a project.

The other class is Voice Over. Pure fun. It is supposed to be one of the fastest growing industries. You can guess where my thoughts go. What a cool day job that would be. It's fun to fantasize about and more likely than winning the lottery.


Back when the republicans had a few things to say which weren't fear-mongering I leaned towards a few of their points, but still supported democrats in a majority of races. Like most of the guys I knew in Naval Aviation, we were non-partisan, said we were conservative but actually voted a more progressive line. As I've become less and less trustful and more disgusted with the Gop Store (for the rich) I've wondered why. They've always been assiduous in their anilingus for the wealthy, so that hasn't changed. Then one day a couple weeks ago a thought occurred which keeps coming back.

I was thinking how neither party has anything close to a monopoly on lying. How many times have we seen an apparently remorseful or even teary democrat apologizing for being a lying son of a bitch after the wiggle room was exhausted? How often have we seen a republican denying the obvious and making everyone think they are unrepentant rat bastard sacks of lying shit? Strong language, and that is the point. It occurred to me that however often they fail to live up to ideals, that in general honesty is a value with the democrats. With republicans that is not true, in general truth is a tactic (which they don't often find useful).

Recent high profile cases. Spitzer and his hookers; bawling repentance from the democrat. Recent, hypocritical, tawdry, and inane. Stevens as a hooker for oil clientele, whom I thought would get off as the prosecution appeared to be throwing the contest, insists he was not convicted. Fact: his conviction by a jury of his peers was for lying. Now he's demonstrating the belief he is above the law (which is a non-partisan trait of the powerful), and especially ironic in this case. Is it that at eighty-four he little old man frightened silly of a major change in his day to to day life? Or is he paving the way for Palin, believing he'll be elected and then she'd be appointed. Either way it's up to Alaska. I'm wondering whether they feel they owe him service, or rather the senator should be serving them.

Spitzer got his pain out and done with rather quickly, a better solution for him and his constituency. He showed himself to have feet of clay, and quickly stepped aside when he could no longer serve effectively. He didn't seem to feel the constituency owed him something. Stevens seems to think that by God the little people he should be serving owe him a huge debt, and a criminal conviction at their hands doesn't even count. Are those the respective end games for the 'truth as value' versus 'truth as tactic' ethical systems?