a little something extra

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Church of What's Happenin' Now, part 3 of whatever

I like the short prayer with which the Church of What's Happenin' Now closes each Sunday morning service. I've been meaning to post it for a while now, and since I have it at hand, here it is:

As the earth keeps turning, hurtling through space,
and night falls and day breaks from land to land,
let us remember people, waking, sleeping, being born and dying --
one world, one humanity. Let us go from here in peace.


Tomorrow I'm going to one day of this conference, partly organized by this guy who has been my friend for a long time now and is a leading light in my artistic life. While the subject matter of the conference is admittedly heavy, it answers my perpetual need to figure out how what I do makes a difference in the world.

Next month I'm going to two and a half days of this conference, where I expect to know approximately one other person. Nothing like being the new kid in the region! The difference-making is clearer, though -- another opportunity to warp young minds.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

my "home phone" is in the car

There's a moment in the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis" when the elder sister of the character played by teenaged Judy Garland interrupts the whole family's turn-of-the-century dinner when she receives a Long Distance Phone Call from the man she hopes is about to propose to her. She leaps up from the table and dashes into the dark paneled hallway in a flurry of ruffles to receive that call, and everyone is mightily impressed that she's getting a Long Distance Phone Call. This must be Serious.

Fast-forward roughly 104 years, and you get me, yakking on my cell phone via its little hook-over-the-ear speaker and microphone doohickey* while sitting in traffic on northbound 405. My cell is my "home phone" but I use it in the car a lot more than I do at home, and nearly 100% of my calls on it are Long Distance. But few of them are Serious.

Because the highway tends to be so clogged at "rush hours" (truly, really, the opposite of rushing) my commutes are my best phone chatting times. Yesterday morning I talked to my mom during the morning commute. This morning, I caught up with my Atlanta-based friend S* while I drove to work. This afternoon, my sister C* called me during her commute home from work. She's done that a couple of times recently and I always enjoy it. Her commute time hits in midafternoon here, when my energy is starting to flag. Hearing from C* with nephew C* occasionally putting in his two cents' worth from his carseat in the back, gives a lift to my day. Sometimes in the evening, as I creep back down the 405, I'll call a friend in the Central time zone (thus erring on the side of caution re late-night phone calls).

Footnote to the * above: someone I worked with recently used the memorable term "hoochamagooch" to mean "doohickey, thingamabob, widget whose name I don't know." I chortled quietly to myself and stifled the urge to ask whether "hoochamagooch" is a technical term. But I may have to incorporate it into my already overstuffed vocabulary.

Monday, January 23, 2006

copper bracelet

I'm wearing my mother's copper bracelet today. It's a bangle about an inch wide, covered with decorations that look like the carvings on a totem pole. She's had the bracelet for as long as I can remember.

I'm wearing it to see whether it helps with a recurring pain that has developed in my left hand. I noticed it this past fall, and during the last recurrence in early December it was painful enough that I whined about it a little bit. I thought it might be the first twinges of arthritis, so the whining had as much to do with my inner protest that I was too young to have arthritis as it did with the actual pain. In response to my whining, my mom told me she had been told that copper mysteriously helps such pain, and she offered to bring me her copper bracelet when I saw her at Christmas.

This morning at the gym I noticed that my hand was getting sore. The pain tends to start in the outside of my left palm and if it gets bad, it spreads up into my pinky and ring fingers. I put the bracelet on, and darnitall, the pain hasn't gotten any worse. Perhaps I'll wear it to bed tonight as well.

In other news, tonight the Pacific Chorale starts up rehearsals again after the long winter break. Let's see how rusty I am after three months of only singing at church.

Friday, January 20, 2006

riiiiight... what's a meme?

A meme (rhymes with theme) is a unit of information passed from one mind to another. The word is derived from the Greek mimesis, meaning "something imitated." Memes pass from generation to generation by informal means and occasionally show mutations, just like genes. The Internet is great for memes. Today's blog entry, the Friday Feast, is a meme I pulled off Tripp's blog.

friday feast

Appetizer: About how many times per day do you check your email?
My work email is open all day long. I'd estimate I check my "home" email at least seven times during a working day; less often on the weekend, but still usually at least daily.

Soup: If you had the money to collect something really valuable, what would it be?
I don't like collecting things. If I had the money to collect something really valuable, I'd use it for another purpose.

Salad: Write a sentence using the letters of your favorite beverage. (Example: The egret admires.)
Rolling effortlessly down Zanzibar's infinite nacreous foothills, Alice never dropped Eleanor's ladle.

Main Course: If you could be on a game show, which one would you want it to be?
I could make mucho bucks on Jeopardy.

Dessert: Name 3 computer programs or web sites you would hate to be without.
Cafe Utne
Free Will Astrology
I am not loyal to software.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I am not a Margaret Cho fan

I've never seen one of her TV performances, let alone a live gig. I don't like standup comedy at all at all at all. But through their own devotion, some perspicacious friends (Freddie et al.) made me aware of Margaret Cho, and wouldn't you know it -- she has a blog. A damned well written and highly active blog.

Apparently, Ms. Margaret is now or was recently traveling in India. This post is one of the best things I've read in quite a long while.

Reads for a Living

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

uncooperative linkage

The L.A. Times review link below steadfastly refuses to work. Here's another try.

Or, you can go old school, and copy and paste the URL below into your browser's address window:,0,1505866.story?coll=cl-stage-features

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Fourth Estate

My most recent show is open, and there's press. I'm posting links below, along with my favorite line from each article. Enjoy!

An L.A. Times feature on the playwright (published before the show opened)
My favorite line: "In [the playwright's] upstate New York country house, he has a collection of wigs that he offers to let his guests wear. 'Give me the straightest guy,' he boasts, 'and he'll be in a beehive by midnight.'"

An Orange County Register feature drawn from an interview with the director
Favorite line: "[The script is] carefully constructed to give the appearance of recklessness. It's brilliantly constructed to have a feeling of abandon."

And the L.A. Times review, the first review of work at my theatre by the Times' new heavyweight critic.
Favorite line: "What's most satisfying to report is the way Whitty takes a premise that could easily have amounted to a revue sketch — a series of gags of diminishing returns — and transforms it with his giddy wit and fertile inventiveness into a genuine play. "

The OC Register review isn't available online yet, but if they post it I'll link to it later. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Five Fabulous Things About Lee

It's brother-in-law Lee's birthday today. On with the list, which everyone reading should feel free to augment in the comments.

1. Lee's a terrific conversationalist. He listens really well, has fun with debate but never lets disagreements get personal, and ranges widely in his subject of interest.

2. Lee is smart enough to see all my sister Colleen could offer as a lifetime partner, and was persistent enough to navigate the considerable ups and downs that upped and downed before these two got into the right configuration to make the big commitment to each other.

3. Lee doesn't let anything stop him. Whether he's decided to do a triathlon, get an advanced degree, or raise a wonderful family, Lee leaps over or smashes through any obstacle foolish enough to get in his path. He's got tremendous abilities in many fields, and he has the discipline and strategy to make anything he wants to happen, happen.

4. Lee keeps up great relationships with his family and wide circle of friends. He really pours himself into maintaining connections with the people who are important to him, and as a result he tends to keep his friends for a lifetime and is always gathering more.

5. Last but far from least, Lee is amazingly committed to his son whom he loves like nobody's business. Connor couldn't have asked for a dad who would do more for him, from fierce advocacy for Connor's needs to a great delight in bouncing Connor on the sofa till he laughs and laughs and laughs.

Happy birthday, Lee!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Once upon a time...

I was a grad student in theatre, and through pursuit of a hobby I met a student in engineering. This is an unusual event to begin with; grad students in theatre tend not to know anyone who doesn't do theatre. But I was lucky to meet Cristopher, and he became a dear friend.

Over the years, Cristopher married a wonderful woman (Kristina) and their work took them from Texas to northern California. I visited them in the South Bay when Kristina was about a month away from giving birth to their son. During that visit we talked, we cooked, we ate, and Cristopher and I took a walk through the redwoods. During that walk he told me he was thinking seriously about a call to the ministry.

Cristopher has a lot to offer as a minister. He's compassionate, gentle, and quick to connect with people. He's extremely intelligent, but doesn't throw his intellectual weight around. He has a terrific sense of humor and a genuine love of people.

So today, Cristopher is being ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. His blog is here, if you're tempted to join me in congratulating him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

twas the night before preview

I'm sitting in my office, anticipating that soon I'll heat up the food I brought for dinner, because I'm sticking around for a preview performance of the Current New Play tonight. Previews serve as an opportunity for the artistic team and cast to learn a few things from a few audiences, but still have rehearsal time to tweak and shape the show to take advantage of what the preview audiences have taught. Once the show opens officially, there's no more rehearsal time (union rules prohibit it) and the show will go on as it is.

I'll do the same roundelay tomorrow night and the next night, though their schedules are slightly more complicated by speaking engagements. Friday is the official opening night. So, it's dinner in my office and late hours all this week.

Fortunately for me, I love the play and the people working on it. I've also been working on the Next New Play, whose writer/director is spending a week here working on the script. This kind of project overlap doesn't happen to me often, so I was a bit worried about my ability to keep up with both projects simultaneously. So far, knock wood, so good.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year from the mortgage company

This morning I opened yesterday's mail, including an envelope from my (new) mortgage company. This company just bought my loan from the previous company, who had bought it from the organization through whom I originally borrowed the money. Apparently, I and my property are... a hot property.

Anyway, this morning I opened the envelope to discover that New Mortgage Company had determined that there was too much money lurking in my escrow account. My county taxes were lower than estimated last year, so they sent me the surplus in check form, and reduced my mortgage payments for the coming year.

Now, the surplus is getting turned around and sent back to them as my next monthly payment. But still, it was a nice surprise!