Monday, December 26, 2005

Adventures in Boxing Day Shopping

My dreams of sleeping in over the holidays came crashing down this morning as Nathaniel decided that 6:30am was a great time to get up. Any further ideas of persuding my lovely spouse into being the one to get up with him were met with groggy death glares and some kind of mumbled voodoo charm. Not wishing to play cards with Thanatos, I dragged myself out of bed to start the little guys day.
I got his food all warmed up and prepped, and then went into his room to get him up, and damn if he hadn't gone back to sleep. So, back into the fridge they went, and back into bed I went. Fifteen minutes later, his catnap ended, and the process started all over again.
A couple hours later, after his breakfast of oatmeal and formula had been consumed, and a couple cups of tea were keeping my brain levels from bottoming out, he decided that a he wanted to nap again, and I had no regrets over the issue. This time though, I decided that it was useless to return to bed, so I got myself prepped to face the world. Foolishness or bravery (or both) had lined my heart...I planned to try some Boxing Day shopping with some Futureshop gift certificates I had. Normally I tend to stay away from stores on these days...the crowds are way too trying on my patience. However, there were some fantastic deals on blank DVD's, and I noticed there was a special price on MS XP Home...I could pick that up for my Step-Father, which would finalize his system.
So, once Nathaniel woke himself up (roughly the same time that my wife finally arrived on scene), I packed him up and the two of us headed off to Futureshop for some shopping. What a freakin' nightmare.
Most of the time I was able to navigate around the store without problems. I even chatted with a lady there about the merits of different brands of DVD's (I guess the salespeople were unhelpful, so hey, let's ask the harried looking guy with the cute baby). Then I went to look for my music DVD's. Guess what, the sales line-up goes right through that aisle, which I could have probably pushed my way through when I was alone, but with a stroller and progressively cranky baby I dared not. So, I got into line, with the expectation that I would get a chance to look when I got through that section. Twenty five minutes later, I arrived at the area I needed, and the line-up in front of me began to move 3x faster than before. I was harried to find my titles, and they were not where I expected them to be. I hoped to ask a salesperson to look for me while I stayed in line-up, but surprise...not salespeople around all of a sudden.
So, I grabbed three titles I did want to see, including Ben Folds and Waso: Live in Perth,
Live 8, and From Dusk Til Dawn (a movie I absolutely worship). No Rush and no Primus to be seen...I will have to go looking for those on another day.
After we returned home, my father soon dropped by with a 19" television set for us to use (they have upgraded to a goliath model in their living room, and the trinkle down effect of moving tv's around the house found one bumped out), and my brothers computer for help on installing a new hard drive. Melanie then informed me that we were invited to a friends house for a couple hours, but I begged off for the afternoon...I had sincere plans to do some writing and the figured if she and Nathaniel left the house for a bit I would get that chance. Ha!
I was able to install the new drive easily enough, but then freakin' XP took forever to initialize and format the thing. By the time it was done and packed up, Melanie was pulling back into the driveway with the baby. So once again, nothing done...but I look forward to getting some done tonight. Hopefully Mel will let me...umm, she's leaning on my shoulders right now...she is offering to go out with the boy again tomorrow. Let's hope inspiration flows.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas has come and gone, and our household had a very good day, even though the concept of being with all of our family didn't work out this year. Nothing could be done about that though, so onwards and upwards we go.
Last night was the traditional German Christmas at Melanie's parents house. Her sister Britta was up from Minneapolis, and the six of us enjoyed a pleasant day of traditional German foods, such as Rouladin and Red Cabbage. As always, Nathaniel was in great spirits, and he made out like a bandit on gifts from his Oma, Opa and Aunty. A ton of clothes, a riding Catepillar toy and a giant plush horse were among his new belongings. Now we just need to figure out where to put them.
Today, we spent the morning with my father and grandmother for coffee, and then headed out to my mothers place for Christmas dinner.
I spent a few hours finishing the work on my step-fathers Christmas gift. We had bought for him a new Asus Motherboard, a 2.66ghz celeron processor and 512mb memory, which I installed last week, but I was rushed out of the house with a sleepy baby, work not completed. All I had to do was clean up Windows a bit to work with the new architecture. He still has Windows 98SE though, so it doesn't quite take advantage of the new power...I have convinced him to go buy an XP upgrade in the near future...that'll get the system rocking for him.
Dinner as always was wonderful and obscenely filling. The company was top notch. And once again, Nathaniel was absolutely wonderful. Bonus to us...somehow we have seconded all of the leftovers, which is wonderful for this week...very little cooking required.
The drive home was dreadful. Between the rain earlier and the heavy snowfall driving at us, visibility was almost 0. White knuckle the whole way, taking the long way around for safety reasons. We made it safe and sound.
My father gave me a call tonight asking if I wanted to come with him to Futureshop for the doorcrasher sales, which I was originally interested in; until he informed me that he would be leaving at 5:30am to go line-up. I immediately backed down. No sale is THAT important to me. I may still go out later on, so I can use my gift-certificates to pick up Rush's R30 DVD, which I have been dying to pick up. Depends on whether the weather improves or not.
This is going to be a simple week. Next two days off...back to work on Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday and Monday off. I'll catch up on my writing and a bit of reading over this period. Hopefully I'll start on some assignments for my writing course too. It's about time that I make the time for that.
Hope everyone is safe, sound and with loved ones during the holiday season. Nothing quite like it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Pets...new and departed...and colouring our world

This has been a bit of a trying week for us in the Norton household. We were forced to have one of our cats put to sleep. Goofy, a cat of enormous girth and silent meow, had been put on double secret probation about a month ago when she was caught peeing on Nathaniels things. We had been keeping her in our bedroom with her own litterbox and food supply, and she was being extremely well behaved, until the day she was let out of the room for the day while some work was being done in the bedroom. She immediately went and relieved herself on the Alphabet mat we had bought to replace the last one she peed all over. Not amused were we.

Melanie brought Goofy into the relationship, and she made the final decision to have her put to sleep. We had looked into other options, like surrendering her to the SPCA, but they were extremely unhelpful when we asked for their assistance (It's not like we were giving her up for the hell of it...this is our sons health we are considering). Also, Melanie's vet thought this would be more humane for her then trying the adoption route. She may get a poor home, and then suffer for that. So, on Thursday afternoon, braving the terrible weather we had that day, Melanie packed up the cat and left for the vet when I got home for work. An hour or so later, it was all done.
I'm proud of Melanie's bravery in being the one to take her. I offered to do it myself, however Mel stated that Goofy stuck with her through all the goods and bads in the past, and it wouldn't be fair to not be there for the end. Now we take things gingerly one day at a time while Melanie grieves for her one and only pet. She even commented that all the rest are mine...two cats, fish and the recent addition of three female hooded rats (one of which is staring at me as I type this...it's kind of freaky). I too miss the tubby cat that squeeked like a mouse and walked like a raccoon, but I'm an animal lover in general so it's natural for me for do so. Melanie loved Goofy unconditionally, except for when it came down to the choice of Cat vs Nathaniels health, and it's obvious who would win that battle. It still really hurts.

To keep her mind occupied, Melanie has thrown herself 200% forward into painting our bedroom. WIthin a couple days time it went from an idea to a reality. I'm still kind of reeling from the speed of her decision. The first coat of paint is already up, and I expect she will have everything finished on Wednesday, when my mother is willing to take Nathaniel away for the day. If it makes her happy to do so, then all the power to her. She deserves it after this week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Oooo...scary....

I found last weeks class to be the best so far of my current level. Until then, I was finding myself to be somewhat out of it, probably part of the problem being the late hour (8-10:30pm after a long day of work) and the other part that I just really miss my former A-E level classmates. I completely recognize the fact that in the real world of improvisation, I need to learn to work with as many types of people as possible, so this is perhaps better for me...but doesn't mean I can't wax nostalgia for my friends.
Homework from the class ended up as Horror movies, so I went through my generous collection of DVD's in that genre, and settled on the original version of The Amityville Horror. Not the scariest movie in the world, but I am rather fond of the character progression...slowly slipping into insanity...ala The Shining. Fun stuff. And the red flashing eyes? Stuff of, well, late 70's legends. And on a geek note, it had Meeno Peluce in a supporting role as one of the children. 80's television trivia...look it up.
But I digress. Tonights class, the last before we take an extended holiday break, will focus on horror as a genre. I look forward to seeing what people in the class do with it...hopefully nothing TOO stereotypical (ie. Zombies, Dracula). Following this, we will get two genres to research for our return class.

Now, on to my writing. I have honestly not had time to put more than a few words down on paper or a screen, but I do have two complete stories ready in my head...one short story and one fan fiction of indeterminate length. Now, Fan Fiction? you ask. Call me a geek, call me disturbed if you will, but I have become addicted to Harry Potter fan fiction. You can find plenty of great stories at www.schnoogle.com, and branch out from there.
I have said many times to many people that was disappointed that JK Rowling has stated she will only ever write seven books in the series, because she has created so many different options for branching stories that it could keep what I call The Potterverse going for years to come. To me, it's the equivalent of JRR Tolkien writing an extra sentence saying "...and Frodo whispered to Sam, 'I'll be back' ", and leaving you totally hanging. Wouldn't you be pissed off?
Ideas came to mind. I thought it may be acceptable if Rowling wrote the seven books, then licensed out the rights to the stories, ala Lucasarts with the Star Wars books, keeping executive control over her universe. I'd be cool with that. But people think that'll never fly.
This is why it's so cool that there is so much of this fan fiction out there. People giving their own take on back stories, Alternate Universes, theories on how it's all going to end...it's all in there. Plus you have all kinds of reading and writing levels portrayed. Stories that a grade three student could handle, and also stories that are so NC-17 that it would make Tom Savini cringe in disgust. Whatever you are looking for...you'll find it.
I know I have a long time to wait before Book Seven reaches the shelves. So, I figured for a writing exercise I would take a crack at it; but I didn't want to just steal other peoples ideas...that would be boring. So, for a purely fun exercise I am going to write my own take on what happens leading up to and after book six.
It may be good, it may be shit. It doesn't matter in the end...it's the writing that works.
The non-fanfiction short story I have on the go actually excites me...I hope to start on that tonight if I'm not too late after class. Which reminds me...I must leave now. Have a good night. I'll try to write more often.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pushing the late night stretch

Second City homework from last week was Westerns. So, I went out on Sunday and rented both The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Now, I have discovered that the only serious chance I have of watching a non-romantic flick from beginning to end with little to no interuptions is to burn the midnight-oil. I wrapped up the first at 12:30am, and then watched the second last night until close to 12am. And now tonight I have class, which in of itself won't get me home until close to midnight. Three late nights in a row...not the easiest task for me these days.
Up until just less than a year ago this would not have bothered me in the slightest. I used to stay up well into the AM, as that was my best time to do any creative work, and plus I really didn't give a shit as to what time I went into work in the morning. Now, however, I am forced to develop a bit more courtesy for employment, as I've learned I'm not quite as indispensible as I once I thought I was, and the paycheque is a must.
Then again, my need for sleep could be just that I'm starting to get old (Ric & Rufus, no kneejerk bitchslaps please, I said STARTING, ok?).
The movies (as research material) are important, however, and I feel less guilty watching them when wife and baby are sleeping...so the time must continue. So, what I may do is pick certain nights, non-consecutive, when I watch one. This way, I may get 2 or 3 in during a week, and come into class with a lot more ideas. I hate being the one who always has to say, "No, I watched no movies, I'm a dad. 'nuff said".
btw...because The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is a marathon three hour flick, I actually started watching it while Nathaniel was awake. He sat on my knee, and flinched during the first gunshot, but took the other 82x3000e explosions (goddamn that movie is full of explosions) in stride.
Well, I'm off to class now...interested to see what our next genre assignment is going to be. Horror? Bollywood? Blaxpoitation? We shall see.

BTW...I had no intention of taking so much time off of blogging...but the remainder of my freetime was stolen by reading. What I was reading, why it took up so much time...well, I've leave that to my next post. Let's just say it actually connects with a writing project I'm slowly assembling the skeleton to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Moving towards mobility

I had a Specialist appointment on Monday regarding my right shoulder, which according to my last MRI many moons ago is pretty much screwed. The doctor looked skeptical at first when he looked at me. I mean, I'm sure I look pretty young to have the symptoms that my chart says I do. But then we went through the range of motion checklist and he was pretty convinced by what he saw. I mean, I can't even pick up a teapot or put a dish away with my right arm without sharp pains interfering with the movement. We discussed Cortizone injections in the shoulder, and even though I have already tried that once in the past unsuccessfully (in fact, I have had no success with Cortizone at all), the doctor felt it should be tried. I guess when you think about it, the last time it was tried, my Uric Acid levels were off the chart...and now they have reached the range of your average human being. Perhaps there will be better success.
What clinched the decision to proceed with this is he injected my shoulder with a local anaesthetic, and my range of motion improved dramatically in mere minutes. This shows that the problem is definately in the shoulder and not a nerve echo.
So, Monday morning, bright and early, I will head over to the clinic at the hospital to have this done. Guess I'll have to drive Melanie's car that day as it's normally proper procedure to immobilize the arm after an injection...and that would make driving a standard a bit of an issue.
Man...typing that day is gonna be a bitch....but if the injection works, it'll be worth it.
If it doesn't work...I believe a small amount of surgery is involved in the next step. I have faith though.
Next step...both knees. I mentioned them to the doctor, and he said. One day, one problem. After a follow-up with him on the shoulder I will book for the knees. Those probably have to be replaced.
A couple years ago, I was against joint replacement surgery...but now that I have Nathaniel in my life, and see all the things I can't easily do for him...I look forward to those little fixes that will make for a better me. At least in the physical sense.

A Return To Play...and Ideas!

Tonight was the first class of Continuing Improv - Ensemble. I arrived at the Second City training centre about a half hour early, hoping to catch a glimpse of any of my former classmates. To my surprise, none of their names were on the class list. It was a completely new slate for me.
I paced around a bit, and had a conversation with another guy named Kevin who was taking the Writing I class. I asked him about the class and what he thought of it. Honestly, he felt it was a good class if writing is your thing, but unfortunately for him that appears to not be the case. He only took it because it was the only remedial class offered to Level B, which is where he is at. He knows how to write, but felt that he just didn't do funny very well. I suggested he stick with it though, and look to his classmates for the funny. "Be the straightman", I told him. The funny comes later.
He then asked me about the Conservatory auditions, and I told him the sordid story I have touched on in my earlier blogs.
Class was starting though, so I bid him farewell and joined the rest of my new group. When Sandy read off the list, I did discover that one of my Level E classmates would (or should) be joining us. Matt Williamson, who had joined us in Level D, and who is just full of intense ideas and physical humour. For some reason he was a no show, however.
The rest of the class contained a couple faces I have met in my travels during make-up classes, but for the most part it was the first time I had worked with the bunch. It almost feels like starting over, just I have more skills to start with. Should be fun.
One of the skits I created with another student named Eric worked incredibly well, but then I began to break the cardinal rule that I have for some reason been doing for the last couple levels too often. I broke the fourth wall. I found myself laughing during the bit. I have no idea where this is coming from. For years I have worked so hard on remaining in character and not breaking up, but for some reason certain scenarios in improv just crack me up so much that it is a constant struggle to stay in the scene. I will work on that.
I'm not the only one who struggled, though. Everybody has something they need to work on. It is a class, afterall, and hopefully we can all learn together about strengthening our weakpoints. I plan on working extra hard to solidify my own.
Homework for this week is to watch some Film Noir, as that will be next week's genre. Gotta run to the video store and pick up some of the classics. The Maltese Falcon. and D.O.A. are good picks. Maybe even Bladerunner. Gonna get me some Bogart's and Lorre's and sit down with a lovely dame for a drink and a flick. Hopefully she won't try to kill me with an ice pick.
Oh, and as to the ideas part...I have a few short story ideas I'd love to write. Want to do them tonight. But if I did, the dame really will kill me when I am unable to get up for work tomorrow. So, I shall file them away until tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Recognition is nice....again!

About a week or so ago, Melanie called me to say that I had received a call from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration about a returned piece of mail. Apparently they still had us living in Aurora and needed our new address so as to get this letter to me. Now, I immediately wondered...Immigration? Was I being deported or something? If so...umm...to where?
Finally, after a few days of intence curiosity, the letter came in the mail. Apparently, my name was submitted by somebody in South Shore Theatre to have me recognized for my volunteerism efforts. Ten years.
The ceremony was this evening.
I originally thought there might be an issue at home with this, as I'm already out insanely late tomorrow night. But Melanie, in her wonderfulness, gave me her blessing to go out to play. The unspoken but obvious message from her though was....don't stay out to late. In other words, get yer damn pin and get the hell outta there.
When I arrived, I did recognize a few familiar faces. Bruce Morrison from South Shore was there with his wife. Anne Guy, the former Secretary of my third and final public school (Morning Glory P.S.) and the wife of my six grade teacher Bill Guy (who interestingly enough. also originally inspired to take my hand at theatre) was in the front row. Also, the Mayor of Georgina, Robert Grossi was present. Some other faces I had seen around, but not many...it was a big crowd.
The event started with the National Anthem as always. Then we had some speeches from Mike Colle (the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), Julia Munro (MPP for York North) and others who praised the efforts of all Volunteers in Ontario.
Then they had us go up row by row to get our pins, and each of us was announced along with our years of service and the organization. Longest service by far was one lady from a Church in Ravenshoe, with 60 years of service. Wow.
I found it to be a well run event. It was amusing seeing the poor lady who had to read out the information stumble over a couple names with 20+ syllables in them, but she did incredibly well otherwise. I mean, there were over 200 people called, and I didn't see her reach for a glass of water once.
They actually had a grand total of years for just the people who showed up.
Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventy years total service in the room. That's amazing.
I was thinking to myself during the ceremony about volunteering and how I would like to do more. One thing I would like to do is assist organizations like the Salvation Army as a driver around Christmas time. Bringing food and presents to needy families. My grandfather did that, and I remember the warm feeling I had when I went with him one year. I would love to share that experience with Nathaniel, and teach him how important volunteering is.
Kudos go to the Ontario government for providing such an event. People who volunteer don't do it for the recognition, but we do feel really nice to be thanked for our efforts every once in awhile. I will wear my pin and hang up my certificate with pride.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tying up the loose ends

It was a useful weekend that ended on a trying note. I took the time to clean up around the house - putting away the deck furniture so that they don't end up in Kansas along with Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Ray Bolger. Cleaned the garage so we can fit a car in there. Had to dispose of my Canadian Flag - The wind has been getting terribly ferocious lately and it sort of tore my poor patroitic emblem to shreds. Also, my father came over for a visit yesterday and with his help I replaced the snowscreen on our front porch so that we don't get any early-morning surprises of not being able to leave the house due to a snow impaction. This is the one variable we are worried about over the winter...with being on the edge of a huge farmers field, it is guaranteed we are going to get the brunt of the wind and it's drifting effects. We'll survive though.
Melanie and I took Nathaniel up to visit my grandmother today, and the four of us went out for dinner. Nathaniel handled being in a restaurant high-chair fairly well...only minor fussing towards the end of our dinner took its toll on our fellow patrons. Hey, he's less than six months old...it's to be expected. As patient and wonderful as my son is, even he has a boredom threshold. We do not take offence. {grin}.
When we got home this evening...we discovered that one of our cats had left us a less-than wonderful gift (of the aquatic kind) in the living room . Then, when Melanie was starting to clean it up, she discovered to her horror that this same cat had actually been leaving us similar gifts on Nathaniels ABC sponge mat for the last few days, and I guess due to the super absorbancy of sponge we only noticed it now. It has left a massive dark patch (about 2'x3') on the hardwood. We are not amused. This is not her first offence and we are hard-pressed to make an important decision about her. She either has to go permanently, which is a difficult decision to make, or we lock her in our room with her own litter box until she masters the fact that this is the only acceptable place to go. Is it because she is lazy, and the fifteen foot walk to the litter box is unbearable, or is it because she is spiteful about Nathaniel still? The fact that she has been eliminating on Nathaniels mat may leave a hint there. Some people say 'Once a dirty cat, always a dirty cat', and we are unwilling to let this continue, since it is expected that Nathaniel will start crawling in the next few months. Melanie and I will talk about this more in depth and go from there. I don't look forward to the aftermath though if we do decide to evict her.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Toys and Songs, oh my!

Just to keep my life in check, lady luck loves to punch me upside the head sometimes. Today was full of good news, but as usual, timing makes it so that the amount of stress I have to dish out sort of ruins the excitement.
I have two auditions tomorrow. One is a callback for the singing bit I did last Thursday, the other something to do with toys. Truth be told, I love auditions; however trying to fit them in with the day job is a chore I do not enjoy. My boss has been wonderfully supportive over the last few that I have had, however I do not like to push my luck.
Soooo...what I plan to do is go in really frickin' early tomorrow (say 6 or 7 - which, yes I know is on-time or even late for some of you), leave work at 11 to head to the first one. From there, since I'm down there anyway, I will run down to Second City to pay for the next course I'm taking Continuing Improv - Ensemble, then run over to Adelaide and Stachan for the second audition. Then back to work. If my plan works out right, I'll still only be out of the office for 1 1/2 hours.
Well, gotta run. Time to spend some time with the wife and watch House...then hit the sack. Tommorow is going to be eventful and it will be here way too soon.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Shot down

{insert whimper here}. Just received my call from Second City, and I did not make the cut. Notes given: Needs more improv training, take further non-conservatory courses and audition again next time. So, between feeling like a puppet with its strings cut, an angry he-beast and the persistantly flexible fellow that I am, I have already looked up my options. My current instructor, Sandy, is offering the Continuing Improv - Ensemble course on Tuesdays from 8-10:30pm, and I may just jump at that.
Melanie and I will chat about it first though. She'll be delighted that I have no Sunday classes now, but may still show reluctance to me being out late once a week. I HAVE to do something, though. Just deciding to take the semester off and auditioning again next time will probably not increase my chances. If Second City thinks I need more training, who am I to argue? Especially when I envision the possibility of working with them some day.
HOLY SHIT - Newsflash. Just received a call from one of my classmates, the esteemed Bindy. Of the five of us that auditioned, only one of us made it into the conservatory! What the hell is up with that?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Auditions Galore

I had two auditions today. One at 9:20am for an American Cable Provider Commercial, later followed by my Conservatory Audition at 11:30. For the first, I don't give out much hope. It is a union gig, meaning the competition will be that much fiercer. Also, the audtion itself was four guys in a room, all singing the highest note possible in harmony. Only one of us will be chosen...which means that they are really only going for looks. It is impossible to tell one persons solo singing ability when you have them doing harmonies. It was also one of the shortest auditions on record. I fought rushhour traffic to get there, parked, walked to the studio and signed in. Totally time: 1:15. Was let into room, did a slate, sang my note and then was released. Total time: 0:45. Kind of sad, really.
So, I had lots of time on my hands before the next one. I fought my way through traffic (some big problem on the Gardiner this morning) to Spadina, then grabbed a parking spot at King and Peter, then chatted for for a couple minutes with Charlene, one my classmates, who had a 10:30 call time. Soon enough, she had to go in to warmup, so I hobbled over to Tim Horton's for a pick-me-up. The reason I say hobbled is that my back was killing me. I had thrown it out the other day, and it worsened that morning while brushing my teeth. Who knew that could be such a vigorous activity? My dentist would be proud. The first audition of the day was not an issue, but I was horribly concerned about the Conservatory audition because of the amount of physicality it may require. Improv is not a sport for wimps.
So, between sipping my coffee I was stretching through the pain, trying to get this damned disc back into place. An entire hour was spent on this activity, and though I didn't perfectly succeed, I did manage to get things to the point where I could breathe without groaning in pain.
Due to the aformentioned traffic problems, another classmate, Chris was actually late for his audition, so he was moved into my timeslot, which I appreciated greatly...somebody I knew to work with. During warm-ups we were instructed to find something topical to use as a lightly prepared scene, so Chris and I chose the story of Air Canada scrapping free meals on flights. Four of us auditioned at 11:30, and it was pretty straightforward. We began with the topical bits, then just did some random scenes. Two people were in the room to judge us...Moira, who runs the school, and one of the Conservatory Teachers, Lisa. Throughout the audition they were completly stoic...showing us nothing...which I kind of prefer. What did surprise me was the comment that we would find out within the next day, whether I get in or not. To be perfectly honest, I don't know what my chances are. Who knows what they are looking for, specifically? I showed my character work and ability to status transfer. I also used the very small room to the best of my ability.
Melanie asked me tonight if I would be depressed if I didn't get it. The honest answer is yes. I would also be depressed if Chris, Brandy, Brian and Charlene don't get in, as they are the rest of my classmates who auditioned. Only 1/2 of the Level E class chose to move forward...and it would be fun to continue as a group, even if the dyamics would be changed.
Well, we shall know for sure tomorrow. I will post once I know.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Make-Up - POOF!

Actually, not that kind of make-up. I had to cruise down into the city this evening to make-up one of my classes for Second City. Since while in Level E you are not allowed to make-up a class in another Level E, I chose a Level C to jump into, from 6-9pm.
Different kind of teacher, different agenda, different class size. Only 6 people in the class, including myself, and the instructor ran things quite contrary to what I'm used to. The games, though in some subtle ways were the same, had a totally different take on them then I was ever used to. And I was shocked to be verbally smacked for asking the audience for a Non-Geographical Location from the audience when looking for inspiration in a scene. I was told that is DEATH ON STAGE. Funny how we've been doing that for several levels in my other classes and never seem to have a problem.
I did enjoy the class...it is always nice to see a fresh perspective on things...and I learned that I need to focus on my rhyming skills. We haven't run that exercise much in Sandy's class, and I kind of killed myself on stage trying to do a scene in rhyming couplets. Think I'll look up some games in my spare time to practice with to hone that skill a bit.

Let's hope that don't pull that out on Thursday...when I have my Conservatory audition. Yes, I received the call today, and I have an 11:30am audition set. Nervous energy flows...I really want to continue onwards, and would hate to blow the audition completely. You never know what's going to happen. The dynamics of my fellow auditioners along with myself will tell the tale. For improv is not a solo activity...you need to depend on your fellow improvisors to look good, just as they depend on you. Reality is, I'll never know until I get there...so onwards and upwards!

Ah, Mister Potter.....

You scored as .

Albus Dumbledore

85%

Harry Potter

85%

Remus Lupin

75%

Hermione Granger

70%

Ginny Weasley

70%

Sirius Black

70%

Ron Weasley

65%

Draco Malfoy

60%

Severus Snape

55%

Lord Voldemort

40%

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
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Found on Trying So Very Hard To Be Perfect

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Status Quo

I've said a million times before that I expect things to quieten down so that I can focus on writing, etc. A million wasted breaths they were. Things always come up...sneaking towards you like the bully on the playground about to give you a wedgie.
This week, the trilogy of events that kept me running around were as follows:
1/ Talent Contest at work
2/ Ghost Walk at Georgina Pioneer Village
3/ Graduation show at Second City

Shall I break them down? Yes, let's.

1/ Before I was hired on full time last year by my current employer, they held an America Idol like contest to raise money for the United Way. I told myself at the time, if I get the job, then I will enter it the following year. Well, that time had come, and surely enough, they held the second annual event. So, I entered and began looking for the right song to sing. Then I got sick and my voice was pretty much ripped up. Less than a week to go and I had no idea how I would sound if I went out there...I wasn't that nervous since my very first time doing karaoke ten years ago. I finally settled on U2's With Or Without You; even though it has some challenging bits. I knew it fairly well and had actually performed it once before during a friends birthday party, and was praised for it then. So, on Friday the show came up, I sang my little heart out, and once again did get praise, even though I knew I had croaked at some of the high bits. Alas, there was plenty of other talented people there, and I did not get selected to enter the semi-finals. But the spirit of the event was reached...much money was raised for the United Way, and more will be raised on Monday during the finals.

2/ I performed in the first annual Georgina Ghost Walk as Stephen B. Leacock, and was asked to return this year, this time as a Spirit Guide. So, I became Charles Noble, a long lived Doctor (1832-1934 (that's 102 for those not good with math)) and enjoyed myself a lot. The turnout was absolutely fabulous too...Friday night we had about 90 people ,and Saturday drew a massive crowd of 175 people. Considering that there were five tours per night, spread out between myself and Ninette Gyorody, this is a considerable number. We expected to run the tours with 20 people max, but had to run them with up to 38 people on one or two. For the outdoor stops that it easy, but imagine jamming that many people into an old log cabin so they can see a re-inactment of peoples daily lives...it was a job but we did it. Great stories were told, possibly with the highlight being my friend Rufus' sad tale of Mrs R.M. Anderson (and no, I'm not just saying that to be nice - 'tis true). Following the Saturday night show, I joined Melanie at a Hallowe'en party (Nathaniel was at my mothers for the night), which we stayed at until closing.

3/ My time in the grade levels of Second City are drawing to a close. Today was our graduation show at the new Second City digs, and I had an absolute blast. The entire class performed an amazing set of 40 minutes, and we all kept the audience in stitches throughout. . The need to form a troupe with these people is constant, and I know we will all be talking seriously about this after our final class next Sunday (we have to do a make-up due to a scheduling issue). As well, many of us hope to continue on into the next level of Second City classes - The Conservatory, which it is necessary to audition for. Of the ten people left in our Level E class, I know for a fact that seven are auditioning...and only twelve spots are available total. We'll be competing for spots with people that perhaps failed to enter the conservatory previously, other Level E classes, or those given special dispensation from the gods that be to skip A-E and go straight to the top. I expect to find out tomorrow when my audition time is (I'm expecting sometime on Thursday the 3rd), and I am looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I will take a breath and enjoy a couple days of peace, along with sometime to catch up on writing, websites and sleep. I would love to be involved with NaNoWriMo but I can't guarantee the time. Not if I want any peace in my marriage anyway.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Recognition is nice

Melanie and I were invited to an Awards Gala at Theatre on Main in Newmarket on Saturday night, and though the date coincided with my Uncle Glen's birthday party, I felt somewhat obligated to go. Theatre on Main has been a great venue for me over the last couple of years...first in The Affections Of May, and then with The Man With The Plastic Sandwich. I love the ambiance at the theatre and want to support it as much as possible. So we went.
We arrived about an hour early so that I can talk improv shop with another lady named Denise, who Ross had asked me to run an improvisation set with during the gala. She wasn't there yet, so we took the warmup session of two fantastic musicians who had offered to play during the dinner. One played Guitar and Bass, the other Guitar, Mandolin and Cello. It was an impressive set. Then Denise showed up and we discussed putting on a fairly low key improv set with about four games. Neither of us felt incredibly prepared for it...but then again, what would be the use of learning improvisation if I can't improvise...right?
Dinner was great; a lot of good friends and fellow actors provided good talk, plenty of wine was consumed, and the previously mentioned musicians entertained us all throroughly with a great show, including an awesome rendering of the song Mary Mac. I was having a great time.
Then the awards presentation began. First, Tim Chadwick took the stage, along with Town Of Newmarket mayor Tom Taylor, to present the very first Theatre on Main award - or Tommy's, as they were being called, to Ross and Jacki, for starting the venue to begin with and for being the heart and soul of the theatre. Then Ross took over to present the awards. He explained the painful process of trying to get the nominations out to the Season's ticket holders, and how to describe what is a leading actor vs a supporting actor. Apparently they didn't quite get the idea. So, he presented to them the breakdown of all seven shows of the 04-05 season with reminders of sets and all actors involved, with the idea that concept will be improved next year. Until then, the awards were broken down into top three female actors, top three male actors, and best show of the season.
To hear my name called for best male actor was very flattering and heartwarming. After doing this for so many years, with my only specific need being the show, not necessarily any fame or recognition, to actually get some recognition felt positively wonderful. I am now in the possession of a beautiful trophy...my very first theatre trophy. I'm still grinning.

Here's the trophy:



Furthermore, I may just go out in ten days to audition for one of the current season shows, a musical, and Melanie is fairly supportive. 'Tis possible that my break from theatre is drawing to a close. Ross is also asking if I would like to direct the closing show of the season next May. Once I get my hands on the script I will be able to make a judgement call there.

BTW...I didn't end up doing the improv set. The band were so good we asked them to continue playing instead. Denise and I shouted the loudest, and practically high-fived when they agreed. As much as I love doing improv, and look forward to my Second City classes, I just felt like being entertained. And that we were.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dreaming again

Coincidence or not, from the day that Nathaniel came into our lives, I stopped dreaming altogether. At the same time, I found my ability to sit down and write anything useful pretty much began to fall apart. Go ahead and look at my blog before and after June 1, you'll notice a remarkable difference. I still managed to get some blog entries out, but nowhere near the amount that I used to. I can only assume that the two issues are connected. My ability to dream, hence my ability to process all of the events happening in my life, was dormant. With that my ability to write it all down went to.

After the events of the last couple weeks had come to a close...posters, videos and graphic wizardry, along with a few loud arguments with my spouse about the amount of work on my plate, something changed. I dreamed. And not just a fluffy, useless dream, but a mega-concept event that would make for awesome literature. Then I didn't write it down and the idea was forgotten...but that's besides the point. The point was that my brain had decided that enough was enough, and was moving shit out. Guess that, like Melanie, my brain got fed up with the constant clutter.

So...what does this all mean? It means that I need to use some time this glorious long weekend and re-organize my office back into a centre of inspiration. Get all my writing tools back out, including my cute little Writers Block. Then hang some pics up, go for a walk with my camera in tow, and get some stuff out.

It's October. Autumn. The biggest season for change, beauty and death. My muse waits over the next hill. I walk towards it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Swimming...paddling...drowning...

Oi.

When work for me piles up, it REALLY piles up. In the last week I have had to complete a major graphic project for work (a licence plate game for a team building exercises...I'm rather proud of the result) and a poster for the Newmarket Stage Company. Meanwhile, and still in progress is a video collage for South Shore Theatre...for which I have been provided several bags of videos and photo albums with an incredibly tight deadline to complete things. Then I have the South Shore Programme for 'The Odd Couple - Female Version, which opens in just over 3 weeks time.

So, when I received a call last night from a fellow artist asking me to design the logo for a new VOIP service launched by a Toronto Company, I had to request a later time window (or not at all). I just can't take on anything else right now. I've so far turned down every other request for my time, including a big drink-fest this weekend, just because it doesn't seem fair for me to whine about being busy while engaging in other activities which stop me from completing the tasks I already have. {sigh}.

Melanie has also observed a universal shift lately which appears to be telling me to go act in a show. Almost every single theatre company I have history with (and one I have no history with...yet) has had some contact with me in the last two weeks. It's somewhat comforting to be so popular with these groups...I'd really just wish they'd spread their love out a little bit...say each group shares visitation rights, split evenly throughout the year. I could handle that.

Plus we had Nathaniel's baptism ceremony on the weekend. Plus we replaced our 1996 Cavalier with the 1999 Cougar (beauty, eh!). Plus all our television shows have begun their second season! Aieeee!

Oh well. Just one more week and most of the stress will be over. Oh, who I am kidding...no it won't...there will always be another project. I just can't stop.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Arrrrrrrrrrr



My pirate name is:


Dirty Tom Rackham



You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!


Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Which Happy Bunny are you?

you're so dumb
you are the "you're so dumb" happy bunny.
you are brutal in your words and enjoy putting
others down.


which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found on Trying So Very Hard To Be Perfect

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Poem: "Parting," by Emily Dickinson.

Parting

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If immortality unveil
A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.


Man this seems fitting right now.

From the Writer's Almanac by Garrison Keillor


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Oh, Bugger

Your word is BUGGER. You are generally quite
restrained, but sometimes your anger or
frustration come to the surface and it all
comes out. Yet you somehow can't stop sounding
polite, despite it all.


Which Swear (Curse) Word Are You?
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Found on Trying So Very Hard To Be Perfect

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Well, I'm trying anyway...

How You Life Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.

You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.

You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.

You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.


Found on Rics Thoughts

Monday, August 29, 2005

Road-Trip Dreams Squashed

Damn the government and their need to take undeserved money from me.
Melanie's sister Britta had offered us her old car under a couple conditions. One - we pay for some minor repairs it required. Two - we either: A/ Come and get it, or B/ Cover her expenses for driving it back up here herself.
Sounds like an easy decision, right? Well sure, except for the fact that she lives near Minneapolis, MN; which is approximately a 17 hour drive from us.
So, as a man, I chose the only logical choice - ROADTRIP!!!!!!!!!! I definately wanted to go get it. I mean...I'd take my buddy Ted...we'd drive over there (well, technically down, over and then up again), get the car and drive back. My excitement to face the open road was upon us.
So...a plan was drafted and set in action. Then prompty picked apart and cancelled. It was discovered that the government refused to accept a sibling to sibling gift as free and clear...we'd have to pay taxes on the black book value (it's a '99 so the value is still fairly high). Plus, in Melanie's conversations with customs, they insisted that Britta would have to drive across herself.
And so, I thought that was it. Goodbye 1999 Mercury Cougar 5 speed.
Then to my surprise, Melanie started talks back up. However, it is with the "less fun for me" plan of Britta driving it here. She'll take the new high speed fairy across the lake...which shaves about 4hours off her time. Cheaper and less stressful to my budget conscious wife. So, in about three weeks, we'll have a newer car to replace the ever-aging 1996 Cavalier, which is a good car but I'm uncertain of its abilities to survive the upcoming winter.
Now I'm left with a taste for Roadtrip with nowhere to go...so far...time to get out my map and think of where I have not been. Damn...it's a big list, but I'm willing to slowly cross things off.

Monday, August 22, 2005

50 foot tall Book Meme

My good friend Rufus alerted me to this interesting time-waster
..er...literary list...., and though I feel I did fairly well from what I remember, I still see that there are a lot of well recommended books that I should get around to reading one day. Perhaps I will indulge as I begin choosing books to read to Nathaniel. Promise I won't pick any of the ultra romance...that'll be just creepy.

I was very surprised to see some of the titles on the list. A few were ones that I have planned to go out of my way to buy for Nathaniel because I loved them as a kid (273,274 and 284 among them).

What you do is copy the list, bold the ones you've read, and add three titles of your own at the end. The goal is to make the list 50 feet tall, of course. I pity the poor sucker who actually has the time to do this when it gets past 30 feet

Most comments not mine...though I have added a couple.

001.The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
002. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
003. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
004. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
006. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
007. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
008. 1984, George Orwell
009. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
010. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
011. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
012. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
013. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
014. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
015. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
016. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
017. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
018. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
019. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
020. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
021. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
022. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling

That's Philosopher's Stone, you half-witted American publishers!
***I've read both just for the hell of it, btw - Tim ***
023. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
024. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
025. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
026. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
027. Middlemarch, George Eliot
028. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
029. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
030. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
031. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
032. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
033. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
034. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
035. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
036. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
037. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
038. Persuasion, Jane Austen
039. Dune, Frank Herbert
040. Emma, Jane Austen
041. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
042. Watership Down, Richard Adams
043. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
044. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
045. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
046. Animal Farm, George Orwell
047. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
048. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
049. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
050. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
051. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
052. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
053. The Stand, Stephen King
054. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
055. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
056. The BFG, Roald Dahl
057. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
058. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
059. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
060. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
061. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
062. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
063. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
064. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
065. Mort, Terry Pratchett
066. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
067. The Magus, John Fowles
068. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
069. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
070. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
071. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
072. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
073. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
074. Matilda, Roald Dahl
075. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
076. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
077. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
078. Ulysses, James Joyce
079. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
080. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
081. The Twits, Roald Dahl
082. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
083. Holes, Louis Sachar
084. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
085. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
086. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
087. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
088. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
089. Magician, Raymond E Feist
090. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
091. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
092. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
093. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
094. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
095. Katherine, Anya Seton
096. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
097. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
098. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
099. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon (aka Outlander)
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
*202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan*
207. Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, Michel Foucault

This was listed as just "The History of Sexuality," which is actually a series of books, so I've changed it to just refer to volume 1, which is mistitled "An Introduction" in English. It should properly be called The Will to Know, since its French title is "La volonté de savoir."
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller

Not really, but I did see the movie (the one with Daniel Day Lewis, if there are multiple versions). Since this is a play, that actually counts.
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
Note from Tim - This is a series - I've read all seven current books.
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Black Bird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Jester
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter's Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleaton
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman's Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic's Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic's Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic's Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving
302. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion's Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith's Brood), Octavia Butler (Dawn, Adulthood Rites,
Imago)
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams

Not a book, again, but a series. Stop with this already! You're ruining it for everyone (who is as pedantic as me). I have read books 1 and 2, but am stuck halfway through 3, which was just too boring to bear.

**I certainly, whole-heartedly agree!

328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen

Not only is this actually a short story, or a novella at a stretch, but whoever recorded it misspelled the author's name! Honestly. Robert Louis Stevens*o*n, thankyou very much!
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic's Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O'Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Divine Comedy, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L'Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
335. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
336. The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
337. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
338. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
339. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
340. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
341. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
342. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
343. Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
344. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
345. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
346. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
347. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
348. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
349. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
350. Time for bed by David Baddiel
351. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
352. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
353. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
354. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
355. Jhereg by Steven Brust
356. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
357. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
358. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
359. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
360. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
361. Neuromancer, William Gibson
362. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
363. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
364. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
365. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
366. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
367. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
368. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
369. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
370. The God Boy, Ian Cross
371. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King
372. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
373. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
374. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
375. Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb
376. number9dream, David Mitchell
377. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
378. Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris
379. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
380. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
381. Dance On My Grave, Aidan Chambers
382. Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin
383. Hyperion, Dan Simmons
384. Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
385. Checkmate, Dorothy Dunnett
386. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
387. A Clash of Kings, George RR Martin
388. The Egyptian, Mika Waltari
389. Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry
390. Contact, Carl Sagan
391. Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
392. Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks
393. The Golden, Lucius Shepard
394. Decameron, Boccaccio
395. Birdy, William Wharton
396. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
397. The Foundation, Isaac Asimov
398. The Prince, Machiavelli
399. Post Office, Charles Bukowski
400. Macht und Rebel, Abu Rasul
401. Grass, Sheri S. Tepper
402. The Long Walk, Richard Bachman
403. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
404. The Joy Of Work, Scott Adams
405. Romeo, Elise Title
406. The Ninth Gate, Arturo Perez-Reverte
407. Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice
408. Dead Famous, Ben Elton
409. Scarlett, Alexandra Ripley
410. Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
411. Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks
412. The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Miller
413. Branded, Alissa Quart
414. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
415. Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac
416. White teeth, Zadie Smith
417. Under the bell jar, Sylvia Plath
418. The little prince of Belleville, Calixthe Beyala
419. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
420. A King Lear of the Steppes, Ivan Turgenev
421. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
422. Memoirs of a Revolutionist, Peter Kropotkin
423. Hija de la Fortuna, Isabel Allende
424. Retrato en Sepia, Isabel Allende
425. Villette, Charlotte Brontë
426. Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse
427. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
428. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
429. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
430. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
431. Nausea, Jean Paul Sartre
432. The Island of the Day Before, Umberto Eco
433. The Elementary Particles, Michel Houellebecq
434. The Angel Of The West Window, Gustav Meyrink
435. A Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway
436. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
437. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
438. In the Eyes of Mr. Fury, Philip Ridley
439. Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks
440. Into the Forest, Jean Hegland
441. Middlesex -Jeffrey Eugenides
442. The Giving Tree -Shel Silverstein
443. Go Ask Alice -Anonymous
444. Waiting For Godot, Samuel Becket
445. Blankets, Craig Thompson
446. The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing, Melissa Banks
447. Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore
448. The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
449. Coraline, Neil Gaiman
450. The Circus of Dr. Lao, Charles G. Finney
451. Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
452. John Lennon: The Lost Weekend, by May Pang and Henry Edwards
453. A Long Fatal Love Chase, Lousia May Alcott
454. Pygmalion, Bernard Shaw
455. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Trumate Capote
456. Skinny Legs And All, Tom Robbins
457. Written On The Body, Jeanette Winterson
458. An Equal Music, Vikram Seth
459. A Word Child, Iris Murdoch
460. Angels & Insects, A.S. Byatt
461. The Walking Drum, Louis L'Amour
462. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
463. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
464. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfou
465. Extremitites: Stories, Kathe Koja
466. Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem
467. And The Ass Saw The Angel, Nick Cave
468. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenedies
469. Oscar and Lucinda- Peter Carey
470. Angela's Ashes- Frank McCourt
471. The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin
472. A Personal Matter, Kenzaburô Ôe
473. Daodejing, Laozi (a.k.a. Tao Te Ching, Lao-Tzu)
474. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
475. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
476. Uther, Jack Whyte
477. Battlefield Earth - L. Ron Hubbard
478. Necroscope - Brian Lumley
479. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wasted time...for pay!

As far as I am concerned, the Masterminds shoot was a bust. I was cast as a principal, for 2 days. This is all good...the money wasn't that bad, and the food? Amazing. But then I was confined to sitting around doing nothing almost the entire time. Wednesday I was used a total of 4 minutes, and never in a focused way. Friday....I was not used at all. Sat around waiting for them to use me, sweltering in my suit, and then 6 hours later I'm told they are wrapping me as they have no need of any shots with me in it. So, though I will happily take the money and run, I'm still stumped as to why my character was cast as a principal. There were extras on set working more than I did and they were paid $9/hour. I did substantially better than that for reading a book.

Funny how the industry works sometimes.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Das dürfte der Fall sein

Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!


Found on Rics Thoughts

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Calmly returning from the void

Sorry about my lengthly absence, but I just have been finding the combinations of baby, work, classes, company visiting, pet issues and a nasty heatwave had all pretty much sapped any time or inspiration I had over the last month. However, I am slowly getting back under my feet when it comes to scheduling so expect to start at least a semi-regular, if not daily journal pretty soon.

A couple updates. Nathaniel is now 2 months old and is doing great. Very tall too...at 60cm. Melanie is doing very well too, having recovered completly from the gall-bladder surgery with no noticable side-effects.

I have an upcoming television shoot, for a series called Masterminds. One or two days next week, playing a police officer. It's good to get back on camera again...hopefully I get a few more bigger and better gigs soon!

Ebay isn't doing too badly. I've had no time over the last week, but I do have a bunch of merchandise to put up, and will attempt to do that this weekend.

Second City is going amazing. Level D finishes this Sunday, and I then get a few weeks off before starting Level E in September. We had our class show a couple weeks ago and as a whole we all seemed very pleased with the results. Certainly a good evolution from our first show in Level C. It should be interesting to see how we do in Level E, as it is the final of the standard levels and we have more capacity to put on a professional quality show.

I do have to get going, but I will tell one funny story before I run. During the Level D show, one of my spots was in a game called Actors Nightmare, where you have two actors onstage...one with a script and the other not. The actor with the script has to read lines, and the other actor improvises a response, hopefully keeping the dialogue in a straight manner. I was paired up with Dmitro, and was expected to run the game and be the script holder. In practice, we went over the normal rules. Actor flips through the book until the audience says stop, and then asks left or right as to what side of the script to start from. Easy right?
Well, Sandy forgot to bring the expected script to the show, so he was forced to dig up another one that didn't lend itself too well to flipping. In fact, he found only one place it could start. So, we changed the rules. He would not show me the script. I just had to announce I was reading the script for the very first time and he would pass it to me. So, we began.
I explained the rules as expected to the audience, and then asked for a literary genre to use for inspiration. They called out Western. OK. Sandy passed me the script. I open to the bookmarked page and found....A POEM?????
Yes, a one page poem. Alright...I assume Sandy's decided to screw with me a bit...see what I can do. So, I use the poem to the best of my abilities....playing up on the rhyming couplettes and Dmitro, though slighly thrown by what I was delivering, handled things fairly well. We finish, and the crowd loves it. I'm grinning on my way to my seat. As I sit, Sandy taps me on the shoulder and whispers, "That was good, but um....turn the page."
On the other side was the dialogue he had expected me to use. The poem was just the introduction to the reader.
OK...you had to be there. I laughed most of the way home.

OK...I'm tired and there is a thunderstorm cranking up outside, so I'm shutting down for the night. See you again soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Three again

After an uncomfortable wait in the hospital, Melanie finally had surgery on Wednesday evening, and her Gall Bladder was removed. Knowing that the wait was finally over lifted an extremely heavy weight from my heart and I was very excited when she informed me that she was being released the next morning. I still had to go to work though, so Stefan picked her up and she began her slow convalescence at home.
Even though Gall Bladder surgery is fairly simple (three tiny incision marks are the only evidence it occurred), it will be a few more days before Melanie is back at full strength. Even though her recovery has been pretty good, and she's certainly not a whiner about it (I'd have to tie her to a chair to make her stop doing housework), she still finds it somewhat difficult to pick Nathaniel up to move around with him. Therefore, she'll need some extra support at home until all is ok. Enter Super Opa. Stefan has been amazing during the last week, taking care of Nathaniel and doing odd chores around the house, and we are forever grateful to him and Doris for their support.
HOPEFULLY, with all of this turmoil slowly heading behind us, it will be time to regroup my writing skills, put my thoughts back together in a linear fashion, and start being creative again.

Until then, my big stress relief has been Ebay. Two items sold and shipped. A third item is being bid on now, and will close around this time tomorrow night. Somewhat exciting!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Alone with the baby

I'm a lonely father right now. Melanie suffered another serious Gallstone attack on Sunday afternoon, and I had to rush her to the hospital. She's now been in for two nights now, and I still have no word as to whether or not they will be removing her Gall Bladder. When I visited her today on my way home from work, she indicated to me that she was going to be scoped this evening, but has since not yet called me with the final word...it's stressing me out.

Thank god for my inlaws...Doris and Stefan have been watching Nathaniel whenever I need them...whether it was for the trip to the hospital, or for when I have to go to work. I would love to take time off again, but I just can't do that right now. Thankfully, my boss has been very supportive of my time lately...I was late coming in today due to the fact I was at the hospital until almost 1:30am and Stefan couldn't arrive until 9am this morning, and tomorrow he can't be here until around 11am. It helps a lot to not feel pressure on that side...I certainly don't need anymore stress. However, taking full days off right now will just cause further problems in the workplace. I don't feel that my job is threatened, but there's only so much time you can take off in a calendar year without being bitch-slapped.

The sensation of feeling totally helpless is absolutely horrifying. When Melanie began to suffer the pains, I did all I could to ease her through it, but there is very little I can do. My one attempt to make her a homeopathic remedy that I researched had quite the opposite effect (and a very unpleasant one too for all of us too) than I anticipated, and I was pulled between mopping up the mess (thank god I have a strong stomach), comforting her and ensuring that Nathaniel was ok. I find I don't multi-task well these days, and my stress level raises accordingly whenever put in those situations.

So, I am home alone with Nathaniel, and missing my wife a lot. Nathaniel waswide awake for the entire evening, and I got him to sleep around 11. I figure he'll have me up at least once during the night...so I'd better catch some sleep now to get my strength up. I'll post more soon.

Friday, June 24, 2005

E-Bay Listed

I sold my very first item on E-Bay today.

The book that I am reading on selling tactics mentions the simple rule. First sell the stuff in your house that you never believed would ever sell. Perhaps it's crap you bought at a garage sale in a hungover stupor or something ill-fitting that your Aunt Behemoth gave you for your birthday. No matter what, take a crack at it...you never know.

I happened to have a bunch of old VHS tapes of some comedy and horror classics sitting around. They were very, very old tapes...bought during a liquidation sale at some video rental shop about ten years ago. However, the quality was still satisfactory, so I figured they didn't deserve the trashheap quite yet. So, I took one of them, and put it up for auction starting at $1.00. 7 day auction. 6 days and 21 hours later, I had one bid...at $1.00. I figured, what the hell...at least I'd get practice in my shipping, even if there was no reward to be found (my Ebay charges were around a dollar so at the time I was just breaking even).

Then, I had a fussy baby to contend with...laid down on the couch with him and promptly fell asleep for three hours. When I got back up, I realized the auction would now be over, so time to see the damage....

WHAT THE??? $11.07!!!! A small, 7 person bidding war had occured within minutes of the auction closing, and they drove the price to what I consider to be a satisfactory first sale. Now, I'm getting more items ready...going through boxes and taking snaps.

They said in the book that it's easy to get hooked...and I see why. I think I'm going to enjoy this!

May even do some garage sale hunting tomorrow......

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Some Acting News for Once

I'm still taking a mini-vacation from theatre for awhile so as to focus on Nathaniel and supporting Melanie, but I do have something cool to report on today. I was cast in a video for Joel Kroeker's "The Wind" a couple months back, and after a fruitless search to watch it on Much More Music, I finally came across the video online at the production house that made it. Directed by Warren Sonoda, "The Wind" is a fantastic video with some great visual effects. And I look pretty cool if I say so myself (and I get some great screentime). Check me out as the angry boss!



http://www.235films.com/warren.html

It's in Quicktime format. And if you really want to get tricky, after playing it in the small window they offer, head over to your Temporary Internet Files and copy out the MOV file you see there...it plays nice in Fullscreen.

And be sure to check out Joel's CD. I bought it soon after shooting the video and love it to death. You can find it here.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nathaniel's Website

I'm not sure if anybody noticed the new link on the right hand side of the page, but I have created a small website for Nathaniel. It'll be updated weekly with new pics and other items that seem to fit.

You can find it here.

Please sign his guestbook!

Exotic Taste?

Sisig
Sisig: Diced meats seasoned with spices and served
on a sizzling hot platter


Which Filipino Food Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found on Rics Thoughts

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The big day

Waiting for your baby to be born can be the most anxiety filled time in your life. As an expectant father I found myself dealing with new stresses, and I was fighting a constant battle to stay calm for Melanie, who of course had the baby inside of her and was dealing with her own stresses; both physical and mental. It was a lot of work, and after the due date came and went I was taking things day to day.
Finally, on Tuesday, May 31, we arrived at the Southlake Regional Health Centre at 7:30am so that Melanie could be induced. It is very unsafe for a baby to be left in the womb for too much longer than the expected date...the placenta can dry up causing a stillbirth. I do not have to mention how scary and unacceptable this idea can be...we loved the idea of our baby from the moment we found out that Melanie was pregnant and were so excited about raising (her?) (him?). We still had no idea at the time what sex the baby was.
Inducement was difficult for Melanie. It involves breaking her water, and as a man I could only imagine the discomfort this would cause. It took three tries on Dr. Newton's part to get this done and then Melanie could finally relax. Then they hooked her up to an IV and started slowly pumping fluids into her which would cause contractions. Less than an hour later, they started - at only a couple minutes apart. It was time for the epidural.
There are people out there who don't believe in having epidurals done. The stigma around it is that it's dangerous for the baby and the mother...though our own research told us this was not true. Sure, there is a small percentage of people who are paralized by it, since it involves a needle being implanted next to your spinal column. If you convulse at the wrong moment it could have dire consequences. The statistics for this were so small though that we were not concerned. Melanie's pain threshold is not very high, so taking the edge off of the contractions was paramount in my mind. Besides, we could actually hear a couple women giving birth without it, and the screams coming from them were like those of someone slowly being fed into a trashing machine. Not pleasant at all. We were not allowed to actually watch the procedure (perhaps it's magic and watching it destroys the illusion). I did get a small chance to see Melanie's back when they were finished and I think I truly understand why. I won't share it since I know she reads my blog and doesn't want to know.
Even with the contractions starting late in the morning, we were in for a bit of a wait. Our child just was in no hurry at all to enter this world. Fortunately, Melanie's mother Doris joined us for the day, so I was able to go outside to clear my head whenever I needed to and she stayed with Melanie to keep her company. My mother joined us much later in the day to help out too. Good thing too...It wasn't until 11:00pm when contractions got the point and it was time to begin pushing..and I didn't have to pass out from exhaustion and hunger.
And still we waited. And waited. Soon enough, our child no longer could be considered a May baby and officially became a June baby. Dr. Newton joined us around 12:15am and the real work started. Also, I believe the epidural wore off around that time as Melanie began to experience a tremendous amount of pain and pressure and struggled to keep focus on getting the baby out. But with help from us and the nurses the little head began to be apparent. First thing said was "It's got a lot of hair!", to which Melanie replied, "It had better, I didn't suffer all that heartburn for nothing!!!" (It has said that the hairgrowth of a child in the womb causes heartburn in the mother).
I looked forward to cutting the cord and holding my baby right away. But there was a complication. When the head finally appeared, I was horrified to see the cord wrapped around the throat. Dr. Newton acted fast, cut the cord and pulled the little tyke out (with a gasp of protest from the mother). It was then that I could see that the baby was white as a sheet, and it had a penis. A boy?? A boy. A BOY!!! HE was A BOY!!!!
But he wasn't out of the woods yet. The nurses yanked him away and began to use suction to clear his lungs and stomach of any foreign articles that may have entered his lungs during the trauma of the cord wrapping. Doris and my mother joined the nurses at the table. I stayed with Melanie while Dr. Newton got Melanie fixed up (I'll leave out the details...let's just say it hurt her a bit). I was so intense on keeping her calm during this that it didn't enter my mind right away that we hadn't heard our baby cry yet. Melanie actually yelled this fact out and asked if he was ok. Thankfully, the answer was a positive...though they'd want to keep their eyes on him a bit...he had ingested Meconium (baby poop)...and they needed to sure it didn't cause any problems. We were allowed to bring him to our room, and our time as a family began. Nathaniel David Stefan Norton, our son, had arrived. A bit late perhaps...but that makes me think he's going to take after me and go by "Artist Time".

It feels good to be able to blog about this. I'll have many more stories to tell. We're over week in, and my mind is racing still.