Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Ender's Game

cover


I remember being told about this book many years ago when I was running a literary BBS out of my Scarborough basement apartment, and decided at the time to give it a pass because I had too many other books to read and things to do. After finally getting around to picking up the series, I regret that decision.

I was absolutely floored by this book and its themes. In a world where the concept of Genocide haunts us on what seems less than a monthly basis, we find ourselves constantly questioning other peoples' morality and conveniently ignore past history to suit our own needs. Now what if you were faced with an entire alien race with their own form of communication that in no way even comes close to ours, and decided that the only way to solve the problem was complete and utter Xenocide? How would history favour you afterwards? Orson Scott Card begins his thesis on this issue with this book.

The book begins with a feel that is fairly reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. It is far into the future, and Andrew Wiggins, or Ender as he is called, is only six years old yet already an intellectual genius when he is drafted into the military. Over the next few years, he progresses in training, solving problems and creating new methods of warfare that were otherwise never considered by anybody previously. Deliberately forced to feel very much alone through his training schedule, he deals with an inner turmoil of not wanting to be a violent person, yet being forced to unleash his fury at times with dire results.

The ultimate result of this training comes to a head in his twelth year in an event that he has been specifically trained to handle, and his own personal feelings about this set up the next couple of books in the series.

The Buggers are the alien race in this novel, and the description of them sounds very similar to the aliens in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. There are also concepts which echo those of the novel The Forever War which my friend Ric loaned me a few months back.

I have already moved on to the next book in the series, Speaker For The Dead, and will write about that when I am done. Until then, go out and grab a copy of Ender's Game...you won't regret it.

Onion, anyone?


I've been a devoted reader of the Daily Onion since Ric sent me a link to the site a few years ago. The site, which is updated every Wednesday, is filled with satirical humour that often leaves me laughing hysterically at my desk at work in the times I need it most.

This week is great. Not only did they post the image above, which pretty much sums up the current state in American politics, but some of the other articles shine brightly beyond the level of hilarity I've come to expect.

The Going Away Party and The Sniper are my two favs this time around. Ric...I think you'd get a dreamy look in your eyes after you read the Going Away Party...just think of the Beloved One in this context.

For a special treat...read the horoscopes. Trust me.

Call of the wild

What is it about discount stores that drives people out of their minds? I was in one of the local second hand stores yesterday, trying to find an old-cut suit for use in a gig I have this weekend. Though I was in a specific men's aisle, I was still being jostled by bitter old women that obviously had nothing else better to do with their time. I got fed up with this after five minutes and decided to leave.

Suddenly, an employee brought out a cart of stuff from the back, and you would have thought somebody yelled fire. All these old women suddenly surrounded this cart, nearly killing the poor employee, and began fighting over used dishes and costume jewellery. They honestly looked like a pack of hungry wolves who had just encountered a lame deer. I had to backtrack a bit and go down a different aisle because they wouldn't move to allow anybody past them, and I was afraid of being eaten.

I still need to go back to find that suit...I noticed some candidates I need to try on. However, I think I may wait until the local Bingo parlor opens so that the coast is clear.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Coke vs Water


Sarah Stunt and myself Posted by Hello


After dragging myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:30am, going through my morning ritual and then scuttling out into the darkness, I made the trek to the good 'ole downtown Toronto. My destination was the Rock N' Roll Diner at the corner of Gerrard and Yonge. After parking at the local ripoff..er, I mean - parking lot, I wandered over to the diner to meet the crew.

The flock of Ryerson Students were obviously tired, having arrived a couple hours previously to set up, but were obviously excited about getting this major project of theirs over with. I waited an additional hour while they made one more run back to their campus to get some extra materials like sandbags and XLR cables, but then we got rolling.

The premise of the short film is a teenage girl meeting her father at a diner, and them having a bit of a strained discussion about the merits of drinking Water over Coke. My character ordered water and food, the girl (Jane) ordered Coke only. I tell her that I think drinking Coke is unhealthy. Mind you the fact I also ordered a huge greasy burger and chili cheese fries makes my point kind of moot. The actual backstory is that the father took off seven years previously, and is only now trying to become part of the girls life again. She resents him for what he did, and for the fact he tries to be paternal when obviously he’s lost the knack and perhaps even the right on how to do that. This backstory is never discussed in the movie, but when you apply the knowledge of this to the lines in the script, everything ends up becoming a really cool metaphor.

I of course played the father, and a talented young girl with the cool name of Sarah Stunt played Jane. There is a third performer in the movie, a waitress, but you never see her face. A lady named Rose played that role.

We shot a few scenes in the morning: all of the scenes with the waitress, camera angles of us individually with a sideview, and a full wide shot of the entire production for reference. We then broke for lunch, and walked over to Pitman Hall for some Pasta and Caesar Salad. Yes, plenty of Coke and Water were provided. When we returned to the shoot, we went right into some different POV shots for different areas of the script, and then we got to the fun part. I end up having a certain dark beverage thrown at me. Two shots of that from different angles, and then I was wrapped. All in told, it was just less than a nine hour day, which really isn’t all that bad for a short film.

The crew were fun to work with (I'll only post their first names in case of confidentiality concerns). Megan was great as a director, and Jennifer as producer played this fine line between commander and comic relief throughout the day. As Cinematographer, Kendra had a fun bubbly energy which is common in the professional industry…so I see her going far. Ezra and Dylan handled the sound and boom as well as they could in a little diner along a busy roadway ("Was that a truck?"), Judith was the Gaffer ("Don’t touch the lights, they’re hot!"), Kim handled the slate. And Amy…well, Amy was quiet and I never really got a chance to talk to her. She seemed to handle her job as Script Supervisor just fine.

I have pictures from the shoot that I will post when I get the chance. Just stuff from behind the scenes - nothing exciting.



Monday, October 25, 2004

Funny how that happens

It's actually kind of funny. All week I have found myself caught with a bad case of writers block...everytime I went to write something substantial it would fall apart. Now, at this exact moment in time, I have several ideas of things to write about, both on the blog and offline. Unfortunately I don't have the time.

Reason? I have a job interview first thing tomorrow morning...which is never my best time. So, I'm hitting the sack far earlier than usual (like, in 5 minutes) and getting up at the ungodly hour that many of you poor folks have had to do forever.

Second day in a row too. I was up at 5:30am this morning so I could be downtown and somewhat chipper for a movie role (I'll write about that tomorrow). I need that extra 1/2 hour to just flake out and have a cup of tea before I head out the door...I'm 200% more efficient, and 1000x more pleasant for it.

So, I will leave it at that for the night. From wherever you are, wish me positive thoughts for this job. I'll let you know what happens.

Honestly, Now! Post-Mortem

We wrapped up the run of Honestly, Now! on Saturday evening, and I can honestly now (HAHAHAHA - shoot me) say that I'm fairly torn about my feelings regarding the show.

The role of Hector was one of those dream roles for me. It was a combination of different aspects, outrageously silly and childish at one moment and then steady and controlled at the next. The balance in this role allowed people to see how flexible I can be on stage, and it felt good to receive praise from this.

I was extremely happy with rufus' directing on this show. It was her first kick-at-the-can so to speak and she proved that she has the potential to direct more. It's not easy your first time out, especially when you've been working with the same people as an acting peer - taking that step up to leader is somewhat frightening.

The production itself was fraught with problems, this is true. The cast perhaps didn't gel as well as it could have, and some friction continued well into the final show. That's not my issue, and I have no wish to revisit it. All I can say is we all worked hard with the material, and sometimes we pulled it off and sometimes not.

Happily though, for a show that opened on a somewhat sour note, we ended on a great one. Saturday night was a performance with it's own complete personality...I don't think the script will ever look the same. But it was done in a way that nobody in the audience could tell. A good portion of my family came to that show, and they barely noticed anything out of the ordinary.

That's why we don't give scripts to the audience, right?

The Weekly Geek-Out Begins


What Video Game Character Are You? I am Kung Fu Master.I am Kung Fu Master.


I like to be in control of myself. I dislike crowds, especially crowds containing people trying to kill me. Even though I always win, I prefer to avoid fights if possible. What Video Game Character Are You?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Song of Susannah

cover


I just finished reading this novel by Stephen King after only three days and was heartily impressed. Mr. King has crafted an incredible work of art that adds so much more to not only the Dark Tower series, but to his entire body of work in general. Anybody who has been following this series and most of his newer works know that he has begun creating a really cool connection between many of his individual novels, and boy does this one really crack the whole thing wide open.

Without giving much away, the last couple of books in the series connected The Stand, Hearts of Atlantis,'Salems Lot,Bag Of Bones,The Eyes of the Dragon,Insomnia and many others. And now the author has gone and done something else that is rarely done by any author and rarely works - he's written himself into the storyline. Done in a very blunt and somewhat heart-wrenching way, you can feel that he is indulging in a bit of catharsis to deal with the tragedy of his accident a few years previously; much in the same way as he did with the television series Kingdom Hospital.

The evolution of the main foursome in the series: Roland, Eddie, Jake and Susannah is tremendous at this point and it's sad to realize that there is only one final book left in the series to tell the rest of the story. I plan on going out to grab The Dark Tower at my next opportunity.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Wet Blogging

Hope you like the new background. It is actually the very first design I ever created using the software Bryce, and I've used it many different times over the last couple of years; for literature and even in some software I've written.

Slowly yet steadily I am fiddling with the design over on my website, and as I come up with a style that I like I will change the stylesheets over here to match. I'm preparing for my next big project here - my artwork.

That's right. Bet some of you wondered why I called myself The Acting Artist when I rarely discussed Art. As with everything else, I was just procrastinating...I have a fairly healthy portfolio of digital designs that I will begin displaying for multiple purposes over the next couple of weeks. Also, I plan to sit down and begin designing some new pieces to go along with some stories I'm writing. My thought lies in that one medium will inspire the other.

Some updates: The posting for the job I've applied for just closed today, and I've already received a call from HR wanting to set up a new interview. Unfortunately their first choice was this Monday, when I'll be offsite shooting a movie with some Ryerson students. I've asked them to do Tuesday instead...though I would be even more pleased if they asked to do it tomorrow. I just want to get this stress out of the way.

Probably do some more writing tonight...have a bunch of stuff I want to post but surprisingly busy today with real work.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

It's not easy being green...

Ever noticed that Sod, after falling off the back of a truck onto the highway, looks like roadkill?

Thought I ran over the Grinch this morning on the 404. Sheesh.

Green is the colour on the news this morning. Toronto is finally pushing forward with a Green Bin programme to handle organic waste, and of course one of the local news stations dispatched a reporter to check out the pilot area to see if they were following through. So far it seems to be working, though there was apparently quite a bit of grumbling from people who thought sorting their garbage was a waste of time. Wait...there has been a Blue Box Recycling programme for over ten years now...you mean they haven't been sorting for that?

The good thing I heard is that the normal garbage pick-up for the areas with the Green Bin programme will be every two weeks, and more often for the organic waste. Unless you want piles of garbage smelling up your house or property, you will be forced to sort everything to minimize what is left over. I applaud what sounds like a very well thought out plan.

Now is only Aurora would adopt the same programme...mind you, there may be a problem with it in our apartment building, as they only have one garbage shoot, but I'm sure something could be figured out. Perhaps large bins on the ground floor with twice a week pick-up? Think I'll do my research and write the local paper about this.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Honestly, Now! Follow-Up


Honestly Now! Posted by Hello


Well, we finished our first weekend run a tad successfully. Sadly we didn't start it that way. I don't wish to go into too many details on our Friday performance...not because people could view anything I say as slander, but because it gives me nightmares when I delve too deep into the experience. It was just that bad.

Saturday was far better. As a member of the cast who has gotten to know the script quite well, I could still feel the struggle some had for parts of the dialogue, but they pulled it off in a way I doubt any audience member would have noticed.

I look forward to this coming weekend. Now that the weak parts have been noted, those would have been worked hard over and over again so that it'll not just be a good show, but the fantastic show that this script should allow.

Hope to see some of you there!

Friday, October 15, 2004

And Then There Were Three

I'm not referring to the album by the rock band Genesis.

This morning I was in a rush to leave the apartment and was asking Melanie to feed the mice when she was up and about, but then something made me go check on them myself. Everything looked ok at first, our brown mouse Maddi was casually having a drink when I looked in, and I could see the forms of the triplets in a huddled circle. I reached in to pet them, and two noses popped up into the air, but their sister didn't move. I checked her out and discovered she had passed away sometime during the night.

Many people would laugh about me being sentimental over a mouse, but I happen to have a fondness for Rodents. Rabbits, Mice, Rats, Hamsters...had 'em all, and plan to add more in the future when space avails itself. For now, we've been content taking care of these little ladies whom we rescued from the OSPCA before they became hawk food.

Mice are particularly difficult to separate when young. You have to a really good eye to determine what sex they are, so often males are accidently mixed in with a clan of females and you have a population explosion on your hands. This was happening regularly at the OSPCA and the amount of mice available was getting out of hand. I was unemployed at the time, so spent my time volunteering at the Provincial Centre as the acting co-ordinator for volunteers when the position became vacant (I was actually hoping for the job). Very quickly it was obvious that I enjoyed working with the rodents as well, so when I tired of paperwork and phonecalls, I snuck down to the animal area and spent some time there. When the project for the final separation of the mice came down, I was recruited and we spent a painstaking time separating all the males from the females. I ended up taking five of them home with me, all female, for what Melanie originally thought was a foster situation, but then she fell in love with them herself and so we kept them.

We had an Albino, a Brown Mouse and the triplets - all a cream and brown colour. They seemed happy in their new home, a triple decker cage I had owned from my days of breeding rats. They were messy from time to time, pushing their seed-shells out of the side of the cage when they were finished, but for the most part they were a perfect part of the family.

Age does catch up with us all though, especially pets. I'd estimate they were at least a year old when I got them, and we've had them for two years now. The typical lifespan of a mouse is 1.5 to 3 years. So, we've started to lose them. First our Albino moved on a couple months ago, then this morning's spiritual release occurred. I figure that by the end of next year they may all be gone, one after the other.

I'm not going to shed tears for any of them. I understand the cycle of life very well and the consequences of being the owner of many pets. I'm just going to take comfort in the fact I gave them a good life and provided them a safe and happy home. That's the best way to look at it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Ghosts That Haunt Us


Boo! Posted by Hello


I've been involved in productions at the Stephen Leacock Theatre for many years now, and have always been aware of some kind of presence in the building. I'm not alone.

So many people have reported strange events in the theatre...items going missing or moved to unusual areas. I've even had my entire lighting rig completely altered in the middle of the night. We spent the entire evening setting the lights for a production of Iolanthe and when we came back the next afternoon for the rehearsal every light was in a different position. Some people assumed it was a childish prank by some neighbourhood kids who figured a way to break in, but they would have had to use 30 foot ladders which were locked up. Totally bizarre experience (and frustrating too!).

The haunting of the Stephen Leacock Theatre has been reported in the past. You can find a report at the Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society website.

This picture was taken a couple weeks ago, when we were first moving into the theatre to set up for Honestly, Now!. It could just be a result of the flash on my Kodak Digital Camera, but I'd like to think it's the spirit of the place showing who's the real star of the show.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Look out below!!!!!! {THUMP}

A Good Knee - Obviously Not Mine


Just like most parts of your body, your knees are a part that you take for granted until they decide to rebel against you.

As a child I did the most horrific things to my body. A memory that came back to me recently was climbing out of the window of the second floor bathroom at my Grandmother's farmhouse onto the roof, and jumping off for fun. We're talking about ten or twelve feet in the air, leaping outwards to land about ten feet away - feet firmly on the ground. The force I must have been exerting onto my knees is enough to make me wince these 22+ years later. I can't even remember having some sort of superhero fetish at the time, I just liked to jump.

Then you have all the other childhood experiences that would cripple an adult for life. Wiping out on my BMX bike while peddling full-out to jump some makeshift ramp. Randomly falling out of trees...including one forty foot plunge in Pefferlaw (I'll discuss that separately). As a teenager I mastered the pratfall on stage, but not until I practiced injuring myself in untold ways by doing badly choreographed flips and such. Now that's suffering for your art.

Over the last few years I have paid for my unwise machoism. My knees are pretty much sore and inflamed all the time. My love of running, skiing, hiking and baseball have all been put on the backburner; perhaps permanently. I even had to use a pillow so that I could get down on one knee to propose to my wife. I regret not having strong knees every single day, though have learned to live with my condition.

Everything is hindsight and time-travel hasn't been invented yet (or is a physics impossibility), so obviously I can't go back to smack some sense into myself as a kid. But I can be prepared to put the fear of god into my own kids if I catch them doing the kind of stuff I did. "You wanna walk like daddy? Huh!? I knew you didn't". That hopefully should be enough to make 'em think twice before they try their own death-defying leaps. Mind you, kids are naturally inquisitive by nature to the point of being downright suicidal, so they'll probably try anyway when I'm not looking.

Think I'll install parachutes into all their clothing.....

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A see-saw on the psyche

Hmm...interesting.

I've mentioned it before, but I'll go into the details to set up the situation. I've been consulting for an Insurance company in Scarborough since the first half of last year, being given short-spurt contracts over and over again - one month, a few three months, and even one six month. Some people would get freaked out by the lack of stability that these offer, but due to my ambitions as an actor I've had no trouble with them. Less baggage to deal with if a big gig comes around (which hasn't, alas).

Then the budget for the project that I was with dried up after many years, and I was informed they couldn't afford to keep me onboard any further as a consultant, but would I be willing to come onboard as an employee? There was even a perfect position available for me to jump into. I had some initial hesitation about this concept, but then I considered that I have a wife at home, we are planning to have a family and maybe some benefits and security wouldn't be such a bad thing for once. So I agreed.

The position promptly vanished. There was a bit of restructuring going on in the company, and they were forced to take away the new headcount from one department and give it to another. So, the person who would have been my boss spoke to her boss, and he magically created another short-term contract for me while the manager who now owned those positions created job titles. Strange but true. I met with this new variable, and walked away feeling comfortable that I would have a decision in a couple weeks. That was the beginning of September.

That short-term contract ends tomorrow, and the posting for the job has just come down the pipe now, however apparently they haven't decided on the actual title. The one they listed was UAT Team Leader, which confused me as it didn't fit what I initially discussed, but I could do the job they listed and I was comfortable with the dollar value listed, if not excited by it. Looks like I have to wait a bit while they arm-wrestle over the title, so that it fits the ISO specifications of the company.

Look, just throw me a wheelbarrow of cash and call me "Guy who does what you need him to do". Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

In the meantime, my contract is being extended again for the shortest term yet - 2 weeks, with many people off-handed making complimentary statements like "I want you in my department, but I can't have you." Sounds like an enviable position to be in, but it's just a big tease.

I expect something will happen; and soon...over the next week anyway. I just hope the end result is worth all this back and forth action.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Some serious networkin'....

I remember being introduced to the Seti@Home Project, back in 1999, and have been consistantly running packets of data for them on multiple machines both at home and my places of work. The concept of running data on my computer that has originally come from the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico was always kind of cool, plus there is that bit of me that would love to be involved with finding some sort of Extra-Terrestrial Signal.

Now the folks at Berkeley have gone and created a new method for distributed computing. BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) is the new generation software for handling packets of data, and after some initial hesitation of leaving my beloved 2D Seti@Home application behind, I uninstalled it and installed the newest version of BOINC in its place.

I'm quite impressed with how it works. I now have my Seti account transferred to BOINC, and notice that packets seem to run faster than the old application, especially when I'm away from the machine for a few hours, such as today. Plus I can now choose when I want to see a graphic representation of the packets being tested, and the display is in a really cool 3D format.

Furthermore, I can now sign up for other projects, and the software will divide the Processing between any of the projects as I see fit. Not much to choose from, yet, so I added Climateprediction.net to my list. Really cool stuff, but it takes a lot longer to run than a normal Seti packet. Where I can usually resolve Seti in about 6 hours, it appears that Climateprediction will take a month! I'm at 3% with 635 hours to go. Woah....

If you are interested and willing to allow work to occur on your PC when you aren't, check out BOINC, and sign up. It's fairly simple to run, and you are doing a great favour to science in general.

When in doubt, quiz it out...

Schroeder
You are Schroeder!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla



Thank god, because I couldn't dance like the other kids on Peanuts, with their noses high in the air.

I'll be back to my normal blogging routine tomorrow. Things have been a bit chaotic this weekend, and I've been doing more reading than writing when freetime has presented itself.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Thank ya, thank ya very much...

So I found myself in the ChumCity Building today (the headquarters of MuchMusic for all of you not from Ontario) auditioning for a commercial on one of it's sister stations. The role in question....Elvis. And no, not Costello.

My agent told me to dress casual for the event which was a relief. But when I showed up for the audition I found myself beside this other guy who was dressed in full Elvis Regalia - Sideburns included. My hopes fell. And he went first, so I figured they'd just be laughing at me for being underdressed for the role.

But then I got my chance in the room and found they didn't want a serious Elvis Impersonator, they wanted a clumsy oaf who was an Elvis Freak and liked to dance in front of a camera throwing bad karate moves. Hey, I can be a clumsy oaf! In fact, often I am one! And don't even start on the dancing in front of a camer....er...um...never mind. Erase that from your memory lest you go blind.

My old dance and karate training came in handy as they had me perform a bit for them. Apparently my moves and my karate were too good on the first try, so they had me try again being bad at each. And I had fun with it which I think showed...

No camera was used in the audition, which I found a bit odd. However, based on that fact I'd guess they'd make a decision quick having no tape footage to put aside for another day's evaluation. Here's hoping for a good answer....



Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Maybe good, maybe not.

Maybe it's a good sign. I left the audition feeling totally down. It's like a psyched myself up to be able to deliver a better version of what I auditioned the first time through, but at the callback they had me doing something completely different. This makes your brain spin extremely fast - you need to take in what the director is asking for while preparing yourself to deliver exactly what he asked for without question. Sounds easy, but when on the spot it is not.

The reason I say it's a good sign is most times I've left an audition feeling good I didn't get the job. What I thought was good didn't correspond with what the director was looking for. Today I didn't feel I did a bad job, it just wasn't what I expected to do so can't come to terms with it. But the director may just be fine with what I did.

I was only going up against 3 other people so my odds are at best 1 in 4. We shall see what happens.

In the meantime, I need a beer. Anybody interested for tonight? (If I'm a zillion miles away just have one in my honour. Scotch or a good vintage Merlot will do if you're not a beer drinker.)

To evolve from a dream

All many of us wait for is that one big break. Some are fortunate enough to gain that little bit of recognition that propels them forward into exciting parts unknown, while others never quite gain the satisfaction. It's frustrating, but that's life and the chances we take by just getting out of bed in the morning.

As an actor, I have two very specific wishes.

  1. To continue being cast in roles that challenge me as an actor so I may continue growing in skill.
  2. To land that one big gig that has some bankroll behind it, giving me the opportunity to focus on the arts solely...none of this depending on other jobs to keep me alive while I juggle auditions, courses and gigs in between.


My detractors (otherwise known as a good percentage of my family), have been openly vocal about me living a pipe dream. The television and the movies to them is just an object and the people within it are a million miles away, so the concept that I could join their ranks is so foreign that they can't fathom it. Easier to tell me to keep my day job and give up my dreams.

I know I will prove them wrong. It may take no time at all, or it could take years, but if I keep up the fight one day I will find that big break.

If all goes well...this is the day. I have a callback for a really large commercial gig. As is my policy, I will not discuss the customer on this blog, but I will say that this is a Union job which would allow for some subtle changes in my lifestyle. I'm a realist. There's still a chance I will be forced to continue looking for the big break. But there is also a good chance that this is the one. I'm prepared to go in and give it my best.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Why do we do this again?

Every theatre production we mount is full of its own perils, especially when you are in the two week stretch before opening night. As much of my recent work has been with South Shore Theatre, I will use them as the example. We are all unpaid, non-retired persons who typically enjoy the experience of a 2 rehearsal per week schedule, as they become just as much a social event as a working one. However, once we get into this stretch, the anxiety builds, the tempers flare and exhaustion is a consistent companion.

Take this week for instance. Due to some unforeseen complications, our major set-building day was pretty much a bust, meaning that the set needed to be continued on other days that rehearsals were required on. So here we are, trying to concentrate on our blocking and our lines while drills and saws are buzzing away, and those building the set keep up a steady conversation as to what goes where. The combination of all these events occurring in a space less than 50'x50' makes for one serious headache.

Energy plunges. We get snippy at each other. Part of you is sorely tempted to just quit and walk away. Then you get out of the theatre, put on some music, have a glass of wine and realize that what occurred is pretty much the same thing that's occurred for the last ten shows you've been in. And you've survived each time to come back for more.

Yes, it seems like a masochist's dream come true. But it's all part of a whole lot of people putting all of their passion into their art. And for all the hardships we go through, when the show is finally presented it's like none of that crap ever happened. It all sloughs right off on opening night and it increases your need for more and more shows.

So, why do we choose to do this when we know we are going to suffer a bit? For the final product, baby. There's no experience quite like it.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Concept vs Proof

When it comes to early childhood memories, sometimes it doesn't pay to look too deeply into them, or to try to fill gaps between what you know and what you believe. Reality can easily be distorted in scenarios such as these.

A prime example of this stems from an instance in my childhood when I fell into a pool and drowned. I was at my grandparents house outside of Kleinburg, and the truth of what actually happened is kind of sketchy. It was out of season for swimming, the pool was closed up and my grandmother had recently shocked the pool with Chlorine to clean it up. Monkey boy that I apparently was, I somehow circumvented the clothesline wrapped around the door, and the raised ladder leading to the deck. I remember that there was a game of Hide-And-Seek going on, and in my excitement to stay hidden I guess some goofy primal area of my brain thought hiding in the pool would be the perfect spot.

Now why exactly I decided to literally try hiding in the pool instead of just on the deck is beyond me. And that's pretty much where reality and conceptual ideas begin to blur their boundaries. Over the years I have debated this over and over again, coming up with different ideas. Perhaps somebody saw me, and in my excitement to get away I leapt straight into the brackish, poisoned water. Or an even more sinister idea crossed my mind...maybe I was pushed.

My grandparents were foster parents in a time when it was more common to have large groups of kids in your house. Many of these kids were normal children who's parents were going through bad times, but there were the other kids who were extremely troubled and violent. So, when looking for a scapegoat it seemed that might be the logical cause. Seems logical to suggest, but the truth is nothing like that happened. It took me awhile to get over the idea though.

I discovered years later that there had been a small hole on the side of the deck that would have probably been just the right size for a small child, including a little goof like myself, to squeeze through. Children, like small animals, are naturally curious, and very territorial. I had probably discovered this hiding place sometime in the past and this time it reared up and bit me. Or drowned me to be exact.

The point is, by working to blame somebody else for what occured to me, I created a tightness of anger in my being that had no right to be there. Holding this imaginary foster child to blame for my woes solved nothing at all. And what If I had been really serious in my accusation? What if I had reported this concept to somebody? I would have created an imaginary offence that could have hurt plenty of people, all for an idea with no merit.

Plenty of bad things happen to plenty of people. But just remember, if you are working to solve a question from your childhood, don't let conceptual ideas rule your investigation. Especially ideas that have a multiple decade separation where they can be tainted by other events, television and dreams. Too many lives get destroyed from it.

Oh yeah...I was pulled from the water by my grandmother, blue and lifeless. My Aunt Marilyn performed CPR. And I pulled through...as I'm sure you can tell. I hold no grudge against anybody, because there was nobody to blame but a dumb little boy called Little Timmy. And it's no fun to blame yourself...better just to laugh about it and move on with your life.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I blame nobody but me...

Everything is a work in progress.

During my tenure of illness, I've been keeping myself occupied by planning out some new stuff, and I've even managed to put some of those ideas into place already.

I went over my home website design for starters, and decided to throw the whole thing out and start from a new angle. I have pretty much fallen in love with my current blog design, so I figured why not follow suit on the website, with some subtle changes to showcase my own work. Now it's not completely done....but you can see the new look by clicking here.

I have also managed to process some of my digital photographs into a new slideshow movie. I have used this technique with some other projects, my Grandparents 50th for instance. I have a habit of letting photographs take up a gigantic amount of space on my harddrive, which is risky if I suffer a complete hardware failure. So, it's time to get them all backed up onto DVD, and what better way then to have them in a video format, with the actual picture files saved for later use if needed.

I'm on the wave of backing up all of my analog footage onto digital. After all of these photographs are done, I have a whole lot of slides that I need to scan in. Afterwards I have a whole box of VHS tapes that I need to go through and transfer in using my video capture card before they give up the ghost for good. Never mind the 8 or so DV tapes staring at me plaintively from my "IN" pile.

If all goes well, and I work to finish at least two photo collections each week, I should be able to start on my videos by mid-November. Boy, it would be nice to have some stuff done around here for once. Gotta move soon before another project gets thrown on my plate.....

Must...reach...keyboard.....


:: how jedi are you? ::



Still feeling like crap, but saw something Star Wars oriented and had to get involved.

I'm such a geek.