Monday, March 27, 2006

Posting from backstage

      It's a post! Yes, I am posting a post. Or blogging a post if you prefer. Or just babbling if we get right down the nitty gritty. I have been chastised by Crystal, who said I should post even though she herself posts only once in a blue moon! Talk about the pot and kettle ... No, really, talk about the pot and kettle. Tell me what's going on with them. Of course, she did blog a post over on the Great Slim Down that discusses her darkest cravings. Shhhh. Don't let her mom know.
      Last night, after play practice, we worked on the stage lights for the theater. We got most of the working and solved a couple of problems we'd been having. It made for a late night. I have been sleepy all day. And it will be a late night tonight, also, as we are doing tech and dress rehearsals for the next three days. Because -- tada! -- we open Thursday.
      What else? My family newsletter? What family newsletter? No, I will get caught up with it next month. I'm just running so far behind. And also I will resume work on Darkness, Oklahoma next month, too. And Crystal and I are talking about updating and expanding one of our one-acts into a full-length play. And the usual work and life and chores and writing and blogging and emailing and printing and submitting and mailing and how I'm looking forward to it all!
      This has been a good play, though. A good cast and a good crew. Pleasant atmosphere. Very little friction. I have to say it's been one of the best ones I've worked on. I was trying to count up the various plays I've been in, written, worked on or directed over the years at school, colleges or community theaters. I think my total stands at about 60 or so. Here's a partial list. See how many you know. Hogwild, There's a Body in the Closet, A Lion In Winter, Man of La Mancha, Long Day's Journey into Night, Aunt Miranda's Will, An Apple for the Teacher, Louder I Can't Hear You, Romeo and Juliet, JB, Macbeth, Oklahoma!, Darkness at the Top of the Stairs, A Man for All Seasons, Becket, Circles, Night Mother, Writers in the Hands of an Angry God, Rumors, Turnabout, The Lady's Not For Burning, Bite My Tongue, Shut My Mouth, A Black Summer Day, Barefoot in the Park, Into the Woods, Mame, Auntie Mame, Mary Mary, Please Don't Eat The Daisies, A Thousand Clowns, Dracula, The Lark, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bats Off, Butterflies Are Free, Suddenly Last Summer, Murder on the Rerun and so on. That list represents a lot of hours and a lot of good times. Even if I never make another cent from my theater endeavors, I can't say I've been short-changed.
      And now I need to get ready to go the theater. Talk to you tomorrow. I hope.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The play's the thing ... the ONLY thing ...

      And that's what I've been doing: Working frantically on the play. We open next Thursday. We rehearse every day until then. There are tons of things on my list that still need to be done. I've crossed off a lot of things on my list today, but I still have plenty to go. I'm writing this before I have to go back to the theater.
      My niece is out of the hospital and maybe doing some better. She's still having problems, but she sounds more like herself and is able to do more for herself. I'm hoping and praying this upward trend continues. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep nagging the Big Guy on her behalf.
      My IBD flare continues, but I have it under control with being careful and taking my meds. After the play is over, I'm sure it will finally settle down.
      One last thing before I go. Nightrider sent me an email Scrabble game. So far, she is beating the stuffings out of me! It's a lot of fun, and I want to thank her for starting the game.
      And now, good night. Have a great day. I hope to be back here tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


if yr inkin
what i be inkin
then cld be
bumpdebump we
all nite long
like crazy song
what say u
bout us 2

if yr inkin
what i be inkin
crazy we get
everything fit
like glue
or good shoe
stars in sky
laughin up high

But if not,
then never mind.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rant (Ver 1.032106)

      It works like this: If you write a book, you own it. If you write a song, you own it. If you write a short story, you own it. What is so hard about that? What is so hard about understanding that you shouldn't steal from other people's works? Are you stupid or what?
      Forgive me if I seem abrupt, but I've had it up to here with hacks stealing other people's work and listening to them justify it. They toss around "fair use" even though they don't have the slightest understanding of what it means. They say that it's okay to use other people's words because "it's for charity." They say that it's okay to photocopy plays, books, articles in large quantities because "we're giving them away free." They say that they have a friend who has a cousin who has a brother who is dating a lawyer and she said it was okay.
      And if you call them on their twisted thinking, they look at you with wounded eyes and quietly say they were just trying to be "creative."
      Let me make it real simple for you. If you steal someone's work, it's theft. Forget about "copyright infringement." Those two words have been tossed around so much that they've practically lost meaning. Let's call it what it is: It's theft. It doesn't matter if you bought the book, the CD, the video, the script, you still have no right to use it to create new works, to adapt it into other forms, to film it, to tape it, to sample it. WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT THIS?
      This will be even simpler. If you steal someone's work, you have no morals. You can babble on about fair use and claim your theft hurts no one and even misquote the copyright laws, but you're nothing more than a common crook. That's all you are.
      If you think you might be in violation of copyright, please go to the site for the United States Copyright Office. They have plenty of explanations of what is and isn't copyright theft.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


      I thought you might like to see the set for my play now that it's mostly painted and constructed. It still needs a stair rail and a few other minor touches, but basically that's it. I'll take more photos when the furniture and decorative items are in place.

This is the left side of the set.

This is the center of the set.

This is the right side of the set.

Here are all three photos merged with the aid of Photoshop Elements.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A few things about today

      My minor IBD flare turned into a major IBD flare. So I spent most of last night and all of today being sick. Not fun. But I still got the poster designed. I hope to get it copied tomorrow so that we can start putting it up next weekend. Depends on how I feel.
      Tomorrow I intend to design the program. We won't print it until the week of the production, but I want it done so that I won't be rushed that last week. There are enough last minute things to do then. I don't want to have to try to do something creative in a rush.
      The play is coming together. They had a good practice last night. I think the play is going to be a high point in the theater season.
      Holly Lisle has released another episode in her podcast series. If you're interested in writing professionally, give it a listen. This installment is titled "The One With Fangs." Click here to hear.
      My niece remains in the hospital. Not much improvment. Please continue to remember her in your prayers.
      Not much else going on here. I hope you have a wonderful tomorrow. Good night.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Ghost Breakers *

      "What oh what did Tech do on his night off from play practice?" I hear you asking yourself. In fact, you're consumed by the question, unable to work, sleep or eat as you wonder. Rest easy, my adoring fans. I'm gonna tell you.
      I watched Ghost Hunters on the SciFi Channel and talked on the phone to Crystal. Yes, that's right. I spent most of my evening watching guys (and a couple of gals) attempt to catch a few wayward spirits in the act. I also did do a bit of laundry and moved some papers around, but that was it.
      Crystal is addicted to Ghost Hunters, so I watched to discover what the attraction was. Some of the stories are bit spooky, but most of them seem explainable. What fascinated me was the gadgets. They have such cool equipment! Infrared cameras, remote sensors, EMF detectors, ultraviolet flashlights, etc. I want that equipment. And I already have some of it.
      So naturally we're all going to have to go ghost hunting. That's right. Ghost hunting. I'm trying to find as many supposedly haunted sites as I can, and then I and some friends are going to go out and lasso some spirits. Of course, you will be invited to participate, in person if you can make it, by photos, audio files and blogging if not. It should be a blast even if the spirits are unwilling. And apparently they frequently are.
      Of course, if you know me at all, then you know that I don't believe in ghosts, goblins, vampires, etc. I'm a rational person and proud of it. So what's the attraction for me? The equipment, of course! I love gadgets. And even though the Ghost Hunters don't use them, I know that I'm going to use a couple of lasers. I don't know for what yet, but by golly, I've got them, and we're going to use them.
      Beware, spirits, we're comin' for ya!

(*The title of an old Bob Hope movie about busting some ghosts.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


      It was a bad practice last night. My fault. They stumbled on lines they had before, forgot blocking, and got side-tracked on little bits of business when they are still struggling with the main action of the play. And I couldn't figure out how to get them back on track. I let myself get distracted with set problems and personal problems, and I couldn't get the energy going. As director, it's up to me to set the tone and the pace of the play. It wasn't a terrible practice, of course -- they're too good a group to have a terrible practice -- but I'm not sure if we accomplished much. And we need to be moving forward every practice. The play opens in just 15 days. Yikes.
      Despite the looming deadline, I gave everyone the night off tonight. I think part of the problem is that we're all tired. A night off to recharge and refresh is better than spinning our wheels in a frustrating practice. And let's be honest, I need the break, too.
      So what am I going to do tonight?
      More play stuff, of course. I need to finish designing the posters and start on the program. I like doing creative things like that so it should be fun. And some laundry and a little housework. Maybe watch some TV if I can find anything that's not boring. Or just sit down with a couple of books I've been wanting to read. The thing is, I might just veg out and do nothing. Wouldn't that be nice?
      I figured out what fueled some of the malaise that has been affecting me recently: I've not been able to do any real writing since the play practice started. There simply isn't enough time in the day. One of the cool things about National Novel Writing Month -- maybe the coolest from my perspective -- was the uninterrupted hours spent writing. I fell into a creative state when the words were flowing. The world recedes. Sounds rather mystical, but that's what happens. I think most people experience this if they intensely concentrate on a project.
      That's when you look up and realize that you haven't eaten supper, it's midnight, and you wonder where the hours went. Time is relative to what you're doing. Compare your time in a doctor's office with watching an exciting football game in which OSU beats OU. (Hey, it's happened before! It could happen again.) One is slow; the other is fast. Relative.
      Holly Lisle has started a podcast. This is a major cool. Holly will be discussing writing on her shows as well as answering listeners' questions. This is just another part of Holly's "pay it forward" philosophy of life. She's an excellent writer and excellent human being. Check out her podcast here.
      Someday I'm going to snap and strangle one of my customers at work. He came in yesterday, and I was treated to another 30 minutes of his bigoted, backward thinking. He is a self-proclaimed Republican, but he's one of those Republicans that make the other Republicans flinch. He hates blacks, gays, Mexicans, Arabs, Native American Indians, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, etc. He thinks the best solution to every foreign problem is "nuke 'em!" He's 82 years mean, and I don't think he will ever die since Heaven won't take him and Hell is scared of him, But if on some blessed day he does croak, he will be so filled with bile and meanness that his liver will continue to function for years after he's dead.
      I used to feel sorry for him. His wife left him years ago, his children moved away and don't speak to him, he lives alone in an old house that is filled with newspapers and cans. He looks frail and lost until you hear him speak. Then you realize his mind is still sharp, but not as sharp as his tongue. If I owned where I worked, I tell him to take his business elsewhere, anywhere but here. But I don't so I smile a lot and think about the pleasant sounds his neckbones would make as I crushed them. Ahhh ... Hmm, could this be my dark side that people keep harping about?
      Could be.
      All praise Dave Ramsey! You will recall that I've been following his principles to get out of debt. One of the most important things he recommends is to have an Emergency Fund. He says you should save that first.
      Yesterday at lunch, while reconciling my checkbook, I discovered that I had written down a paycheck twice. Yikes. This meant that the checks I mailed Monday would bounce, bounce, bounce ... except I have a small Emergency Fund. I went to the bank and transferred the money from the EF to my checking account.
      Before Dave Ramsey, I would have panicked and been unable to cover those checks without borrowing money. So ... all praise Dave Ramsey! Learn more about Dave Ramsey here.
      And I think I'll close on that and get ready for work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Trixie's Meme

      Trixie tagged me with this meme several days ago, but I'm running behind on everything. I'm slow, but I get there eventually.

      Trixie's Meme
      Let's make this a meme, shall we? Answer these questions here, and if you wish, tag five folks and have them answer the same on your blog.
      Fasten your seat belts; here we go!

      1. What is the best thing you've done this week? Probably the work on the play. I had a shaky actor that confided in me about a problem with stage fright. I talked to the actor and gave a few exercises, which seemed to really help.
      2. What's the most meaningful personal issue you've thought about this week? Getting myself back on track with my diet. I will have a loss to post when the Wednesday Weigh In rolls around on The Great Slim Down.
      3. What's the biggest nuisance task you have gotten out of the way this week? I finally sorted through a file of miscellaneous stuff and threw a lot of it away and put the rest into the proper place.
      4. What's the biggest annoyance hanging over your head this week? Not really an annoyance, but I need to finish the mailing of the theater group newsletter, and I'm having to wait for a couple of people to give me their names. If they would, I could get it finished and checked off my list.
      5. What has made you happy this week? I can't think of anything in particular, but the play rehearsals have had a lot of laughs in them.
      6. Have you cried this week? Why? Well, yes, actually. I went to my boss's dad's funeral. I didn't really know the deceased, but I was moved by the sorrow of many of the family.
      7. What are you looking forward to most this week? Getting more items checked off my list. And the weekend where I have some free time to work on the March family newsletter. Yes, I know it should already be mailed. Sue me.
      8. What has just flat made you crazy this week? The stupid way we humans will choose darkness and self-destruction over all the thousands of alternatives out there. I keep hoping that we will finally grow up, but we don't. I know we're a fallen people, but I think we can do better. We don't have to wallow in prejudice, pride and sorrow. I try to not watch the news because my blood boils as I hear about what those idiots in Washington, DC -- both stinking parties -- have done this week.
      9. What bliss have you experienced this week? I'd have to say that it was when I was working on a creative project. There's an emotional state that I get in when the work is going well. The world disappears. Hours literally pass without notice. It's cool.
      10. What have you prayed to change this week? Well, I asked for health, wisdom and happiness for my niece, my family, my extended family, Mikey and his mom, my friends, my church and our nation. I also asked for wisdom and patience for me. When I get tired, I can be short with people. I'm trying to be kinder and more supportive. I want to be able to lift people up, not drag them down, even when I have to correct their acting.

      I'm not going to tag anyone because I think most may have already done it. But if you haven't, meme away and let us know so we can read your answers.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The long dark tea-time of the soul *

      I'm here. I'm still alive. I think about posting a lot. Particularly when I'm at the theater and it's midnight and I realize that if I had only not volunteered to direct, I could be posting. Except I would have posted earlier since I try to go to sleep before midnight. Sleep ... Once I knew what that was.
      The play is going well. The actors are coming along. I have a couple of problem areas to work on, but overall, it's shaping up nicely. The set should be finished this weekend, although it won't get its furnishings until the week of the performance. We're borrowing the furniture so we try to limit its time at the theater. I'll take a picture of the empty set after we paint the floor Saturday so you can see how it turned out. A friend of mine, an interior decorator, is decorating the set, and she's doing a great job.
      Work and the play. That's pretty much my life until the end of the month. Why I ever direct is a mystery to me. It's a lot of work if you try to do it well, and I'm incapable of not trying to do my best. I hate to see plays where the set has been slopped up there and the actors stumble over their lines. I'm determined that my actors have the best available and as much time as they need to master their characters. I want the play to be something they're proud of having been in when April 3rd rolls around. (The play's performances are March 30 - April 2.)
      Everything is getting done on schedule. I have a list of what has to be done, and I check items off daily. Too few items, but at least things are getting done. Some things won't be done simply because we'll run out of time, but the major and most of the minor items will be completed. I think most projects are like that. Eventually a deadline rolls around, and you go with what you have.
      They sent my niece home from the hospital. Basically they pumped her full of steroids and pain meds, said they didn't know what was wrong other than something was, recommended she get some more tests, and that was that, another fine example of the medical care for the uninsured in this nation.
      I choose the title to the post due to the malaise that has affected me over the past few days. It's been busy and exhausting, what with work, the play, a funeral, an IBD flare, general aches and pains, etc. I need a vacation. A few days away on a beach. A new life. All the usual things I long for, but don't make happen. Ah, there's the rub.
      Anyway, it's 6:40 p.m. now, and I have to get to the theater. I'll try to stay in touch more. Night y'all.

(*With apologies to Douglas Adams for borrowing the title of one of books)

Office orchid

Orchid in my office.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


      There are few things more frustrating than knowing someone you care about is suffering and there is nothing or little you can do.
      My niece is in an ambulance on her way to a hospital in Tulsa. She's in the middle of a Crohn's flare. All I can do is pray and tell my sister to tell my niece that I'm praying for her and that I love her. It doesn't seem enough. Oh, I believe in the power of prayer. I don't think I could live in this world if I didn't, but at times like these, I wish I was a doctor. I wish that I could do more, that my help was more tangible. I wish I could ease her pain. I uselessly wish a thousand things. And knowing that there is better care out there available, but we can't afford it, can't get it because we're poor -- is it any wonder that I'm a screaming liberal? Of course the kicker is that none of my self-serving angst helps her at all. It's not about you, jerk, I tell myself. So I pray.
      I'm in that same situation with someone else. Someone that I still care about even though the bridge between us is a smoking ruin. I stand on my shore and watch helplessly as she, like my niece, hurts. Oh, I thought about a phone call, an email, a postcard, a letter, a note, but it might hurt her, might add to her burden, might increase her pain, and she made it clear months ago that she didn't want anything else to do with me, that I only cause her sorrow. So I can only watch and pace and wish I could be there for her, wish that I could do something, anything. I can't, so I pray.
      Maybe it's a lack of faith on my part, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Not even close to enough. Sometimes I really hate the world we live in. We deserve better, but I don't see us getting it. Not here. Not while we live in a world ruled by greed, fear and violence.
      It's a bad night following a bad day. That's how it goes sometimes. Tomorrow will be better. Please pray for my niece and all the other people suffering out there. It may be the only hope, the only chance we all have.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


       I had forgotten how physically demanding directing a play is. Last night we blocked Act 1. I was on and off the stage, up and down the stairs, across the stage a couple of hundred times. I was exhausted when the rehearsal was finished. But we got it done, and it looks good. And I got a workout without going to the gym!
      Tonight we will go over the first act again, just to the cement the blocking. That will be our agenda for Wednesday night, also. Thursday we will block the second act. The second act is about 20 pages shorter than the first so it should go faster. I hope.
      The cast is doing well. I think they're all going to give strong performances. The play itself is good, although the ending isn't quite as dramatic as it could be, but if we play it right, it will still be satisfying.
      I had also forgotten how much fun directing can be. Oh, it's tiring and can be emotionally frustrating, but it can also be a lot of fun. So far, I'm having a good time. Catch me later in the month when the new wears off, and the cast goes through the inevitable emotional turmoil. Naturally, I hope that doesn't happen, but I've never seen a play that didn't have some backstage blow-up. When I was younger, it used to really upset me. Now I just shrug and move on. That's community theater.
      Or really, theater anywhere. I remember reading an article about a huge blowup on a Broadway play, one that actually came to blows between two of the female cast members. Later, they became best friends, one of them serving as bridesmaid for the other. People are funny.
      I think it helps if people realize that it's just theater. Don't get me wrong. Theater is wonderful. It's exciting. It's fun. It enriches both the audience and the actors. It's well worth the effort. However, it's not feeding the poor or healing the sick or doing a thousand other worthwhile things. You have to maintain your perspective.
      I think that applies to a lot of things. You have to keep your perspective, try to see the broad picture even if that picture doesn't include the success you wanted. Back in college, I was helping a friend of mine through a messy breakup.
      "I'm going to die," he told me. "I miss her so much. The world isn't worth living in!" Two months later, he was dating someone else. When he broke up with her and started the "I can't live without her; life has no meaning" routine, I reminded him that he had lived through the first breakup and would doubtlessly live through this one. He looked at me, frowned and said, "You're taking all the fun out of this."
       Maybe so.

Monday, March 06, 2006


       The radio is playing Catie Curtis.

"And I recall in my sleep
how you changed my life
on Magnolia Street
and I dream but it's true
I'm not the same since I met you
And I feel like I'm going home
but not to the one I've known ..."

      I was talking to a friend of mine Friday. She's still searching for that one, the man who will know and love her. "He's out there," she said. "Somewhere. And he's looking for me, too, even if he doesn't know it. I've just got to hold on until I meet him. Then it will be ..." She smiled.
      "I hope so," I said, thinking that she was waiting for her life to begin, but that was her choice and hadn't we had this conversation a thousand times before. I wasn't the one for her. I was just her friend. That's what she wanted from me.
      I was talking to a friend of mine in Tulsa last week. He needs to get married, he says. He's so lonely. Somewhere there's a woman for him, he says. He's just got to keep searching.
      "Good luck," I said, thinking of the many times he had told me of his fruitless search and how he could fill his life with so many things. But I didn't say anything. I'm his friend. I support him even if his quest never ends.
      Another person would have matched them up. Would have thought that fate was bringing them together, but I know better. Oh, I introduced them at one of my plays a few years back. I thought maybe some sparks would fly. I even questioned them about the meeting later. "Too old," she said. "Too plump," he said. "Too out of shape," she said. "Too much make-up," he said. "Too intellectual," she said. "Too young," he said.
      And so they go on, ships that pass deliberately in the night.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

San Diego

This was sent to me by girl named Tammy. Sadly enough, I don't remember who she is.

Postcard from Hawaii

This was sent to me by Mary. I used to work with her.

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

This was sent to me by Joan and Jerry. The Biltmore has over 250 rooms in it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Weight Loss Prayer

      My aunt sent me this prayer from The All-New Free To Be Thin by Neva Coyle & Marie Chapian. I thought it was worth sharing.

The Weight Loss Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me discipline.
Thank you, Lord, that I am now free to be in charge of what I put in my body.
I choose to receive from You the strength I need to be faithful to my commitment to You.
Your strength fills me.
You show me that I can be responsible for what I choose to eat.
I thank you, Lord, that I am victorious in You.
I will accept the discipline of my Daily Prayer Time.
I will read the Word in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
I will keep my daily food diary and be aware of the contents of the food I eat.
I will not be a slave to food any longer.
I am victorious because You are victorious!
In Jesus' name.

      The authors recommend saying this prayer twice when you are tempted by foods you shouldn't eat. I cross-posted this at The Great Slim Down. You can purchase The All-New Free To Be Thin from by clicking here. My aunt recommends the book, but I haven't read it yet. Let me know what you think of it if you do.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My plate overfloweth ...

      I realize blogging has been hit or miss here lately. Sorry. My plate seems to be fuller than I can comfortably swallow these days. I'm working on that.
      The play is cast. I think I have a good group. We should know for sure when we start rehearsal Thursday night, but I'm not worried about it.
      Instead I'm worried about building and painting the set, updating the web page with the cast info and pictures, and producing the posters, the programs, the theater group newsletter and the publicity articles for the local newspaper. Yikes.
      Well, that's why they play me the big bucks … except ... I’M NOT GETTING PAID! This is, once again, another reason why I think I'm not very bright.
      Naturally since I have no time to devote to them, my mind buzzes with ideas for Darkness, Oklahoma and Figments. They're shameless, flirty tarts, that's all there is to it. But I know if I suddenly started working on them, they would dance happily away. My muse is apparently a come-hither-go-away. The story of my life.
      So ... what else? I'm behind on housework, but I'm going to make a good try on it this evening after I finish this. I need to read the play again and continue working on my director's copy. I need to update the group weights on The Great Slim Down. (Congrats to Michelle who is losing so much more weight than me that I'm not sure if I like her anymore! [Would it be cheating to mail her some chocolates? Just kidding ... sort of ...]) I need to do some minor work on the theater web page. So ... I have a lot to do.
      Except ... I seem to lack the motivation to get to work. I don’t seem to lack dots, however. See, here are some more ... Three dots in a row are properly called an ellipsis. Except I'm not using them properly. So we'll just call them Fred. Here's another Fred ... What's a Fred or two between friends, right? Right ... The plural of ellipsis, by the way, is ellipses. Just so you know. The plural of Fred is Freds. I seem to like italics today, too.
      Okay, I must get to work now. I'll talk to you later. You talk to me, too. I'm feeling lonely. And overwhelmed. And sad. So send money. Or come by my house with gifts. Gifts are nice ...