Friday, March 17, 2006

More Drama Drama

Ok, it's not actually drama per se. It's more like more theater jinxes, assuming you believe in jinxes. If you don't, then it's just more bad timing of everyday life. My latest project has been the direction of two youth theater shows...

This has been a bit of a rocky ride, albeit an enjoyable one. There have been communication problems, rehearsal space issues, transportation issues. We even accidentally cast two people in the same role. Through it all, the kids have been great. Even Josh. I think it is hard for him to view me as anything other than Dad. So, he can't listen to me as a director, no matter how much he may want to. Through it all, the kids grew and learned and we were marginally ready by opening weekend.

After rehearsals and pickups, I expected us to hit our stride on the second weekend. At least until the phone call came. "Hi. Amy has a high ever. She may have pneumonia. Can you pick up the boys and bring them to the show? I need to get her to the doctor." Amy either plays one of the leads or else four supporting characters. I got this call in the afternoon for a show with a 6 p.m. call. That double casting accident was looking fortuitous all of a sudden. So, I had to get help. Enter Maya. Even though she never went to rehearsals for the show and all saw it a couple of times, she managed to tackle the biggest of the four supporting roles and pull it off marvelously. The first night she did two of the four roles, but out of a desire to share with the other girls who had stepped in to help, she gave up one of them.

I was quite impressed with her for a couple of reasons. First was the whole no rehearsal thing. Second was how convincing she was in the role. She, an 8 year-old girl, had to play Mother to a much taller 13 year-old boy. And she really pulled it off. She had to do four performances instead of the usual weekend three, as well. We had a traveling performance at the Children's Museum in Escondido. It was pretty funny seeing Maya scolding Sammy for playing with the musical instruments in the museum. "We need to practice young man!" Then she led him away by the hand to the backstage area!

At any rate, all three last minute replacements did a great job! We had a traveling performance at the Library on Tuesday and Amy was better. End of story. Time to post.

But wait! As I drove to work on Thursday morning, my cell phone rang. There was a performance for a home school group that day at 10:30. "*cough* *cough* It's Amy. I'm really sorry. I'm having a relapse. I can't even get out of bed." Amy is one of the most dedicated and professional youth actors I know. If she said she couldn't, it was for lack of desire. I spent my commute trying to get Maya pulled out of school and tracking down my other saviors. They pulled it out and the show went great again. Hopefully, Amy will be well by tonight. If not, I have my stunt doubles. End of story. Time to post.

Or not! Last night at the pickup rehearsal, one of the kids from the other youth show was not at the pickup rehearsal. Turns out *she* is really sick now. She won't be at the Friday night performance. We are hoping that she can make it for Saturday. So, I need another stunt double. Maya to the rescue again! She started learning the lines at bedtime last night and was going to study them today.

She has really emerged through this process and established herself as a talented actress. I feel really badly for Amy and Angel. They both worked so hard. It stinks to put in all that effort and miss some shows. But I am glad Maya was there to help pull us up.
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Local S.W.A.T. Action

We had a little excitement here early last week. It started when a 75 year old man punched a 92 year old woman in the chest. It turned into a S.W.A.T. standoff at a seniors' apartment complex mere blocks from my house. Here's the story. A maintenance man hear the woman shoting for help and called the police. They arrived and talked to the two, though I can't find a report of what was said. Whatever it was prompted the man to walk back to his apartment and come out shooting. Somehow, he didn't hit anyone. The officers wounded him, but he was able to retreat into the house with his assault rifle. One officer was left pinned down for hours. He couldn't move without entering the man's line of fire. Even though he had stopped firing, the officer couldn't risk it. Once the S.W.A.T. team was in place, they were able to get the officer out. By then the shooter was barricaded and unresponsive. He was also intermittently holding a handgun to his own head. So, we transitioned into standoff mode.

A lot of people were evacuated from the area and the local schools were ordered NOT to dismiss. They didn't want the kids walking home across his field of fire. My wife works at one of those schools. So, she found herself with a room full of third graders who were not allowed to go home. She had to keep them entertained and occupied until after 5! Fortunately, they were in no danger. They just had to stay put to stay out of danger. I guess it was too hard logistically to let the unaffected kids go home and move the ones who couldn't go home to another location. It made for an exciting afternoon, though a tragic one. The man shot himself at around midnight in spite of a plea from his son to surrender.

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Child Proof Lid

Robin over at Hearding Kittens has an amuising musing about child proof packaging. It got a chuckle out of me and is an interesting read. The short form is that perhaps things that are bad for grownups like high-sugar, high-fat foods should have adult-proof packaging.


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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Brain Teaser

Here is one for you. How would you make a d6 that could be used on an overhead projector? That is to say, a random number die that, when rolled, will generate a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 with roughly equal likelihood and clearly display that result on the overhead. And my wife has one, so I know it exists. I'll post the answer after enough people have given it a try.


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Monday, March 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

See if you can guess where I heard this quote:

"Hey, brainwashing works. That's why we try to stop it."

Did I hear this quote on:

a) NPR
b) FOX News
c) The Daily Show

Answer below the fold...

That's right! FOX News (b) is actively engaged in the prevention of brainwashing. This is true for all values where 'brainwashing' equals anything critical of President Bush. I heard it and actually laughed out loud. Fortunately, nobody was around to hear me at the time. I live in the Conservative part of California.

The story in question is one I'm sure you have all heard. A Colorado High School teacher was suspended for suggesting that the tone of some of Bush's State of the Union Address statements were eerily similar to things Hitler said. He has recently been reinstated.

Apparently, the teacher's main failing was in not presenting both sides. They have a "fair and balanced" policy in Colorado education. You can't present one side without the other regardless of how ludicrous those positions are. I wonder if they teach their students that the world is flat and that if you sail off the edge, the world serpent eats you.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Mister Worf, Triple Axel on my mark...

It's totally random, but I've seen some silly ones thus far.

Gold Medal Winner in...
Figure Skating while dressed up as your favourite Star Trek character

'What rejected olympic sport would you win gold in?' at

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More stupidity from FOX

I know, I know. Using stupidity in a description of FOX is like using hunger in a description of famine. But my occasional glimpses into their world chafe me so. And I have to share the pain. *grin* I was over at the cafeteria yesterday and saw the "headline" on the bottom of the screen. It was stationary, not a crawl, so I guess they were planning a lot of discussion on it. Was it about how Bush lied about awareness of all things Katrina? Of course not. Was it about how Bush and Rummy are in denial about the Iraqi civil war? Nah. Was it about the Dubai ports deal? Surprisingly, yes, but not in the way you think...

"Bill Clinton helping Dubai on ports deal while Hillary tries to block it?"

That's right, they found a way to tie the DP World fiasco to the Clintons! Aside from the fact that there is no good reason a husband and wife cannot be on different sides of an issue, they are not entirely in opposition. It's just another attempt to avoid the real issues of the day and paint everything as purely black and white. Clearly, the fact that the Clintons are not in total agreement on everything is far more newsworthy than anything the President could be doing.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Pleasant Surprise

So, last Thursday for Josh's birthday, my parents were supposed to pop in for a visit. My wife had been stressing and obsessing over the visit for the past week and more and I couldn't understand why. My parents have come before and it is always laid back. We usually take the kids somewhere and then send the kids with my folks and have some quiet time. Instead, she insisted I take the Friday and Monday off and was frantically cleaning and buying stuff at Costco. She got them a case of water and, a Pepperidge Farm snack assortment, and a dozen mega muffins. The water I could see, but Dad's a diabetic. He doesn't need the muffins and Mom won't eat them. I tried to argue the point, but she said "They'll want them. Trust me." You can see where this is going because I'm distilling the clues for you. But with everything going on, I was oblivious...

The morning of the arrival, I called to check in with Dad as they made their way from the airport. L had told me our lunch plans were off as Dad's blood sugar was low and he needed to get a bite to eat before they left Long Beach. So, I mentioned this to him and he said, "Yeah. We were all hungry." All? What do you mean all? "Well, Mom and I." We decided to meet at the hotel instead. They said they'd call when they got there. As we only live ten minutes or so from the hotel, no big deal.

I pulled into the hotel after getting the call and set about finding a parking space. I saw Dad standing over by a van, so I pulled up. As I approached, I thought I noticed a couple of people hurrying away from the van. I honked my horn. They didn't look up. They continued making a bee-line for the side door. I was positive I recognized them now. I honked again. I rolled down my window and shouted. Dad said, "It's no use. He sees you." Two of my three sisters stop dragging their bags and slunk over to my car. "What the heck are you two doing here?" "It was supposed to be a surprise!" Laurie said. "I knew we shouldn't have talked at the car!" Sara-Anne complained. They both looked at me. "Surprise!" And they went to put their things away. So, I went into the hotel to let the surprise play itself out. If Sara-Anne and Laurie were here, that meant Samantha probably was too. I went into Dad's suite and heard giggling. Sam, Iggy, Ian and Jonah jumped out at me. "Surprise!" They actually did surprise me because I couldn't see where they were hiding and they jumped out at me! It turns out the whole clan was there and L. was in on it from the get-go. All three sisters, my 2 brothers-in-law on that side, my three nephews, and my parents flew out together for a visit!

I'll post some of the highlights (and lowlights) later on, but suffice it to say that it was a great surprise and it made Josh's birthday weekend extra special.


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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

That's NOT a Burrito

Courtesy of Wombat comes this WTF moment on AOL News. It's the story of a couple who tried to beat a drug test using a urine filled fake penis. They needed it warmed up so it would pass the temperature test. They made the brilliant choice to go to a convenience store where the microwave was behind the counter. So, they had to pass Mr. Happy over to the attendant to microwave it for them. It was wrapped in a napkin so she didn't see what it was at first. However, upon taking it out, she caught a glimpse and thought she had nuked a real, severed one! What makes the story most amusing to me is that it was the woman who had to take the drug test.

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