Saturday, November 27, 2004

Dubious Technological Advances

Grueling day today, posing for pretty pictures for Woodland Dance Academy's 28th annual Nutcracker show (my 12th year with the show). Brian introduced a new technological innovation this year, a television monitor, to allow people to review their digital pictures before they get printed. There was no matching technological improvement, however, to speed people's self-critical judgements (I look funny, my arm was too low, I wasn't centered, my makeup is all wrong, can we get a third picture?, etc., etc., etc.) Thus, even though the school isn't that large, and even though some folks never even showed up, the process took longer than ever.

(in a querulous old-age voice, much like SNL's Dana Carvey's "Old Man"):
In my day, we almost never got pictures, and it was over before we knew it. Weeks would pass before we saw the prints, and if our smiles looked like frowns, or our eyes were crossed, or our eyes were closed, or we looked like geeks, well that's the way we looked, and it's too bad our friends were too polite to tell us, but even though we looked like hell, and we embarrassed the neighbors, no one wasted any time, and THAT'S THE WAY WE LIKED IT!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Falling Out Of Planes

And living to talk about it! It can be done under some circumstances. In the Great Patriotic War (aka WWII), at the Battle of Stalingrad, Soviet soldiers were pushed out of low-flying troop transport planes without parachutes, in the hope that snowdrifts would be adequate to cushion their fall, and allow them to soldier on (many didn't make it, though).
Republican Corruption Advances

Over issues large and small.
One Smart Bird

Clear, Concise, Lame

Pat in aerobics class writes headlines for the Sacramento Bee. I wonder if she wrote this Thanksgiving-oriented one in today's paper:
The Leftovers Won't Last if They're Left Out

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Americans Thinking Outside The Box...

With flight security:
The TSA has found knives disguised as lipstick, a radio with a handgun inside, a loaded gun stuffed into a teddy bear. Several people have tried to bring chain saws onto planes. An Army sergeant was kicked off a flight after an inert land mine was found in his checked luggage. One man packed gunpowder and a fuse for his hobby of shooting golf balls out of cannons.

Essay Questions

Fafnir asks:
Is Super Mario Brothers responsible for the recent escalation of plumber-on-turtle violence in America? Plumber-on-mushroom violence? Discuss.

Questions like this makes me nervous, like when when I took History 101 as a junior instead of a freshman, and the teacher made us read something St. Benedict wrote about how to organize a monastery, and the teacher asked what the reading revealed about the political structure of the Roman Empire, and as far as I could tell, St. Benedict said nothing about the Roman Empire, just what the monks should eat and where they should go, and so I hoped it was a trick question, and I answered that St. Benedict didn't even mention the Roman Empire, and he was mostly just worried about the monks, and the teacher gave me a "D" and I was labelled everlastingly as just an engineering blockhead, and of course St. Benedict didn't actually come right out and say that he was writing about the Roman Empire, he was hoping I could read between the lines, like all the "A" students could, and why did I wait till junior year to take History 101 anyway?
Interesting Recent News Articles

Wonderful, ominous article regarding credit card debt, drastically unfair increases in fees, and a major threat to middle class life.

Oklahoma's Representative Ernest Istook, caught red-handed in a massive lie.

American oligarchs, and Latin American oligarchs, start intermarrying, the start of a new and disturbing trend.

The new JFK assassination video game has deeply disturbed the Kennedy family, for understandable reasons. Nevertheless, there is no better way for curious people, trying to puzzle out whether there was a conspiracy to murder Kennedy or not, to engage in a video game and see how it was possible. Books like Gerald Posner's "Case Closed," plus the Warren Report for that matter, long ago established that a lone sniper was more than able enough to do the deed, but missteps by the CIA, among other agencies, helped provide the ammunition to keep the argument alive. Games can settle the matter for most people, and therefore this is a positive development.

"Polar Express" is apparently a turkey of a movie, just in time for Thanksgiving. I'd still like to see it, but last week I offered H.'s kids the option of seeing it for free, and they winced, and asked if they could see "The Incredibles" for a second time instead. Ouch!
The Reviewer is Right

"Each performer on stage seemed to enjoy himself mightily." (I just hope the audience did too.)
Anything Went

From The New Yorker Magazine, a cute 1920's cartoon:

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Pinocchio, and More DMTC

Saw Pinocchio tonight. One fine show! Everyone did fine - the Grafft sisters, Cody Craven, Chloe Marr, Carver Simmons, Ed Bianchi - everyone!

At one point, I began to get hazy from fatigue from the busy day. Looking up at a blonde girl, I wondered to myself, "Why is Jennifer Walley in the Land of the Toys?" I quickly caught my error, though.

I was just amazed by the limber plasticity of Meeka Craig as Signor Volpone. The mark of a true actor to me has always been a trait that I can only label as versatility: at a suggestion's notice, the actor can assume almost any character under the sun. Few actors actually have this trait, but I suspect Meeka Craig has it. Her Volpone was elastic and physical - Ray Bolger-like: very impressive! Her Miss Hannigan in this summer's workshop, "Annie," was also impressive: the discontented middle-aged woman brought to life. And yet Meeka is only twelve!

Auditions were underway for "Evita" when I stopped there briefly this evening. Some excellent people were there: may the most versatile, ambitious, fascist saint prevail!
A DMTC Dream

I had a strange DMTC dream last night. Even though I never watch these things on TV, I nevertheless dreamt I was in a MTV Reality TV show, staged in a Las Vegas casino, accompanied by the Four Angels of "Anything Goes." Reality show or not, the event seemed to be a total, staged sham, so several of us guys escaped across a busy boulevard to a soggy, roach-infested strip mall, where I fell through a rotting wooden platform into a dark pit, and had real, untelevised adventures trying to get out.

Too many angles to analyze. The soggy, roach infested strip mall was triggered by a conversation earlier in the day concerning how much pesticide Disney World has to use to keep the swamp creatures at bay. The dark pit was suggested by an event a week ago, when I unwisely stood on the fragile sheetrock ceiling above the DMTC Clubhouse office while looking for props, punched my way through the ceiling, and startled Arthur, who was directly below in the office. The male vs. female angle was suggested by another backstage event on Saturday. And there are other angles too.

Reminds me of the story my father told of being a volunteer fireman in rural Corrales, New Mexico, my hometown. Their crew once responded to a nighttime fire at a farmhouse, and almost immediately, their chief disappeared. The firemen put the fire out, and then began searching for their chief. Turned out, one of the first things the fire had consumed at the farmhouse was the outhouse, and their chief, running around in the dark laying out hoses, failed to discern the outline of the black hole - into which he stumbled.

Not that I'm saying anything here of any importance - just that being Stage Manager, even of a smooth-running show like "Anything Goes," nevertheless exacts a toll in tension and psychic turbulence. Time to rest!