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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tagged Redux

I also have a blog in which I spout my personal reviews of stuff. Under no set schedule -- I write when the muse spews -- and under no set-in-stone guidelines, I just review stuff.

Anyway, I thought I'd apply yesterday's tag-task to that blog. I found the 5th sentence of the 23rd post, and it is this:

"Get me 6 unknown actors!"

This, clearly, has more meat to it than yesterday's tag-line (which was, if I recall correctly in all it's profusiveness, "Yeesh."). This, clearly, represents a cry to the very heavens -- redolant of "My kingdom for a horse!", or "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia", or "Get your own tots!"

Soaring to Soreness

Per a promise, I took my son to the Rec Center last night and played a little basketball.

After skying and jamming (um, crouching and limping?) for an hour and a half, we went home, where I promptly sat at the computer until 1:00 a.m., working on the theatre program. When I stood up after 4 hours of sitting at the desk, my knees were little blocks of concrete, screaming to be pulverized. Er sump'n.

It's almost done, though -- need to add two more ads, and then send it to someone else for proofreading.

People really do send me a lot of useless ads, though -- stuff that has no chance of working within the space we have -- which means I spend (literally) hours formatting and reformatting their junk. If it was useable when it came to me, the job would be soooooo much easier.

Still, the results are pretty nice, I think.

I have my collapse scheduled for Sunday evening.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I got tagged -- by the inestimable Aisha . My assignment is to go to my wayback archives (like a good Sherman) and look at my 23rd post. Once I get there, I have to find the 5th sentence, or closest to it, and post it here, along with these instructions.

Then, I ponder the sentence for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas. Finally, I tag 5 others to do the same.'s the 5th sentence, 23rd post.


Clearly, the subtext is that life is nothing more or less than unending conundrum, leading one to the inescapable conclusion that whether left or right, whether blue or red, whether proletariat or landed gentry, the only reasonable action is to shake one's head and laugh.

Or, maybe it was just filler material. Hard to tell.

Anyway, with that, I hereby tag 5 others (of course, few of those 5 actually read this mess, so the odds of them chain-lettering this tag are slim(ish)):

Wind-up Bird
Gaston Farrell
Girl Atlas

Still, they're all really well written blogs, so they're worth linking to on principal alone.

Oh, and...

I am now the official theatre and film reviewer for the local paper. My first gig is this weekend -- I'm reviewing a Christmas (surprised?) show.

This will be a blast, I think. The pay ain't much, but I'm not doing it for the pay. I really think my reviews can be a help to local theatre as well as to patrons.

And seeing shows for free -- nay, being paid to see shows -- ain't a bad deal at all.

The Rest of the Story

Other than (over)eating, I spend most of the weekend finishing up some of the many tasks with which I am still burdened (and yes, I do feel like an ox (which seems only right after eating like one all weekend)).

The videos I'm making are complete except for adding music -- which is not trivial, but not that bad. It won't take more than about 10 minutes per video to add the music (which still adds up, over 7 videos). Still, they're close to done (and due next weekend, so I did okay, timing-wise).

The theatre set is done -- looks really good, too. I'll post some pictures of it tomorrow. It's not monumentally clever or artistic, but it (in my opinion) works exceptionally well. It not only sets the scene, but it reveals much about the main character before the play even begins: it shows a fishing lodge that is in semi-disrepair -- but not for lack of caring by the owner. She's done the best she can with limited resources, and (I hope) the set looks just like that.

I'm still working on the theatre program. People don't realize just how long it takes to put that thing together....especially when patrons provide me with ads that are basically unuseable. Actually, I could just scan 'em and use 'em as is -- a lot (most, really) of theatre (and other) programs do just that. But I just can't publish ads that look like crap...which means I spend a lot of time re-creating the ads for them, so that they'll look good. It's coming out nice, though. I took pictures of each cast member, and I'm putting their picture next to their bio in the program. It's a nice touch, I think, and it looks good. I also did some research into the history of the play itself and the playwright, which gives an interesting background to the show.

I still need to put together sounds for the show (how do all these things come down on me to do?), but that won't be hard. The show opens on Friday night, so this week will be a little hectic, but really, the tech work is done.

I do have to say: I'm pretty proud of the work we do at this theatre. Yes, we are a bunch of amateurs, and I'm not so Waiting-For-Guffmanish as to think we compete with The Cleveland Play House....but we really do build nice sets, and put together nice programs, and try to handle all the details that make the difference between a theatre experience that feels like a bunch of amateurs and one that feels professional (and worth the price of admission).

Deal THIS!

Friday morning, I got up at an unGodly hour, simply to save a few bucks at the mass human stampede known as Black Friday. Interesting that the day shares the name with the stock market crash of '29, and with the plague.

My daughter came with me, which was nice of her. Sidebar comment -- I really am the luckiest dad ever. My daughter -- at 14 years old -- still enjoys spending time with me. She got up at 5:00 a.m. in the morning early before sunrise yuk early just to stand in line with me at a couple of stores. Having her company was nice, considering how much patience it takes to stand in line for hours.

Was worth it, mind you. Many of the deals on that day aren't that good, but some of 'em are unbelievable. It did seem weird, though, to be home, after mega-power shopping at several stores, by 8:30 a.m. in the morning early just after sunrise early.


So. Winter has reared it's massively ugly head. Winter in many other places is Brad Pitt on a bad hair day. Winter in Cleveland is Steve Buscemi.

Last Wednesday, it took me 2.5 hours to get home. It was sleeting/blowing -- or as one of my employees put it, it was dropping little white balls of crap. Gotta love a guy with a literate sense of simile.

Anyway, the evening before Thanksgiving is usually filled with tradition -- for several years, my sister and I have baked pies together on that Wednesday. It's an enjoyable evening together, one that is much more about the yakking than about the baking. By the time I got home, though, and given that the roads were getting worse, we elected to skip it and bake our respective (if not respectful) pies at our own homes.

Winter owes me one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Last Night

I did some TV shopping, and some TV watching, and some responsibility ignoring.

Worked for me.

Tonight it'll be back at it -- I need to get those videos done and the program -- I basically have a week to get them both done (and, of course, the set still needs a little work). It's not emergency mode, but I have to stay on task with 'em.

I know I'll get 'em done -- it's just a matter of how quickly and stress-freely.

Sure was nice to just relax last night, though.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hectic but Productive

Friday night, I spent a few hours gathering the materials I would need for the set painting/dressing on Saturday.

Saturday, I arrived at the theatre at 9:00 a.m., and began working on the set (which, of course, included coordinating the efforts of 9 or 10 other people (which can be at least as demanding as doing the physical work yourself (and, of course, I also did the physical work myself)). Set work continued until about 4:00.

I had a (semi) emergency rehearsal Saturday afternoon (for a performance I was doing Saturday evening (and three times on Sunday)); then I gave the performance.

Sunday, I gave the three performances; then attended a two-hour budget meeting (which got (semi) contentious). Sunday evening, I had a bell choir rehearsal, then spent 3 hours with the High Adventure Committee finalizing our selections.

Tired? You betcha.

But. But. The set looks gloriously cool; the performances went very well (and I even said one or two of the lines that had been written); and the High Adventure stuff is done.

And on Saturday night, I even tweaked 3 of the 6 videos I'm putting together -- they're not in bad shape considering I have two weeks to get 'em done. Same with the theatre program -- I need to keep working on these things, but at least I'm not in disaster mode. Things are falling into place.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I'm just so burned out.

I hate feeling burned out -- and I hate whining about it -- but man, I'm burned out. Last night had guys over working on the High Adventure Committee work -- we didn't get it done, and we're planning on finishing it on Sunday night.

Tonight I'll be spending the night preparing for tomorrow, in which I'll be coordinating all the set dressing and painting and folderol. That'll take most of the day tomorrow. In addition, I have a separate rehearsal tomorrow; and I have a performance tomorrow evening (for which I'm not really quite prepared (although it'll be fine, I'm sure)).

But it just never ends, and seems like it never will. Yuck.

Tired tired.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

On the busy front

Last night I imported all the pictures I needed for the Eagle COH, and built (very rudimentary) slideshows. Nice to be at that point already. I still need to arrange the pictures; and set up whatever effects I'll use (simple camera movement over still pics really adds life to the show); and to mix and apply the musical backgrounds.

For the music, we let the boys choose what music they want, then I cut and blend them for seamlessness and (most importantly) to fit the 6(ish) minute timeframe for the show. Most boys tend to give me 7 or 8 minutes of music, which means I have to do some cutting to make it work. I never just cut off the music cold at the end -- I try to arrange it so that it nicely accompanies the show....which usually takes me quite a bit of time to do it right. So finding the right 6 minutes out of 8 takes a bit of work, but I don't mind it.

One boy, though, seems to have juuuuust a slightly inflated view of the length of his slideshow. He provided me with 69 -- sixty-nine! -- minutes of music. Um, sorry bud, but as proud as I am of you, I'm probably not going to make a one-hour slideshow about your 16 years of life.

This is a huge task, though, and it's going pretty well right now. It's cool when it's cool.

Sotto Voce

I've been doing a new set of vocal exercises (which take about 45 minutes). I've been doing 'em darn near every single day. In theory, they should help take away (some of) the pain of singing, and should extend my range back to (something somewhat near) my old range. It's too early to say for certain it's working (and singing still hurts -- sometimes a lot), but I think my range is opening.

I rehearsed for 90 minutes last night. When I was done, my voice felt like I'd been kissing Scratchy McRazortongue -- but I hit all the notes. The upper range was weak and Ally McBealish, but I hit 'em. That's a good thing.

Well, if you had had to actually listen to said notes, it might not have been a good thing for you. But the bigger picture, in Tedworld, is that I was better last night than I was two weeks ago.

And, in Tedworld, that is a good thing indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


October's colors were spectacular this year -- and (for a change) we got a fair amount of sunshine with which to actually see them. Fall (and, um, every other season) in Cleveland is not renowned for its never-ending sunshine.

They're calling for a chance of snow tomorrow. Normally, the first snow kinda bums me (and this one will too, I'm sure). But, to be fair, it was a remarkably nice summer. Not overwhelmingly hot; mostly dry (but with enough rain to keep things from turning their normal August sepia). And it had some longevity -- consider how pleasantly warm, sunny, and clear was last weekend (even though it was, according to my calendar, the second weekend in November). So, after two years of crap (last winter was horrible and snowy and long and horrible; last summer was hot hot hot....the year before, the summer was cold cold cold and that winter, too, was horrible and snowy and long and horrible), this summer was pleasantly pleasant.

I just hope we don't set a record again this winter. I hate shoveling and bundling and freezing and slipping and sliding. Skiers are clearly nuts.


So, here's an update on (some of) the tasks I'm nerdily whinily focused on:

* Except for painting, the theatre set is done.
* The leaves are raked, the lawn is beautimous.
* The youth tracking software is now functional -- needs a lot of new/cool features, but at least it's done(ish).
* The script is done (and not bad, either)
* The pictures are all scanned; the marketing mailing is done and out the door.
* The glossy brochure I was putting together is (almost) done. We're still tweaking the wording (a bit), but the hard (and semi-hard (and no, I ain't talkin' dirty)) bits are done.
* The side-job software I did for my buddy is completed.

Still to do:
* I need to fix the theatre web page(s).
* I need to build the Eagle Court of Honor videos (one each for 7 boys (and each one will typically take about 3 hours (give or take))).
* Add the new/cool features to the youth tracking software.
* Clean the garage (doesn't it seem like I ought to at least be able to put one car in a two-car garage?
* Put together the theatre program (which includes a fair amount of scanning and writing -- we're probably looking at a 10 hour project).
* Direct the Christmas Pageant -- not too bad, but there will be three 3-hour rehearsals (plus, I have to learn my part (since I got (grudgingly) stuck playing the lead).
* I need to send out invitations to the highest ranking (according to our (complex) points system) to next summer's High Adventure (which is a week in Sea Base in Florida (and yes, it's awesomely cool). This may not sound like much, but it involves collating and interpreting a bunch of data for each of 70 scouts. Sending the invitations themselves is trivial; figuring to whom to send them will take -- easily -- 4 to 6 hours.

I'm utterly certain I'm forgetting something, but this is certainly the brunt of it (and I am making progress, doncha know).


I notice that most (if not all) of my blogging lately has revolved around my busy busy busyosity. That's not only indicative of too much overwhelming busy busyosity, but it's also pretty boring to read.

So. In the spirit of whine-freedom, no cheese about 'poor poor Ted'.


So. In the spirit of whine-freedom, let me, something. I can't think of what else I might have to talk about. How sad is it that I have to work this hard to find something -- anything -- else to say? Surely I'm not just an overworked nerd.

Am I?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Slowing (some)


Things are slowing a bit -- I'm not exactly at peace, yet; nor am I anywhere near to 'caught up' -- but I've (for this moment) got a handle on things.

Last night I installed some software I need to do the COH videos I have to do; and to manipulate some images for the program and for the posters. I didn't do any actual work work, but I did get the computer updated, which counts for something.

For the record: fantasy football blows. Anyone who plays fantasy football blows. Injuries and coaches and the entire NFL blows.

I didn't do real well the last few weeks -- is it obvious?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sleepy Time T


I took yesterday off work -- not off life, though. I worked on the script and brochure and mailing. Basically, I started at 7:30 yesterday, and worked (excluding lunch and dinner (skipped, as always, breakfast)) until 1:00 a.m.

But the brochure is done (pending approval); the mailing (which was far more complex than I anticipated) is done and out the door, and the script, while not done, sounds pretty darn good. In fact, if I have to say so myself (and, pretty much, I do), they all came out pretty good.

Of course, my eyes are redder than Scooter Libby's cheeks. Still, I'm done.

Tomorrow, I should be able to finish the theatre set (less set dressing and painting and other girly stuff). I still have the software to complete, and videos to build, and other folderol -- but these were major tasks (of massive stress-inducement), and I'm feeling so much better.

Yay capitalism (er sump'n).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Perchance know


Fell right to sleep last night; woke up 3 hours later. Done, finis, kaput.

I looked in the mirror and saw Brad Pitt staring back. It's possible I'm so tired I'm hallucinating, but I don't think so.

Neither do the huns or the flying pigs.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Here's how the weekend was supposed to go:

Build the theatre set.
Rake the leaves.
Finish (or at least seriously dent) the software.
Re-write the script.
Finish scanning pics for web page.
Re-write the web page.
Compose the marketing cover letter.
Import DVD videos for Eagle COH.

Here's how the weekend went:
Built the theatre set.
Imported videos.
Raked the leaves (and then watched God re-disperse them with gale force winds).
Drank a bottle of shiraz.
Felt guilty over not writing software and not re-writing a script and not scanning and not web-page building and not cover letter writing.

So. I'm behind(er), and feeling bad about it. And, had I not woken up (for good) at 3:30 this morning (after having woken up (for good) at 3:45 on Saturday night), I'd be all ready to re-put my nasal thing to the grindstone. As it is, the thought of staying up all night writing and writing and scanning and building and writing is daunting, to say the least.

Mind you, I'll do it. I have no choice. I'll do it.

But there's no law that says I have to be happy about it; or that says I can't blogwhine about it.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I found this disturbing. I share disturbing things.

Doesn't make me a bad person.

Alan Colmes from "Hannity and Colmes" (and, apparently, his separated-at-birth sib):

Found this, too. Gotta love a restaurant with attitude.

Short and (semi) sweet

Last night wasn't much of a news night in Tedworld -- sequestered myself (O.J. jury style) in my study, and work work worked on software. I have to admit, though, it's coming out really good.

Well, okay, I don't have to admit it -- but I want to. It's good. When you're in the middle of a ridiculously stressful workload, it's at least a small consolation/help to feel like you're accomplishing good things.

Tonight? I still have tons to do -- but (as of this moment, anyway) my plan is to chill and cocoon instead.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I sang with the choir last night. Maybe -- maybe! -- my voice is starting to (slightly slightly) sound a little nicer. My range still stinks, and the upper part of what little range I have still sounds like a coyote with its privates in a vise, but maybe -- maybe! -- my (few) midrange notes are starting to regain (a little) quality to the tone.

Still hurts just as much as it ever did -- after about 3 minutes of singing, it feels like a red-hot ice pick is being jabbed directly into my voicebox -- but if I could at least sing a little better, I'd be happier.

I also worked right up until choir time, and then worked at home until about 1:00 a.m. on the stuff I've committed to doing. I'm tired (duh), but at least I'm making great progess on the list. I finished the job for Mark, and the tracking software I'm writing is in excellent shape (although still far from done). The theatre set is also in excellent shape, although also far from done. Still, as a rehearsal space, it defines the work space for the actors, which is all they need (at this point).

One day at a time -- it's all I've got to work with, anyway. Tonight will (hopefully) be an intense but productive time of knocking out work. And if not, maybe it'll be an intense (but unproductive) time of sipping Michael Shea's followed by napping. Hey, gotta have a plan, no?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Still a Maroon

Stuff I'm in the middle of -- all of which is due NOW (or within the next 2 weeks)

*Designing and building the set for the next show.
*Taking videos for the next Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor
*Making the Eagle Court of Honor slideshow DVD's for the Eagle Court of Honor
*Making a full color glossy brochure for the theatre
*Practicing with the choir every Wednesday
*Practicing with the bell choir every Sunday
*Writing some special (and fairly intense) software for my church
*Writing software for one of my friend Mark's clients (at least this is a paying gig) (and pretty easy)
*Coordinating the church Sunday School Christmas Program (including writing the script)
*Rebuilding the theatre web page

I think I'm forgetting some stuff, but this is the majority of the list, at least. It, of course, doesn't include things like working every single night with Michael on geometry, or working on my novel, or actually, you know, sleeping.

Last night was (yet another) work-until-2:00-a.m.-and-then-lie-awake-stressed night.
I'm just such a maroon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Costumes and Masks and All

Sat on the porch last night, lit by the flickering of my two (very cool!) pumpkins, and handed out sweets to youths that, clearly, didn't need 'em. Had a blast -- how could you not?

My own kids were out gathering their own sugar from the other local benefactors of the candy industry. Sending your kids out on their own to harvest their own kill gives you (well, me, anyway) an oddly satisfied feeling of competent parenting -- probably akin to the vestigial thrill of feasting on that first wooly mammoth flank dragged home by little Kronk.

Anyway. I love seeing all the costumes. One kid came up carrying a light saber and wearing a Darth Vader mask on top of a pumpkin body.

"Ah, the infamous Darth Vader Pumpkin," I said, cleverly.

As they were leaving, his buddy (who had been wearing, I think, a mismatched shirt and pants) turned to him and said "How come no one knows what I am, but everyone gets your costume?"

And the other kid turned, arms akimbo, and in a voice redolant with Duh, ain't it obvious? simply said "Darth Vader Pumpkin!"

Of course.