Recent Posts

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"Apace" is a great word. Just sayin'.

Work on my novel continues apace -- not quite as quick as I had hoped, but moving at least. I've been rewriting dialogue, and I'm finding that -- mostly - -the dialogue isn't that bad. What I am finding, though, is that often dialogue is missing.

Characters move a bit two quickly from one thought to the next, sometimes, and conversations are sometimes abbreviated.....I find what I most need to do with dialogue is let the scene breathe....let it find its life.

Still, I'm about 1/3 of the way through it -- more than that, actually -- so progress is progress.

Monday Night

Well, last night I went to the play reading committee meeting for the theatre. I spent several years on the committee, and it's a very tough (satisfying, but tough) job. You need to balance determining what kind of theatre you want to be with what kind of theatre you can be (because of your home audience, and core of actors, and technical capabilities, so forth); you need to balance shows you do "for your soul" with shows you do for box office; and (no small feat) you need to set aside your hat as an actor or a director and make sure you choose shows that will be good for the theatre, not shows that you want to star in or direct. Plus, we tried -- with some success -- to never capitulate to the siren song of simply doing popular shows that we don't like. We tried -- always! -- to do shows that were actually quality scripts.

Plus -- also no small task -- it's nice if you can present a season that, taken as a whole, is something you're proud to present to the public. This current season,we went with a "classics" theme -- presenting the original, classic "Dracula", followed by "The Importance of Being Earnest", and finishing with "Once Upon a Mattress" (which, while maybe an inch deep, truly and deservedly is a classic of musical theatre).

After having served for several years, it was time for fresh blood, so I wasn't going to be on it this year. kind of came to my attention that they were meeting (sporadically), and had gotten exactly nowhere. So I was asked to maybe be on it again, and I was glad to help....and, essentially, we were starting from zero. They were looking at a few plays; a mish-mosh of shows that no one knew, a themeless season, and no general plan or even direction for progressing. I did NOT want to just take it over; that's not why I agreed to serve....but I felt I could give them some direction and a process (or at least describe for them the process we had used for a long time, which may not be the only way to do it but which worked for us).


We made progress. We've -- more or less -- established a framework for the season (drama or straight play; comedy; musical), with the possibility of sneaking in a small Christmas show (like, f'r example, "A Child's Christmas in Wales"). We are going to look hard at the possibility of doing Shakespeare in the fall (a hyooge leap for us (scary and exhilerating to attempt)); followed by a mainstream comedy (like maybe Woody Allen's "Don't Drink The Water"); followed by a more mainstream musical (although maybe not quite so mainstream, provided we can find the right marketing hook for whatever we choose). Don't know what the "theme" for that hodgepodge is, but at least it's a start.

And at least we've got an umbrella under which to focus.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

's Fine

Well, after all the worry about the technical stuff, and about the box office, and trying to get the program done on time, last night's opening was a rousing success. It's always more than a little scary when doing a classic show like "The Importance of Being Earnest"....while it's not exactly avant garde theatre, it's also not the usual safe theatre route. It's not Neil Simon and Agatha Christie and Rogers & Hammerstein. It's a true literary classic.....and thus, scary.

When I got there -- at 6:20 -- the parking lots -- all of 'em! -- were already near full. I parked way over at the church parking lot. Strongsville was playing Brunswick in basketball (a huge rivalry), and the cars were still streaming in. I honestly figured that the few people that were going to come anyway would simply cruise through the lot, find no place to park, and leave. I honestly thought we might play to about 2 people in the audience.

But we had over half a house, which is not bad at all.
And I ran the sound for act I; Chris ran it for the second and third acts (a very easy task). He feels confident in running sound tonight, and Patrick should run it Sunday with no problem.....

So, um, yay.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I am not Joe Moody; I am not one -- I don't think! -- who walks around pissing in other's gardens.

But God, am I in a black mood. Not angry, no.....just tired and lonely and worthless and blah.

Partly (maybe mostly) because of the job thing, but knowing the (probable) cause doesn't lift the ceiling, you know.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Well, hell

That job? That job that was looking so promising?


Utterly coincidentally, my brother-in-law works at the company. When I found out that the opportunity was at his place, he and I sat down (over, you know, a brew (or, you know, two)) and talked about what that would mean if I got the position. I know -- to my bones - -that he and I would work very well together, and the relationship would be a monumental non-issue. In fact, I have zero doubt that we would be brilliant together. I thought about not even mentioning it to them....

But, in the interest of integrity, I told them about it. Didn't seem to be an issue with the H.R. people with whom I dealt, but the owner of the company has "set the resume aside" because of it. Damn.

True, the resume was only "set aside"; but I know they're interviewing others. And, frankly, unless the other candidates just blow, they'll hire one of them over me.


I am so down right now.....really lost my squash over this. Not a good thing, that.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Less Whine

My last post was a bit over-whiney, I suppose....and a bit unfair.

There are others in the theatre who do a ton of stuff, and can be relied upon to always handle their jobs with alacrity, efficiency, creativity and timeliness.

Problem is there aren't enough of those people, and when any of them tries to take a break, however small, it seems the many (but manageable) tasks just get ignored. Frustrating, that.

But God bless Marcia, and Char, and Linda....the theatre would absolutely collapse without them.


So, I headed over to the theater this weekend.

Mind you, this is a show for which I was going to do nothing (or nothingish, at least). I made the posters; and have almost finished doing the program (which is still a good 30 - 40 hours of work) (so "nothingish" is, I suppose, relative). I also needed to take some cast pictures for a lobby display, but not a big deal, that. So my (relatively) small part of the process is complete (or will be final-tweaked with tons of time to spare).

The show opens this I expected to see all the the other details mostly completed (or close). That's what I expected.

But the set is not done, the lights are not focused or even designed. Even though the show calls for specific sound cues (and we usually play a nice selection of pre-show, intermission, and post-show music), no one has even thought about a sound design, or how to technically get it done.

And. And. And the lighting guy is not going to be there on Wednesday (final dress), Thursday (preview performance), or the Sunday matinee performance.....and it doesn't appear that they have any kind of plan. Actually, I honestly think their plan was to wait for me to show up and do it.

Sounds egotistical, but I do think that was the plan.

So. I could leave them to their own devices (which I should do), or I can re-arrange my schedule so I can run lights on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

Of course, rearranging and filling is what I"ll do.

AND I'll pull together a sound design and set up the mixer for them. It won't be the most brilliant sound design, I'm sure, but it will suffice.

But man oh man...can NO one manage the details of any process????

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Enough, already....

We had a fairly easy December, and most of January. Nothing wrong with that.

So, is there some cosmic scale that requires soft Januaries to be succeeded by freezing sucky Februaries? It's been so cold -- single digits (or less) for, like, three weeks....and the snow storm that continues to pelt us feels a bit like meteorological saxons storming our weakening gates.

Took me almost 15 minutes to get my car out of my driveway this morning. Took me 3 hours to drive home last night....the drive in today was easier, but stil lasted almost 90 minutes.

Man, in some earlier life, I musta been a baaaad guy. Murderer. Terrorist. Game show host. Somethin' bad, to deserve this.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I really hate cars. I don't take good care of them -- partly from, you know, the "hating them" thing -- and I'm not interested in defining myself through my wheels.

That said, I spend a lot of time in my car. My drive to work takes between 50 and 75 minutes each way. I do indulge my brain in audiobooks, which helps. Still, a couple or three hours a day of being surround by idiots who drive worse than me (and hey, I bet I'm the only guy on the road who thinks that) can be dauntingly sucky. To quote the bard.

I have a ten-year-old Volvo which is really pretty nice, and is a nice drive. It's also, you know, ten years old, which means it breaks a lot. Which makes me drive my 12 year old Subaru. Which is, frankly, a reliable, safe, piece of shit. It's meant for someone shorter than the time I get out of it, my knees feel like Gumby in the freezer. Bend at your own risk.

It'd be nice to get this new job -- which is looking good, but moving sloooowly, damn it to hell -- and the (presumed) incumbent raise. The drive will be much shorter (more like 20 to 25 minutes), and I can afford a better car to do it in.

(heh heh he said "do it" heh heh)

Anyway. So much is dependent upon things changing....and I'm ready.

Rodents Lie

I hate groundhogs.

And winter.

But mostly groundhogs.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Air and Words

Well, this stupid cold is probably morphing into bronchitis (mayhaps it has been bronchitis all along, and I'm too rock-like to know). I can't really catch my breath well, and when I cough (which is far too often), my head feels a bit as if Muhammed Ali was sparring in there.

I may have to break down and see a doctor.

And yet...I still maintain I never get sick. In the face of this evidence, that might be kind of a dumb comment, but it's still how I feel. And I think that a doctor will say "Take these expensive drugs, so you can be better in a week. If you don't, it may well last 7 days."

So I'm giving it another day(ish) to improve on its own.

I didn't work on the novel much over the weekend, although yesterday I had a pretty good session with it. The dialogue re-write is moving apace, although I sure don't have a feel even yet as to whether it's any good or not. I guarantee I'm not Elmore Leonard when it comes to dialogue. On the other hand, who is?

I've started researching agents already. It might be a bit premature, but I want to have my potential literary agent(s) lined up for when the book is ready to send out....and it will get there. I'm now confident in that.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I was listening to some morning drive-time radio doofus this morning, and he was talking about Tommy Tutone. Remember that band? They did the catchy (and eminently singalongable) song "Jenny (867-5309)".

Guy's real name is Tommy Heath, and he's a computer geek now. He still plays musical gigs, once in a while....sometimes at 80's reunion shows, sometimes even at weddings.

Anyway, this radio doof was talking (and mocking and laughing) about that, and finally concluded that Tommy Heath has a "sad, sad life."

Why? Because he's not right now on top of the charts? There are lots of us out here, computer geeks and bolt salesmen and eyeglass grinders, who have never charted a song we wrote. Many of us augment our daily lives by making music, and usually don't get paid for that at all. Do we have even sadder lives?

I saw an interview with Tommy Heath, and he seems pretty damn well-adjusted. He had a blast making music, he has a blast performing still, and recognizes that he got to do something -- even if but briefly -- that millions upon millions only dream of.

Sounds like a happy life, to me.

What is unhappy is some people's needs to like their own lives by mocking others, whether deserved or not.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Upward Bound

The temperature is significantly warmer than it's been....which means that when I was gassing up the Tedmobile this morning, I only froze my tits, instead of both nuts.

That's consolation.

I haven't touched my novel in the past 2 days -- decided to give myself a break on it -- but I don't want to let "a break" become "immovable fat-guy inertia" tonight, I start at page 1 with dialogue reworking. I have no idea how fast that will go, but I bet I can re-write a lot of pages a day. We'll see.

I hope so, because the mondo busy time is rushing at me headlong, all of a sudden, and I really want to be in decent shape by the first week in March. Not too long away, that.

Last night I scoped out the new office of my (potential) new job. It's pretty close to downtown. I've never worked in an actual downtown environment -- I think it'll be kind of fun, while (probably) frustrating and, well, urban.

The job, if they offer and if I accept (and I bet they do and I do), is going to be a challenge, and difficult. That's not an all bad thing. I haven't been challenged in a while.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I just burned the hell out of my mouth. For some reason, the coffee at the machine right outside my office, which is always (usually) a pleasant, drinkable temperature, is magma today.

Life lesson: never drink molten rock.


I had a job interview this morning....went very well, I think. Well, in fact I know it did.

Interviews are tough. Luckily, I can fling it with the best of 'em. By the end of the thing, they actually had me pegged as smart and personable.

You know what they say -- sincerity is the most important trait. Once you learn to fake that, you're golden.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I Hate Canada

Man, it's cold here.

I want to contemplate and write about and engender discussion over the economy and the state of the arts in English literature; and seek new recipes for alfredo or rangoon or mulled cider; and learn piano or watercolor painting or mixing stains for fine hardwoods....

....but damn, it's cold here.

Every time my stuttering brain begins on any interesting path, all I have to do is glance out the window (or let myself feel how freakin' numb my fingers are), and all I can properly consider is burning my desk.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Taa Freakin' Daa!

I did it. I finished the novel. It is now officially de-sucked.

Much still to do, and I still honestly have less than zero clue if it's actually any damn good.....

....but it's de-sucked. It's the first of my New Year's steps to resolution....and yes, I'm excited about it.

And proud.

Friday, February 02, 2007

TGI, you know, F

's been a long week.

I caught myself a cold. It's not the worst in the world, but it's not exactly fun. The thing is this: I never get sick. It's been, probably, 3 years since I've had a cold. I've only had the flu once in my entire life. I do get headaches -- that's my particular unwelliosity -- but I don't, generally, get colds or contagious stuff.

Probably because no self-respecting bug would take up residence in this particular meaty habisphere.

And even though I'm tired -- and thank the good Lord himself for coffee! -- I can't seem to sleep.


I have 10 pages to go on the update of my novel. I can't wait to finish this pass, because completing this re-write will be the moment at which I've completed a book that's not completely and hideously unreadable. I'd like to finish it by Sunday night, so that Monday I can plunge right into rewriting dialogue.

The next step is to turn "not hideously unreadable" into "almost acceptable".