Friday, June 16, 2006

"Oklahoma" To Premiere Tonight!

'Many A New Day', final dress rehearsal at DMTC, Thursday, June 15th.
When Danger Reared Its Ugly Head, Sparky Asked To Be Bathed And Fed

Sparky paid a call to La Riviera Animal Medical Center today. A chronic cough he's developed over the last three months has been diagnosed as heart disease. His right atrium is enlarged and he's accumulating fluid around the heart and lungs (hence the cough).

He's probably about thirteen years old (about 68 human years, according to the dog-age chart for a 16.5 pound animal). He was already an adult when Katherine and I picked him out at the Sacramento County pound, on Bradshaw Blvd., in February, 1994 (or, as Katherine proudly told the story, she was the one who picked him out, because I wanted the white dog instead).

Hopefully drugs and a low-salt diet (meaning fewer French fries) will help arrest the heart disease (something I should emulate as well).

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Bush's asinine predisposition to mock people's appearances, particularly those who might be less-than-submissive to him, gets him into trouble with a blind reporter.
Fitzgerald's Decision Not To Indict Rove

Because of the intense legal focus applied by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the decision to expose the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame is one of the few decisions made by the Bush Administration in the last six years that we will understand, more-or-less, in full, when the dust finally settles.

Fitzgerald has decided not to indict Karl Rove, either because Rove is now cooperating with Fitzgerald, or, more likely in my view, because Fitzgerald has decided the primary crime was conducted by Vice President Cheney's office, and that Rove was merely the media contact for the smear-Joe-Wilson campaign. I'm certain that everyone at the top was involved, in one way or another, George W. Bush too, but criminal indictments require a high standard of proof, and Rove probably wasn't the guy in the driver's seat for this campaign.
John Hancock, Unplugged

A message from Juan Ramos:
The dreaded Foley catheter has finally been removed and John is urinating like a normal person. A Big Whew as it also means no more dialysis, as far as I know. I had a session with his physical therapist and now have a series of four exercises to help loosen and slowly strengthen his legs at this phase. He can brush his teeth, wash his face, write and even assisted the nurses by pulling his upper body with his arms to reposition his body in bed, albeit gingerly. He is pretty much on a non-restricted diet and was in heaven when off-duty UCD nurse Karen Merrick brought a chicken vegetable soup, pasta salad and ice cold lemonade from Whole Foods for dinner. He now also has his apple laptop to watch DVD's with when visiting hours are over. So small portions of good food (he can still only eat small amounts) and comedy/action adventure/good drama DVDs are a good thing to bring if you choose to do so. What he appreciates most of all is your visits, so don't feel obligated. I do not recommend flowers as there is not a lot of room to place them or care for them. There is a possibility of moving him to a custodial care facility for rehabilitation and preferably one that is close to home, within the next few weeks if not sooner. I will keep you posted on that. He can receive calls during visiting hours (9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.). Call (916) 973-5000 and ask to be connected to John Hancock in Room #4012.
"Oklahoma!" - DMTC - Tuesday & Wednesday Night Rehearsals

A few shots - opening Friday at DMTC's Hoblit Performing Arts Center!:

'Many A New Day' - Laurey (Claire Lawrence, left), and women's ensemble.

'Poor Jud is Daid' - Jud Fry (Jamie Tvrdik, left) and Curley (Brennan Cull). Two great singers!

Laurey Fires Jud - Laurey (Claire Lawrence, left) and Jud Fry (Jamie Tvrdik). The exit sign visible between Laurey and Jud is on the wall of the theater behind them, and is not intended to be a cartoon balloon illustrating Laurey's thoughts during this explosive scene.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Visit With John Hancock

Made my first visit to see John, at least, when he was able to respond. I arrived at Room 4012 at Kaiser just as Jan and Steve were leaving. John was lucid and warm: that was a pleasure to see!

John felt uneasy, understandably enough, about being in the hospital. "I don't think this is a very good place for me," he said. I respectfully disagreed, saying that the place would help make him stronger and healthier, and that once his abdominal wound healed, he should start Pilates. At first, John thought I was being facetious, but I wasn't: Pilates was originally designed to strengthen the core muscles of bed-ridden soldiers recovering from wounds in World War I. I said we'd have him balancing on a rubber ball before too long.

Room 4012 is well-designed and pleasant, but the place has a history for me: it is the exact same room where my friend, Brian Forment from Woodland, recovered from abdominal surgery for cancer exactly a year ago. Brian recovered from the surgery, but nevertheless succumbed to the cancer, just last October.

Despite the shadow from the past, John's future in the room is bright: all things being equal, it's much easier to recover from an accident than from cancer.

I hope the hospital staff don't mind the distractions of having theater people there - the dancing girls, the dancing boys, the opera singers: divas aplenty - John must have what John must have!
Like A Mirage

These days, her public profile is vanishingly small, like a black-clad ninja clambering over rooftops in the dark. Nevertheless, Kylie makes a brief, public appearance:
Kylie made a surprise appearance at G-A-Y on Saturday evening to present sister Dannii with a bouquet of flowers after her live greatest hits set at the infamous London club night.

Struggling to be heard over the deafening cheers of support Kylie said: "I just want to congratulate my beautiful little sister and wish her all the best with her album. I am so happy for her."
Tropical Storm Alberto

Never made it to hurricane status, but still a rainmaker, and barreling towards Georgia and South Carolina:
12:45PM EDT Update
Alberto Makes landfall at 12:30 PM EDT, at Adams Beach 50 miles se of Tallahassee, FL.
Impressive rainbands on Tallahassee radar. In Tampa, maximum winds during the storm appear to have been 26 mph, with gusts to 38 mph, with 3.18" of rain: Quite impressive!
John Hancock Update

Juan Ramos sends a message this morning:
John was transferred out of ICU at Kaiser Permanente on Morse Ave on Saturday, June 10th. He is on the 4th floor in the Surgical unit, Room 4012. Visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and strictly enforced. He had a majority of staples removed from his legs and drains removed from his hip surgery by two ortho residents yesterday. The dressings were also removed from his left forearm and right lower leg where he had skin grafts. He welcomed the taste of a "Baja Fresh" chicken burrito and a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha (decaf) Frappacino even though he could only have a few big bites and big gulps. His stomach shrunk quite a bit and it will take time to stretch out. He did a lot of crying yesterday as we talked about the accident, his operations, his recovery process and the future as well as thanking a few close friends who came to visit for their overwhelming support. It was very touching to witness and a very important step in his recovery. Doctors are keeping a close watch over his abdominal sutures and making sure the dressing on that suture are changed twice a day. He will have at least two more spins on the dialysis machine to clean out wastes, even though his kidneys are really starting to kick in and his urine output is high. He is also in the beginning stages of learning to manage his pain and is taking Percocept (not sure of the spelling or pronunciation) orally when the pain is too much for him. He is also thinking about how to schedule his long days in his hospital bed and establish a routine. I am helping him on that one.
I plan on visiting John later today. John has embarked on what is probably the most wearying phase of his recovery, featuring, all at the same time, maximum pain, helplessness, and tedium, and he needs our support now more than ever.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Teen Cabaret

I missed the Teen Cabaret this weekend at DMTC, which was unfortunate (it fell during my regularly-scheduled ballet class). Nevertheless, I wondered about the advisability of several of the teens' mothers making a surprise appearance on-stage midway through 'Dancing Queen,' the ABBA-born song from "Mamma Mia."

Every cool teenager has one nightmare that keeps them up late at night, one existential agony than threatens to erupt whenever the music is playing. That fear is that their parents, or God forbid, their mother, will suddenly start dancing and twirling where their friends can see. Pleas for mercy fall on deaf ears, and capable teenagers are rendered helpless, when the rhythm is right and mom begins imagining she's in the parking lot at a Grateful Dead concert. How much more shocking could it be when taken by surprise in public?

I don't know whether having several mothers onstage adds to, or neutralizes, the humilation, or indeed, whether it matters at all. It's certainly fun for the mothers, and even teenagers can put on a game face, and stop grimacing for a few seconds, upon seeing their moms smiling and laughing.

Having endured the worst, cool Davis teens can now sleep soundly, at least for awhile. Nothing worse can happen, after all. Like they say, if you eat a live toad first thing in the morning, the rest of the day can only get better.
Naked Mexicans Protest

Going naked often works as political or religious protest (but can be bad if you hit a big pothole):
About two dozen bicyclists rode nude through downtown Mexico City on Saturday, demanding respect from motorists and protesting the car-oriented culture in this megalopolis of 20 million.

With slogans like "Respect Bike Riders" painted on their bodies, the naked cyclists turned many heads in a city where it's rare to see even clothed cyclists braving the chaotic traffic.
Stilldream Six

You learn the strangest things sometimes, when you least expect. I had loud House Music on as I passed through the McDonald's drive-through window (in this particular case, a pop variant, namely Madonna's 'Hung Up'). The window clerk recognized the musical style and allowed that he also DJs House Music. His recommendation for House Music aficionados was Stilldream Six, several nights camped out under mountain stars, coming up next weekend, with enough House Music to satisfy any taste. I'm glad to now know where the local party people go online!
Tropical Storm Alberto

Looks like a rough day out there! Apparently Alberto is approaching hurricane status (minimal hurricane - Class 1). The weather forecasts last night showed the center forming to the west, and ultimately running into the Pensacola area, but that forecast is already outdated - the center actually developed closer to the Tampa coast, and is heading into the Florida Big Bend area in the vicinity of Tallahassee.

Be careful out there!
Fine Cake

This here's fine cake!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Noel's Baby Shower

Michael McElroy (left), is so impressed by the cake, food, and presents Noel received from well-wishers that he plans to give birth as soon as practicable.