Mac Haters

Why do some people have an irrational hatred of Macs? I mean... I understand that there are reasons not to like them, the closed operating systems, the inability to change component parts, etc. etc. blah blah. By why do people just hate the very mention of them? I had the admin of a network today throw up his hands and proclaim that it was my own problem that my "devil machine" couldn't access his wireless network. Nothing he could do about it. Macs "just aren't compatible."

Well... yes... that is true... in 1995. Macs have been seamlessly compatible with PC networks for years now, I have NEVER had any trouble getting on a wireless network that was anything beyond being given the wrong password or the like. It's patently ridiculous. But what it does mean is that I am back in the boat of having to drive 5 miles to get computer access. At least I bought my phone before I left, that helps quite a bit.


Hating You

You who can ruin my day faster than just about anyone? Sports Fans. I was on a midnight train from Connecticut tonight and landing at Grand Central just in time to float in a sea of Yankees fans trying to get home. Then a packed 7 train to an even more packed Times Square station where all the Jersey fans were trying to get to Port Authority and/or Penn Station. Jeez what a bunch of rowdy nasty people and not at all what I wanted to deal with at nearly 1 in the morning. Bleh.

Oh, and what is this Yankees chant-song-thing that they were all doing? My car on the 7 train was basically 400 people whistling in unison and clapping some stupid song. I thought I was going to stab someone.



My Universe

My whole world for the next 8 weeks. (Barring trips home of course, and trips to Wal-Mart.)

A: The theatre itself. Closest to the "A" is the fly loft of the theatre. Slightly up and right of that is the audience.

B: My bedroom. Yep. I sleep at the theatre.

C: The "Tavern." Source of all meals unless you leave the compound.

D: The Scene Shop.

E: The Rehearsal Deck, also the general hangout area after the show ends and the audience goes home.

F: The Fire Pit. The other big hang out area. (Also after everyone goes home.)




iPhone Acheived!

My plan was to hit the AT&T store across the street from my office yesterday. At noon the line was down the block. At :30 when I checked back they were sold out. The closest Apple Store to the office had... I'm estimating... 500 people in line. I checked the Soho store and the line was even longer. Having my bag with my laptop and other work stuff in it I decided to head home phoneless. I briefly considered going down to the 5th ave store in the middle of the night (it's 24 hours) but decided I'd rather sleep. So I headed out about 10 this morning, arriving at the store at 10:45. Since it was pouring rain they had moved the line inside. It wasn't terribly long 1:15 from entering the line I had my new baby in hand! I am now an iPhone user! Finally I can have my whole music collection with me again. Urban caching is much easier, won't need my GPS. The 365 Project is easier with no extra camera to carry. And of course unlimited net access anytime anywhere!

And the best part, with the Christmas gift card from my mom, and the anticipated resell proceeds on my iPod touch... it was zero cost to me!

Speaking to the line handlers at the store they processed 5000+ people yesterday, and had over 2 hour waits even at 3 am, so going down in the middle of the night was probably NOT the right choice after all, it was MUCH easier this morning.


Rain Delays

Remember how I was supposed to be leaving this weekend, and reporting to my summerstock? Well. They had wanted me to report on the 25th, but I have an obligation on the 25th and 26th, (another show, shh!) so I was going to head up early to make up the time. That deal was struck about two weeks ago. At the time when I spoke to them they were ahead of schedule, and the first show I am involved in was supposed to be hitting the shop floor today, about a week ahead of schedule, so going up early wouldn't really impact anything, and would in fact be in keeping with what was happening up there. That was two weeks ago. I hadn't really considered what was happening up there since then, just proceeding with the alterred schedule as planned. I decided to call today to check in and discovered that, as I should have known, it has been raining non-stop up there for two weeks (as it has here.) Since they do better than half of the building outdoors due to limited floor space in the shop... they have lost the lead they had. They are in fact terribly behind at this point. So... since my show isn't hitting the floor until much later than expected... I'm staying in NYC for a few extra days. I'll be in Connecticut (working on the other show, shh!) Thursday and Friday, and then off to summerstock on Saturday. The vagaries of work I suppose... the best laid plans.

083: Photo Phriday: Phine Art

Coraline: A Review

Well, that was... interesting.

Coraline, recently a stop motion animation movie, but originally a book by Neil Gaiman has now also been adapted into a musical by Stephin Merritt of the band Magnetic Fields. The original book, as with most things Gaiman, is a quirky little piece about growing up and discovering who you really are, and monsters. The musical is made even quirkier by the fact that it is, for the most part, orchestrated on an entirely unorthodox collection of objects, ballons, styrofoam coolers, chopsticks, and toy pianos among them. The vast majority of the show is played on toy piano, and when a real piano is utilized it is in unconventional ways like plucking the strings, or brushing them with forms and steel brushes. The ensemble cast plays dozens of characters each, ranging from rats and mice to the human inhabitants of Coraline's world.

The story is epic, a young girl exploring two different worlds and meeting dozens of denizens of both, and the challenge is to move seamlessly between the locations and times. The set consists primarily of various deconstructed pianos scattered about or built into assemblages, and several doors. Doors play a big part in the story metaphorically, though the doors onstage are used only rarely. So the set itself doesn't really do much to add to the locale of the piece, most of that is accomplished by lighting shifts and the very clunky method of description. Nearly every scene is begun by Coraline announcing: "I am outside now." or "It's night now." Not exactly the most ideal way to carry a show.

Coraline herself is played by a much older woman which takes some mental acrobatics, at least for the first few minutes of the show. Some of the rest of the cast shine: Francis Jue for instance, especially when he is playing Miss Forcible the kindly spinster actress who lives next door. He and January LaVoy do a marvelous job as the actresses, and their scenes are some of the warmest and funniest in the show.

The show unfortunately never really reaches a destination. It lacks much in the way of suspense, which you need in a tale about a little girl fighting a demon, and all the songs seem interchangeable and sort of like outlines rather than actual songs. The rhymes comes off as forced and clunky, and vocals never really live up to the drama of the music being plunked out around the stage.

A good night of theatre, and I am happy to have seen it, but just not ready for the stage yet I'm afraid.



Indigo Girls

The first of my busy week activities was last night: The Indigo Girls concert. I've never been to a Summer Stage event before, and I was pleasantly surprised at how it proceeded. It seemed a bit weird to be at a concert in full day light... the opening act started at 6:30 and it wasn't even full dark by the time the girls wrapped the show at about 9. My favorite game to play at the concert: spot the non-female, non-white audience members... I'll tell you, the number of folks in the crowd who fit both of those criteria was low indeed. Another fun thing to watch was the "guitar girl" who would swap out the guitars being played at the end of just about every song. I never really knew that guitars had that much variation.

The girls give a great concert and it is pretty amazing how moving two women onstage alone, with just their guitars can be. At turns they had the audience laughing, and I saw plenty of people crying, especially one young lady near me who had tears streaming down her face most of the show. And of course there was lots of singing along.


One Week

I have one week left in NYC before the true insanity of my summer begins. I have a LOT going on... possibly a bit too much frankly.

Tomorrow I am seeing the Indigo Girls in Central Park at Summer Stage.

Wednesday I will be sorting props and crap at the children's theatre because they do a big purge at the end of each season and last season they threw away too much stuff that was useful. So I volunteered to do the cleaning to make sure that the stuff I want to use will be in place when next season starts.

Thursday KF and I are seeing the Corraline musical downtown.

Friday night I'll be watching the Gotham Girls skate against the Texecutioners, one of the very very few teams in the nation that they have actually lost to.

Somewhere in there I have work to do, both at the office and at home... packing... cleaning... etc. etc.

The madness has begun.




June 12 of 12

Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the 12 of 12 for June, 2009! 12 of 12 is a project initiated by Chad Darnell, 12 photos on the 12th of each month to document my day. See all the participants here.

On the way to my office, one of those things that we walk by everyday and never really pay attention to. I'm sure these symbols mean something to someone, but it isn't me.

Another little gem spotted on my walk in this morning. A lawn jockey lamp, clearly once black, that was painted white, and is now in the garbage on a city street... I'm sure this is a metaphor for something.

In my office. 15 years ago my boss employed 20+ people, most of whom had plants in their offices I'm sure. Now there are 5 of us, mostly in a small corner of the office space, and other companies occupy the former office with their giant windows. Most of the plants have been shoved into a tiny area that used to be a spray booth for when people were using spray paints or spray glues. No one really sees them but me because I go there to use my cell phone. If I had a window in my space I'd move a few of them.

In the lunch area of the office. I find this globe interesting. Its countries are made of various cut marbles, but it isn't balanced. The weight of the African continent always spins the globe downward so that this area of the map points upwards. If you try to correct it it will slowly revolve back to this position.

An interesting window that I pass on the way to get lunch everyday.

Another remnant of the old office that still hangs around, some sort of order chart for what I am sure is an archaic color system.

I pass 4 thrifts stores between my office and the subway. They are always unloading something. I enjoyed the reflection here.

Home again home again. The view from my stairs in my apartment (through a window.)

Friday nights are typically passed at a wine bar in my neighborhood.

Outside the bar. It's been another grey and rainy day here. I swear it is like living in Seattle the past couple weeks.

After the bar it is up the street to a burger joint for a little dinner. An odd little tucked away place that serves great burgers and thanks to its proximity to the hospital (probably) they even have veggie burgers.

Speaking of the hospital, that's it. Pretty imposing on the skyline. It takes up a good 4 or 5 city blocks, and is a huge sprawling compound.

And that's it... the end of the day! See you next month.

076:Photo Phriday: One-Oh-Phive

Subway Sketch


New York Provides

This is a fire hydrant.

Well... actually it is a fiberglass cast of a fire hydrant, and a really well done one at that.

I want a fire hydrant (among other NYC centric items) for my RENT set. Around noon today I decided that I should probably start shopping for it since I would need to order it soon. I started to shopping around, only to discover that the available options were either ridiculously expensive, or unattractive, or too small.

On a lark, I checked Craigslist. Posted yesterday, less than 10 blocks from my location... a movie replica fiberglass fire hydrant: $20.

I swear this thing is perfect. Someone actually made a cast off of a real hydrant, I'd stake my life on it. It is detailed down to chipped paint, and partially unthreaded bolts. No one who was carving this would have made those details.

THIS is what I love about NYC. I checked around Craigslist, there are no other prop hydrants available. There are a few real ones, (Atlanta seems to have a bumper crop of those for some reason) but this was the only prop version I found. This is nowhere else in the world where I could have accomplished this as easily.



Adventures in Client Relations

Here is how my day went:

8am: Client desires as relayed by Art Director: "We need a Christmas tree shape composed of wrapped packages."

No problem.

10am: Client Response as relayed by Art Director: "Can the shapes be less square? More exaggerated boxes?"

No problem.

1pm: Client Response as relayed by Art Director: "Mmmm.... still not getting it to the shape I'm looking for. Can the edges be a bit more pronounced? Perhaps curvy and pointing upwards? Like the roof of a pagoda."

No problem.

3pm: Client Response as relayed by Art Director: "That looks too Oriental."




Yes, 32 gigs! Addition of MMS and video functionality! Voice control! And a feature that excites me to no end, and was totally unexpected, the ability to not only book a Zipcar through an app on the phone, but the phone acts as the keycard! WOW!! June 19th... June 19th... I only have to wait until June 19th...

iDay -1

Apple's WWDC Keynote is tomorrow afternoon at 1. Rumors are flying all over the net about what is to be announced, but all I care about is the one thing that I have said all along that I am holding out for: 32 gigs of memory. I will most likely be going iPhone after tomorrow regardless, but I will be MUCH happier if tomorrow brings me those 32 gigs. If it also includes the capability of having a bluetooth headset for listening to music as well as making calls then I'll be in heavan because it will mean that I wll be 100% capable of creating the wrist computer that I have been longing for.



"Select What is Being Pissed On"

Well, now with so many fine options how can I possibly know which to choose?

I do enjoy that you can choose either "Liberals" or "Bush." Such an odd dichotomy.

069: Photo Phriday


Land Of The Lost News

The ONLY Land of the Lost news that I care about this weekend: Wesley Eure has outed himself.

What... a movie? It opened this weekend? I might have heard something about it...


Huh. Well... when I published my book two years ago Lulu charged extra for the privilege of having your book available on Amazon, and option that I chose to forgo at the time. But it seems like Lulu has changed their policies, and chosen some of their books to sell through an Amazon marketplace... so... for the first time ever... you can now buy my book on Amazon!


Speaking Engagement

Tonight was my public speaking debut at Adult Ed, showcasing my subway sketches, and I feel pretty successful with it. First off, it was a great night, the hosts were awesome and made me feel at home right away, and made the whole process perfectly painless and smooth. I'll admit I was nervous, I don't really ever have a reason to speak in public, and I was feeling a bit of pressure because most of the guests on the line-up seemed funny in some way, and I sometimes feel incapable of being spontaneously funny. I was given 10 to 12 minutes. In my practice runs I usually clocked in around 7, though I'll admit I never really got all the way through it in those practices, and was often guessing about my timing. On stage it seemed like it actually took about 3 minutes... no idea what it actually was. Of course I also missed a couple stories that on the train ride home, or talking to people in the audience afterward I realized should have been included, but it was too late for that at that point. But the audience responded well, and it felt good to talk about it. I don't really ever discuss these sketches except here, or on flickr, or rarely when someone looks at it. Hopefully I picked the right sketches... choosing just a handful for a 10 minute presentation was difficult.

Anyway... thanks to those who attended, it meant a lot, and I appreciate it tremendously, and if you happen to be visiting here for the first time because you saw me there... then welcome!


Subway Sketch

What He Said

He says it far more eloquently than I would, so I'll just let him.