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Tuesday, July 31, 2007


And, to the point of needing a life change, the job search (assuming it doesn't end up a perpetual exercise in soul-scarring, self-esteem-shredding uselessness) will help.

And I've only just started exercising, and watching (better, anyway) what I eat. I know me, and having exercised for about 3 days here does not constitute a lasting change to a healty lifestyle. But it is, one day at a time, infinitely better than sitting on my ample ass.

I have so many things on my plate, though. It's utterly ridiculous. It's been the single most terrible thing in my entire life, yet I've always been like this. Now besides all the life stuff that I needs to do (like house and car repair, working for a living, so forth), I've got to get the marketing campaign(s) together for this season at the theatre. At least I've actually made a good dent in that.

And we need to re-design our web page for the theatre...and guess who's shoulders that falls upon? I've done some cool things with that already, though. I was able to embed a video trailer from our current production into the site (no big deal, that)....and I was also able to embed a google map into the site - fully functional, with zoom and satellite picture and animation and markers and the ability to move the map around....and I was able to create a "get directions" page into the site as well (where you enter your starting location, and it will dynamically create a route for you (with word directions and map) to the theatre. Not exactly ground-breaking coding, but cool nonetheless.

And since I"ve committed to writing the Christmas show we'll be doing (including writing and/or arranging all of the music), that's eating up a lot of my time and thoughts. I can see, now that it's going to be a part of my every single day from now through opening the show in December.

And I have 4 pieces of software that I either need or want to get completed -- they'll be found money, frankly, once I get 'em done.

And I've agreed to put together a web page for a friend of mine. Not a big huge hairy deal, but time-consuming also.

Getting old, and losing my...what are we talkin' about?

Yesterday was my birthday.

I know I'm about to say something that every single person of age has said throughout the whole history of time...but how the hell did this happen? How did I end up here, like this, having accomplished so little?

More to the point, having accomplished quite literally nothing that I had planned. No novel, no great Broadway play, no song that has become a standard. Nothing that changed the world, and damn little that has changed anyone's life.

And who the hell is that in the mirror?

I wonder, too, how much (if at all) my appearance hurts my job applications. I mean, Computers and Information Technology is a young man's game. 40 is considered old in this industry....and I do not look 40.

So. It may be stupid; and it certainly is vain, but I've taken to (lightly) coloring my hair. The old Grecian Formula crap. Not going for kohl-black; but I just took the edge off the gray. Same with my cheesy goatee. I colored the edge off the gray.

It may be stupid, but at worst it will do no harm....and might help.

I really do need a life-change, though. I really really do.

Friday, July 27, 2007

And on it goes....

The job search, she go up and she go down. She get you excited, she drop you like a hot spliff.

Er sump'n.

I've got three jobs on the line right now, and the same basic processes seem to roil through every potential employer....namely, they make you take time off your job, make you come in and interview with them, and then somehow manage to forget you're alive. I interviewed for one position a week ago yesterday, and have yet to hear any response at all. Not so very bad....not so very good, either. A week should be enough time to decide if you want to see me again for a second round of interviews.

I interviewed over two weeks ago, too, for a different job. I took a whole day of vacation, drove to Toledo (a full 2.5 hour drive), interviewed at length. I felt it went very well, although I guess I've proven myself lately to be a lousy judge of that . Still.....I'm sure I didn't do anything to monumentally hurt my chances.

Yet, after 17 days, not one word. Not "come back in", not "please forget we exist", nothing. I have NO problem with not getting a job for which I interview. That's the way it works -- by definition, one gets hired and several get turned down. But. BUT! If you take my time, make me come in and personally interview (in the case of the Toledo job, the interview was a full 4 hours or so), you owe me a response. Even a simple eMail telling me you'll not be offering me the position is fine.

Because I came in personally doesn't mean you owe me the job. But I am owed something, and almost none of these guys seem to get it. Pisses me off tremendously. I don't mind the process taking a good bit of time, either. In both of those cases, I interviewed for a senior level board position -- in one case, I interviewed for a Vice Presidency....and that level of position typically takes a long time and a lot of interviews to settle on one candidate. I get that, and it's cool with me. Just let me know what's going on, for God's sake.

I have yet another one next Thursday morning. This company, at least, has been excellent (so far) and keeping me in the loop as to what's going on. Because of that alone, I've decided that if they make me an offer, I'm going to accept it and the hell with these other guys.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Reason

Mistah Pot-terr.


For those who haven't yet read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" but intend to, stop reading NOW.

I mean it! Stop now!

I'll not, probably, reveal any specific spoilers....whether Harry dies; or whether Snape is good or bad; or if Hermione drinks polyjuice and ends up as Margaret Thatcher.....

But if I tell some of my impressions and reactions, I'll certainly reveal at least some of those things, I suspect.'ve been warned, if you're still here.

I liked it. Darn near perfect, it was. Darn near! (although, like all her recent stuff, too long by about 20 percent).

You know, I've read a lot of series in my life; and way more often than not, the finale ends up disappointing. Either the author tries too hard to tie up every little thing, to the detriment of the book; or the author re-introduces all the old characters and themes, and it ends up being a "very special" book which is nothing like the predecessors; or it's just a quick dash-off book to get the author off the hook.

In so many cases, anyway, the book has a self-awareness that it's THE FINAL BOOK, and that so often changes everything.

I read the whole "Dark Tower" series by Stephen King. I loved books 1 - 6. By the time he had ended book 7, I was so angry at him that I decided -- and have stuck to it for three years -- never to read anything by Stephen King again. He completely screwed it up, and cheated us readers.


I think Rowling did a marvelous job. Absolutely wonderful.

She answered everything, tied up everything, and still wrote a true Harry Potter book.

Okay, here come a few specific spoilers after all:

I KNEW Snape was in it with Dumbledore when he killed him, although I didn't imagine why.

I thought Rowling was making a mistake veering off into all the Dumbledore history -- I thought it was going to be too much to add to the series to be able to tie everything up -- but it turns out that all of that was vital...not only to the story line, but to Harry's continuing growth. I think he needed to see that Dumbledore, too, was human....and for Dumbledore to tell Harry that Harry was a better man than he, well, imagine what that meant to Harry!

In the epilogue, Harry tells his son that Snape was the bravest man he ever met!!! Whoda seen that coming?

I can't believe how much I loved this book.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dad, final


As recounted earlier, my dad was dying of cancer. I was living with my parents, while my family lived in Dayton, 4 hours away, trying to sell our house.

And watching this proud vital man reduced to someone who required me -- me, of all inadequate people! -- to help him with the most simple of tasks was tearing me up. Each day became harder than the last, until I felt I was at the very end of my frayed string. Each night, I went to bed convinced I couldn't, emotionally, handle one more day.

But each morning, I woke up and figured "okay, one more. I think I can make it through one more." And so I did...but daily, I would cry to the heavens for my house to sell so my family could come join me so I wouldn't have to do this anymore. I couldn't just leave him, you see, but if my house sold and my family moved up to Cleveland, I'd move into that house.

Interestingly, though, after a while, that feeling started to subside. One late night, submerged in the deepening darkness of a sleepless 3:00 a.m., it occured to me: maybe my house hadn't sold for exactly this reason. If the house sold, I'd not be able to be there for him. Maybe -- just maybe -- I was meant to be there for him.

Call it God. Call it fate. Call it whatever you want. All I know is that once I decided I was meant to take care of him, I realized that all would be well eventually. Once I decided simply to pay attention to his needs, it got much easier for me. Not easy , certainly, but easier.

So. I stayed with him, did whatever I could for him, and stopped worrying about the sale of my house.

Finally, on a bright sunny September 23rd, he died. At about 9:00 a.m.

At 3:00 p.m. that same day, my house sold.

That very same day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Feet up; backside down

I stayed in line Friday night -- yes, I do have that nerd gene pretty full formed -- and got my copy of the new Harry Potter. Received it about 2:00 a.m. I then made the executive decision that I wasn't going to do much of anything over the weekend.

A goal I brilliantly and (almost) fully accomplished.

I did spend maybe 15 minutes weeding; and I accidentally cooked supper one night...but otherwise, I simply relished the gorgeous weather and read (most of) "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows".

You know, I started reading the series because my son Michael had developed an interest, and I wanted to be able to talk it over with him. And, while I liked the first three books, I wouldn't have continued with them had it not been for Michael.

Somewhere around book 4, though, it started to get genuinely interesting. The new-found complexity in all the characters and the growing darkness appealed to me. I still think Rowling is not so very good at writing relationships, but she's wonderful at creating a fully-formed and completely consistent world....and she generates the best names since Dickens. Now, I'm the first to read, and the rest of the family can read it at their leisure. I'm enjoying them just for me.

So. I'm about 500 pages into the 750ish pages of it, and I've managed (so far) to avoid finding out anything about the ending. I figure I'll finish the book by mid-week at the worst. In the meantime, I'm trying to avoid any place or conversation that might contain intentional or unintentional spoilers.

Stuff and nonsense

So. The stupid Christmas show closed. One of my theatre friends came to see it, and she assured me it wasn't the worst show she had ever seen. When pressed, she admitted that she had once been forced to watch a follies put on by some PTA dads, and that show had set the bar for "worst show ever"....and according to her, that show had set the bar pretty high.

On the other hand, she did also admit that my show was second-worst, and that it wasn't that far off the pace. It's good, one would suppose, to be memorable......

But, like all things, one can always learn from any commitment. I had never played a role like this before, and I learned a lot about sustaining this particular character....and I also had fun learning exactly when to slot fully into the audience's expectations for the role, and when to surprise them.

So. Am I glad I did it? Well, no, not in the big "cost/reward" picture....but it wasn't a total waste, either.

Plus: I learned early on that the single most consistent trait this director had was to -- efficiently and ubiquitously -- waste my time at rehearsal. So, since I'm in the process of writing an adaptation (with several original compositions) of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" for production in December, I used that time to get a lot done on that show.

I'll blog more on that show soon -- it's becoming a very interesting process.

Friday, July 20, 2007

We opened!

I haven't, um, been overly active on this blog in the last month or so. By that, of course, I mean, I've been silent but deadly. Or at least silent. Been a mite busy, though, so there's some -- not a lot, but some -- reason for it.

The (oh-so-stupid) play I'm in opened last night. Surprisingly, it came off about as good as it could have, which is better (by hectares!) than I would have ever predicted. It still wasn't, you know, in any way "good". But it managed to bubble up from suckhood through embarassing and almost all the way to merely forgettable. Not a bad improvement, all things considered.

I'm playing Santa Claus. Never played an icon before, and it's daunting. I had a bit of a hard time finding the right voice for him....I mean, everyone has their idea of Santa, and he typically booms the basso profundo "Ho ho ho!" and "Merrrrrry Christmas!" But how does one deliver a whole show in voice like that?

I finally settled on a more gnomish, old-sounding voice which would break into the stereotypical monomaniacal boom only when shouting "Merry Chistmas", et al. Feels like it works. More importantly -- to me, anyway -- it's a voice I can sustain. I'd not be able to do icon-Santa for a whole two acts.

After the show, as I was wending my way to the Green Room, a small child -- maybe 4 or 5 -- came up to me and hugged me around my knees. It was so sweet; and it told me that it must not have been >that< far off.