Saturday, February 11, 2006

Flying Monkey Productions - Friday Night Performance

See Saturday's show (7:30 p.m.) if you haven't already. Here are a few shots - the camera's juice failed by the end of Act I. Commentary later.

From "Hairspray": Edna Turnblad (Kyle Hadley) and Prudy Pingleton (Debbie Vanderford) watch TV with the kids, Tracy Turnblad (Julie Soto), and it sure looks like Meghan Vanderford rather than her sister Katherine, as listed in the program.

Mom and daughter: Tracy Turnblad (Julie Soto) and Edna Turnblad (Kyle Hadley), left foreground: in background, the Dynamites (listed in alphabetic order in the program: Kayla Berghoff, Kelley Jakle, and Ashley Mortenson). From "Hairspray."

I know you have your reasons, Roger, but really, what would it hurt to go out tonight? Carly Wielstein, as 'Mimi' and Will Finan as 'Roger': 'Out Tonight' from "Rent."
What's the time?
Well it's gotta be close to midnight
My body's talking to me
It says, "Time for danger"
It says "I wanna commit a crime
Wanna be the cause of a fight
Wanna put on a tight skirt and flirt
With a stranger"

'No Day But Today,' (aka Finale B) from "Rent." Stepping forward, Carly Wielstein as 'Mimi' (left) and Nick Murphy as 'Angel.'

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let Bush Be Bush

"I support the free press, let's just get them out of the room."
Scapegoat Loses Patience

Michael D. Brown, former head of FEMA and national laughingstock after Hurricane Katrina, finally tired of covering everyone else's ass in the Bush Administration (e.g. Michael Chertoff, Andy Card, etc.) and is beginning to fight back.

All articles about accidental teenage deaths all sound so similar - all that lost potential. Here's one about car-surfing.

When I was in high school, I remember watching two teenage girls riding on the hood of a car, one on the left side and one on the right. It was like slow motion: the slow-moving car slowly turned left, and the right-hood girl slowly slipped off and bounced on the gravelly pavement. Slow or not, it looked so painful I vowed never to try it myself.

Aggravating. Today's weather forecast blocks the soft, warm Hawaiian storm from reaching Arizona, and instead replaces it with a harsh, windy storm approaching from the NW around February 16th. My fear is that there won't be much precipitation, and instead, lots of blowing dust.
Work Tales

Every Friday morning at work, we have a staff meeting. As far as story-telling is concerned, the staff meeting usually provides pretty tedious material, but there are exceptions (such as today):
  • The company has been doing wintertime smog check testing in Fairbanks, Alaska. One colleague discovered that a hose containing nothing but car exhaust had been diverted into the cab of a truck outside, where people were sitting. They were using the car exhaust to warm themselves up (the dangers of freezing outweighing the dangers of auto exhaust).
  • One colleague was watching the live-feed of a stenographer's notes from a court-room deposition. A computer takes the stenographer's phonetic notations and converts them into scrawling text. Sometimes, when the computer can't recognize the notations, it inserts random characters, making it appear as if the witness is cursing.
  • After repeated, detailed, technical testimony at the deposition, the stenographer parenthetically noted that this is why she dated her science teacher, rather than bothering to actually learn the stuff.
Flying Monkey Productions - "The Benefit" - Thursday Feb. 9th Rehearsal

I caught a few minutes of the rehearsal for this weekend's Flying Monkey Productions' "The Benefit" (7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at DMTC's Hoblit Performing Arts Center). Kristin Cunningham, Katherine Vanderford, and Jaie Sacco had the stage at this particular time.

Afterwards, in the DMTC office, I saw Kyle Hadley. There were still traces of makeup on his face, and had the lighting been a soft, incandescent yellow rather than a bright, fluorescent white, I would have found him - how to say? - fetching? (I can't wait to see what he does onstage!)

Kristin Cunningham and Katherine Vanderford (left) singing a duet. Most, maybe even all, of the Flying Monkey Production numbers are from later musicals (this one I didn't recognize offhand, but it sure sounded nice.)

Update: Yes, you were right, Andrea, this is "Angel of Music!"

Ula dance now! Kristen Cunningham (left) as Ula, performing 'If You've Got It, Flaunt It,' from "The Producers."

Katherine Vanderford (above and left) and Jaie Sacco (left) sing from "Phantom Of The Opera."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Should Have Thought Of That

Six-year-old girl and her dad, preparing to mount their motorbike at a sidewalk curb. The parking meter must have been an irritant because, as her dad busied himself with the motorbike, the girl busied herself by unscrewing the parking meter from its mount in the sidewalk.

Interesting point over at Eschaton. If you detonate a shoe bomb in the vicinity of an airliner cockpit, you are likely to cause the airliner to crash. An airliner that crashes can't be used to fly into buildings.
Keeping Hope Alive

Deborah in Phoenix asks:
My birthday is the 27th--think we can manage rain by then?
I reply:
By your birthday? I'm thinking yes!

It actually appears to be raining today, particularly around Tucson, but maybe where you are too. Not much, but better than zip.
Flying Monkey Productions Presents!

Here is the notice from Steve. Please note that the times are a bit earlier than usual DMTC times. This should be a fun show. Lots of talented people in the cast!
There will be a special production at the Hoblit Performing Arts Center, this Friday & Saturday...many DMTC Teens are involved in this worthly cause...

"The Benefit"

February 10th and 11th, 2006 at 7:30pm
Tickets - $10 (on sale at the door)

The Hoblit Performing Arts Center
607 Peña Drive Davis, CA
Songs performed from Wicked, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Avenue Q, and several other Broadway shows.

Performed by local teens and adults to benefit Flying Monkey Productions (a youth theatre company) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alien Song

Courtesy of Noel, how the 70's disco fad saved us from an alien invasion. This almost worked for preserving American 80's pop music from British influences as well. In December 1999, poor Boy George fell victim, but he managed to 'survive,' so it's not a foolproof method of Homeland Security (I've to get one of those T-Shirts, though.)
From Monday's Rehearsal

Another picture from Monday's "Titanic" rehearsal, featuring first-class passengers. The cast for this show is unusually large, to simulate the crowded confines of the boat.

My theory regarding the Titanic's sinking is that it never struck the iceberg at all: the ship capsized when someone on the deck said "Look, there's an iceberg!" and everyone ran over simultaneously to the starboard railing to take a gander.

I recognize almost everyone here...

Front row of women, left to right: Monique McKisson, Dannette Vassar, Jan Isaacson, Noel Bruening, Linda Abrille, Bridget Maguire, Amber Lidskin.

Back rows, left to right: Chris Neff, Jon Beaver, Robert Coverdell, Rich Kulmann, Jabriel Shelton, Tawny Hansen, Julia Spangler, Mary Young, Alex Powell, Julia Kulmann, Jennifer Bonomo, Brian McCann, Bethany Pedersen, Andrew Lemons, (obscured), Claire Lawrence, Scott Griffith, J.P. Villa, Steve Lemons (obscured), (cut off).

Viewing from the seats: Steve Isaacson (waving his arm) and Ron Cisneros.
Darwin Too

Education can't save you from bad judgment sometimes. Very innovative approach, and unexpectedly effective - terrestrial parasailing:
Gusty winds were blamed for a bizarre accident that killed the son of a local TV weatherman who was parasailing behind a tractor, a family friend said Monday.

...But on Sunday, as Don Greene was driving the tractor with his son in back, the wind proved so strong it picked the tractor up off the ground, Sellers said. That caused the rope holding James Greene to break and he went free-flying into the air, he said.
Misjudging Gases

Darwin Award runner-up: if I don't get run over by a bus first, this is how I'll go:
When a deputy arrived to check it out, he found a white car that showed obvious signs of an explosion. All the windows were blown out, the vehicle doors were bent towards the outside and the roof was pushed about a foot higher than normal.

The deputy traced the license plate to a home in the 3600 block of South Grove Street in Sheridan. Sheridan officers talked to the people inside and a man and a woman admitted that they were in the car.

They explained that they were taking a balloon to a Super Bowl party -- a balloon filled with acetylene, a very explosive gas used in welding -- so they could blow up the balloon while celebrating.

However, on the drive, the balloon rolled across the back seat, possibly causing static electricity, and igniting the gas, causing it to explode.
More Paranoia

The City of San Diego called today, with a few questions about a property I supposedly own down there. I don't own any property down there. Makes me nervous.

Reminds me of when a friend, a lowly college student, received a call from the Bureau of Reclamation, asking to be reimbursed a million dollars for a dam he was supposedly building. Made him nervous too.

Wonder how these things happen?
Grasping At Straws

Both the NOGAPS and GFS models show the development of a storm just north and east of Hawaii on Feb. 13 - 14. The signal is quite strong in both models, so the storm will likely occur in some form. That's quite a while in the future and a long distance away from AZ, but it's the first storm in a long time to be in a place where it might plausibly affect future AZ and SoCal weather. It would take about four days after that to travel to the U.S. West Coast, arriving, say, Feb. 18 - 19, and a lot might happen to it in the mean time, but at least something is happening somewhere.

I was looking at some of the climate forecasts for the SW this spring. Total pessimism everywhere. Not surprising - there is a weak La Niña in effect, and spring is the driest season anyway. Hope everyone is wrong!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Weak La Niña, Strong Drought

The climate people blame La Niña:
Meanwhile, January temperatures in the Lower 48 were the warmest ever recorded. It's not global warming so much at work here, it's just that January wind patterns effectively prevented arctic air from entering the Great Plains and points south. But the effect was very striking - practically a balmy January in Fargo, N.D.
The Real Story

Naw, this ain't it:
Consumers, weighed down by high debt loads and low savings rates, increased borrowing last year by the smallest amount in 13 years, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

The government said that borrowing on credit cards, auto loans and other forms of consumer debt rose by 3 percent in 2005, down from rates above 4 percent in the previous three years and a 7.7 percent surge in 2001. It was the smallest increase since a 1 percent rise in 1992.

...Some analysts attributed the slowdown to the fact that consumers are beginning to feel a bit pinched with consumer debt at record levels and interest rates rising because of a campaign by the Federal Reserve to slow borrowing as a way of cooling the economy and keeping inflation under control.

...The Fed report showed that the increase last year in credit card debt and other types of revolving credit was just 2.6 percent, the smallest in 23 years.
Ah, here's the real story!:
Analysts said some of that slowdown reflected that fact that Americans have stepped up borrowing through home equity loans rather than increasing credit card debt.
Total Information Awareness

Digby, being (appropriately) paranoid:
Remember: Watergate was about bugging the Democratic National Committee. The "3rd rate burglary" was to replace an illegal bug that had been planted on the telephones of prominent Democrats.

The lesson of Watergate for the chagrined Republicans was that they needed to be more forceful in assuming executive power and they needed to be more sophisticated about their campaign espionage. This is what they've done.

Anybody who even dreams that these guys are not using all their government power to spy on political enemies is being willfully naive. It is what they do. It is the essence of their political style. This is Nixon's Republican party and they have finally achieved a perfect ability to carry out his vision of political governance: L'etat C'est Moi.
Exxon Speaks

A sad, but likely true, statement regarding the feasibility of American energy independence:
"Realistically, it is simply not feasible in any time period relevant to our discussion today," Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill said, referring to what he called the "misperception" that the United States can achieve energy independence.

The comments, in a speech at an energy conference in Houston, come a few days after U.S. President George W. Bush declared America was addicted to Middle Eastern oil and promised to help the country kick the habit.

Many in the United States believe America should wean itself off oil imports from the Middle East, fearing it makes the country dangerously dependent on an unstable region.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company, however, says hoping to end foreign oil imports is not only a bad idea, but also impossible.
'Doing The Latest Rag'

Working on the latest 1912 dance floor moves! "Titanic: The Musical" (opening February 24th at DMTC).

Ron Cisneros, choreographer. Dancers, left to right: Julia Spangler, Robert Coverdell, Dian Hoel, Scott Griffith, Bridget Maguire, Chris Neff, Bethany Pedersen, Jabriel Shelton. In the background: Steve Lemons (left) and Julie and Rich Kulmann (right).

Not yet, not yet:
I left my body and went walking towards a very bright white light which was at the end of a long tunnel. At the same time I could see three figures standing at the end of the bed and I kept wishing they would go away so that I could go to the light, which to me was lovely and warm.
Look! Is That A Unicorn?

In comments on a previous blogpost, former classmate Lawrance Bernabo, who apparently holds the record for writing the largest number of reviews for (books, music, etc.), took note of the overweening commentary at The Conservative Voice:
I don't think I'm a myth, but maybe I am the wrong person to ask (not that this guy did...).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Southern Arizona Angst

I told Deborah:
The Great Wall of High Pressure is being replaced by a Perfect Void
Deborah replied:

Staring into The Void, I'm thinking that the forecast has to be only slightly different and it would mean even more sprinkles in the mountains. So, let's see what happens this Thursday. At the least, it might mean pretty skies.
Sounds Like Kelly Is Having Fun

She updated her journal.

Ron Cisneros noted that one of his former students, Tia Miller, has been with "Mamma Mia" in Las Vegas for some time, and will be leaving soon to tour with "Bombay Dreams."
Marshmallows and the Violation of the Conservation of Mass

James notes that physical laws are mere playthings to marshmallows:
It has been stated on good authority that consuming a one pound package of marshmallows will add two pounds of body mass. I think it has to do with the inability of anyone to eat marshmallows alone, and the hot chocolate and S'mores ingredients do their thing as well.
Writing Blogs

Everyone who writes blogs follows a similar procedure (from Dadahead).
Yes Ma'am, It Never Rains In Arizona

Deborah uses semaphore to convey her state of mind regarding Arizona's dangerous and unprecedented drought.

My take:
Screaming is bad in a dry climate...flinging dinner plates against the wall is better.

The weather situation looks intriguing after mid-week - all chaotic on the macro level - but squeezing water out of it looks like an exercise in herding cats. Maybe some mountain sprinkles on Thursday. Rescue is still over the horizon, though: more than a week away....
February 5th - An Important Date

In 1981, February 5th was the date I moved into Dr. Tom's place, in Tucson, where I lived for the next six years. But two years before, in 1979, February 5th was an even more important date in American legal history:
Woodrow Bussey files suit against the Adolf Coors Brewing Company for failing to warn him that their product, Coors Beer, is an intoxicating beverage.
Optical Illusion

When Leo and Glen from "Curb Appeal" painted the panel above the new Hoblit Performing Arts Center lobby, they made it appear to have three-dimensional depth, but, in fact, it's all smoke and mirrors, or (more accurately) paint.

Detail of the panel. Notice the dark blue stars on the black background above the panel.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Flying Monkey Production's Upcoming Musical Revue

On Friday and Saturday of this week, Flying Monkey Productions will be staging a musical revue at DMTC's new Hoblit Performing Arts Center. Three veterans of last summer's DMTC workshop "Bye, Bye Birdie" will be in the show: Ryan Warren, Katherine Vanderford, and Julia Soto. The cast is largely composed of teenagers, but there will be several adult guest stars (e.g., Debbie Vanderford, Kyle Hadley).

I understand Flying Monkey is named after promoter Ryan Warren's first stage role ever, as a flying monkey in "The Wizard of Oz," and is the first group to rent out the Hoblit for any purpose besides DMTC shows.

People are telling me I have no idea how big this thing really is - they apparently have fans. Indeed, there were lots of people practicing yesterday in the lobby of the New Theater whom I did not know. I heard fragments of songs from several different musicals (e.g., "Rent"). Something to look forward to!

I will provide more details regarding times when I learn it.
"Lost in Yonkers" at Magic Circle Theater

(Left: Simple set, strong emotions)

Yesterday afternoon at the Cisneros' studio I told Mary Young, "Yes, we're coming up tonight to see your show!" Wendy Young Carey smiled knowingly and said "She's mean!"

And who would know better, after all, than Mary's daughter?

I went with the DMTC crowd Saturday night to see the Neil Simon play "Lost in Yonkers" at Magic Circle Theater's Tower Theater in Roseville. It was the first time I've seen this show. An excellent show featuring strong performances, not only by Mary, but also by Lee Marie Kelly as Aunt Bella, Kirk Blackinton as Uncle Louie, and the two teenage boys, Dustin Dunbar (Jay) and Jordan Mahallati (Arty).

There is a kind of claustrophobic, hopeless, helpless sense to the show, which takes place entirely in the living room of an apartment above 'Kurnitz's Kandy Store' in Yonkers, NY, in 1942-43. Out of necessity, the two teenage sons are left with their grandma for nearly a year to help her run the store while their dad and aunts and uncle try their best to make ends meet. Everyone in the family lives on the edge of desperation; a kind of economic poverty and familial desperation that was very, very common during the Depression and World War II, and which lingered well after, where people employed all sorts of half measures to keep families together and keep food on the table.

The strange thing about growing older is that now I find my youth seems to have had more in common with the Kurnitz's youth than, say, my own nephew's youth, both in time, and in attitude. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was young. Even though my grandmother was not as stern as Grandma Kurnitz, the times were better, the locales were different, and even though the visits never lasted as long, there was the still the same sense of having to function under different, arbitrary rules and of losing key freedoms (like mobility). Remember YOUR relatives when you were young? Remember the fold-out bed?

Plus, Dustin Dunbar's appearance is similar to that of an old high school friend of mine, and so I felt like I had entered a time warp to a place I already knew well (and felt much better seeing in a play than experiencing again).

A good job, well-done here! Hooray for Neil Simon!

Notable too was the convivial atmosphere established Saturday night between "Lost in Yonkers" Director Brent Null, Sarah Null (who ran over after "Hello, Dolly" finished at Magic Circle's nearby Roseville Theater), and the rest of the DMTC crowd. Five years have passed and hard feelings have dissipated (something Grandma Kurnitz would not have understood).

(Left: Very pretty display in the lobby of Roseville's Tower Theater.)
Message in a Bottle

Long Island man places message in a bottle and tosses it into the Atlantic. Half a year later, he gets a reply from England.
"I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Poole Harbour. While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed" of "oceanic currents, I have another name for it, litter."

"You Americans don't seem to be happy unless you are mucking about somewhere," says the letter, signed by Henry Biggelsworth of Bournemouth, in Dorset County.
Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This

There is an old joke that goes something like:
Patient: "Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this."
Doctor: "Well, don't do that."
A friend of mine went to the doctor to diagnose her aching knees, except the doctor was former Olympic speedskater (1980 Lake Placid, NY) and Sacramento orthopedist Eric Heiden. Besides being an orthopedist himself, Heiden is apparently married to an orthopedist, and his father is an orthopedist, so it's not like the field is unfamiliar to him. Heiden insisted that my friend radically cut back her level of activity, including giving up using the stairs.

"But doctor, surely you, as an athlete, can understand the value of remaining active to maintain one's health." Heiden replied that if she didn't stop using the stairs, she'd have to get knee replacements.

So, I guess the central truth of the old joke is that it isn't really a joke at all.....