howeird: (Danvers Sings)
Tuesday Weld was an early crush, and her last name means "world" in German, hence the subject line. 

It was not a crushing day, however, sort of. Our Jill-of-all-annoyances emailed me and a handful of others that it has been 2 years since we took the ESD training course and accompanying test, and we would lose our lab privileges if we didn't complete this by some date in mid-October.

This was a good news/bad news message. The good news is I have worked there for more than 2 years now - good news because the last time I worked there I was laid off on my 2-year anniversary. The bad news is all our complaints have gone for naught that this course does not apply to us, and is a total waste of our time. I was hoping the new company would drop the requirement, which is left over from when we were part of Motorola.

An explanation for the non-engineer )

I used to be a hardware repair tech, in the 80s, so I know all about ESD, but like all corporate classes, the test questions are based on the class material, not on what is important to know about the subject. One question wanted to know what polarity of electric charge rayon clothing has. That's immaterial (pun intended) to the subject. Just the fact that synthetic clothes carry a charge is the important thing. Four of the 20 questions were like that. Another 6 were about specific ESD prevention equipment I have never seen used in an actual lab. I got 100% on the test because I took lots of notes on things which struck me as useless.

The rest of the morning was make-work.

Lunchtime I dropped the gift box for baby sister at the PO, and went to Popeye's for lunch. I like the non-Cajun food. I had planned on going to KFC around the corner and down the block, but when I got there it was the grand opening of La Taqueria. And the diner across from it is Consuela's Cantina. Gag me.

Back at work, after an hour Automation guy invited me to the break room to keep him company during his lunch (meetings and crunch schedules keep him from regular lunch hours some days). I had not had dessert, so I brought the bag of ลำไย I'd bought the other day - too many for me to finish by myself, and also a little dried out, not as delicious as usual. Automation Guy is from SE Asia, he too was addicted to this fruit. Soon we were joined by our Puerto Rican team mate, who had never seen a ลำไย, aka longan, and he found them addicting too. We killed more than an hour talking about World Fruit, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.

After work it was surgical shopping time at Target, where I bought only what was on my list:
Extra sodastream cartridge
Two extra sodastream 1-liter bottles

Then straight home, said hi to the cats, saw that I had just enough time to try out the Sodastream. It was easy to set up, I was almost able to do it without cracking the instruction guide. It made good seltzer in one of their proprietary bottles in about 20 seconds. The bottle caps are twist-on, airtight. I stuck that in the fridge for later, along with two more filled with water but not carbonated yet, because the guide said it's best to use chilled water.

Done just in time to go to Peninsulairs' voice lessons. Each session (this is #3) there were more people. I could see that for lesson 2, because there is a lot of review, but halfway through the course you would think they would stop taking new people. I'm only griping because the space is not big enough for the number we had tonight. And the newbie who parked himself next to me for warmups was an obnoxious, tone-deaf, ukulele-playing jerk.

Once again, 30 minutes of information packed into a 90-minute class. For the first time there were glaring bits of misinformation. The teacher obviously doesn't play a wind instrument other than his larynx. He kept claiming that the voice is unique in its range of sounds, that brass and woodwinds had fixed sounds which the player could not change. Utter hogwash. I can make a clarinet quack like a duck (one of this examples), and produce a horse whinny on a trumpet, or an elephant trumpeting using any lower brass instrument. This is a guy who has never heard the tone-bending stylings of a Klezmer orchestra.

He did some interesting things to get people to sing from the diaphragm, which were easy and effective. I would have been impressed if (a) that didn't come naturally to me and (b) he ever said the word "diaphragm".  In three weeks no one has said that word in class. Not even to joke about contraception.

When he ran out of material he asked volunteers to come up to center stage, and had them sing a note, then a half scale, and adjusted their posture to help the airflow. One guy was singing from his mouth, teacher pushed on his tummy and got his volume up about 5x louder. Unfortunately the guy was tone deaf, and his scales were not in any recognizable tuning. But that's fine, he's the person this class is meant for. 

Home, made a glass of fresh squeezed lime soda from the Sodastream bottle (a liter makes a little less than three glasses). And I charged up the other two now-chilled bottles. This thing is head and shoulders better than the 1-liter siphons I've been using. One cartridge charges 60 bottles (siphon cartridges charge 1 liter), and it has lots of other pluses I won't bore myself typing.

Had that with a TV dinner, fed the cats Fancy Feast and then had my ice cream dessert, and watched mindless TV. Turned off the tube (which isn't a tube anymore, is it?) and took care of some Quicken things, FB and this posting.

Got a message from one of [ profile] susandennis' lurkers, [ profile] katbyte, which reminded me that during the last flood of Russian spammers I locked out non-friends from commenting and had forgotten to change it. Now any registered user can comment, but non-friends' posts are screened.

Two community theaters in the area are doing Les Miz. The performance rights holder is supposed to not allow this, but somehow Stage 1 in Newark and South Bay Musical Theater in Saratoga are both opening this Saturday. I have friends in both. Hyper-marketing by South Bay sold out the show 3 weeks ago, so I'm going to Stage 1 a week from Saturday. I try not to go to opening nights, the casts & crews usually need a week to get used to an audience.

Plans for tomorrow:
Hearing test at Miracle Ear in the Cupertino Sears store. Mostly just to find out about their technology. I played some tones on the PC today, and was only able to hear up to 8400Hz. Last test was 10k. :-(


Apr. 20th, 2013 10:39 pm
howeird: (Default)

Officially back to being a lazy bum couch potato on weekends. Yay!

Woke up around 9, caught up on Elementary and The Mentalist on Tivo. The former is a copycat of the latter, but shifted to NYC and using the sexy Lucy Liu as the sidekick to a totally non-sympathetic genius. There is no chemistry there. There is no chemistry anywhere in Elementary, though the writers keep trying to create sexual tension. This episode they bring in Lucy's character's mother, who gives the "It's easy to see you are in love with him" talk, which falls flat because there is no love there, at all.

The Mentalist's writers, on the other hand, have built in ginormous sexual tension between the too-cute-for-her-badge boss and the very sympathetic genius. And also between two of the other regulars. They even had some Bad Romance for a while between a badge and one of his slutty informers.

Played with both cats, did some stuff online, then at about 1 I got dressed, hit an ATM, and tried out a new massage place about a mile down the street I live on. It was pretty good. 80# Chinese waif tap danced on my back. Or at least it felt that way.

Back home, made some late lunch, then off to Palo Alto for an invitation-only party for Palo Alto Players supporters. Very little in the way of food, meager selection of drinks but they at least covered all the bases. Check-in gave away the plot - they handed me a pre-printed subscription form with my name on it. Legal size paper, when a postcard would have sufficed. I really should not be on their list - I perform there, I've never bought a season ticket.

They announced the next season in what could have been a very exciting way had they executed it well. They didn't. The format was this:
A lectern at the corner of stage right. A mike stand at the corner of stage left. a projection screen hanging in the center. 

They started by projecting a high-def clip of a Latino dance number on the standard-def projector. For those who don't live and breathe video, this means the actors were very tall and very thin and it hurt my brain. After the clip they showed a hand-written black and white slide with the name and author(s)of the show.

For the first show, a musical, the person who will direct the show goes to the lectern and says a few words about the show. Then a young woman goes to the mike stand and sings/screeches a tune from the show, battling for all she is worth to sing in every possible key. She mostly succeeds. My brain hurts more. The show is In The Heights, which won a Tony because every show on Broadway which is set in NYC wins a Tony. The only thing the director had to say is the show is hot. Here is the clip they showed:
They cut it off at 1 minute.

Next up was God of Carnage, which got some crayon drawings and stick figure drawings about children fighting, then the hand-drawn slide and the director's speech. I have heard good things about this show, and I know the director is good too. But it's a 4-person cast, sure to be boring for me.

The Heiress is hyped with some too-short clips from the 1949 movie with Olivia de Havilland, whom the director incorrectly identifies as a Palo Alto native. She was actually born in Japan, and raised in nearby Saratoga. She went to Mills College way on the other side of the Bay. Bad slide, director's pitch did not make me want to see this show.

Now comes the real WTF. We get a clip which starts with the theme from Les Miz, with some video and custom made (typed, this time) slides which sounded like teasers for LM, then all of a sudden Frau Blücher says her name, and then we get a bit of Igor and Dr. F., and then a snatch of Dr. F and the Monster in Putting on the Ritz. Ugly b&w slide again, director says how thrilled he is to be directing this masterpiece, Young Frankenstein, which is almost nothing like the movie. Executive Director Peter Bliznick steps up to the mike stand and launches into an impressive rendition of Putting on the Ritz, joined by The Monster. That was well done.

Now the screen shows a bunch of poorly edited moments from the ancient TV show I've Got a Secret and the mystery man is finally revealed as claiming he invented the TV. No ugly B&W slide this time, but a colorful one in the shape of a TV set which announces The Farnsworth Invention. No director for this yet, the Players' tech director gives the promo. Meh.

The lights come up in the audience for volunteers to pass out subscription sheets, these are green instead of the yellow pre-printed ones. Seems the pre-printed ones are good for tonight only. The green ones have the non-special prices. Lights go back down and we get three more short speeches encouraging donations and subscriptions.

When it seemed to all be over, the volunteer coordinator tells us there is one more thing, from Miss Saigon (opening on the 26th). Two young people step up to the mike stand and sing "Sun and Moon". Katherine Dela Cruz and Danny Gould. Ms. Dela Cruz totally knocked it out of the park. I am so seeing that show. She looks to be about 15, he looks about 20. He did okay, with a mike. She doesn't need one. The good news is as the piece progressed, he started to rise to her level.

All that only took till 7:10. Plenty of time, so I took the El Camino all the way home, a very long and slow trip but worth it to see all the new stuff. They have taken the covers off of San Antonio Center, and it looks very modern. Further down, my favorite Thai restaurant was on its last legs last time I went by, it is now a grand opening Chinese place. There are two new, smaller Thai places, Rice and Thai Lemongrass, down the road a piece. Lots more changes. I did a couple of U-turns to take closer looks.

Plans for tomorrow:
Drive to SJ with the new lens, have fun at the Songkran festival. I thought they were having it in one of the big parks, but it looks like it is in a not so big parkng lot not far from where I parked for Brigadoon. It is going to be interesting to see how they fit everything into that space.

howeird: (Danvers Sings)
Finished up Brigadoon with a night show Saturday and a Sunday Matinée, and then struck the set. The show still felt like a dress rehearsal, and chatting with other cast members who felt the same way we narrowed it down to a director who was all about the dancing, who did not pay attention to the acting.

When I directed Yeomen of the Guard at Stanford** many years ago, the first thing I did was direct traffic. Read more... )

This director did not give clear traffic signals. He blocked things in vague ways which made no sense, and in fact did away with the market fair with booths for each vendor and townspeople walking around the booths. Instead he gave each vendor a tray or a basket, and we were supposed to randomly walk around vending to each other.

And then there were the trees. four of them, 12' tall, 5' wide, on sliders, with person inside each of them to move them around onstage. The original blocking was for 8 much smaller trees which would be on carts that cast members would pull on and off stage. At no point did he count on having a stage crew, even though the theater group always has 4 to 6 people show up as stage hands. BTW, the trees were painted battleship grey. They were supposed to have been brown, which would have been easy because they were made from gluing brown cardboard and wrapping paper onto solid wood frames.

Long story short, the directing was incomplete, the set was incomplete, so the show felt incomplete.

The best part of the show was the orchestra. They were great. They got a huge applause every night at the start of Act II.
Striking the set was pretty easy, lots of people helped. The last two platforms were in the process of being taken apart when I left, my knee was killing me. And the director plus the two leading men were sitting in the audience not doing anything helpful by that time.

Decided not to go to the cast party for three reasons:

1. $20 for a BBQ buffet worth half that, back at the rehearsal hall/warehouse. With all the work the cast put into the show, I expect the organization to do better than that by us.

2. The ever annoying Stage Mangler would be there, being stupid and loud.

3. I would have said rude things.
Instead, I dumped my things in the car, grabbed the cell phone and wallet, walked a couple of blocks to my favorite bakery/café and had a napoleon and coffee while watching major eye candy traffic glide by - there was some sort of cosmetics convention in town.

Home, decided not to go shopping (I need bananas and ice cream and limes). Stripped the yellow microfiber sheets off the bed and put them in the wash, and made the bed with the blue ones. Kaan did not help, but Domino inspected the work later. My sister's quilt is back, but I really need to find someone to re-hem it. The hem is all frayed.

Dinner was a turkey pot pie and a Klondike bar.

And now I am going to trim my beard.

**The fellow who played one of the leading men in this show I gave his first major role to in Yeomen.
Plans for tomorrow:
Work. Tease boss for not showing up for the show (he said he had tickets, but this weekend was Songkran, so I knew Saturday night was iffy and Sunday was impossible)
BASFA. Show off my Boskone program


Apr. 13th, 2013 12:54 am
howeird: (The Gov - Arms Wide)
Thursday/Friday the cold let up enough to go to work and survive two Brigadoons. "non-drowsy" allergy med kicked my butt both days, made me very sleepy but kept my sinuses clear.

The show is not improving. It's not bad, but it's not one of my best. Blame it on a handful of director mistakes:
1. Not paying attention to the lyrics of the songs when choreographing
2. Not paying attention to the stage notes in the script
3. Making too many changes to the blocking without enough rehearsal time to nail them
3A. Vague blocking, which causes traffic jams and sometimes train wrecks
4. Having no idea how big the set pieces are compared to how small the stage is

It is sad indeed when the orchestra gets a bigger ovation both after intermission and at the end of the show than the cast does. Sad for the cast, excellent for the orchestra.

My mistake for procrastinating: Gifts I wanted to give the director and music director will arrive next Tuesday. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:

Brigadoon by 7:30
howeird: (The Gov - Nightshirt Close-up)
Let's start with a recap:
Thursday 3/28: Final rehearsal in the workshop/rehearsal hall. This is a huge warehouse space in which we build the entire set and rehearse on it. This usually works well but this time there was a boatload of set pieces, furniture, lumber and power tools blocking "backstage" and "wings".

Friday 3/29: No rehearsal, no formal call to help finish the set

Saturday 3/30: No rehearsal, no formal call to help finish the set

Sunday 3/31: Load-out (break down the set, put it into trucks). I did not participate

Monday 4/1: Load-in (I have a day job). Full run-through set for 6:30. We did not actually start till after 8 because SM and director thought they needed to have extensive warm-ups and speeches. Did not get out till 11:30 when the Theater's union techs kicked us out. SM wanted to blabber forever.

Tuesday 4/2: Cue-to-cue. Normally this starts at 6:30 and is done by 11:30, but between needless warm-ups and SM blathering, we started after 8, and only got through Act I by 11:30. Follow-up note from director the next morning claims "this was the plan". Bullshit. The director, conductor and SM were all stopping and restarting and running way too much of the scenes. Major train wreck.

Wednesday 4/3: Run-through with costumes and makeups and all the tech stuff. Call at 6:30, curtain at 8. People arrived between 6:30 and 7:30 (day jobs, downtown traffic). Costumes were not all completed, but very very close and there was a full costume crew on hand to Make Things Right. The theater has a resident make-up expert** who had given us charts and info on what to buy if we wanted, but he also had enough makeup for anyone who needed. And he did people's makeup if they asked, or if they needed something special. No Act II tech, they just faked it. Curtain was at about 8:30, we were done about 11:10. SM blabbered until 11:30.

Thursday 4/4: Final Dress: 6:30 call for dance warmups, 7:00 Act II opening run-through, 7:15 Vocal warm-ups, 8:00 curtain. Director added a new dance bit for some of the women. Everything was 15-30 minutes late. My solo got mucked up when a line of dancers entered at the wrong time and nearly ran me over. Done at 11:15. I walked out, ignoring the call for notes. I had had it with the SM, and the director always emails the useful notes the next day.

Friday 4/5: No nothing. We really needed a preview, lines rehearsal, or a tech run-though.

Saturday 4/6: Opening night
It felt like another rehearsal. The show is not ready. People are blowing lines, missing entrances. Now that we have the full set, it's easy to see that the director's vision to have everyone on stage as much as possible is not practical. A major part of the problem is he wanted to have moving trees, on sliders, moved by actresses inside them. His brother the carpenter deigned and built them, twice as large as the director thought they would be. Director doesn't know how to read a blueprint. But another part of the problem is all through rehearsals we had handfuls of people not there, sick or conflicts or the call sheet was unclear. Now that we are performing, all the bodies are there, and they take up more room than we have available.

The orchestra, on the other hand, is superb. And we have a pair of excellent bagpipers who trade off (one per show). It would have been nice if the director had given them the same directions for their one on-stage scene as he gave us.

This was our first time running the show without stopping.

We had one tech FAIL - a 12-foot-tall wood-and-cardboard tree fell over during one of the (unnecessarily) extended dance numbers. I was downstairs at the time and missed the fun.

The audience was great.

Sunday 4/7: Matinee. Call at 12:30, same pattern as opening, but this time we were only 10 minutes late. No major tech issues. One actress missed being in the drunk scene, I will have to check FB to see if she is okay. I don't remember seeing her after that scene. Almost sold-out house, not as vocal as last night, but they gave the orchestra a HUGE ovation at the start of Act II. Our curtain call is too long, and the women's chorus take too long doing their individual bows. Both shows we do a meet and greet afterwards, Saturday I only saw two people I knew, found out later about a third person who wasted her time chatting up the Guy Who Dies. Today there were at least a dozen, and there were a ton of redheads I didn't know. Official Photos time after the meet & greet, I got out a little after 5. I think I can actually be seen in those pix.

All in all, the show is okay, not on my list of Worst Theater Experiences, nor is it one of the best. I don't think there will be any lasting friendships. I'm thinking this will be the last show I perform in, but I may try to get a directing gig.

Plans for tomorrow:


Apr. 6th, 2013 12:06 am
howeird: (Howard The Duck)
Blame Brigadoon. I haven't been on here since last month. Long story short, Hell Week has been a disaster. The staff did not slap down the strident babbling of the SM, who started us too late and kept us too late every night. She finally got bullied into using the set crew for about 10% of what they would like to have been doing. Cast members are doing most of the scene change work, which is ridiculous.

The show is getting better, but not enough. We are not ready to open tomorrow night. The best thing about opening is we run the show without stopping. This has not happened yet. As a result, the leads don't know their lines, and they often cannot be heard when they do know them.

There are a lot of talented dancers, being over-worked.

So the director has not allowed the sword dancers to practice with the actual real swords. They will see them for the first time tomorrow. They have been given different prop swords every rehearsal. This is going to be dangerous because even with the prop swords they keep kicking them when the idea is to dance between the crossed swords on the floor. Horrible choreography for that bit too.

The dancers missed their cue to get offstage before my solo last night, which threw me off, I muffed half the words. At halftime the music director said I did great. Sigh. Well, I guess an audience would not have known.

Enuf except to say last night I walked out as soon as I was out of costume/makeup. No way was I staying for SM's half hour of babble. Apparently that was a smart move because this morning she sent a page of email babbling about how she has some personal problems at home etc. Rule #2 in theater is leave your baggage outside the stage door. Rule #1 is "do it first".

In other news, work has been a festival. I finally got a board for my test machine which I have needed for a year. Google's paranoid cretin IT came in and shut down most of the networking in the lab, claiming there were some computers in there infected beyond repair. There is no such thing as infected beyond repair. Neanderthals. Our pretty sharp local IT guy managed to get them to loosen most of the screws, but not all. Sheesh.

Once again my weekly report took longer to write than the work I'd done. I did a lot of testing where one test resulted in 5 or 6 bugs being cleared. Much fun.

We had the head boss give a town hall session, and as always he had a lot of useful info, he's an engaging speaker, and he's technical enough. We're getting closer to closing the sale of our piece of the company, and while he is not allowed to give many details, he was able to share some clues.

The cats have been missing me. I turn on the catcam app and see them both looking at the front door from about 8 pm on. Kaan is usually right at the door when I come in. Domino not so much.

Finally had a chance to make a Costco run, spent $150, and that was without them stocking Haig & Haig. I'll need to hit BevMo tomorrow for that. The plan was to buy things which would cook up easily into a few days' dinners, since I will be home evenings Sunday - Wednesday.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe Safeway
Theater by 6:30
Opening night
With no stops, the show should be done by 11. Add 10 minutes for women's room lines at intermission.
howeird: (Deadeye)
The running gag at rehearsals is the fellow who plays the guy who gets killed does much of his acting center stage. Dead center.

Started the day at a little after 7 with KOMO being my alarm clock, and Kaan poking my back with his head. He wanted to play fetch with his tie wrap. No, I don't do that. I just picked it up and dropped it over the side of the bed. Being cross-eyed, he has trouble following things close up, so he was just puzzled for a bit and curled up at the foot of the bed when I turned the light out and went back to sleep.

Finally got to work a little after 10. Forgot the bananas again.

Go a lot of easy stuff done today. There are lots of bugs which have been fixed but either my team had not verified the fix, or it was done in email and not on the bug database. And some of them were simple things like fixed typos and needing a sentence added to the spec and the user's guide.

I had time to listen to the Supreme Court DOMA hearing. Almost fell out of my chair when one of the justices suggested that the whole thing could be fixed by replacing DOMA with a law which took the word "marriage" out of all existing laws. It could be done with a single bill, the way DOMA defines marriage for all related laws on the books. There was some talk about marriage not being something the Feds should have anything to do with.

Very impressed with the deputy solicitor general, Srikanth "Sri" Srinivasan. Articulate, prepared, made a point of saying the justices' names the first time he answered their questions. Born in India, grew up in Kansas, graduated from Stanford (twice), clerked for Sandra Day O'Connor. Not as impressed with his boss Donald Verrilli Jr., whom the court called "General". He was never in the military, which confused me for a while.  DOMA defense lawyer Paul Clement was very solid on his right to be there, but was ripped several new ones when it came to the intent of the law. The attorney representing the gay woman who filed the suit, Roberta Kaplan, was a creampuff, her only arguments based on emotion. By the time she got to talk, everything which needed to be said had been covered, so no biggie.

Not surprisingly, Justice Thomas, a black man whose wife is white, never opened his mouth. I understand he has not said a word in court since his appointment. He really needs to be impeached.

Yesterday's lunch time was so good I did it again, this time I found a park I did not previously know about, practically right around the corner from work. Three minutes to get there. Big place, lots of big trees, a small playground, a basketball court, a few cement benches and three or four cement table/bench sets. Lots of grass. A long winding cement pathway around the perimeter. There were some middle school kids (there's a school across the street) and an interesting change - all the basketball players were female.

Read from my Kindle for an hour, went back to work and nibbled the equivalent of lunch which I'd brought in the cooler.

While I was at work I got email from Cafepress that my "Bite me" T-shirt had been delivered yesterday. But it hadn't. No note on the door, nothing from the apartment staff, no package at the door. Looked up the tracking number which said it was on my patio. Jeeze.

Home, did not see a package out there. Went outside, and it was on a chair close to the sliding doors, the back of the chair hid it from view from the apartment, and the patio wall hid it from view from the carport. The driver had to walk through the carport, up a small hill, and toss it from the other side of a small hedge. I will be sending UPS a nastygram - they are supposed to (a ) not throw packages and (b) put a note on the door.

Fired up TurboTax to see if there was help about amended returns, but saw there were three returns listed in the GUI, though I had only saved two - and had deleted one of those. I may need to call tech support.

Off to the Lyric Warehouse for our last rehearsal there. No rehearsals Fridays, though we really need one. This show will not be ready when we open, because the schedule is one rehearsal with the orchestra Saturday, Sunday the crew is supposed to break down the set in the warehouse and truck it to the theater. I can guaruntee that isn't going to be finished before Monday afternoon or evening. Stage Manager is insane if she thinks it will. Well, she's insane anyway. They plan a cue-to-cue Tuesday, which is bound to be a disaster. First dress Wednesday, Full dress Thursday, off Friday, opening Saturday. We really should do a preview Friday.

Wore the T-shirt, got a lot of laughs from it. I got it in bright green, which cut off the end of the final H so I magic markered it in.

We ran the whole show without stopping, and it was a mess because they had not bothered to make room for the huge trees. The trees are a huge WTF. The theater can fly tree-like flats into place, but the director wants people inside the trees to move them on and off. Totally asinine. It will be better when we get into the theater, where there is room in the wings and a big storage area stage right. We should have gotten out of there at 10:45 but SM ran her mouth for 20 minutes about things she should have sent email about. Or waited till Monday when we got into the theater.

So we got out after 11.

Some folks were going to an after-thing at a dive somewhere, but it was too far out of the way and I was dead.

Home, gave the cats their treats, took drugs, and fired up the PC. No dinner, I have a fasting blood test in the morning. Follow-up on my E. Coli adventure earlier in the month.

Plans for tomorrow:

Maybe lunch with the gang
Home, relax, read

Too Late

Mar. 21st, 2013 12:39 am
howeird: (The Gov - Gesturing)
SM emails us that from now on rehearsals will go past the previously scheduled 10:30 on to 11. They pulled this right out of their asses. In the same email was her message to "get plenty of rest". Idiot.

Tonight's rehearsal ran till 10:55 without a break.  It started with the traditional 20 minutes of way too much dance warm-up to bad music, a somewhat useful 10 minutes of vocal warmups and a totally wasted 10 minutes of the SM jabbering about all the things she jabbers at us every time. "Sell tickets", "we need help moving into the theater Monday", "We need help with the set Saturday","We need help breaking down the set and putting it on the truck Sunday". This theater company has hundreds of volunteers on its mailing list, the cast is already busy enough rehearsing.

Work was also a carnival. I started out fine, finishing automation for two more tests, with 6 to go. This is on a test machine which I borrow because it has a part mine doesn't have. Then I find my main test machine is hosed because of a bug I recreated which Automation Guy found. And the boss asks me to see if a bug they found on the old model is also on the new model, but I don't have anything to test it on. Argh. Finally "borrowed" one from someone who is out sick.

Was feeling woozy all morning, so instead of the planned actual lunch I punched "parks" into the GPS and it took me by just about the least intelligent route to a park I had never been to, which is by a senior center I didn't know existed. Nice park. I sat in various benches and relaxed. Heard a woodpecker but couldn't locate him.

Two interesting plaques I found there:

I wonder what is the significance of the dog?

At the back of a beautiful little drip-irrigated rose garden.

View from the back of the rose garden. Very peaceful, except when a senior's 1957 oldsmobile chugs in or out of the parking lot.

Home by 5:45, got the mail, the only useful thing was a prescription, which it turns out was for the wrong dosage (my mistake).

Took a nap, Kaan woke me up at 7 trying to play fetch with a tie wrap. I keep telling him not to do that.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. Maybe finish the automation project
3 pm dentist appointment to have a filling replaced. This may turn ugly because the not very competent former dentist drilled through a cap to do the filling, so worst case is having the cap removed, the filling put in the right way, and the cap re-done. We'll see.
Rehearsals - they changed the schedule from running Act I to running the whole show. I may call in sick


Feb. 27th, 2013 02:28 pm
howeird: (Slarty Animated)
It has been busy, what with work and rehearsals and buying stuff on Amazon and selling stuff on eBay, which leaves me with all kinds of brainworms needing to be written about. So...

Budweiser accused of watering their beer. How can anyone tell?

Sleep Train mattress company. WTF does a train have to do with sleeping?

Brigadoon - there's a death scene. Call it Brigamortis.

Everyone is blaming Seth McFarlane for the inane sexist theme of the Oscars. But he didn't write that stuff, he only presented it. Of course if he had any integrity he would have refused to present it. OTOH actors are often required to say things on stage they would not say IRL. And he sings beautifully. He would be great in The Book of Mormon.

I liked the Lincoln joke. Funniest method acting joke in ages. Much less offensive than Abe Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.
howeird: (Default)
Slept well last night. Both cats joined me for most of it, and managed to cohabit without fighting.

That's me taking this photo with the phone's webcam app.

Got up & drugged and dressed by 10, headed over to Fry's after one last check to see if I could find the camcorder remote. There was an actual Sony camcorder expert on site, he told me every HDR series camcorder uses the same remote, and I could go online and buy a used one on eBay, or call Sony parts, and they ought to be able to provide a replacement based on my serial number. The latter I know is not quite right - they would charge a lot, the camcorder is way out of warranty.

I also went hunting for the Bose earbuds for Android, willing to pay too much for them, but Fry's doesn't carry them. They carry almost everything else by Bose. So home I went, and bought both of those items online.

Watched some of the NFL Combine, highly annoyed that the commentators insisted on running not a commentary but a private conversation between them going off on all kinds of tangents. I wanted to hear the action on the field, not them. Even worse than Sunday football games.

Also watched an episode of Shark Tank in which the investors all consistently refused to put money into projects which had not already sold a huge amount of product. The theme these days is "I just want to make money from your proven idea" and not "I want to help your new idea make both of us money". Pansies.

And another Elementary. I absolutely hate, despise, am reviled by two things about this show:
1. They have named the leading characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
2. The fellow playing Holmes. Jonny Lee Miller.

The show is a ripoff of Lie To Me, which I thought deserved more than just the 3 seasons (it was killed last year). Tim Roth was brilliant as its star, and the fact that both men are Britts is a major clue of how stolen the idea was. Miller has no charm, acts like a wooden automaton, and speaks way too articulately for someone who is supposedly recovering from years of heavy drug use. I like many of the supporting characters, Lucy Liu is miscast but a good enough actress to not let that get in the way. Aidan Quinn is very good as the skeptical police captain and Jon Michael Hill holds up well as the detective usually saddled with Holmes as a consultant. The story format is a lot like The Mentalist, usually starts with a murder, which Holmes almost single-handedly solves by seeing clues no one else has the skill to observe. Hmmm. Maybe that's the show it is really ripping off. Hmmm.

Somewhere in there I finished highlighting my part in the Brigadoon vocal score, added the latest set of vocal parts to the web site, took out garbage, did laundry, ran the dishwasher and made pot pie for lunch. Safeway brand's latest, pretty good.

At about 5 I turned on the Oscar red carpet show, on channel 7, ABC. I'll be going to an Oscars party at the home of one of my theater friends in 15 minutes. Except Janice called. She is home, and can't get any audio on her TV. She insists the Oscars are on channel 3. She says the football game was fine, so what is wrong? What football game - there are no football games. The Superbowl. That was almost a month ago. She says her TV is saying ABC is on channel 3. I have no idea what is going on, so I tell her to call Comcast, which is what she should have done in the first place. Well actually she should have gone to an Oscars party as she had done for the past 25 years. Way later I figured out that she uses the TV mostly to watch DVDs, so she probably forgot to push the button on the DVD player to use the cable feed as the source.

So, a little late getting to the party, but in time for the first award. There were about a dozen people, including two from the Anything Goes cast. The hostess went all out, there was a lot of food and cheese and cookies. A red carpet from the door to the livingroom. From the start I couldn't hear the show because half the guests were shouting quips across the room, and the TV didn't stand a chance. I took lots of photos for her FB page, but after the Les Mis cast was shouted down I left. Totally appalling that theater people would be that rude to performers. Got home in time for best actor, director and film. I disagreed with all three, but at least I got to hear the speeches. Also in time for the In Memoriam which would not have been audible at all over the snarks and shouting by the riff raff at the party. I will have to catch the best supporting actress and best actress on youtube.

Made a small dinner, did not eat much at the party (it was mostly Mexican food). Posted the party pix to FB and fond some cat pictures to post to Flickr.

Plans for tomorrow:
Rehearsals (music)


Jan. 20th, 2013 02:34 am
howeird: (Default)
I was up way late, slept till 11:30 this morning. Kaan tried to head butt me awake a couple of times. He can be so sweet.

Most of the afternoon I worked on processing the latest scanned slides. These were mostly ones I had developed in Thailand, 1975-77, when air conditioning was working if it got the room down to 90F. When the developer is too warm, the photos are more grainy and the colors are dull. When the fixer is too warm, it doesn't fix the colors and they go purple. I'm talking about Ektachrome, which has a bit of blue sensitivity. On Agfa and Kodachrome they tend to go more red/brown.

I went with the cheap service which doesn't do any corrections, and mostly doesn't bother to clean the slides. And there were about a dozen where they didn't bother to check that the slide was falling out of its holder.

Photoshop does a decent job of color correction with a single keystroke, and sometimes that also corrects the brightness and contrast. Sometimes I need to apply the "lighten shadows" or "midtones brighter" widgets. Some needed saturation boosted, but I didn't figure that out till I was almost done.

At about box 8 I saw the time and wondered why my phone's calendar app had not alerted me. It was time to go to Saratoga for the South Bay Musical Theater annual crab feed. They had fewer ticket sales this year - usually they sell out well before, but there were still tickets available at the door. But as usual, the chairs were packed way too close together, and by about 6:45 all the seats were filled. There was enough crab, but not enough to sell leftovers, which was a big reason I went this year. Boo. Hiss. The entertainment was a gypsy band, sort of. They took American standards and played them super-fast mariachi style, but without brass or accordions. The leader stood out front with his guitar, which he played well and knows it. The rest of the band - a drummer, an electric bass and maybe a keyboard or another guitar - looked bored. It sounded great if you didn't listen to the tunes. When they played "My Way" as a fast tango I almost lost it.

At about 8, the MC got up and tried to do some jokes, and then the raffles and some of the high-price auctions, but the sound system only reached the second row.  It was sad. I went to have an other go at the chocolate fountain. This year's was smaller, and the stuff to dip was less diverse. Marshmallows, rice crispies treats, alleged brownie-ettes, and strawberries. Could have used more fruits.

I schmoozed with some friends, managed to avoid the producers from the last show of theirs I was in, and bailed after my ex-wife (who was one of the servers) told me there were not going to be leftovers for sale.

Had two items to buy at Target on the way home: wooden/bamboo chopsticks and a can opener. Found the chopsticks right away, but I was shocked - shocked, I tell you! - that The French Store not only had no electric can openers for sale, but none of the manual openers (there were 6 kinds of those) included a triangular punch for opening can tops for liquids. Two of them had bottle cap openers, so I bought one of those.

Home, back to processing the slides. Got done around 11:30.

Costco names the files with the 9-digit order number followed by -SLD and then the 3-digit box number (I sent them 10 this time) followed by the 4-digit slide number (in the order they scanned them, since I didn't have them in any real order). So I did some magic with Word and Excel and the command line to rename them.  So something like

Much easier on the eyes.

Flickr hides the "permanently delete a batch" button, which caused me some grief when I reamed the previous set and wanted to replace the old set with those. I'll mess with that tomorrow.

Meanwhile the latest set is up:
Click here

It is a hodgepodge. If something sparks a question, feel free to comment.

Plans for tomorrow:
Rename and reload the first set of slides
Make Kourabiethes
Take them to the Brigadoon potluck/read-through. My ex at the crab feed told me about a production of that musical which she was in where everyne got sick, and they nicknamed it Brig-of-Doom.
howeird: (Default)

When I got home late Friday night after the show, I uninstalled the Comcast freebie version of Norton Anti-virus, and installed the company's freebie enterprise version. After I uninstalled the first one, a little note showed up embedded in the lower right hand corner of the screen saying the build number, and it was not a genuine Microsoft product. Outlook gave the same error when I opened it, and closed the program. The instructions on how to troubleshoot this on Microsoft's support site all led to a page saying "pay $115 for a genuine copy".  I finally gave up at about 2 am.

First thing in the morning, which was about 9:30, I called MSFT customer service, and a fellow named Reuben with a horribly thick Hispanic accent asked all the right questions and few of the wrong ones, and after hitting the same dead ends I had hit, we did an RDP session and he did some things on his end with my product ID and license key, which let him activate the copy and fix whatever glitch was causing the problem. It took 45 minutes, but it solved both the Windows and Outlook issues.

So knowing that my machine was not going to shut itself off or something, I attacked the 2013 calendar project. I had about 40 photos, and could only use 13. It was not quite that bad, because some were sets or pairs of photos out of which I knew I could only use one. Like which one of the 3 Thailand eagles photos, the the two angles of the same roller derby girl, or the two angles of the longboat in front of the limestone island. In the end, I narrowed it down to only two of the Pangnga Bay photos. I could have done a whole calendar of that one trip. One of my sisters decided "no snakes" which took away three photos. And the picture of the shuttle piggybacked on the 747 was definitely the cover.

The routine for these calendars is the image needs to be signed (I have a macro for that) resized to 3300x2200 pixels and wrapped into the middle of a 3450x2700 pixel frame (I created a new macro for that). Then a caption is added to the bottom of each frame, which has to be done by hand.

I uploaded all the photos to Costco, and used their reshuffling feature to move the ones I liked most into the first 13 slots. Somewhere along the way I decided not to use any of the close-up portraits. I also wanted a mix of locations, not just Thailand. Ironically three of the winners were shot at the Thai temple in Fremont. I created a calendar from the top 13, added some Jewish holidays and put my Flickr URL at or near the last day of each month, and dropped it into my cart. They should be done in a week, but I won't start sending them out till next month.

While I was doing that I also did laundry, and even put it all away.

I watched the end of the Stanford game, took some boxes to the dumpster which is way overflowing. They need to collect twice as often as they do.

The music and text for Brigadoon callbacks finally arrived late afternoon. The song is too high for me, the text I can do but it will take some work to nail down a Scottish accent.

On my to-do list was get litterbox refills and nail clippers at Petco, some bullion cubes and Klondike bars from Safeway, but first go to the container store on Santana Row for something to replace the linen closets which I don't have in this apartment. That turned out to be a disaster. It took half an hour to get close enough to see they were not letting anyone else into the parking garage, and traffic was at a crawl. SJ Police only had one officer on hand, he was making traffic breaks on one of the main roads so people who could not find parking in the garage could exit onto the street. They needed two or three more at the main intersection, and maybe one of those portable electronic signs a couple of blocks away warning people off.

Petco was a win. They now have a newly remodeled SPCA adoption center in the back, so I took a look, and hung around in the adult cat room. There was one gorgeous cat I really liked, except he seems to have the same hands-off personality as Domino. And I don't think I really want another cat.

They only had one litterbox refill, and the price went from $16 to $23. Online it's $13.50 each for a 6-pack. They had about a dozen brands and models of clippers, I bought the house brand which looked like what I lost in the move.

Did not find the Safeway, GPS couldn't figure out which across the street it was. So I headed toward home, thinking I would stop off at a massage place I saw on the way there. I did, nice newly remodeled place, pretty lobby, new massage tables. Average massage. Went next door to the Country Inn for dinner. Very slow service, the soup and main dish had obviously sat out for a while before the waitress picked them up. Okay ribs, veggies were 95% broccoli and cauliflower  :-( rice was short grained and cold on top, lukewarm underneath. Dessert was a winner, and arrived quickly - huge-ass Napoleon, with real pastry top & bottom and a ton of custard in between. Only the one layer, but I'll suffer.

On the way home, a block away is a Lowe's, I stopped in and found a light assemble-it-yourself plastic rack similar to the one I have for T-shirts, and bought one. It is now set up in the bedroom, with much duct tape (silver on the back, white on the front) where I put my foot through the base shelf whilst pushing the stand-offs in place. Now I need to get the stuff off the floor in the office & livingroom onto the rack. Maybe tomorrow.

Plans for tomorrow:

Watch football
Look at my lines
Load up the rack & break down the boxes it frees up
Watch football, maybe at Hooters

Home, watched Oregon clobber Cal and UCLA walk all over Wazoo, who made a good run at the end for a comeback. 

Made myself some chocolate milk, and discovered Domino likes lactose-free milk.

howeird: (Danvers Sings)
One more performance to go. Tonight's audience was mostly dead. Few laughs, and the ones we got were weak. They woke up and exploded at the end of each major dance number, but that's mostly because they are amazed at how long the dance numbers are, and that everyone is still vertical. I am too. After the show, greeting the people as they file out, they were very low key, even the many friends of cast members. This is not too strange for a Friday crowd, they have mostly worked all day, and their minds are elsewhere.

Final show Saturday night. I am so looking forward to not being stuck in this rut anymore.

Home, found the box with the video of the last time I did the show, and after some driver installation got the USB capture widget to work, and recorded the big duet I had. The director of the current show plucked the original version from the 1967 or 1935 script, which is a trio. More verses, and not as well written. That show was a disaster too, but in totally different ways. I really enjoyed playing my part by the time we got onstage. Not so much this show.

There's a line in the show where the leading lady asks the leading man why he has a fried egg on his jacket pocket. It's a school crest. The brilliant costume person gave him a dark blue college patch, total FAIL. So I have made him a fried egg patch using Photoshop and a T-shirt transfer. It looks pretty good. He will laugh. The leading lady will laugh, but I think this will happen backstage because he probably won't be stupid/brave enough to wear it onstage.

The company picnic photos have been on the PC since 9/19, I finally tweaked them and uploaded them to Flickr. And sent a share note to my boss. The rest of the group gets to see them Monday.

Work held a surprise. The automation script I'd maybe finished yesterday worked without a hitch, so it has been sent to Automation Guy. The rest of the day was spent doing paperwork around the tests which cannot be automated.

Lunch was Agape, a Greek grill. The seafood kabob was okay, but pretty dry. Some day they will learn to not put the hot meal on top of the salad.

Plans for tomorrow:
Open more boxes, put more things away
Recycle some boxes and wrapping paper
One final performance, stupidly followed by striking the set. There is a cast party Sunday, but I'm not interested.
howeird: (The Gov - Nightshirt)
Writing at around 1 am.

Work was pretty frustrating, the automation program issues stumped Automation Guy, but I figured out three of the four biggies on my own. I may even finish the project tomorrow.

Lunch was a mocha at Starbucks, lots and lots of eye candy, and the loud foursome of old Chinese men left shortly after I sat down.

Home for a bit after work, and there are two minor frustrations at the new place. Parking stalls are too narrow, and the mailboxes are on the other side of the complex from my apartment. There are no non-reserved parking spaces near them and the choices are to walk all around the complex through the sidewalk-deprived driveway/parking lot,  or take a winding path past the playground. Not so bad when it isn't raining....

Credit union and two brokerages sent change of address confirmations. As did Allstate. Also from Allstate, the timing being very suspicious what with both the A's and the Giants in the race for the World Series, was my earthquake insurance renewal notice.

Got to the theater a tad bit early, a total waste of time except for getting a parking space.

My cold is all gone, but I'm still coughing. It's a dry cough, residual, it will go away in a few years.

The show was pretty good, but the audience was unpredictable. There were people in the audience singing along. That's rude. They laughed at all the same places for my dialog (I only have a few lines at the start of Act I) but some very funny lines were not laughed at, and some of the more difficult to catch jokes got major yuks. The volume was low until the ends of the acts. We got our first Standing O, much credit goes to the front row who were all friends of the dance captain (she's the assistant choreographer but also a principal dancer) who leapt to their feet before the bows started. Little by little pockets of audience stood until everyone was on their feet when leading lady took her bow.

Two more shows to do. It saddens me that I am looking forward to being rid of this show. That's one more theater group I won't work with again. And not just by my choice - it turns out that I wasn't called back for the third show of the season (the second show passed on me because I wouldn't be back from Thailand until the day after auditions). Third show did not even bother to send the usual "thanks but no thanks" email. I see they pre-cast the two leads. Both are very good choices, but I don't like pre-casting. They have not announced the rest of the cast on the web page yet, though I hear it has been chosen.

Stopped by Lucky's on the way home to get bananas, pot pies and a knee brace.

Plans for tomorrow:
Anything Goes
howeird: (Default)
Finally. Between the move and the show, I have had no *$s time. The unpacking has gotten to the "who gives a crap?" point, all the crucial things are in their place, everything else can take its time. Today's show was a dreaded matinée. 89F outside, bright bright sunshine, but on stage it was about 75, and th green room and dressing rooms were positively Arctic. Unfortunately for the dancers, "Gabriel" was not active today. We have a song "Blow, Gabriel, blow" which mistakenly refers to the trumpet-playing angel (Gideon was the one with the horn, Gabriel only read dreams). Anyhow, when the air conditioning is on for backstage, this powerful vent blows cool air out the back wall of the theater, between the theater and the trailers which are green room and dressing room.

The nice thing about an afternoon show is we get out in time to go home and catch Sunday Night Football, have dinner and relax some.

The show was so-so. Three or four people have colds, including me, and the extreme temperature changes had an effect. The audience was not very responsive compared to last night's, and I blame matinée syndrome for that. But the finale got a huge applause, and when we greeted people coming out of the theater they were very happy. One fellow in his 80s sought out the tap dancers, apparently he had been a tapper in his day.

No more matinées, we close next Saturday. Thursday show will make up for that. I dislike Thursday shows because traffic is horrible, and the audience is unpredictable. Sometimes we get lots of tired people not looking forward to Friday, and sometimes we get theater buddies whose only chance to see us between their own show is Thursdays.

I made a partial connection which I have been trying to find for a couple of years. J, who was a crush in the Man of La Mancha cast at this theater with me in 2008, had been Miss Santa Clara and I had heard she is still active on the pageant as staff or volunteer. One of the dancers in this show was Miss Santa Clara 2008, and another is in the 2013 pageant. They both know J, and gave me her new (I assume married) name. They took dance lessons from her. She may be in NYC now, or not. I was not able to find her online under the new name, I must not have gotten it right. But I have enough clues now to see what she's up to.

So, home from the show, I watched some of the Giants/Eagles game with Domino walking back and forth across my lap and boxes. Finally got hungry, decided not to unpack any post & pans, and went to Barn Thai, but they were closed. Planning to hit Starbucks after dinner, I tried Tomatina at the Mercado, which I thought was a Tomatoes clone, but turns out to be an Italian place. Waited at the door for 5 miutes for the host to show up, then waited 10 more at my table before walking out and going across the parking lot to Yo Yo Sushi for tempura. Excellent, fast service, good food, though not what I really wanted tonight. And WTF, they had some college game from last week on TV, not the NFL one.

Starbucks, played on FB a bit, they are getting ready to close even though there's still 50 minutes left.

Well, I need to get home and sleep. 9 am team meeting tomorrow.
howeird: (Pocari Sweat)
"Dayquil by day, Nyquil by night" was the mantra when I was an over-worked under-paid front line phone tech support contractor. No work = no pay. This time it was for Anything Goes plus all the packing I have been doing in the show's off-hours. This morning I was not quite awake when I boxed up all the T-shirts, jeans shorts and sweatshirts which were on the racks in the bedroom. This evening's amusement was packing some pillows, which were in those "space bags". They had been vacuum sealed many months ago, but were about 3/4 back to their normal size. I re-vacuumed them, put them in  a box, taped the box closed and while I was watching the Ravens make a miracle come-back against the Patriots, I heard a pop behind me. It was the pillows re-expanding and bending the boxes.

The show was pretty low-energy all around, which is what comes from the combination of a very late cast party for many last night, matinée doldrums, and an all-seniors full house. There was some tremendous applause and cheering at the end of each act, but not a lot of laughter during the show. And of course this is the show they chose to video. :-(

Green room talk confirmed my analysis that all the dance numbers are way too long. I think the cheers are more for the dancers' stamina than anything else.

After the show we meet and greet, and we got a lot of compliments on our voices. People had a good time, which is what matters most.

Anyhow, the last 3 days have been spent drinking lots of liquids, sucking on a lot of cough drops and consuming the recommended dosages of Dayquil. Tonight I've taken half a 24-hour Claritin™. We'll see what it does.

Plans for tomorrow:
Lunchtime: sign in to the new apartment, get the keys, plan what goes where.
Home, collect the cat food/water/litterbox, etc and bring them and Domino to the new place. She will be parked in one of the bathrooms overnight and during the move Tuesday.
Pack some more.
Try to sleep
howeird: (sapphire)
The best thing about being in an over-rehearsed show is after opening weekend you get at least 3 days off each week, sometimes 4. This week we have no Thursday show, so I will be going to Milpitas to see good buddy (we did a few shows together in Menlo Park in the 80s) and amazing actor Jeremy Koerner play Cyrano at Calaveras Theater.

Tonight I went to BASFA for the first time in ages, but many of The Usual Suspects bailed. It was fun anyway. [ profile] kevin_standlee said his ride on the  California Zephyr was the longest route Amtrak has, but I could have sworn the Sunset Limited was longer, going from LA to Florida. But looking at the current routes, it only goes to New Orleans and takes 6 hours less than the Emeryville to Chicago run. My last train ride to NOLA was when I worked for Sony in October 2003, and I got the impression at the time it was not the last stop, but I guess it was. They were heavily advertising the "Auto Train", which does go to the Orlando area, but not from the west. I took the Zephyr to Chicago in 2002, to connect to the City of New Orleans, then back on the very boring Sunset Ltd. Or maybe I have the years reversed. Yeah, I think so.

There were way too many auction items, and as a result the collectors' items books and magazines I brought did not go for nearly as much as they were worth. A gift book from my sister went for more, as did my Chicon7 art show program book. :-(  I'm glad [ profile] maurinestarkey didn't mention that all the participating artists got 2 for free.

Work was good today, I used the new PC for what they gave it to me for, to capture some streams of scrambled video (to test out box's descrambler software). I just need the next build to run the tests against.

Lunchtime started with a trip to Lowe's for a Y connector to replace one for the shower which broke before my last apartment move. Missed having a hand-held attachment only once in a while. Also got another fireproof mini-safe. There was too much stuff after my last trip for the two I already have to hold and get the lids closed. While re-sorting the three boxes, I found an envelope from 2008 with enough Thai money that, had I remembered it was there, I would not have needed to buy baht prior to my trip at rip-off prices. I added the stash from this trip, so all the loot is in the same box. The new one is also waterproof, so all the papers went in there (passports, car title, rude note from my first grade teacher to my Mom...).  One got all the foreign currency (lots of coins too) and the third has all the US Mint quarters which came out after the 50 states series. The 50 states series collection has its own box, not fireproof.

I also pried the hugely heavy safe which has my sapphire collection out from its nook on the carpet below the shelves in the office closet. It took the claw of a hammer, because this one has no handles. The carpet was not cooperative either. The plan was to transfer the stones to a standard metal file box which I emptied a few days ago, but I got distracted. I found out years ago that most of those sapphires (all star sapphires) are not worth much, having been heat treated and infused to deepen the color and enhance the star. If anyone wants to buy them for cheap for costume jewelry, drop me a line. Photos are here. All the dark blue and dark red ones are heated, the light red and light blue I'm keeping, they are natural. I'm not sure about the grey ones, probably treated. They are mostly between 1 and 3 carats.

Went online and paid the final week's rent here. Auto-pay stopped with the September bill.

Put together one of the U-haul file boxes, and it looks big enough for the whole drawer on my deep cabinet. We'll see tomorrow.

Apartment inspector will come through tomorrow after 1, but I have to work. I'll be at the move-out inspection, though.

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Default)
But now I'm starting to feel like it is past my bedtime.

This morning I was so sleep deprived I emailed in that I would be late, stayed in bed with my eyes mostly closed while I called Comcast for the 4th time (plus two trips to their office) to get the second Tivo's cable card fully authorized. This card did have actual Comcast data on it, so I was able to provide a host ID and card ID to the nice man, and in about 45 seconds ESPN showed up on the TV. He was surprised it was there so soon. That was after 10 minutes of punching digits on the phone and waiting on hold. Hint: each time you enter another menu level, they try to sell you something. Hit 0 and it will abort the marketing crap and move to the next prompt.

So now I have the lovely Tivo GUI and all my Comcast digital channels. Yay.
Got dressed and drugged and out by a little before 10, went for a haircut, then to Costco where I picked up the first DVD and the 200 slides which were scanned onto it. Looked at them at work while other things were rebooting, and was very surprised to see a couple of ct photos and a handful from Tel Aviv beach in 1978. Or maybe it was still 1977. They did a goo job of cleaning the slides, and they all are in focus. They did not do any color correction, so before I post these they will need some serious photoshopping.

Yesterday I received surprise email from Ed Jilek, who was in the Peace Corps with me. We were nextdoor neighbors my second year - he taught and lived at Prince of Songkhla U which was at the south end of the Rubber Research Center's plantation. I photographed his wedding, which was at the local US consulate, and he had found one of the photos on my Flickr page during a web search for himself (now that he is retired he has time to play online). Coincidentally, the whole set of pix is on the DVD, so I'll make up a special disk to send to him & his wife Noi, whom I knew as Umaporn. Because she was a department head, and they are not called by their nicknames, especially on formal occasions. Soooooooo excellent to hear from Ed!
Work PC is now fully configured, and I was able to tweak an encoder to send the right audio signal, which let me record a couple of scrambled videos which our latest box can unscramble. And I did some other neat stuff. It's a very fast machine, 64-bit Win7, I don't know how much RAM but probably a lot since it's the company's standard engineer's model.
Found the latest updates for the Clarion in-dash unit. It needs two micro-SD cards and a USB drive. Tomorrow, I hope.
Preview performance, once again they ran the whole year-long big dance number. I expect they will do this every night. It HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE that. It effs up my prep for the show. It effs up everyone's prep for the show.

This was out first time with an audience. When I peeked through the gap in the curtain and saw only about 1/3 of a house, randomly scattered, I was disappointed. But they were LOUDly appreciative from the get-go, and the applause and shouts at the end of the big numbers hit me like a wall of sound. It felt like a Seahawks game.

They absolutely loved the show. Okay, so it helps that these are all friends of the cast who got in for free, but still. Looking online, there are only 3 center section seats left for the gala grand opening, and maybe a dozen on the left and right edges of the side sections. Walk-ups ought to sell out the house. This will also be a friendly audience. The big test will be the Sunday matinee - mostly retired folks who know their musical theater, have seen this show a few times before, and won't be yelling and clapping just to support their friends.

After the show they made us stay so they could give awards. All the cast members I would have given the Gypsy Robe to had already won it once (I guess this theater won't let anyone repeat) so it went to someone who didn't really deserve it. They gave the tech award to the stage manager, who mostly phoned it in this time. There were two others on tech staff who were more deserving, IMHO. Newbie award went to a great guy - come to think of it, I would have given him the robe as well.

Then there were photos. Taken from the booth. Cast, then cast&staff then add the crew & band.

Went on  Safeway run, the GPS sent me to a mall which used to have one, but now it's an REI or something. Next choice was the one closest to work. Bagger has never payed Tetris. There's a Lucky's much closer, but they don't have the mint chip Klondike bars. Main reason was to buy some baby wipes. I bought a big bag of Huggies brand, which looked like it had two or three containers inside. Got it home, and it was a FAIL. One big pile of wipes, fan folded into a 1-foot-high stack. And they did a lousy job of removing makeup.   
Oddball dinner. Rice pudding + cinnamon, sourdough baguette slices with cheese-n-bacon squirts, corn nibblets on the cob. Klondike bars.
Plans for tomorrow:
Change the litterboxes
Update the Clarion
Bake some cookies, and freeze them for next week's shows
U-haul, buy boxes. I have lots of tape and markers from the last move
CVS, buy better baby wipes
Spend some Starbucks time with the laptop
6:30 call for the show.
howeird: (The Gov - Arms Wide)
Yes, I slept till 10, and yes, I had already showered and put in a load of laundry, but when the young woman reading the news on KLIV said it was 11:33 and not 10:33, I went around the apartment checking the Internet radio, cell phone and cable box (all get their time automagically from a reliable source) to see if maybe I missed the end of Daylight Savings Time. Nope, they all said 10:33. A minute later the nice lady announced "the new time is 10:34", or maybe she said "news". Either way.

Last night's tech rehearsal was a huge mess. The SM has managed to find one crew person. Another was brought in by one of the leading ladies, but apparently this victim was not really interested in being on the crew, and sat the whole thing out. The SM had put together an assignment sheet, using the cast as crew, which he had pulled out of his ass the night before, without regard to who was physically unable to move a huge set piece, or who was needed in that scene (or the one before it) and could not be crew for that bit. So there were a lot of changes, usually not made until after a FAIL, so many of the moves were done several times, but only once with the people who will actually make them.

I only had two assignments. One was to "take the bar sign offstage". We don't have a bar sign. Yes we do, he said, pointing to a HUGE flat propped up against the back wall. It will be on a track, he said, all I have to do is push it offstage along the track. But we have no tracks which go offstage, they all end at the edge of the stage. And if we did, they would block people from getting onstage.

The other assignment was to help put a huge set piece back into a place it was pulled out from earlier. Even though he had no reason to do so, he asked how I felt about also moving it out. I said I was not keen on that idea. It would mean that I would have to hang around backstage for an extra 10-15 minutes instead of being able to sit in the dressing room during one of the few times in Act 1 I don't have to be backstage. And he didn't bother to tell the guy he wanted me to replace that he was being replaced, so the guy did the move, and the SM yelled at me. I yelled back.

To add to the fun, the co-producer who had been off scuba diving in Cozumel was back, and he was all over the set, not volunteering to help on crew, making inane suggestions. Part of his job is to recruit crew, and failing that he should be stepping up to help on crew. Along with the other co-producer who is 6'8" and would be insanely helpful as a crew member with this huge set.

And then after we were "done" at 9, scuba boy had the nerve to lecture us on how tech is not fun. Shit. Tech can be fun, if it's organized, planned, and there is actual crew. And if the set was not built for Brobdingnagians.

So tonight is the birthday of a friend, and he is having a small dinner party at NoLA to which I have just been invited. I think this constitutes a family emergency, and will be texting my absence to the SM later this afternoon.
howeird: (Default)
Didn't do much at work today. Kept busy but except for filing one major bug, everything was treading water. Had my 1-on-1, we ran out of things to talk about 10 minutes early.

Lunchtime I went to Costco and dropped off 200 slides to be hand-cleaned, scanned and put onto DVDs. They will make a slide show out of them, but that's garbage, I just want the JPEGs. If the quality is good enough I'll start bringing in all my old slides. To start off they got some of my earliest (3/75) and last (6/77) Peace Corps photos. Some of them look like they were developed yesterday, probably the ones which were processed in the US, and some are pretty badly faded, ones which were boiled in Thai developer with dead fixer. It will be a month before I get them back.

Home, there was a very heavy box (cat tree to assemble later) and a note stuck in the door from the apartment, claiming their records show my renters' insurance runs out 9/24. That's actually the date I told them I woud be moving. My renters' insurance expires on 1/26, and the fact that they did not ask for updated paperwork last January tells me how effed up their system is. I called the office and yelled at them.

That left me just enough time to get to rehearsals. Very little progress had been made on the set in 2 days, one set of raw wood "railings" was installed, leaving six more not done. They moved the lights above the balcony somewhat, but it's still not safe to be up there. The AD did re-block me to ground level, which is why I stayed for the rest of the rehearsal, which consisted of micro-rehearsing the dance corps and wasting 2.5 hours of my time.

And then they changed the "armography" on us again. And tried to teach it by number, when it is stuff we do while we are singing. I need words, not numbers. Better still, I need to not be doing this crap.

Leading lady had a total melt down about 2 hours into the dance stuff. She was still crying half an hour later when we were finally allowed to escape. She is no up to this part in the first place, and the director has her doing 15 minutes of singing and very heavy duty dancing. On Broadway, the person playing this part does not dance, she's a belter and only sings. She has a set of 4 "Angels" as her primary dancers, and a whole dance corps of tappers. After watching the title song done three times with frequent stops because the director had forgotten her promise to not micro-manage it, I am totally bored. It's the stupidest choreography ever. Anyhow, leading lady is not that good a singer, too fat to do this much intensive dancing, and was pressured insanely to be off-book a month before we open. She is a very nice person, and doesn't deserve this. None of us do. Well, maybe the dance captain does - she's also too fat to be doing these steps, but she knows how to count to 8, which makes her qualified.

I should modify that. I know at least three superb tap dancers who tilt the scales at 300 or so. They have terrifically powerful legs, a great sense of balance and where their body is, and a sense of rhythm. Our leading lady and dance captain are not in this league. And they probably only peg the scales at 160.

Plans for tomorrow:

May 2017

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