Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Must Be Out Of My Mind

Back in September, just before SHR:L opened, the building manager and I exchanged words.  I then had a little hissy fit and swore I'd never work in the Barn as long as that person was in charge.  Well, RLT's group managed to talk me into sticking with the final show I'd committed to, on the condition that said manager stayed out of my path.  This has worked, tho it's only been two days...

Anyway, A few weeks ago the group finds themselves short a Stage Manager.  Well, heck... It's a small space.  There can't be that much.  I can call cues.  I just need some help getting things organized so it'll run smoothly.  The group's SM Extraordinaire, DP (heh, sounds kinky...) who is unavailable to commit to the run, is available to help get me organized.  God bless America - I may be able to pull this off.  DP, you are my savior! 

Oh, and there is a spot in the script where we need an off-stage, female voice.  Well, I'm sitting right next to the microphone.  I make the phone ring.  I've already executed the light cue.  Okay, I can read the lines.  WTF do you mean I have to have a NE/Maine accent?  What does that sound like?  It's really easy for me to pick up a southern twang, or a Wisconsin tone, but Maine?  I'll have to work on that.  There is a character in the show that has the accent the whole time - I sound nothing like him.  8-/

So I'm stage managing, designing and running lights, and providing the off-stage voice.  I hadn't read the whole script until last week (something not entirely unusual), however my light cues and lines are set and fine.  What do you mean we don't have a script with sound cues?  Nowhere?  We just have the recordings, but we have no idea where in the script the cues are supposed to come?  So last night we're going basically from cue to cue, and marking where the sound cues come along.  I think we've really got the timing down.  The levels sounded pretty good.  Now we just have to pull it all together.

Did I mention that when I did the light cues, I didn't have a set?  Well, that made things interesting.  I have a porch light - it's hung in the hallway instead of over the porch.  Eh... I can move the instrument.  The heart attack special is on the wrong side of the stage.  D'oh!  I have a painted drop depicting the view out the window that has no light on it at all.  The ghost lights are too bright, as are the warmers.  The washes look fantastic, and the colors are perfect.  Yeah, they're the same colors I used for SHR:L.  Thank you to the designers who were between my shows for not touching anything.  :-)

Let's not forget, that between September and now, not only did my gall bladder self-destruct, but I took a job that's not so local.  My evening commute went from 30 mins to a minimum of 90 mins.  And that's on a good day....

Friday, November 12, 2010

We Have A Marine!

Ginormous congratulations go out to my step-son Mr.Blondie Jr. #3 for graduating from USMC boot camp!

(My scanner is crap. )

Mr. Blondie did an awesome slide show from our trip to his graduation.  Go here.

Missing In Action? I think so...

Hmmm... Last time I checked in was August.  A ton has happened since then and I've not gotten around to blogging about the stuff I'd care to share with the rest of the world.  I am going to make the effort to get better about that.  I hear you dancing in the streets now...  LOL!  I'll try to post things chronologically too, since that's just the way I roll...  Smooches!

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Gadget?

I love Sharpie.  Markers, highlighters, pens, whatever.  Sharpie ROCKS.  Their latest toy?  A liquid pencil!

Da-rool.  I must try one of these.  The story can be found here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Who'da Thunk?

I just received word that I was nominated for Best Lighting Design for a show I worked on earlier this year.  This is incredible.  There were eight shows to choose from and five were chosen.  Were the three not chosen really that bad where I'd be in the running?  Here's an outline of how my work on that show (RH), and the one I was already committed to (FP), went.

Fri 3/26: Rcvd call - please help w/RH
Mon 3/29: FP prod mtg
Wed 3/31: View run of act I - RH
Thur 4/1: View run of act II - RH
Fri 4/2: FP Tech
Sat 4/3: FP set move in, RH Tech
Sun 4/4: FP Q2Q, RH write basic cues
Mon 4/5: FP Tech Run
Tues 4/6: FP Tech Run
Wed 4/7: FP Tech Run
Thur 4/8: FP Preview
Fri 4/9: FP Show
Sat 4/10: RH Tech (day), FP Show (eve)
Sun 4/11: FP Show
Mon 4/12: RH Tech Run
Tue 4/13: RH Tech Run
Wed 4/14: RH Tech Run
Thur 4/15: FP Brush Up (RH preview - did not attend)
Fri 4/16: FP Show (RH opens - did not attend)
Sat 4/17: FP Show (RH show - did not attend)
Sun 4/18: FP Show (RH show - did not attend)

Let's not forget all the Dr appts etc from having totaled my car a few weeks before, plus the health scare from Dec...  There was one more weekend of FP, and two more weekends of RH.  I did finally see RH on closing night.  I really didn't have time to ensure that RH was the quality I wanted and it deserved.  The Dir, being an LD himself, said he was fine with what I managed to pull together.  Not knowing him very well, I was never sure if he was telling me what I wanted to hear or not.  Either way, I told him he was more than welcome to adjust/add/subtract cues etc as he saw necessary. 

Then I hear today my show has been nominated for Best Lighting Design.  Really?  I mean, I understand that there were eight shows the group did.  Of those eight, the Board of Directors picked five.  So the odds are pretty good.  Regardless, it's very cool.  I'll have to work on my speech: "It's an honor just to be nominated.  The other LD's put a lot more work and thought into their projects than I had the opportunity to, and there's no question in my mind that XXX deserved the win.  Congrats to XXX!"  

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Really Enjoyed Myself!

Okay, maybe I overreacted a little.  A LITTLE.  I'm still disappointed that I didn't work on the show, but at the same time, I think it was a blessing in disguise. The cast and the orchestra were just fantastic. It was obvious that they put in a tremendous amount of work.  I was so impressed with Eva and Che.  They were very strong, passionate, and had a great dynamic.  Once the sound guy had his issues under control, the show was incredibly well balanced.  I surprised myself in that I remembered every single word in the show.  It's been over 10 years since I've listened to the soundtrack, and I still knew the entire show.  It was hard not to sing along...  :-)

And now for the reason I was so paranoid...  Had I been working on this show, you would have read about the following on a daily basis, and it would really be clear why I'm such a PIA sometimes.

The set and the lights - wow.  Where to begin...  Let's start with the set.

The set did nothing to accent the show.  It was this gigantic wall with a balcony in 5 feet in the air, center stage, and an archway underneath.  Otherwise, gigantic pink wall.  Yes, pink.  Not pale pink.  MAGENTA.  I might have a sweater that color, but wow.  Apparently it started out fire engine red.  40 feet wide by 12 feet tall - that's a lot of red.  When repainted, it was baby pink.  As soon as the lights hit it, the audience was blind and you couldn't see the cast.  So it ended up magenta.  On the far left and far right sides of the stage were two video screens.  They were different sizes and hung unevenly.  Plus, the projectors were off cycle.  When you wanted the slides to be the same, they were off by one.  The set distracted more from the show than it enhanced.  It was awkward and huge and magenta.

Now the lighting....

I have a lot of respect for the lighting designer.  As difficult as he can be to get along with, the quality of his work is impressive.  He'll use every instrument in all possible capacities to give you a beautiful show with great moments.  Then there was this production.

Take almost everything I just said and throw it out the window.  Every instrument was used.  It's hard to light someone who is 10 feet in the air when you have an 11.5 foot ceiling.  I get all that.  The wash was pretty even.  Other than that, there was nothing spectacular about this design.

In place of spotlights, he either used a general wash or a moving light.  I found the moving lights more distracting than a spot.  When a spot comes on it's terribly obvious and is expected to move with the actor.  But the moving lights that were used were part of the wash.  They were not sharp focused, the intensity was the same as the rest of the instruments, and were the same color as the wash.  Most people wouldn't notice it move, but I did and it was annoying.  It looked like something was wrong.  The wash colors also seemed dull.  Part of that may have to do with the set changing colors three times the week before they opened.  However, changing gel is no sweat.  The looks seemed gray and uninspiring.  Rainbow High could have had all sorts of bright colors and changes.  It didn't.

This show screams for dramatic lighting changes.  There was not one change that I would consider dramatic.  Toward the end of the show there was one bump with the orchestra that seemed dim and slow.  Looked more like a late cue than anything else.  I went in expecting dramatic side lighting, unique looks for each scene, intense changes with the music and movement of the cast...  I got nothin'.  Talk about disappointing.  It's possible the problems with the set had an adverse affect on the design - that's happened on more than one occasion.  It's also possible that the Director didn't want dramatic lighting.  Whatever the reason...  The set and lights did nothing to enhance the production.  If I had been in the cast or orchestra, I would have been greatly irritated.  They didn't work their butts off for 3 months to have to perform with the crap they were given.

Hence the bit of relief I had after the show.  I didn't work on it, so I wasn't spending weeks upset by how poor the show was from a technical perspective.  I also had a chance to speak with a handful of the board members.  They seemed very interested in my reaction and what I would have done differently.  So in hindsight, it's a good thing I didn't work on the show.  Altho if I had, and had any influence over how it was executed, the end product would have been much different.  Plus I prob would have stressed myself out, and had more than one person want to push me off the light bridge as I point out what needs to be fixed.

Even with all the aspects that really needed a makeover, the cast and orchestra were still fantastic.  I really hope patrons walked out of there having enjoyed a good show and didn't notice as many of the issues as I did.  I've now got to dig out my soundtrack so I can listen to it in the car.  No, not the Madonna version...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Now Is Not The Time To Get Emotional

I'm really going to try and not show that I'm upset tonight.

I've been working with this one theater group for 22 years.  For the first time ever, I've wanted to help on a production and there's no place for me.  Even when they needed help in a pinch this weekend, they call the chick that's due to give birth in eight weeks rather than call me.

When I first realized I wasn't going to be working on this production, I was extremely upset.  I tried to think of reasons why...  Everyone on the planet knows that stupid crap irritates me.  Lately there's been a lot of things happening in the theater world which could have been prevented if people just thought one step ahead.  I hadn't been very shy about this stuff, so I think that may have been a reason why they don't want me involved in this production.

Anyway, I'd started to get over it and was pretty much ready to forget about the whole thing, when I heard about who was helping out backstage this weekend.  Then it started all over again.

I'm actually surprised at how upset I am about this.  I'll probably never know the real reason why.  Could be that I just didn't show up at move in, so they thought I wasn't interested.  Tho I'd been talking about it with the producer a few months before, so he knew.  I also made it known a few days later that I wanted to help anywhere it was needed.  I know they're busy and probably didn't think about it.  Or, I'm right.  I'm too much of a PIA to deal with.  Who knows.

I'd already arranged to see the show with co-workers tonight. After finding out about how the backstage coverage was handled for this weekend, I'm now wishing I didn't.  At the same time, I know a handful of people in the cast that I get along with well.  Or at least I *think* I get along with well.  I also know the show is going to be fantastic.  It just really sucks that I'm not part of it, even in some little way.

Oh well.  Gotta stop the pity party and not let it show I'm upset.  Suck it up.  Be an actress...  Ha.  Now that's funny.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Week's Office Kitchen Etiquette Saga

Sent: 157p Wed 6/23


We’re experiencing a rash of ants and some flies over the last number of days which has been reported to our property managers and we’re waiting for an exterminator.     In a number of instances the last day or two, staff have put a lunch bag or groceries to store under their desks and within a very short time an army of ants has invaded the food.    To avoid attracting them, please clean up any food that has been around your area and avoid leaving any dishes/food/beverages/soda cans overnight.  It might help also to take a Lysol wipecloth and wipe down your desk each day before leaving.  In the meantime, I’d suggest not leaving lunch bags or groceries on the floor unless you don’t mind sharing your meal with these critters.


Sent: 1033a Thur 6/24

Do you know if you've left anything in the fridge that SMELLS or has EXPIRED?  I don't, because I can't find anything in there.

The fridge is NOT HAPPY and has filed a formal complaint.  The lucky department on duty this week is the Secretariat (plus our very own volunteer Alex Lopez!).  Because the fridge is on overload and emitting an unfriendly scent, we will do a PURGE on Friday late afternoon.  Please mark what you want kept, take home what you don't need to keep here or throw away what's expired/overripe.

And since we are a larger staff group these summer months, please try another way to store your lunch items.  Simply put, LARGE SHOPPING BAGS do not fit!  To help all of us find our lunches within the lunch hour time frame, please just to bring what you need for each day's lunch.


Sent: 907a Mon 6/28

Thank you to ALL who participated and worked so hard in cleaning out the refrigerator on Friday.  It took many to bring this fridge back to useable form and it’s very much appreciated.  I’ve never seen so many bottles of salad dressing!    Special thanks go to Joanne, Alex, and Adam and all the supporting cast who were dedicated to this effort.  Let’s all support their efforts by continued to keep the inside clean and to minimize the clutter and mess that builds up.

Refrigerator space is limited so please be considerate:   

In the summer, over 45 people could attempt to store a meal in the refrigerator on a daily basis.  Please store only daily meals (rather than weekly) in the refrigerator. 

For those using salad dressings, please have only one bottle of dressing stored at a time or use a tiny Tupperware cup to bring in enough for the day’s salad.

Avoid putting large grocery bags (plastic and cloth) inside the refrigerator.  Now that cloth grocery bags are more common, they are used for all types of storage and become unsanitary for putting alongside food items in the refrigerator.   (For your own health safety, wash or wipe out your cloth bags frequently to avoid bacteria building up inside, as reported in last week’s news.)

Set an Outlook reminder to take home any leftovers that are yours every week.

If your food has spilled, please take a moment to wipe it up to avoid others from needing to scrub later.

Because we’ve had spottings of flies and ants (and even a few mice!) these last few weeks, please don’t leave dirty dishes; utensils; glasses; mugs around your desk area and keep storage of food/drinks, grocery bags etc., to a minimum.   If your desks get sticky from drinks/candy or have crumbs from food items, please use a Lysol wipe to clean.   All this attracts critters and triples the chances of the rodent problem spreading through the office rather than keeping it within the kitchen area.

Thanks again to the Magnificent 7 – or how many it took to clean last Friday!

Sent: 9:47a Tuesday 6/29

Dear whoever finished the coffee, didn’t make more, but left the empty pot on the hot burner:

This is a bad idea.
In the future, if you finish the last drop of coffee in the pot, please brew more.
If you don’t know where to find it, please ask me. I will show you.
If you don’t know how to make it, please ask me.  I will teach you.

At the VERY least, please do not put an empty pot on a hot burner.
We do not want to burn down our kitchen during placement season & travel cycle.
That would be bad.

Thanks for your attention and compliance.

Sent: 1153a Tues 6/29

Ok, around 11am a pot with only about 2 ounces of coffee in it, once again was sitting on a hot burner.  Is there someone that is not seeing these emails?

Sent: 345p Wed 6/30

Okay Neighbors!  --  (includes All Staff:   Full-time; Summer; Night; Day; Temporary; Interns!)

Here is a bulleted list from a concerned Bethesda YFU citizen only minutes ago regarding how (s)he found the kitchen:

·         The coffee pot, yet again, had ¼ inch of coffee left in it. The machine was still turned on and the pot was sticking to the heating pad.

·         The tables were littered with crumbs, a couple of patches of dried sauce (or it could have been dressing).

·         Cutlery and crockery were left dirty in the sink and on the bench and the sink had salad and vegetable clippings left in it.

What happens next  ?? --

If necessary,  we’ll be conducting mandatory trainings and a test on kitchen etiquette, scrubbing, cleaning and food preparation given by the Master Chef himself Alex Lopez!!  He won’t let you get away with a CRUMB!    Or, we will require a check-off for everyone who goes to get a cup of coffee – yes; we want to avoid that.  Next is to install a roving kitchen camera – catching someone in the act of failing in kitchen KP duties, again something to be avoided.

Even though we have a team to clean up, it’s not their full-time job.   The expectation is that every individual will clean up after themselves to avoid any one person spending more than a minimal amount of time cleaning at all.   If there are people identified who are not doing their share, they will need to contribute mightily to the “Kitchen Kitty “, a donation box which will be established.  The message is – please keep this common area clean; safe and be considerate of your coworkers!


My comments:

I am glad I don't drink coffee.

If we had a Kitchen Kitty, we wouldn't have crumbs, drips, bugs, or mice.  Just cat fur.

I think I know who the main culprit is, but I can't prove it.

I do usually store stuff in the fridge, but with the increased staff right now things are disappearing.  So I'm not.

Other than that, life is dull.


Sent: 1011a Wed 6/30
As you’ll notice, the men’s and women’s restrooms on the first floor are out of order, both missing an important ‘piece’ in their usage!   Our restroom keys will work on the 2nd and 3rd floors.   At this time, the property managers are not sure when the 1st floor will be back in working order so please feel free to use upstairs. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gone Fishin'

We had a fantastic time.  We arrived at the dock around 6a.  The boys were so excited. I'd made two dozen sandwiches, brought Little Debbie's, Gatorade, water, chips...  There was a ton of food.  My father brought beer for himself and Mr Blondie.  We weren't sure how big the boat really was but when we got there, there was plenty of space for all three coolers, the bag of misc stuff, and us.  They had a mini-fridge, a microwave, and even a stove inside the cabin.  There was a sofa sized bench and a couple chairs as well.

I pushed everyone to put on sunscreen, informed everyone (including the boat staff) of the vast quantities of food and beverage, and sat down on the bench in the cabin.  It was still a little cool and my head was splitting.  I took a decongestant and some Excedrin, then laid down.

I think I fell asleep around 730a, for about an hour.  My head was still unhappy when I woke up.  I'd missed the catching of the first two fish.  They were pulled in by MrBjr#3 and MrBjr#4.  Then MrBjr#2 pulled the next one, and Daddy pulled the fourth.  Then the next fish caught a line.  I really didn't want to fish, just observe and photograph.  However Mr Blondie talked me into pulling one in, so I did.  Here's proof...

Ewww...  They all wanted me to kiss the fish.  I refused.  Apparently it's good luck or something - I didn't care.  Not happening.  As I dropped the fish in the cooler, it decided to clamp it's mouth around my thumb.  Ouch ya bastard!  Can't wait to see you on the grill!  It only left a mark and didn't break the skin. At this point I figured out that my head just wasn't going to behave, so I hit the migraine meds.

Somewhere around 1030a, I fell asleep again.  Something about being on the boat just put me right to sleep.  The rocking on the water, the rumble of the engine, maybe my headache or the fact that we were up at 4a.... Whatever it was, I was out cold.  Next thing I knew, it was 1230p.

They had caught a few more by then, and had dug into the food.  The coolers kept everything nice and cold, and there was still plenty of ice, so everything was yummy.  The boys were making bets on which rod would catch the next fish and how big it would be.  It was all we could do to not say 'that's what she said!' at every opportunity.

We rolled back into the dock around 2p with 11 fish.  The max was 12.  The were all between 19 & 24 inches long.  The boys had never caught fish that big before.  The boat staff put the fish in a wheelbarrow and we took it to the guys on the dock who clean them.  You better believe I was going to have no parts of that.  If we couldn't get them cleaned by someone, they were going back in the water.

By 3p we were back on the road, heading to see Mr Blondie's fam 130 miles away.  We really did have a great time.  The boys actually seemed to enjoy each others company.  It was really nice.

Left to right: MrBjr#4, Mr Blondie, Daddy, MrBjr#2, MrBjr#3.  Plus me in the middle.  :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gone Fishin' With Da Boyz

Mr Blondie, three of his four kids (all boys), my daddy, and me are going fishing.  The second youngest of the boys leaves for Parris Island on June 1, and we thought this would be a good way to get everyone together for something special before he leaves.  The oldest has to work the Brad Paisley concert at Nissan Pavilion (I refuse to call it Jiffy Lube Live.  That's just stupid.) and couldn't get out of it.  So we chartered a fishing boat and are going fishing.  We get on the boat at 6a and will be out until 2ish.  I'll have plenty of sunscreen!

Mr Blondie's little sister is also in town.  Her husband just got back from Iraq and they have a new baby, so we're going to see them on Sat eve & Sunday.  The boat and the 'Rent's place is 130 miles apart, and we live in the middle.  If I'm not on a boat, I'll be driving.  Whee!  I know I'm going to need a nap at some point, just not sure when I'm gonna get it.

Regardless of whether I get a nap or not, we're going to have a great time.  As long as I don't have to touch a fish...

Kitty Babies

I got my first baby girl in 1993 when I rescued her from the ceiling of the hardware store I was working in.  I got my baby boy 5 years later.  When Maggie passed, Zaphod was there to keep me company.  I never realized that after I lost him unexpectedly a couple years later <sniff sniff> I'd feel so empty.

Mr Blondie and I were living in my mom's basement.  My step-father had recently passed away, and we moved in to help her with bills and help us save money.  I knew Zaphod was a chunky cat, but I never thought much of it.  Since he was always indoors, I didn't take him to the vet as often as I should.  When I finally had the funds to take him, I made the appointment.  Two days before the appointment he stopped eating and drinking, his eyes started to sink in, and I got this sinking feeling in my gut.  At the vet appointment, the xray showed that he had a tumor that was so big in his tummy area, that if you looked straight down from his spine, his organs were on one side, and a tumor the size of a softball was on the other.  The next few days were just horrible.  I beat myself up, at the same time tried to get as much life and enjoyment from him as I could.  Then I put him down.

I never realized how empty a house could feel when you've had at least one cat in your life for 15 years.  I'm in a house with my mother, my husband, and my mother's three dogs and it still felt empty.  About two months later, Mr Blondie talked me into going to the pet store when the local foster group was having an adoption event.

That's where we found the twins.  They were about 11 weeks old, playful orange babies.  Tristan and Fiona are their names, and they were so cute!  Guess what day they were born?  On my birthday!  As I'm in tears over Zaphod, Mr Blondie pushed me to open the carrier.  Fiona crawled into my arms and into my heart.  Tristan followed right behind.  I couldn't put them down.  With their birthday the same as mine, I knew it was meant to be.

A month or so later it finally hit me how depressed I had been.  People say they're just animals.  In my world, they're my kids.  It's been almost a year and a half since we adopted them.  Having them around has been a joy.  While there is still a painful happiness that I experience when I think of Maggie and Zaphod, I know they're on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge playing and being happy.  And I'm happy too, with the addition of Tristan & Fiona. 

Please please please....  Spay and neuter your pets.  I'd be the crazy cat lady if Mr Blondie would let me.  At the same time I don't want to have to be the crazy cat lady.  Thanks.

Mr Blondie's New Toy

So the Blue Chariot of Fire (aka the Taurus) is on it's last legs.  It's got 130k miles on it, the a/c hasn't worked in over two years, and it needs some major front end & engine work.  So we got him this:

He is a very happy camper.  He's never in his life had a vehicle that he bought for himself.  He went from borrowing his father's truck, to a mini-van with car seats.  So this one is for him. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Love This...

The theater group's resident photographer took pictures the Thursday before we opened.  This is my favorite shot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mark & Sean in Tysons!!

Mark Levin and Sean Hannity were in Tysons Corner at the Barnes & Noble for a book signing Saturday morning.  They started at 9a.  We'd been to one of Mark Levin's book signings before.  We'd arrived about 4 hours early, and there were already about 200 people there.  So this time we figured, since both Mark and Sean would be there, we'd really  need to get there early.  At the same time, I was at the theater the night before.  Getting up before dawn was not a happy thought.

I did set the alarm for 4a.  We managed to get out of the house about 445a.  When we got there, there were only about 50 people in line ahead of us.  Yay!  We pulled out the folding chairs that we brought, and made ourselves comfortable.

Last time, the mall staff was just plain evil.  It was pouring outside and we weren't allowed in the mall.  It was so bad that everyone was talking about emailing the mall management.  I did, and I'm sure most other irritated people did too. This time, the front of the line started at the lower level entrance to B&N, so the first 75 people or so were actually inside the building.  As long as we kept it more or less single file, they were fine with it. 

We chatted a bit with the people in line around us.  Tho I think after about 15mins I was asleep.  Mr. Blondie woke me up at one point and sent me to one of the mall benches where I promptly fell asleep again.  Around 8a he called me - wrist bands were being handed out and he wanted to take the stuff we didn't want to carry back to the car.

Around 845a Mark and Sean arrive.  They came in the same entrance where our line was, so we got to see them, shake hands, try and get pictures...  Sean shook my hand and I said, "Thanks for being here, Mark." He politely corrected me and went on his way.

Did I really say that?  I've seen them before.  I know which is which.  I felt so stupid.  That's a true blonde moment if I ever saw one...

Aww... Isn't He Cute!?!

Saturday night we were certain we were going to have a better show.  It didn't come without visitors and threats tho.

Before we opened the house, I needed to have a conversation with the director.  I spoke with his wife first and she gave her blessing.  The conversation went something like this:

"Mr. Director, if you get on headset ONE MORE TIME during the show, I will strangle you with the cord.  Understand?"

"Well, I... uh... well...  I'm taping the show the next two nights anyway, so I won't be able to."

"Excellent.  <peck on the cheek>  I love you, Mr. Director.  I'm glad I won't have to kill you."

At the end of the night, I did not have to kill him.

The show did go much smoother, thankfully.  However no one was very happy with our uninvited guest.  A little gray field mouse decided to join us.  He'd already been evicted from the theater three times.  At intermission he was back, cleaning up the crumbs people left on the floor.  Most of the audience was unaware of his presence.  The service dog that was accompanying his master was very aware tho.  Puppy was so good.  He didn't move from his master's feet, but his ears were up and his eyes followed that little mouse all over the place. 

As we were getting ready to close the doors for the start of the second act, our little mouse buddy took off into the theater.  No longer content to be in the lobby by himself, he joined the audience.  Of the audience members that knew about Mr. Mouse, only four left at intermission.  When the show was over and the audience had left, I was heading out and stopped in the lobby - I don't remember why.  Mr. Mouse was sitting in the middle of the floor, munching away on crumbs.  There were about five of us standing around watching him.  He'd run around us like we weren't there.  If we chased him he'd take off, otherwise he was a mini vacuum. 

Mouse - 1
Theater staff - 0

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who's Steering This Ship?

Wow.  I'm not sure what else to say.  Wow...

We did our first full run of the show on Thursday.  We had an audience on Friday.  I think we goofed up the timing on almost every cue, except for the final blackout before going home...  Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but 'clusterf*ck' would be a good description.  There is so much going on technically, most of which happens simultaneously, that we'd execute one thing, and while trying to figure out what we messed up we'd miss executing the next thing.  All of us were under a lot of strain - we're not used to being this disorganized on opening night.  To add to the tension, the director would get on headset when something was wrong.  Do you really think we can't tell the curtain is caught on something?  Our wonderful SM caught the brunt of all this.  God love her, she didn't kill anyone,  she didn't alienate anyone, and we got thru the whole thing without stopping.

The audience - while noticing that some things were probably not correct, didn't really seem to mind.  They only see what you show them.  Tho they did giggle at every blackout where they heard wheels squeaking. 

By the time opening night's show was over, we were ready for champagne.  The cast is out in the lobby with the director, being introduced to the audience, and we're back in the prop room throwing one back.  We were laughing at what went horribly wrong, and for those of us who couldn't see what happened in certain places, the sound guy and I were able to give vivid detail.

We finally wander to the lobby, just as the director was wrapping up his speech.  While we got cheers from the cast, all we could do is laugh/cry.  They introduced our SM, and I jumped up and down.  They introduced me, and she jumped up and down.  It was very funny.

Next stop: The Mouse is in the House!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

When Hell Week Really Is Hell

Ok, so I never really did a plot.  I used the house hang and tweaked it.  Of course even if I had done a plot, the majority of it would have changed, since the set didn't end up like we thought it would.  I had to fight for dark time, tho the people assembling the set had bigger issues than I did. 

There are two revolves - they didn't work as they should.  We're using two curtains besides the main drape, they're loud, difficult to access, and a challenge to pull smoothly.  We have NO running crew.  This show needs running crew.  The cast is being asked to do a lot of the changes - something that shouldn't have been necessary - but there seems to be a big problem finding running crew.  The set changes and curtain pulls have to be choreographed and very detailed for those doing them.  This show is much more complex in that regard than 90% of the shows this group typically does.  I've worked on productions like this with other groups, however the other groups have more stage time to prepare and have the manpower to make them work.  This show was kind of eye opening for everyone with this group. 

All that said...  My director is doing way too much.  He designed the set, and because things needed fixing he spent a lot of time working there.There were a whole bunch of little things that needed to be addressed, so he was being pulled in all sorts of directions.   It doesn't help tho, that he really wasn't sure what/when/how things would work until we got in the theater, leaving us all with unanswered questions and no time to really hammer it out.

My stage manager is an amazing person.  She's trying to execute all these things and with them not working, us being unsure of the timing, no help, and everyone being tired and frustrated, she's managed to keep her cool.  She did scare us last night tho, when she climbed a ladder after the run and nearly passed out, paint bucket in hand.  It doesn't help that our ASM is a controlling bitch either.  She's going around demanding things that while are needed at some point, aren't needed now.  The set changes need to be ironed out.  Once that happens, then I'll tell you where a light cue is that is completely unrelated to any set changes anywhere.

I wish I'd had the time to blog more earlier this week.  So much fun stuff has happened, but between work and the show I've been too busy, and completely exhausted.  Hoping to change that. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Still Haven't Done The Plot

That's right!  I still haven't done it.  We move into the theater on Sunday.  I'm sure the city would be very happy to have it before then. Tho I'd really rather nap...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Catching Up... Or Not

I am surprised how much I miss Forever Plaid.  I still wake up with the songs going thru my head.  I know this will pass, but it's still sad.  And happy. And sad.

I attended the design run for show #3 last night.  It's a really cute show.  Some of the characters are a stitch.  There is a girl in the cast, probably 9 or 10 years old that is just adorable.  She kept bringing me props to look at and chatting away.  This will be a fun group.

Now if I can just survive the next two weeks.  We move in to the theater on Sunday morning, not Monday eve like I originally thought.  I got home last night just before 11p, but it took me an hour to wind down.  I am wiped out this morning.  I sat in the car in the parking lot for 10 mins before coming in to work.  Gah.  I thought I was catching up on my rest, but it seems like my schedule is catching up with me.  I've still got to get the plot done, I'm going to see DC United play tonight and Saturday, and I still need to keep my day job. Knock on wood - I haven't had a migraine (that wasn't hormonal or weather related) in 2 months.  Yippee!

Monday, April 26, 2010

One More For The Books

What a fun weekend of shows...  We had an absolutely amazing time working on Forever Plaid (ie: show #1).  I think Saturday night's performance was the best one we had all run.  It was sad to take it apart Sunday eve.  So many patrons asked if we would bring it back, bring it to a retirement home, something.  The response was fantastic.  Even if I got to the theater and was crabby & tired, I always left with a smile.  Knowing that what you're doing is such and integral part of the whole project and having it go so well is a wonderful feeling.

Show #2 (The Rabbit Hole) is still running.  I'm hoping to go see it this weekend.  If I can't get there, then I won't get to see it at all.  Show #3 (I Remember Mama) starts tomorrow night with a design run and we move into the theater on Monday.  I really need to think about getting that plot done.  The City should have had it weeks ago...

This past Saturday did end up being a very lazy day.  I dragged my butt out of bed around 9ish, to move to the couch.  My alarm went off at 530p so I could get in the shower and go to the theater.  I think I got up once to pee and get some food.  Even the cat was happy.

Sunday morning I was tending to Mr. Blondie, who was recovering from tending to his parent's yard.  In order to keep his father from using the heavy equipment (the man's not a puppy anymore) he took care of it.  He aerated the whole yard, planted seed, then tilled an area for a bed big enough for a dozen azalea bushes with hosta's mixed in.  Needless to say, Mr. Blondie was a bit sore.  Heating pads, Ben Gay, Advil, oh my.

Once I got him settled, I went to breakfast then to the theater.  Around the time we were done with strike and headed to the cast party, I checked in on him.  He was up and moving - very good.  After the party I had him meet me at the grocery store.  (I love that HT is open 24hrs!)  While we were there, the storms that had torn up Mississippi were on top of us.  Not as severe, but certainly strong.  $427 later...  (okay, with coupons and my store card only $208 came out of my account.  WIN)  ...we were ready to head home.  We put all the perishables in my car.  Amazingly, there was room.  It was still pouring, but the temp was pretty warm and there was no wind, so it was tolerable.  Got everything soaked, but eh... it's water.  We ain't gonna melt.

Today, I do not have to be in a theater.  Wednesday, I'm going to a soccer game.  Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun - layzee daze!  I really should get that plot done tho...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Needed Rest & Yadda Yadda Yadda...

I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed not having to be anywhere after work this week.  I've gotten a lot of rest, tho I'm not entirely caught up.  I have no plans for tomorrow during the day either, so it'll be a nice lazy day.  Mr. Blondie will have the Benz - he's going to his parents for the annual Landscape The 'Rent's Yard Day festivities.  Because of the show, I am unable to attend.  So I'm going to be chillaxin'.  Me, the kitty babies, laundry, maybe cleaning, snacking, napping...  Ahh...

I did, this week, discover the love that is Euro Motorcars.  All they sell are Benz's and Stupid Cars.  My check engine light came on the same day I received the notice for my emissions inspection.  Yay.  On advice from a buddy I headed to Germantown to Euro.  I contacted his service adviser, and the next morning I was dropping my car off.  I showed him what my extended service plan was and he got a twinkle in his eye.  Apparently the plan I bought thru Carmax is one of the best out there.  <happy dance>  They gave me a free loaner, and I headed to work.

Now it's been a long time since I've had to make that commute on 270.  With no traffic, it should take 20mins to get from Route 118 to River Road.  Leaving Germantown at 8a, it took an hour and a half.  I usually get on 270 at 189, and even with traffic it takes less than 30mins to get to River.  Heh...  At least the loaner they gave me was a Benz.  Not as fun as mine, but it was comfy. 

Turns out there was some fuel exhaust valve thing that was malfunctioning.  This would have greatly affected my emissions inspection.  There was also a part that MB was recalling that needed to be replaced, so they did that too.  Instead of costing me $200, it was just my deductible.  Yippee!  The whole process was a breeze, the service was fantastic, and they even washed & vacuumed my car.  Blondie is happy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend 2 - Complete

We had some really great performances this weekend.  The audiences were fantastic too!  Saturday night - SOLD OUT!  Love it!  I did get a chance to catch up on sleep, but spent most of the weekend just intolerably cranky.  Poor Mr. Blondie - I've barely seen him over the last three weeks and when we do have a chance to see each other I'm Super Bitch.  Ugh... 

We have one number in the show that requires audience participation.  The guys are playing 'Heart and Soul' on the piano, and they pull someone out of the audience to play with them.  We always have a plant in the audience just in case we don't have a volunteer.  Friday night our costumer's Mom was in the house.  She's kinda crazy, but used to be in musical theater when she was younger, so the guys pull her up for this number.  She played it perfectly.  After two versus on the piano, one of the actors pulls her from the piano to dance.  (This is all part of their blocking.)  She goes off into this soft-shoe routine that was just hilarious.  As the number comes to an end, she does a Bugs Bunny/Warner Bros exit off SL.  We were crying we were laughing so hard.  How the guys were able to keep their composure to finish the number was amazing.  We pulled her back on stage to finish the scene (we give her gifts) and escort her back to her seat.  She just had a grand old time.  I wish we'd caught it on video.

We did get a fantastic review from showbizradio.net.  I was thrilled.  Tech usually only gets mentioned when something is wrong.  I was elated to see that lighting got mentioned positively!  I can't say that show #2 will earn the same recognition, but one can hope.  Now that I've got both shows open and running, I have to get to work on the plot for #3.  

No rest for the weary! 

PS: I know I've said this before...  I whine about being exhausted.  I get grumpy and difficult.   But the positive vibes from the audience are irreplaceable.  It makes the whole thing worth it when you have a show that you know the audience enjoyed.  I can't see most of the audience from my spot on stage, but I see a few.  When they're laughing so hard their eyes are tearing, you remember why you kill yourself to do your best. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ooo! I Can't Wait!

Mark and Sean together at Tyson’s!
630 WMAL welcomes Mark Levin and Sean Hannity to Barnes and Noble at Tyson’s Corner, Saturday, May 8th 11am-4pm.

Mark will be signing his brand new book "Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Illustrated," and Sean will be there to sign his new bestseller "Conservative Victory – Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda." Mark’s book signing of his wildly popular "Liberty and Tyranny – A Conservative Manifesto," drew thousands to Barnes and Noble. Put these talk titans together and one can only imagine how large this event will be. Make plans now to join us. Be listening to 630 WMAL and log on to wmal.com for additional details.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We Interrupt This Program...

Fuck you, you bitch.  First you try to point the finger at me when a deposit isn't showing up in the system.  Guess what?!?  Per your directions, I gave it to you because my co-worker was out. YOU, the all perfect supervisor of our dept, left it sitting on your desk for over a week.  How is that my problem?  It's not.  Stop blaming me.

Now it's this account rec you gave me last month.  I've got the mother fucking thing exactly the way you asked, with all the formulas and lookups exactly as they should be, and it's still not adding up.  I was working on it all day yesterday, and all morning this morning.  I know you asked me to tell you by noon if it was going to be a problem.  When I checked with you at noon, it was going fine.  Just adjusting formulas that I'd missed.  Then I kept at it, and still couldn't find the error.  I stayed late, got in here early...  I even went back to previous years!  The SAME ERROR is in PREVIOUS YEARS!  How did you justify the variance?  Did you just bury it somewhere?  The variance doesn't reflect in your rec, so where did you put it?  Cuz the math don't work, and it doesn't make sense why.  So don't be bitching to me that it puts you behind.  I really don't give a shit, and I am in NO MOOD to deal with your prissy attitude. 

I can't wait to hear how you resolve this one.  I better get a FUCKING APOLOGY.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress...

UPDATEThanks for taking 30 minutes of my time to tell me you missed an entry three months ago.  And for telling me that the enormous variance is because we're calculating everything with last year's rates.

Me: "But if we pay this out now, it'll be at this year's rate.  What difference does it make if they EARNED it at last year's rate when we're going to PAY it at this year's rate?  Doesn't that throw the budgets off?"

Her: "Well, that's a problem we have every year and we try to explain..."

"If we calculate it at the real rate it would be paid out, then the other depts will have more accurate information, and there won't be this huge issue about it at the end of the year when it catches up." 

"Excellent point.  Great catch.  Maybe you can add a column to this month's rec to make the adjustment and then going forward we'll use the current rates."

WHAT?!?  Did no one ever complain enough for you guys to track this properly?  This is my 2nd time ever looking at this monster spreadsheet and I picked that up right out of the gate.  What is so difficult?  (deep breath, now smile...)  "Sounds good.  I'll show it to you before we post anything to the GL.  Is there any other piece of this spreadsheet anywhere else that I may have overlooked?  I don't want to MISS another entry and end up in this same situation a month from now."

"Just make sure you format it like this and you pull the information from each tab like you did.  Then it should work."

Uh huh.  Like it worked the FIRST time.  Right.  I got it.

What Was I Thinking?

Is it nap time yet?

The show I'm in tech for right now is looking very good.  It's not there yet, but I should be able to wrap it up tonight.  Well, I don't have an option... Today is the last day I can be there.  A handful of things got resolved last night, so it shouldn't be difficult.  I just wish I could snap my fingers to make it happen, rather than putting out the effort.

I really can't whine about it either.  The production staff for this show is being run ragged.  I'm betting the producer will have a bazooka on her shoulder tonight.  She'll use it too.

As I'm sitting here trying to describe what the last few days have been like, I struggle putting it into words.  I must be tired.  I never have this problem.

Oh, here's a funny...  A buddy of mine put this as his FB status: 'Dolphins are just gay sharks.'  To which my response was, 'If dolphins are gay sharks, what are gay Jets?  Is the mambo at the gym more glittery?'  His only response, 'Oh Blondie... (sigh)'  LOL!

Okay yeah... sleep is in order.  After work, after tech tonight...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Forever Plaid: Weekend One

We really had a great opening weekend.  It didn't come without it's share of issues, but everyone was happy.  Including the audience.

Friday was basically issue free.  We always like that.  I got to see a friend (who is related to a member of the cast) for the first time in forever.  We had been talking on FB, and he'd recently bought an iPad.  So I made him bring it to the show.  What a neat toy!  I can't stand Mr. Blondie's touch screen phone, but I do love this iPad.  Aside from the coolness factor, I don't have a reason to get one.  But should that change, I'll have one in a heartbeat!

Saturday was fun.  Spent the morning working on show #2.  Cues are written, a fix list is started, and I'm outta here.  Then I headed downtown for a free speech forum that was sponsored by the radio station I listen to.  I got to meet some very nice people, but most of what I heard was a repeat of what I listen to daily.  Tho it's definitely nice to be surrounded by like-thinking people.  By the time I got done there, I had just enough time to run home, inhale a piece of pizza and dart to the theater.

When I got there, the director for show #3 was there.  He had called earlier in the day and mentioned he had paint chips to show me.  By the time I got done speaking with him, my brain was on overload.  What show are we doing?  I'm clearly doing to much.

Again, the show went great.  The audience loved it, the guys had a lot of energy, and the props chick brought rice crispy treats made with fruity pebbles.  What more could you want?

Now we get to Sunday...  Mr. Blondie and I go to our favorite breakfast place, then head to a new grocery store in our neighborhood that opened a few days ago.  The place was a mad house.  Since they're open 24hrs (I love Harris Teeter) we should have gone another time.  We ended up pushing the clock, so I had Mr. Blondie drop me at the theater.  I didn't have time to run home and get my usual black shirt that was in the dryer.  The shirt I was wearing was a dark rust color.  That'll do.  It's a little low cut, but not so much that it was inappropriate for the show.

The guys have bottles of water strategically placed around the stage.  There's no intermission.  They sing non-stop for 90 minutes.  So the water is a necessity.  At some point during the Ed Sullivan number, one of the water bottles gets knocked over.  I guess the lid wasn't on well, or it wasn't a sippy cup, cuz it left a puddle DSL.  My little window is USL, so I didn't see it.  There's a song where the guys are dancing and pass out on the floor.  When one of the guys sat on the stool by my window instead of lying on the floor, I knew something was wrong.  He mouthed 'spill'.  I leaned over, and Lake Michigan has formed DSL.

Brain goes into warp speed - we gotta clean this up fast.  I execute the next cue, then go flying back to the dressing room to grab paper towels.  I get back to the light board with a few seconds to spare before executing the next cue.  Then I wait a few pages for the appropriate time to run out there.  This particular scene is pretty dim.  The guys have just run off stage to put on their new jackets, and their lines are coming from off stage.  Paper towels in hand, I go darting around the corner and start wiping up the floor.  I clearly do not have enough paper towels for the job, so I'm trying to push the water off stage under a set piece.  I'm also diligently listening to the lines, as I have a cue before they come back on.  I hear that we're getting close to the next cue, I run back to the light board just in time to execute the cue accurately.  Phew.

The floor is not exactly dry, but it's better.  Then I realize I'd left the paper towels on the floor next to the set piece rather than grabbing them as I ran off.  Crap!  Oh well.  When the show is over I go back out with more paper towels and finish cleaning.

Afterwords I'm talking to a friend who was in the house.  "Nice rack!"  I blushed and thanked him.  It wasn't until about a half hour later it hit me...  (Shut up, I'm a blonde.)  When I was wiping up the water, I was facing the audience.  With the ambient light on my ghost white skin, they got a view of the girls that was never intended for their entertainment.  Well, variety shows are a theme in this show, and I definitely gave it some variety!  D'oh!

Did I mention that the Mayor of Gaithersburg was in the house with his wife?  Yeah...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Let's Open This Monster!

Wednesday eve I came to the conclusion that there was no way I was going to get done unless I had all day to work on stage.  I was struggling with how I was going to get everything done and not collapse somewhere.  At 5a Thursday morning I had a splitting headache.  That's it.  Not going to work.  I took some good drugs and went back to sleep.  I woke up again around 11a feeling pretty good.

Went to First Watch for breakfast, then by the RMT Bay to pick up some supplies, then to the theater.  I received an email that our producer was suffering from some major dizzy spells that were making her nauseous.  I replied to her email telling her to stay home and take care of herself.  At the same time tho, she was my help.  Crap.

I turned the gears up a notch and was climbing and running cable, blah blah blah for three hours straight when guess who shows up...  The producer!  (And her husband)  First thing I said was, "You BITCH!  You are supposed to be at home, in bed, taking care of yourself!"  Then I look at her husband and introduce myself.  LOL!  Her husband said she was feeling much better than earlier in the day.  I thanked him for being there and driving.  He is a lighting guy, so I had him help me a bit.

The director arrived around 530p, and by 6p we were blasting thru cues, adding specials and doing some fine focusing.  As we wrapped up I kept checking the time.  I told our producer that I'd be ready to open the house at 730p.  Rock on!

730p the house opens.  I'm starving and sweating like a pig.  I brought an extra change of clothes with me, and our AD brought me dinner.  I'd soaked my head and scrunched my hair.  I'm now sitting in the middle of the floor in the green room eating my dinner.  The producer sticks her head in - we're ready to go, everyone is seated.  I asked what time it was.  745p.  I have 15 mins to relax.  Then she says we were supposed to start the show at 730p, not 8p.  WHAT?!?  SHIT!  I grab my clean shirt, ripping the dirty one off as I run into the dressing/bathroom.  Pee fast, put clean shirt on, flush.  Refill water bottle and run to my spot on stage. 

My little area is very, well... little.  I have a tall skinny end-table that has the monitor on it.  The light board is on a rolling TV tray-like shelf about the size of a music stand.  With about a two inch gap between myself and the light board, the curtain behind me is touching my back.  Just before we started I bend over to make sure there's nothing on the floor I can trip over.  The sound guy, not realizing I was there, tried to determine why there was a bulge in the curtain.  It was my ass.  I've been goosed in a theater before, but this was new.  LOL!  I jumped and then started laughing.  He was a bit embarrassed.

The preview went off without much of a hitch.  The guys sounded good, the orchestra was together, and most of my light cues were accurate.  There's still a lot of fixing to do, but they're little things that only myself and the WATCH judges will notice.  About halfway thru the show (85mins - no intermission) my feet started falling asleep.  I'm trying to keep moving without being too distracting so I can keep the circulation going.  Tonight I'll have a stool, which should help.

In the meantime I get an email from the director of the show that opens next week.  Since last Friday was mostly useless, I'll be there tomorrow morning to write cues and finish up the focus.  I just wish I could keep my eyes open.  I'm so freakin' exhausted.  A co-worker this morning said something about it.  Not hi, hello, how are ya.  More like "You look like shit.  When was the last time you got some rest?"  Yup.  That pretty much sums it up.

If you're in the neighborhood, come see what I've put all this work into.  It's a really fun show.  Wear plaid.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tech... Tech... Tech...

The last few days at The Barn are getting progressively better.  Yesterday we ran almost the whole show with light cues and some sound.  It's going to be great when it's finished. We just gotta finish it.

This show is another example of why I need to make the effort to get things done ahead of time.  I'm cramming now to get thing accomplished.  It sucks not having much help.  However it will all get done.

Yesterday started out rough.  I'd decided the day before that I was only going to work half a day so I could get some quality alone time in the theater.  Ran by R&R to pick up gel and a motor for the mirror ball.  Mr. Blondie had a migraine the night before and was still feeling the affects.  So after I left R&R I went to his office to switch cars.  His a/c doesn't work. 

I get to The Barn and discover I have everything except the gel.  I'd left that in the trunk.  This is now the second time I've gone out of my way to get gel, just to find I'd left it somewhere.  Demmit. 

When I checked in with the front desk at The Barn, I'm chatting a little with the gal at the desk.  Ticket sales are looking good.  She says it looks like we'll have a nice group for Thursday.  Um, Thursday?  Apparently we're having a preview audience.  Really?  Am I that asleep at the switch that I missed this memo?  I realize it's not supposed to be a perfect show - it's our final dress.  However, that changes the urgency of getting things accomplished.  To us it basically feels like we lost a day. 

So I've managed to keep my cool and not completely freak when I start wrapping up the conversation to head upstairs.  She asks me how things are coming - slow, but we're getting there.  Help should start trickling in over the next hour so we should be able to get a lot done.  She stops mid breath to look at the calendar.  There is a class scheduled from 330p - 5p in the theater.  WHAT?!?  Now I'm really panicking, and still trying not to shoot the messenger.   I tell her that it was our understanding that we would have the space to ourselves this entire week, anytime.  She looks at one calendar - nothing on it but us.  Then another calendar shows the class.  She says she'll move the class to a different area of The Barn.  I tell her that I'm happy (I use that word loosely) to call off the troops - the last thing I need is the theater manager ripping into me about bumping another group.  She assured me that it wouldn't be a problem and he wouldn't give me trouble.

Background: I told the theater manager two months ago that we always seem to have conflicting reports regarding when we have the space and when we don't.  I mentioned that there was more than one calendar, and he berated me for even suggesting it.  Well, here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about.  I'm trying not to sound upset or shoot the messenger, but at the same time give me a break.  At this point I know more about how that facility is run than he does, and it's his full time job. Ugh.

The run went well.  Some of the cues looked horrendous, but some were completely fantastic.  I still have a ton of work to do, so I'm going to the theater right after work.  In the meantime, I've got my eyes closed as I type.  I'm hurting...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sometimes I'm Too Much Of A Softie

The last few days have not been as horrible as I thought they would be.  I was able to get naps in every day, and most of the time I remembered to eat.  Yesterdays goals were not accomplished well at all.  I called R&R around 11a to place my gel orders for SSS and RMT.  They close at 530p, and since I leave work at 4p, I shouldn't have any trouble getting there before they close.

I left work right on time.  It's 14 miles from my office, to R&R. Taking the beltway is the quickest way, and I avoid the traffic lights, so that's how I went.  It took me an hour and twenty minutes to get from my office, to the exit I needed.  KILL ME NOW.  Yes, it was nice outside and I had the top down.  That was a definite bonus.  But my left knee is PISSED off.  I didn't get out of first gear until I was a mile from the exit I needed.  INSANE.  There was a tractor trailer behind me, and the sound of his engine drowned out any hope of listening to music unless I put the top up, which I wasn't willing to do.
As soon as I exited the beltway, I called R&R.  The guy was kind enough to wait for me - thank you!!   I take my gel, and go get food.  Ihop.  It ain't classy, but it's cheap, yummy, and since I didn't get a nap it was a nice break.

Once at the theater I started cutting gel.  The lights are all rough focused - all I needed to do was switch out the gel and write basic cues.  I was almost done cutting the first color when a very nice gentleman who was probably in his mid to late 80's arrived.  He'd been helping earlier in the day with a set for either the same show I was working on, or the one acts... not sure which.  Anyway, he'd lost his date book.  This date book is his life.  I appreciate this, as my Crackberry has attempted data suicide a number of times.

I stopped what I was doing and helped him look for it.  As we are looking, he mentions that he has an appointment to take his cat to the vet the next day and isn't sure of the time.  Since the phone number to the place is also in this book, it really needed to be found.  The whole time we were looking we were swapping kitty baby stories.  After about a half hour of searching, we finally found it.  He was thrilled, and I could get back to work.

He sat down and we kept talking while I finished cutting gel.  (I only tried to take my fingertip off once, and I didn't even draw blood.  WAHOO!)  Then I grabbed the rolling step ladder stool thing and started swapping gel.  He sat there and we talked the entire time.  I'm almost done with all the gel when he gets into this really deep story about a cat he had a long time ago.  I'm looking at the clock - it's 9p.  I've got to get these cues written, and the only way to do that is to desert this guy for the booth.

Next thing I know, he's getting physically upset about this previous cat and the fact that his current cat now is older and is going in for a large number of tests to make sure she's okay.  He tells me how he's on a fixed income (which I figured...) and how he made an arrangement with the bank that if he gets over-drawn they'll give him a cushion.  The approximate costs of these tests were upwards of $500.  He was going to spend the money to make sure his baby was okay, no question there... but it was going to take him a while to get caught up with the bank.

By now he's in tears.  Um yeah, that's great - I have cues to write...  No, I can't just walk away.  So I keep talking to him trying to calm him down.  After he's gone thru half a roll of paper towels, he decides that it's late and he should get going.  He bids his farewell, and mentions he'll be back the next morning to help again.

I feel so bad for this guy, but at the same time I'm relieved.  I can get some work done!  Then my phone beeps.  It's 1030p.  I have gotten almost nothing accomplished, and if I don't go home now, there's no way I'll be getting up for work the next morning.  CRAP!

I'm not supposed to be back to SSS for another week and a half, since I have the RMT show opening in a week.  I told the director &amp; producer I'd have rough cues done.  I don't have JACK done.  So tonight I head to RMT to get as much work done as possible.  Depending upon what my schedule is like for Sat and Sun, I may be able to squeeze some SSS time in.  I'm praying now that I can get a very good handle on the RMT show tonight, have a super smooth Q2Q on Sunday eve, and spend some time Monday eve at SSS.  If all else fails, I'll open RMT's show next Friday and spend Saturday during the day at SSS - which I was hoping to avoid.  Only time will tell.

Some days I wish I could say no.  Some days I wish I could just walk away in the middle of a non-evil conversation.  Other days I'm glad to be busy and happy that I have a heart.  Now if I can just keep it all going...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I've Officially Lost It

So yeah... I'm helping out this other group.  The next three weeks I will be in some theater every day.  I'm only on day 3, and I'm already wiped out.  It doesn't help that I started off poorly - Monday night at the Designers Meeting I probably drank a pitcher of iced tea, then when I got home I took my morning meds instead of my evening meds.  Between the caffeine in the tea and the stimulants in my morning meds, I didn't sleep well.  Yesterday I ran errands at lunch, was at the theater in the evening...  Never did get my nap, and I didn't really eat.  Breakfast: Hot choco.  Lunch: Banana.  Dinner: McD's #2 w/Coke.  Before bed: a scoop of Brownie Batter ice cream.  Yeah, that's healthy... I am so wiped out right now, and it's only 815a.  I've had a headache for the last two days, so this morning we're starting off with an Excedrin breakfast.  Wahoo!

All that aside, the shows are going to be great.  I'm going to survive the next three weeks without breaking a car, losing my day job, or severely destroying my health, demmit!  I miss Mr. Blondie and the kitty babies greatly, but I'll make it up to them.

Wanna see some good community theater?  Drop me a line.  I'll hook you up.  :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Good To Feel Needed

Well, my year didn't exactly start out as planned.
January was to be quiet.
February - A few rehearsals, a few meetings, lots of planning and drawing.
March - Design & run a 4 week show.
April - Design & run a 4 week show.
May - Design & run a 2 week show.
Between the closing of one show and the opening of the next I have anywhere from 4 to 7 days.  By May 16, I'd be done and ready to enjoy the next few months of peace.

Obviously, things didn't exactly go that way.
January - filled with doctor's appointments.  Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Surgeon, Gastroenterologists, blood work, x-rays, blood work, CT scans, colonoscopy, blood work.  Every other day I was at a hospital or doctor's office.
February  - mixture of the same medical issues, with a handful of production meetings, planning, and another stint in the hospital due to the failed attempt at sleep driving on the highway in rush hour traffic.  This caused me to drop the March show.  I'm still pissed about that.
March - more doctor visits and blood work, but not as frequent.  The last two weeks in March have become filled with production meetings and rehearsals.  I'm back on my schedule and Lord willing, will complete it without further interruption.

Today I receive an email from a director who is working with the group I was supposed to be lighting right now.  His show goes up mid April.  Needs an LD.  Hmm... With the guilt I feel for having to drop the last one, I'd really like to help.  However, I have three days available next week, and three days available between when my April show opens and when he has his first audience.  That's not much time.  However...  If the lights remain in the ceiling from the show I didn't do, it'll take no time to re-aim a couple specials and write cues.  Provided of course the new show's set isn't too much different. 

In the middle of looking at my calendar to determine if it was really worth it to try and help this guy out, my brain just stopped.  WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?  I know...  I've been very sick, I totaled my car, I barely have the energy to walk up the steps to my apartment.  I have to hang and focus the April show myself, and his show may require the same.  I haven't been awake for more than 9 hours without a 2 hour nap since November.  Did I reply back to Mr. Director with the few dates I had open?  Yup. There's no better time than now to get myself back into shape!


(chirp...  chirp...)

Riiiiiigghhht....  Lunatic.  But I'm a happy lunatic.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WARNING: Please Return Census

I received my census form a couple weeks ago.  I dutifully completed as much as I felt necessary.  The next day, I dropped it back in the mail.  Done. 

I've since received TWO post cards in the mail reminding me to send in the census I sent in two weeks ago.  Thank you for wasting more money on paper and postage.

I have much better ways of wasting my tax dollars.  Ben & Jerry's ice cream is a GREAT way to waste my tax dollars.  Plus it keeps me more sane.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WARNING: Census is Coming

How incredibly stupid is it that I received a letter telling me that I'll receive the 2010 Census next week?  Just send the damn thing.  I'm not an environmentalist wacko, but I also don't like to waste.  Thanks for keeping the Post Office open, but really? I can find a much better use for those trees you used to make the paper I recycled.  Like using it to smack the person who decided that was a good idea upside the head.  Oh wait, this is a Gov't thing, isn't it?  'Nuf said.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The New

I am feeling better since my car accident.  Bad news - they totaled my little Focus.  Good news, I used the money to buy a new car...

This thing is so fun to drive!  I can't wait until the weather gets warm and I can put the top down.  It's the first manual transmission car I've had in years...  Bumper to bumper traffic on 270 isn't very fun on my left knee, but I'll be happy to get used to it!

For years I have dreamed of owning a Mercedes convertible.  I finally got one!  It's not the one I would have wanted, but it's a step.  This one is a 2004 with 38K miles.  She was kept in immaculate condition.  :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sleep-Driving: FAIL

Kids, don't try this at home.

On Monday, 2/22, on my way to work, I'm toodling down I-270 in DC's typical stop and go traffic.  Stop... Go... Stop... Go...  Somewhere in there I missed a Stop...

Did you see my license plate?  How does that happen?  I rear-ended an Accord.  Looking at the other person's car, you'd think I just scratched the bumper.  Did you see the HOLE in my license plate??

Ugh...  I was supposed to open a show next week.  I would have been at the theater Monday afternoon.  But no.  I fall asleep on 270 and that screws up the whole thing.  I feel so bad...  I've been working on this project for a while now, and was really looking forward to being a part of it.  Thankfully, the theater community pulled together and covered my pathetic ass.  People are doing what I typically do for other groups.  Pop in with a week to go and fix/redo it all.  I feel horrible about it.  My stage manager is ready to kick my ass for being so hard on myself.  I know I didn't do it on purpose.  But still...

I'm okay.  My ankle is not really happy.  Apparently my tendons don't appreciate me slamming the brake pedal to the floor.  Not that it did much good since everything was done by the time I hit the pedal.  I'm in a collar for the rest of the week.  I'm very sore, and headaches are constant.  Upside - my rental is a Toyota Avalon.  One of the models involved in the RECALL.  I can't imagine they'd still be loaning the vehicle if it had the acceleration issue.  I hope...  Nice car, but not for me.  Too wide.  I don't like the position of the side mirrors - hard to see well.  I thought the ride would be smoother than it is, too.  Ah well.  I don't know yet if my car is repairable.  The air bag did not go, so that's a plus.  Hopefully I'll know in the next day or so.  In the meantime, drugs and rest, heat and rest, drugs and rest, stretch and rest, drugs and rest, ice and rest, drugs and rest....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Yup, we did it.  And here's proof.  What an awesome day.

Click here: Our Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics

Friday, January 29, 2010

Am I REALLY Doing This??

Yup.  I am participating in the 14th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge to support the Maryland Special Olympics.  I've done it the last few years, and this year is no different.

I know, you think I'm crazy.  Well I am, but really Mr. Blondie is the crazy one.  He thinks jumping into the ocean in the freezing weather is fun.  He doesn't need a reason to do it.  But to get me to do it, he had to find a really good reason.  'It'll be fun!' just wasn't, and won't ever be, enough.  So he finds this.  Knowing that I have a soft spot in my heart for Special Olympics, he talked me into it.

We've done it a few years now, so we are getting better at being prepared for what to expect.  The first year we did it, they ended up with almost twice as many participants as they had planned for.  Each year it's gotten bigger and bigger.  This year is no exception.

However, the weather this year is a little different.  The past few years the temps have been in the upper 30's, low 40's and lots of sunshine.  Last year there was a bit of a breeze to deal with, but we all survived.  Tomorrow they're expecting the high to be 25 degrees, 10 mph winds, and a 50% chance of snow.  Yippee...

I know I don't sound very enthusiastic, but this is nothing compared to what those kids and their parents deal with every day.  When you come out of that water, and see a bunch of kids standing on the hill cheering and screaming and having a blast, you remember why you're doing this.

Ginormous thanks to all of you who donated on my behalf.  Every penny goes to support the Special Olympics, and when you see what the kids get out of it, you'll know it was worth it.  Go here to get an idea.

MIA? Yeah, maybe...

It's been way too long since I've been on here.  The show closed and I collapsed.  It's the new year now, and I want to get back to blogging a little more often.  Plus I have three shows back to back starting the middle of next month, so there will be plenty to blog about.

I've spent the last couple months mostly recovering.  The Monday before Thanksgiving was the car accident (I was/still am in PT for my headaches at the time), then in mid-December it was a Colitis/Chron's scare.  We still aren't sure what I have (I find out on Monday hopefully) but needless to say it hasn't been fun and I've had zero energy. 

Other than that, life is dull...

If all the world is a stage, then techies are the forces of nature.