Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see the way to fly.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

212 - Closing Ceremonies

While I've thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics these past two weeks, I'm ready for regular tv programming to be back on.  Some networks, like FOX, are going to continue with re-runs until March Madness is over, but some are bringing back new episodes starting tomorrow night.

Today's positive is that the Closing Ceremonies are tonight, and the USA was awesomely represented at these games!


211 - Independent Means


This weekend, TJ (Theatre Jacksonville celebrated it's 90th birthday.  They had a big birthday bash on Friday night (which unfortunately, I could not attend) and then 2 matinees this weekend of "A Woman of Independent Means", a reading with Emmy winning Susan Clark.

First, what do I mean by "reading"?  This is a good definition that I found online:  Interpretative or dramatic reading may be performed by one or more people. The focus is on vocal expression. Consequently, physical movement is limited and the piece is not memorized. Each reader has the script in hand and often does not portray a character. Rehearsals focus on vocal tone, volume, rhythm, and inflection.

The set was simple.  A tall table with flowers, mid stage right with a music stand downstage more center.  A chair next to an end table, mid stage left, again with a music stand by the chair.  There were more flowers on the end table along with black and white family photos.  On both stands were copies of the script which Susan Clark partially read from; she knew enough of the script to look up quite a bit.  In Act I, she was dressed in a light blue long blouse and matching long skirt.  Her hair was styled with bangs and convered her ears.  Act II found her in a black blouse with sequins and a long black skirt.  Her hair was subtly changed; her banks now parted and swept a little back, and her hair was tucked behind her ears.  It made her look older.

"A Woman of Independent Means" is a book written in 1979 by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey.  The main character, Bess Steed Garner, was based on the author's grandmother who lived in Dallas, TX.  Her story is told through the letters she wrote, from the turn of the century (19th to 20th) until close to her death in the late 1960's.  The writing is full of humor, passion and emotion, and Susan Clark delivered the material superbly.

Even though I've done a few shows, I still consider myself a novice when it comes to the theatrical arts, and I often watch a stage performance partially with a learner's eye.  After having done some monologue work with CB, I was anxious to see this.  Susan Clark's cadance, vocal quaility, delivery and emotion for each letter she read was spot on.  Every movement she made on stage (and there was very little) was done for a specific purpose.  Everything was captured in her face and her voice.  After signing off a letter, you could watch her emotions change to the emotion of the next letter.  If this wasn't the best performance I've seen by an actor, it's most definately one of the best.  I felt, as I listened, that I knew Bess, her friends and her family, yet every letter was written by Bess and read in the first person.  That's how good Susan Clark was ... at least she was for me.

My only disappointment was that the theatre was not full.  It's rare to have the opportunity to see a one women show, and even more rare to see one by an actor who knows her craft so well.  I hope they had a full house at Sunday's show.

A heartfelt Thank You to TJ for bringing Susan Clark to town to present this reading.  It will remain in my memory as a truly remarkable experience.

(PS - I enjoyed the actual text of the reading so much, I ordered the book.)


Saturday, February 27, 2010

210 - The End


I would have thought that when the Real Estate market started to rebound, things would get better at work, but alas, that isn't true.  This week has been hell - meetings where you could almost feel everyone's blood pressure going up with each new statement, continuing to be pressured for "more" when I can't fabricate any more hours in the day or magically bring on new staff to give "them" what they want, realizing that the "West Wing" (as we call them) is really out of touch with reality.  I can only program so much; I cannot make programs bend to every variable you come up with.

The positive - it's Friday and the week is over.  The weekend is here for trying to forget about work, the deadlines, and the brainless.  A weekend to try to find a better attitude to take back on Monday morning.  A weekend to enjoy some theatre and get some projects at home done.


I just LOVE this last one!

209 - Count Them - 15!

Another banner will be raised in Thompson-Bolling Arena.  Thursday night, the UT Lady Vols beat the UK Lady Wildcats to win the SEC Regular Season Championship.  It's the 15th for the program. 

Consider that a year ago, the "Baby Vols" (as Coast Summitt called them because they were all so young) set records on the wrong end of the scale - including the earliest loss in the NCAA Tournament.  What a difference a year makes.  It's the same team, but they're a year older and much wiser.

There's a chance that I may be in Tennessee the weekend of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  If so, I want to be at Thompson-Bolling Arena to see this team play.  The banner won't be up yet, but the 8 national championship banners are there, waiting.

Go Lady Vols!!!

208 - Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Wednesday nights are when Haze and I have our season tickets for the Broadway series downtown, and this Wednesday it was the tour production of The Wizard of Oz.  I wasn't too apprehensive about seeing the show, even though I have yet to see the movie all the way through - I turn it off when the Wicked Witch sends the flying monkeys after Dorothy.

From what I understand, this adaptation (by the Royal Shakespear Co. in 1987) stays fairly true to the MGM movie.  The cast was pretty good.  Dorothy could have had a stronger singing voice, but I may be spoiled by hearing Judy Garland's version of Over the Rainbow.  The 3 guys who played the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion were exceptionally good.  Some of the munchkins seemed a little unsure of themselves or not quite comfortable with their parts, but in doing my research for this blog I found that a dozen of the Munchkins were actually local kids from Jacksonville's Studio 1014.  That's pretty cool!

My favorite character (and he seemed to be the crowd's favorite too) didn't have a single line in the show, but he didn't miss an entrance.  Dusty played the role of Toto.  Everytime he came running on stage and into Dorothy's arms, you could hear a little "awww" from the audience.  Very, very well trained actor he was.

As season ticket holders, we typically are sitting by the same folks at each show, however, the two seats to my left were occupied this night by a father and his 3 year old daughter.  She was all dressed up for a night at the theatre.  When the lights went down and the Oz emblem displayed on the curtain, she crawled into her dad's lap so she could see over the wall of the orchestra pit.  Curtain up, jaw down.  She literally dropped her jaw and just stared at the actors on stage when the show started.  It was adorable.  (They left at intermission because the show was so long.)

It was an enjoyable night of theatre.  I may try to watch the movie again ... just hide the remote when the monkey's start flying!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

207 - Whether the Weather

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.
The days are getting longer and there was a touch of Spring in the air today.  Enough went wrong today or I got news I didn't want to hear... I think it made spending a little time with the pup in the backyard and cleaning off the front and back porch all the nicer.  To top it off, I think the nightly dose of Benadryl is doing its job as I'm not itchy or sneezy (or any other Dwarf).  I know this won't last but a couple of days, but I'm sure going to enjoy it while it's here!
I just love this Rock Star Kitteh!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

206 - Early Evening

Actually managed to get home from bowling shortly after 9pm. 
That's very much a positive for a Monday.
LOLCats are always a positive.
Now time for some sleep ... and I won't worry.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

205 - Twisted Sisters

Had a wonderfully long lunch today with my favorite "sister", Karen.  Caught up on what's been going on since After The Murders closed, and explanded on the many things we have in common.  I love this theatre community and the friendships I've developed because of it.


PS - Pic is from After the Murders but before the costumes had been decided on.  Celia told us if we didn't stop laughing, all the pictures were going to look like the show was a comedy.  It was the feather duster ... really ....

204 - Oliver (The Musical, Not My Cat)

Saturday night found me patiently sitting in the lobby at Orange Park Community Theatre hoping someone wouldn't show up so I could get a seat.  Lately, I've had plans but couldn't follow through, so I didn't reserve a seat.  The director was kind enough to give me his seat, so I was able to see the show and support my friends who were in it.

I'd never been to OPCT.  I found the history of the theatre very interesting.  This is from their website:
"The land on Blake Avenue, between Highway 17 and River Road was owned by a wealthy family who had a large home. They built a two story annex at the back of their home for use as a summer home for the little girls from St. Mary's orphanage in Jacksonville. The annex had classrooms on the lower floor and dormitories and showers on the top floor. It wasn't unusual to find 78 or so little girls enjoying the fresh air and spacious grounds in the summertime down there by the river.

In order to attend mass, however, the girls had to ride a bus downtown to St. Paul's every Sunday. Bishop Barry recognized the need and made way for the construction of a chapel to be built on the grounds in 1930. The chapel was built in the mission style and was designed by Claude Legh.

Eventually, St. Mary's orphanage moved to Arlington and the summer home in Orange Park was no longer needed. From the 1950's to 1971, the chapel was the home of St. Mary's parish. However, with the influx of new parishoners, the congregation outgrew the small chapel. In 1970, land was cleared for a new parish on Kingsley Avenue known as St. Catherine's.

When this happened, the chapel was rented out for a variety of functions. Virginia Mims eventually bought the property on Blake Avenue and in 1986 the house and chapel were scheduled for demolition. Mrs. Mims agreed to donate the building to OPCT with the stipulation that it had to be physically moved to another location. That's when in 1987, a parade of dedicated volunteers followed this building down Kingsley Avenue and further to its resting place where it sits to this day."

From what I understand, OPCT has fallen into a pattern quite often seen in community theatres - same actors in most shows.  The show felt like a stereotypical community theatre production.  I know that it had many, many challenges along the way, but because my blog is to focus on the positive in my day, I will focus on the positive in the show.

My friends EJG, JSG and IG were all in the show, and my "son" from Aussie Song, RT, was also in the show.  RT played The Artful Dodger and did a great job.  EJG played Mr. Brownlow, a police officer, and was in the chorus.  His portrayal of Oliver's grandfather (Mr. Brownlow) was great.  JSG and IG were in the big production numbers.  I had a smile that stretched from ear to ear when EJG and IG were dancing, and also when JSG and IG were 'chatting' at a table.  Dad and daughter; mother and daughter.  That's pretty cool.

The show showcases very memorable tunes that you hear audience members humming as they leave.  "Food, Glorious Food", "Where is Love", "Consider Yourself", "I'd Do Anything", and of course "As Long As He Needs Me."

It was also great to finally see the musical that I named my cat after - Oliver!  He's the little, runt, orphan who found his family too.


Last night's curtain call.  IG and JSG are on the left; RT is center; unfortunately, EJG is hidden behind someone else.

Friday, February 19, 2010

203 - Completion

Today's positive was wrapping up the programming and design of new reports for work.  Will be sending snapshots of them to the 'West Wing' this weekend to see if there are any changes they want, but for the most part, they're done. 

The programming for the next project I need to complete is already rumbling in my head.  Just a matter of finding the quiet time to get my thoughts in order as the calculations are a bit touchy.

But, the weekend is here.  So it's no more work unless a really cool idea hits me.


202 - Finally, Sleep

Thursdays was "one of those days".  Some chronic health issues plagued me, but fortunately (and positively), I was able to fall asleep before midnight.  Crazy assed dreams, but the sleep did help.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

201 - Kids

I spent the kids Christmas gift card to PetSmart for them today.  Just didn't have time to take Diva in to let her do her own shopping, and she doesn't have any sense of how much she's allowed to spend anyway.  Diva was thrilled with her new squeeky today, which is really LOUD.  Oliver likes his catnip toy as well.  Hopefully, he won't throw this one off his tower at the pup.

I'm proud of Oliver too.  He's my 3rd cat that has learned to sit when he gets a treat.  (With one of my former cats, my vet asked if I had cats or dogs when my cat actually sat in the exam room to get a treat from her.)  And he's learned to ring the chimes hanging on the sliding door handle when he wants to go outside.  He's consistent - if I'm not paying attention or am where I can't see him, I hear the chimes ring and he's sitting there by the door waiting.

I love this picture of Oliver curled up under his lamp (for warmth).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

200 - E-Filing

Focusing on the positive .... E-filing taxes makes the process so very easy.  Less than 30 minutes of work, and I can expect my refund (though reduced) in the bank in less than 2 weeks.  Some goes to credit card balance; the rest for vacation in July.  It would be really awesome if, like the 2nd LOLCat pic below, pet expenses were tax deductable.

Blog post #200.  Wow.


Monday, February 15, 2010

199 - The Bye Team

I didn't pre-bowl this week because the pot of winnings was up over $700.  Wanted to have a chance at that.  (They sell tickets each league night.  If your ticket is drawn AND you then bowl a strike, you win the entire pot.)  As much as the late nights bug me, I figured maybe getting a chance at $700 was worth it.  Good fortune was smiling on me tonight, not for the pot, but for bowling.  We have an uneven number of teams so each Monday, one team has no opponent.  Tonight was our night!  I was home shortly after 8:30pm.  Whoo Hoo!  To top it off, I bowled a 152, 103 (no clue what's up with my middle game) and a 149.  Now that's a positive night.


This literally made me bust out laughing...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

198 - A Reading

Today, I had my first psychic reading.  The medium, who has an impressive resume, knew very little about me, and yet she said some things that were absolutely amazing.  I have a cassette of the 1/2 hour reading, but here are some snippets of what I recall.

She knew I'd be travelling sometime soon to a place where Native American beliefs were prevalent.  She actually said Wyoming, which is where I'm going in July.

She asked if my mother was overweight or had ever been overweight.  I said no.  She said that she was being shown complications in the heart area, clots, but was told to tell me to rest assured that it was not her time to cross over.  If you've read my previous blogs, you'll know that my mother had just these issues in December.

She said there was a home where I would live one day and be very comfortable - in the foothills, Blue Ridge Mountains, mentioned Cherokee, NC.  Well, my folk's home is in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, but on the TN side.

There was a lot of other stuff that pertained to things I've been thinking about quite often but have shared with NO ONE.  I look forward to transcribing the cassette so I can meditate on what she said.  I also hope to have another session with her sometime in the future.  It was a very hopeful and reassuring experience.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

197 - Let The Games Begin

Fire in the fireplace.
Stock car racing from Daytona.
Winter Olympics.

Life is good.

Friday, February 12, 2010

196 - Let The Rain Fall

Rain is rain, brother!
It comes from the sky!
A wetness known as water.
Aqua Pura.
Mammals drink from it.
Fish swim around in it.
Little boys wade in it.
Birds flap their wings and sing a song like -
I recommend it!
It's gonna rain - all through the mornin'
It's gonna rain - all through the night!
It's gonna rain - all day tomorrow!
And Lord God Almighty, now won't that be a site!

Ever since I saw 110 In The Shade (NYC, summer of 2007), I have The Rain Song (above) going through my head whenever it rains.  I thought the whole musical was wonderful, and Audra McDonald was simply fabulous.  I still want to learn Raunchy as an audition piece .... maybe for Nunsense.  ??  (That would be a hoot.)

It was in the mid-40's all day today and raining.  It didn't get me down, though.  The sound of the rain is soothing, and curled up under blankets is snuggly.  The only downside is the wet paw prints, especially cat size on the coffee table's black glass.  But that's easy enough to clean up.

Due to freaking allergies, I had to cancel my plans for tonight.  So, I'm going to have a pizza delivered, watch the Olympic's Opening Ceremonies and listen to it rain.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

195 - Long Lunches

Work friendships, honestly, have a tough time if one of the folks leaves the common place of employment.  I count myself very fortunate that I've maintained friendships with two folks whom I used to work with, MDH and DM.  Neither of them worked in I.T., and DM wasn't even at the Corporate office, yet actually through a common love of theatre, friendships were born.  Who would have thought - Real Estate leads to theatre based friendships.  Pretty cool.

DM and I met today for lunch and almost 2 hours later, we were still talking.  I enjoy hearing what's going on in her life, with her family, and there's a commonality between us that I think helps us kind of ground one another.  It's really nice, and it's wonderful to have had that positive time with her today. 

DM - My Myers toasts your Crown.  Thanks for your time today.  Loveya!

This one is just because it made me giggle ....

194 - Finding the Positive

Days like this had to come, this year long project to find the positive in each and every day. Yes, I had a nice dinner with Mother, Dad and DC, but the rest of the day was spent battling the negatives of work.  I'll try to find the positive.

While my take home pay has gone down for the past 3 years due to no raises, taxes increasing and everything else increasing, at least I'm gainfully employed with as much job security as one can have.  I haven't suffered a layoff or lost 50%-75% of my income as some of my friends have.

While I may not be able to take my intended vacation this summer, at least I'm still given the option to work from home and from TN when I need/want to.

While I deal with a "west wing" that does not understand the nature of IT work and how we're already maxed out yet they want more, at least I'm not alone.  My Sr. Developer and my boss share my frustration.

With my attitude being in the toilet, I do still enjoy the type of work I do and the people I work with.

Going to try to focus on these items as I head back into the office today and await news of how the meeting-after-the-meeting went.  That will determine much of how the rest of this year goes.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

193 - Blueberries

I'm pretty much addicted to Ocean Spray's lite cran-mixture juices ... cran-apple, cran-grape, cran-raspberry, white cranberry.  While shopping a few weeks ago, I noticed they had Diet Blueberry juice.  Really?  Decided WTH and gave it a try.  It's pretty good.  The only thing it was missing, however, was the crust.  Yes, everytime I had a glass, I expected to get a bite of pie crust with it.  So, I finally gave into the craving for a blueberry pie and picked up my favorite frozen one, Mrs. Smith.  A tall glass of milk and slice of blueberry pie ...  ummmm.


Monday, February 8, 2010

192 - One Monday Gone

Made headway on the reporting project at work.
Great chat with LW this afternoon.
Bowled 2 games in the 160's tonight - 166, 91, 162.
No clue what the frack happed in game 2.
Time for shut eye before a busy Tuesday.


191 - Super Sunday

Finished season 2 of Damages.
Finished first Sookie Stackhouse book.
Cooked for the work week ahead.
In bed during the 3rd quarter of the game.
Good night's sleep before starting the work week.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

190 - My Roots Are Showing

My blog site address is ManySidesOfMeee, and it's that for a reason - there are many sides of me.  Theatre, music, technology and gadgets, motorcycling and sports to name a few.    Yesterday found Dad and I (and a couple of Dad's friends) heading south to Daytona to watch the ARCA race and the Bud Shootout.  I asked him when we were waiting for the race to start when we first came to a race at Daytona. 1973 Firecracker 400 is what we think was the first race we saw there.  37 years ago ... holy shit!

Following stock car racing and some motorcycle racing has just been a part of my life, all of my life.  When I was young, Dad raced off-road cars.  Mother and I were in the pits to help out.  There was one course he raced, in Tallahassee I think (could be wrong, I was under 9 years old), where my job was to shimmy up the tree and yell down at Mother when Dad was coming into the pits.  I've had the opportunity to attend races in Daytona, Atlanta and Talledaga (18th birthday).  I was there the day Dale Earnhardt was killed; and I was there when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500.

It was great fun to be back at the track, if cold.  There's nothing else like hearing the roar of the engines and feeling the power of their speed as they pass the grandstands.  I had fun working with the digital video camera I got during the Black Friday sales, and talking with the people sitting next to us.

The ARCA race had 6, yes SIX, women drivers, the most famous being Danika Patrick who is the first woman to win an open-wheel race.  The father and daughter sitting next to me had never been to a stock car race - they were open-wheel fans who came to see Danika.  We talked a lot as I 'educated' them on the difference between the two kinds of racing.  Ali Owens, a woman racer from Daytona, looked like she was going to have a very good showing, running 3rd late in the race, but she lost the draft, was shuffled back and then got caught up in a wreck.  Danika drove one hell of a race, IMO.  She was pushed below the double-yellow coming out of Turn 4 and shot through the tri-oval grass (right in front of us).  She hung on and kept that car from flipping or then hitting the wall.  In the late laps, she was able to move up through the field, finishing 6th.

She wanted to see how ARCA went before deciding if she was going to race next Saturday in the Nationwide series.  (ARCA feeds Nationwide, which then feeds the Sprint Cup series, the big racers.)  I haven't seen or heard yet, but really am hoping she does race next Saturday.

We had an hour or so break before the Bud Shootout, the night race.  The Bud Shootout is pretty much like an all-star race.  It's not for points, and features winners from the previous season, previous Shootout winners and previous champions.  Lots of pre-race activities, including the Zac Brown Band, the Budwiser Clydesdales, and pyrotechnics shooting up during driver introductions. 
Unfortunately, I didn't find the Shootout that exciting.  Jr. (my favorite driver) said his car was loose all night, so he couldn't get near the front.  It didn't seem the drivers were able to pass easily, so while there was a lot of 2 by 2 racing, there weren't a lot of lead changes.  Will see how the Duals are on Thursday.  The awesome thing - Mark Martin and Jr. are on the front row for the Daytona 500 next Sunday.  They'll race on Thursday, but they don't have to race for position.

Boogity, boogity, boogity!!!

Some more pics ....

Jimmy Johnson's car.  He has won the last 4 Sprint Cup championships.  This pic was zoomed from our seats at the top of the grandstands down behind the pits where they do the vehicle inspections.

Jr. (in the mostly white uniform) during driver introductions.  Again, my digital video camera with the incredible zoom.

The Budwiser Shootout drivers.
The new lighted flag stand.