Thursday, March 31, 2005

As Ric commanded me to do.

Accent: Canadian
Bra size: {tisk} cheeky bugger
Chore I hate: Getting up to go to work
Dad's name: David
Essential make-up: Tan-2 base for stagework
Favorite perfume: Muskoka Air
Gold or Silver: White Gold
Hometown: Kleinburg
Interesting fact: I've moved 60+ times
Job title: Sr. Technical Analyst or Actor. Take your pick
Kids: #1 on the way.
Living arrangements: Apartment. Moving to house next month.
Mom's Birthplace: Meaford
Number of apples eaten in last week: none
Overnight hospital stays: none
Phobia: Amnesiphobia - I'm afraid I'll forget what I was afraid of.
Question you ask yourself a lot: Ayruh???
Religious affiliation: Open-minded
Siblings: 1 step-brother, 3 step-sisters
Time I wake up: 6:45am
Unnatural hair color: pink. Accidental hair-colour accident
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Lima Beans
Worst habit: Sarcasm
X-rays: Too many to count
Yummy food I make: Cheese Dreams (Bacon & Cheese on Toast)
Zodiac sign: Pisces

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Nee!




The Knight
You scored 28% Cardinal, 38% Monk, 44% Lady, and 62% Knight!
You are the hero. Brave and bold. You are strong and utterly selfless. You are also a pawn to your superiors and will be lucky if you live very long. If you survive the Holy wars you are thrust into you will be praised for your valor and opportunities both romantic and financial will become available to you.



My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:







You scored higher than 25% on Cardinal
You scored higher than 41% on Monk
You scored higher than 52% on Lady
You scored higher than 81% on Knight
Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid

Found on Ric's Thoughts.

Friday, March 25, 2005

4-variable IQ Test





Your brain: 15% interpersonal, 40% visual, 25% verbal, and 20% mathematical!
Congratulations on being 100% smart! The above score breaks down what kind of thinking you most enjoy doing. It says nothing about how good you are at any one, just how interested you are in each, relatively. A substantial difference in scores between two people means, conclusively, that they are different kinds of thinkers.

Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice, which I think is obvious:



  1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 50%.
  2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 60%.
  3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 50%.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:









You scored higher than 35% on interpersonal
You scored higher than 92% on visual
You scored higher than 67% on verbal
You scored higher than 17% on mathematical
Link: The 4-Variable IQ Test written by chriscoyne on Ok Cupid

4-variable IQ Test





Your brain: 15% interpersonal, 40% visual, 25% verbal, and 20% mathematical!
Congratulations on being 100% smart! The above score breaks down what kind of thinking you most enjoy doing. It says nothing about how good you are at any one, just how interested you are in each, relatively. A substantial difference in scores between two people means, conclusively, that they are different kinds of thinkers.

Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice, which I think is obvious:



  1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 50%.
  2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 60%.
  3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 50%.







My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:











You scored higher than 35% on interpersonal
You scored higher than 92% on visual
You scored higher than 67% on verbal
You scored higher than 17% on mathematical
Link: The 4-Variable IQ Test written by chriscoyne on Ok Cupid

Donations for Zambia

A good friend of mine, JC Paquet is planning on going to Zambia, a South African country, in late May with the Christian organization Partners International to assist with the building of a community centre. The only thing is, he has to pay his own way. To raise funds, he is auctioning off two of his larger works of art, both pieces that I remember staring at in awe whenever I dropped into his old offices in Newmarket. Also, for those wishing to donate, he will be providing a limited series of prints of two of his other works of art - $25.00 minimum.

This guy is full of heart. I've known JC since 1995 when we did A Tribute To Broadway together with The Queensville Players, and I've seen him at his most triumphant and at the edge of doom. He's been to hell and back over the last while for personal reasons I will not discuss here, yet unlike a lot of people who would just curl up and hide from the world he is choosing to do something positive.

In an article in the Era-Banner, JC refers to how he wants to set an example for his daughter and for everyone in their community. What's so wonderful to see about that is in this world that is so compartmentalized, people so often only think about themselves and what the world can do for them. If we had more people like JC then places like Zambia would not be in the shape that they are.

I highly recommend everyone head over to his website and donate to the cause. All proceeds will be considered a charitable donation, and you will receive a receipt from Partners International. Also, read up on the cause and what Partners International does. It's very inspiring. I myself hope that I can beat all of my ailments one day and help out physically. Until then, I'm supporting people like JC to carry on my own mission of hope. Hopefully you will do the same.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

And they all fell down...

Last night I looked into our mousecage to discover that one of "the girls" had passed away sometime during the day. Now, as sad as this was for me, I wasn't surprised in the least. She was very old and had been sick for a few weeks. Only the constant administrations of her twin sister; the only other survivor of the original five that I had adopted from the SPCA 2 1/2 years ago; kept her going as far as I could tell. But time just caught up with the poor old girl and she's moved on. Sadder still was the reaction of her sister. She was hiding in a different area of the cage and was reacting very sluggish. She was grieving.

A couple hours ago, I checked in on her and she wasn't doing very well. Her legs seemed to have gone out from under her, so I brought her a capful of water as she couldn't reach the water drip. When Melanie and I got back from dinner, I immediately went to the cage and found that our last little mouse had decided to join her sisters. I think she died of a broken heart.

As I wrote once before when the second of the brood had died, I know I gave them a good home - and that's what matters in the end.

But contrary to what I also wrote...it is very hard not to shed any tears for them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

What's this about chickens and carnival acts?




The Deviant Geek
You answered 80% of the questions as a geek truly would.
You're a geek and you know it. You've got all sorts of fringe hobbies and socially unacceptable tendencies. Chances are, whenever possible, you hate to be grouped with other people and sometimes go out of your way just to be different.

You're smart too. You're more willing to depend on your own brainpower to solve problems, instead of relying on others to pull you through life. You probably read a lot, and generally enjoy learning new things.

So what's it all mean? You may be considered by some to be uncool, but you probably don't care either. In social situations you may be either slightly passive or slightly loud (geeks always fall into the extremes). In a nutshell, you answered enough questions correctly supporting a geek philosophy to be considered a more potent geek than 60% of the population.








My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:










You scored higher than 75% on geekness
Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on Ok Cupid

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Over the hump - Part One

My extended period of absence from blogging was due to a fairly simple explanation. I was burnt out. Not from blogging or writing in particular...just I think everything that has come and gone over the last while; including the show, the house, my classes and all of my other endeavours just caught up with me. My existence for the last week has been get up, go to work, come home, lay on sofa until bed. I had nothing in me to force myself to drag myself into the office and start writing on the surprisingly long list of projects I have lined up.

Then the most wonderful thing occurred. I had a weekend away from it all. My buddy Ted was invited up to his friends cottage for some snowmobiling, and they made it a point to extend the invitation to me as well. I was forced to turn down the last three invites due to projects on the go, and this time - with the total blessing of Melanie, I was free to do what I needed to with my time. So, last Friday afternoon, after only working a short day followed by a couple hours spent with my lovely spouse, I drove up to Teds place where we met up with Craig. After packing our stuff into Craigs GMC 2500 Diesel Pickup and Teds Kawasaki onto the trailer, we headed off for the cottage, which is about 20 minutes away from Harcourt, Ontario.

Two and a half hours later, after a couple pitstops, and a convoy hookup with fellow cottagers Rusty and Bubba (Rob); we found ourselves at the farthest point that the truck could go - about a ten minute ride in. Rusty and Bubba were able to drive their truck in most of the way, which helped a lot...we were able to throw our gear into the back of their truck to lighten our load. Original plan was that I was going to ride in with Ted...but then we met up with some lovely lasses who were cottaging across from Craig's. They were heading out for the night, and wondered if we wanted to take their snowmobile in for them. This saved them from having to lock up the machine at the crossroads, and I suddenly had my own machine to use on the trip in; a fact which lit up a bright grin on my face.

The ride in was a blast. It had been a few years since I had been able to do any serious riding on a snowmobile and I loved getting back into it again. The feel of the engine, the bumps and weaves and turns...I could have just kept going for hours. But, as it was now nighttime, I didn't own the machine and cans of alcohol were beginning to call my name, I resigned myself to just getting our equipment to the cottage.

We did have a couple setbacks at this point. The road was not completely cleared to the cottage, so we had to move everything the rest of the distance by sled and by hand. Also, Teds machine, which had been working just fine at his house, decided that it required breaks every couple of minutes lest it go on strike for good. This exercise took well over an hour. Not because there was a lot of stuff or anything. It was mainly because the beer fairies were screaming our names and apparently nobody else was willing to wait until we unloaded everything first. I actually did three trips on my own, practically snapped my own foot off in a bad ankle twisting and gave my wife a quick telephone call before rejoining the gang at the meeting point. They'd already had at least 3 or 4 beers each, and I needed to begin catching up.

Now, honestly...neither Ted nor I got anywhere near matching the rest of the guys drink for drink. Hell, no living, sentient creature should. No word of a lie...Ted and I finished a 24 of cans between us around noon the next day. The three others finished off 142 bottles between them (for my fellow Canadians doing your math in factors of 24, there was one bottle broken and one was mysteriously missing) just a little past that.

Around midnight, I cooked a quick dinner so that we didn't all perish...chicken wings and jalapeno poppers on the BBQ (works great on the top rack!). Standing on the deck, staring at the stars and the gorgeous moon,feeling the light chill of the night, I realized that I already felt better than I had in a few months. It was like all my stress was washing away.

Continued later.....


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Could you pass this on to my grade 10 English Teacher?

Mrs. Smilga once decreed (in the middle of class, btw) that I did not belong in an Advanced English course because I did not like to follow the rules.


English Genius


You scored 80% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!


For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.


My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:


You scored higher than 9% on Beginner



You scored higher than 28% on Intermediate



You scored higher than 40% on Advanced



You scored higher than 85% on Expert


Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid


Found on Rics Thoughts

If anyone can figure out what the hell is causing that huge space in the middle of the post let me know...I've tried everything to eliminate it.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Feeling Cartoony

Found this cute site to create your own South Park Characters. You can check it out http://www.planearium2.de. The site is German though you will find English instructions scattered from time to time. Check it out!

Here's how I envisioned myself....

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I knew it was out there

Certain television shows and movies from your childhood resound themselves through your life, and when you totally lose touch with them and even forget what they are called it drives you insane trying to remember what the hell they were. I had a list that has slowly dwindled itself down. I was down to two. Now I'm down to one.

In a random search today, I came across a site listing for a 70's Japanese cartoon that is known in English as Naughty Prehistoric Kum Kum and in Japan as Wanpaku Omukashi Kum Kum. . It was only the 6th effort by the legendary Sunrise Inc. studios.

This is the tale of Kum Kum...a kind of prehistoric "Dennis the Menace" who lived long ago.
He and his family and friends belonged to a tribe a Mountain People who lived and hunted and farmed high in the hills near the Fire Mountain.
It was a comedy series earmarked by infectious chibi-cuteness mixed with the pathos of every-day prehistoric life. The storylines revolved around the adventures of Kum Kum (pronounced coom-coom) and his young friends. Kum Kum has a real knack for getting himself (and the other kids) in trouble and thats what makes the series fun!


I remember watching this at my Grandparents house when I was in Kindergarten and years later found myself wracking my brain trying to remember the title. I knew it was Japanese animation...you never forget how the eyes and mouths are drawn. But nobody I talked to, even cartoon experts had any idea what the hell I was talking about. They thought I was nuts.

Imagine my surprise to find that I'm not the only person out there who was searching for this. I've now discovered many forums where people are pleading for information on this series. And now, I can actually order it...though at a pretty penny of course. In a couple months I'll probably do just that...I want to give my child the opportunity to experience all of the television shows that I watched as a kid, and to gain an appreciation for the subject matters that were discussed at the time. Cartooning and childrens shows have changed so much since I was a kid...the political correctness gurus have gotten their filthy mitts on everything and ruined it all. Very little stuff with any substance is out there.

When I pick them up (after we close on the house - we're living on a tighter budget until then), I'll let you know how they hold up to my memories.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Line Memorization Techniques

[Listening to: Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (05:09)]


Part of my own writing regimen includes looking back and finally filling in all of those gaps where I said, "I'll tell you about that another day". This will be one of those days.

I discussed a couple weeks ago about how people would often ask me how I was able to learn so many lines of dialogue while doing a show. The Man With The Plastic Sandwich and Infidelities! are two shows that I not only played the lead role, but had 80+ pages of dialogue to memorize. It's stressful and a lot of work to get all those words shoved into your nogin, but once they are there and you feel comfortable with them it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I actually realized by the last weekend of ...Sandwich that I could be thinking about other things during the show and still know all my lines...really, I'm not kidding...I was actually thinking about how far we were into each act and how much was left...and still was ready to respond naturally. I've never been in that level of comfort before with my dialogue and perhaps it shows that my techniques are working. I'll explain my process.

First I read my script. About five times. Having a really good feel for the subject of the play is just as important if not more than actually knowing the lines themselves. During show dates you may find that an actor begins to drift off or improvise their lines (accidently or purposely), and in cases like that you may need to improvise right back. So, if you don't know what the lines actually mean then you can be pretty screwed.

Next step is meeting the rest of the actors and having a good line reading session. Some people like to tape these sessions. I personally don't, and I'll explain that in a moment. What you should do in these sessions is listen to each actor and try to get a general idea of how they sound. Don't be nitpicky about how each line is said...that could change at any time. Listen for accents, general voice pitch and volume.

Following this, I go home and record the lines myself into MP3 format (or cassette tape if that's still your thing). I do my lines at a quiet level and the rest of the characters at normal levels. This way, I can play the lines back while driving in my car and recite them along. If I get stumped I just turn the volume up to get my hint then I turn it back down again.

Without the CD, I take to pacing, patterns and repetitiion. I will walk the room saying all of the dialogue I have in order as far as I have memorized to and when I reach a roadblock I look at my script, say the line outloud, repeat it 3 or 4 times without the script then back up 3 lines and see if you can get it to fit into the sequence. If you master that, go back to the beginning and see if you can get even further this time. This sounds like a long, drawn out process, and in fact, yes it can be. But damn rewarding when you realize it works. Also realize that you should memorize monologues and dialogue separately. Get the monologues over with first, they are actually much easier to retain, believe it or not. Not sure why exactly yet, perhaps different area of the brain.

Once you feel you are at 80% with the tape, get another human to lineread with you. The other actors are pretty good choices, but your spouse, a sibling or parent can be a good replacement. I don't recommend asking strangers off the street, especially if the play has mature content...could get you slapped with a sexual harrassment suit.

Now, yay! You know all the dialogue and monologues. Now what? Next you should look at each line as you say it and analyze the timing, emotion and pronounciation of each word. So many shows sound flat because an actor didn't take their time in this step. Horribly important. Don't know what a word, sentence or joke means? Look it up, ask somebody, something. Because you know, if you say it wrong, chances are there's going to be that one person in the audience that knows what it was really supposed to be and they will giggle inappropriately at your mistake. Very embarrasing to find out about afterwards.

Next, play. Have fun. Take risks. If a joke falls flat when you say it one way then switch it up. Place a beat at a different part of the line...maybe it will come out funnier that way. It's amazing how a show can evolve when everybody works on finding those moments that work.

So...that's it. Those are my techniques as of this time. It was an evolution getting here, and I'm sure I'll change some stuff up in the future. Also, what works for me may not work for everybody else. Anybody else have a technique they wish to share? Do tell in a comment.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Time to make time

Well, it's all over. The Man With The Plastic Sandwich closed to a fantastic audience on Saturday night. I personally can't think of a better way to finish a run. All of the cast and crew seem to have walked away from the production with happy feelings and good memories, so it can be put down as a worthwhile endeavour.

And what have I been doing with my time since? Throwing all my weight into my writing and getting stuff done? Nope. I have done as little as possible since...I get home from work, help Melanie with dinner, flop down on a couch and pretty much lose myself there. Yes, it's bad of me, but it does feel nice to seriously relax for the first time in a couple months.

My procrastination will be broken though. It needs to be broken. Starting tonight I will slowly start adding projects onto my plate, say dedicating at least 30 minutes a night for writing. I have a writing "to-do" list that's already 10 subjects long, and that doesn't even include my Quality Of Course material that I really should get started on. If I don't start now I'll regret it down the road.

Ah, the cycle never ends. I'm just not destined to be one of those people who lives a 9-5 lifestyle. I have a need to keep busy and have 50000 projects happening simultaneously. It's frantic, it's sometimes stressful, but it's....me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Living In The Microcosm

Improvisational Theatre is an entity with a split personality. It has rules, but it also tells you to throw any pre-conceived notions right out the window and go with the flow. This can be confusing.

Over the last couple of months, I have learned a lot. So much so in fact that I actually perceive storytelling in a completely different manner than I used to. Before, I expected that everything was to be viewed in the big picture...beginning, middle and end. That's why I have failed for so long in my need to write...I kept looking ahead and didn't see what was right in front of me. Now, when I approach a writing exercise I work towards envisioning the most miniscule components and building from there. It's just a matter of Living In The Microcosm.

I pictured this clearly in my head during my class on Sunday. Herbie was having us practice using an exercise called One Minute Of Silence. During this, two actors would be onstage and each are only allowed to say one line during each minute they are working. The rest of the time would be spent in complete silence, working towards continuing a story that way. This can be very difficult to master.

Each moment on stage where you have to express yourself non-vocally can feel like an eternity, especially to actors such as us who tend to like the sounds of our own voices. When you are on stage for five minutes, and can only say ten lines between you during that whole time, you have to find a story, and fill it with as much meat as possible. Every component you add is a microcosm all it's own...if you only had one story to tell in five minutes of silence it would be dreadfully boring. Difficult to be seen while you are doing it, but if viewed on its own afterwards you can see it all laid out before you.

I also envisioned the individual work between the two actors as a microcosm on its own. As the exercises we were working on were merely for practice it makes sense to do this, but in a real world improv or even dialogue performance, people wouldn't be sitting around letting these two people fight to find a meaningful story in complete silence. You watch for the panic they will inevitably show on their face and you jump in to save them. That would create a new dymanic, a new component, a new microcosm.

Wow

Funny, I had a feeling that it was going to say the 40+ category, but I guess it's referring to how I act, not how I feel. In reality, I am 31...um....exactly...now.





You Are 28 Years Old



28





Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.