Wednesday, June 13, 2018

B J Machalicek

I took this pic of B J in 2006.  She played Kate for me in Sam Bass's All My Sons.  To be honest, I had expected to cast a younger woman in the role, but she nailed the audition, and I had to adjust the rest of my casting around her.  She had played the same role 20 years before, but was happy to revisit it.

Everything she ever did on stage was brilliant.  If you heard B J Machalicek was in a show, you bought tickets on the spot.  Didn't matter the show--you know there would be at least one performance in it that would be worth the price of admission, and then some.

Behind the scenes, she was just as awesome.  Professional, hard-working, couldn't ask for a better cast-mate.

Whatever a director asked her to do, she would do her damnedest to get right.

She directed the second show I ever did at Sam was a melodrama and I was costuming.  If she had any reservations about being stuck with a novice costumer who knew nothing about melodrama, she never let on.

She taught theatre at several schools in the Central Texas area...she was at C D Fulkes when I first met her, and she also taught at Round Rock High School, Westwood High School and out in Florence.  When she retired from teaching, she sold caps and gowns and high school rings all over the district.  She just liked being around the kids.  She taught at the Georgetown Palace summer camps for years.

She did community theatre.  All the time.  She loved classic roles like Kate in All My Sons, or Linda in Death of a Salesman, but she also loved to kick up her heels in comedies like Hallelujah Girls or Christmas Belles.  A couple of times, I played characters who got dressed down by her, most memorably in Ladies at the Alamo.  Paid her back, though...I got in her face in The Oldest Profession, which was also a joy.

Actually, being onstage with her at any time, in any play was always a memorable experience.  She gave so much, and was so much fun to play with.

I want to be her when I grow up.

Goodbye, B J.  You are in my heart forever.

Friday, May 04, 2018


Aidan told me the other day that I cook "like a peasant from the 1840s or something."

In a way, he's right. I've always been pretty good at anything that all comes out of one pot and benefits from being left on low for hours on end.  I love bread bowls and hand-held meat pies.  Of course, I haven't cooked on a wood stove since my teens, and my fireplace cooking skills don't extend beyond a campfire...and I use much more meat.

I've tried several different recipes for Cornish pasties and Scots oat cakes and such, without ever being satisfied with the results, but any sort of meat and vegetables I can toss in a pot usually turn out at least edible.  (I have been told that I set my sights a bit low, but I know my limitations.  I will always settle for edible.) 

I grew up on my mother's cooking, which varied from awesome (fancy stuff) to awful (vegetables).  So holidays were heaven, but the rest of the year was purgatory, at best.

Speaking of campfires (was I?), the Girls' Auxiliary badge I was the most proud of earning was Campcraft.  For that one, we were divided into pairs, and each pair had to get a fire going on the beach, using driftwood, in a stiff breeze.  We were given half a sheet of newspaper and two matches.  Beyond that, we were on our own.  My team was the only one to succeed, and all the other pairs came over and cooked their Mulligan stew (yum) in our fire.

I love making soups and stews meant to be eaten out of thick crockery bowls.

I loved my grandmother's Victorian china with its deep dinner plates.  Those people were serious about their gravy!

Generally, the kids would know when the Spirit was upon me. (Look out...Mom's getting out the iron pans!)  They would be surreptitiously checking the milk levels and the cereal boxes, hoping for a backup meal, just in case they would hate what I was making.  Experience had predisposed them to do so.

Still, they survived, and became good cooks, all. 

Mostly in self defense.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Hundred Acre Wood...Forever!

Dearly Beloved, I found out something Wonderful the other day. 

I have mentioned the Hundred Acre Wood several times over the years of writing here. 

There's this: 

and this:

There are more.  Just put "Hundred Acre Wood" in the search box.

I loved the Hundred Acre Wood.  There was always something new to discover, from a hidden meadow with flowers I never saw anywhere else, to a neglected orchard with the best plums and pears I had ever had.  There were paths made by animals, unusual wild edible mushrooms, mossy cliffs, a craggy mountain, rich meadows, trees to hide under or climb to hide in, wild berries to pick and eat on the was a paradise for a lonely child.

I have thought about the place many times over the years...thought about sitting on the back porch, looking up at the looming crag of Mt Tzouhalem, or gazing out at Cowichan Bay from the front porch.  Happy adventures exploring, and gruelling walks home from school in the snow.  The time I rode my bike to school, and almost ran right into a cow (an escapee from the school farm), and the many times I fled parental control and wandered the woods for hours, ignoring alike the faint shouts from Mom and the prodding of my conscience.

I suppressed the thought that the place was probably divided up into lots and sold, stripped and built up.  I perused Google maps, found out the St Ann's School is now a therapeutic organic garden known as Providence Farm.

Thanks to a Facebook group I recently joined, where members reminisce about the area and nearby towns, I found out that the Hundred Acre Wood is now known as Chase Woods, and is part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Chases, who hired my parents to be caretakers of the place in 1957, held onto it until David Chase reached the ripe age of 98, and donated it to the NCC.  I am sentimentally thrilled by this.

Thank you, David Chase, for doing it right.  If I could ever go back there, I could see the woods much as they always were, but enhanced by walking trails.

Dearly Beloved, I am a happy camper.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Keith Urban's Adventure in Feminism

When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl 
How does that hit you 
Is that such a bad thing 
When you hear a song that they play sayin’ you run the world
 Do you believe it 
Will you live to see it?
Sister, shoulder, daughter, lover 
Healer, broken halo, Mother 
Nature, fire, suit of armor, sole survivor, holy water 
Secret keeper, fortune teller 
Virgin Mary, Scarlet letter 
Technicolor, river wild 
Baby, girl, woman, child 
When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it
 Just cause she was wearing a skirt 
Oh is that how that works 
When somebody talks about how it was Adam first 
Does that make you second best 
Or did He save the best for last.
She's the heart of life 
She's the dreamer's dream 
She's the hands of time 
She's the queen of kings.

I've read that he is being accused of "mansplaining" feminism, but it goes way beyond that.  The first huge, glaring error is his use of "female" (the title) as a noun referring to a woman.  I have to ask, female what?  Human?  Because we have a word for that, and it's "Woman."  

Don't get me started on the little breathy sexy feminine sighs in the background every time he sings the title...I prefer to hear women roar, not sigh...

The first two lines are clumsy, with repeats of "somebody" and "hit."  The country feminist song is apparently not worthy of the songwriters' best efforts (it took three of them:  Shane McAnally; Ross Copperman; Josh Osborne).  

Every phrase describing what "females" are, qualifies them.  What about women who are NOT sisters, daughters, shoulders, lovers, etc., etc.? why can't he give us a little respect for just being ourselves...jammie-wearing, tired of working, chips and salsa snacking women?

I understand that he is trying to sell it to people who still tell women "Don't worry your pretty little head about that, little lady," but with this song, he's trying to appeal to feminists as well.

Sorry, Keith.  No cookie for you.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Abaroa Released!

Ladies, look out for this guy!

OK, now I'm REALLY angry!  This article is the first I had heard of the case since he took an Alford plea in 2014.  He was SUPPOSED to serve 95 to 123 months.  That's approximately eight to ten years, for y'all who don't know their 12 times table.

Instead, he's out in less than FOUR years! 

This is the guy who killed his pregnant wife in 2005.  It took them five years to arrest him, and then only because he tried to marry someone else, and SHE went to the cops when he said some suspicious things to her.

Read up on it here, if you can stomach it!

I don't know why North Carolina seems to go so easily on people who murder their wives, but this is not the first case where they have had trouble getting a conviction, or a decent sentence.

Fuck these guys and fuck the system that lets them out early!

Monday, January 01, 2018

The New Year Starts on a Monday.

Last year began on Sunday and that didn't work so well.  Is there some sort of reverse thing going on here?  After all, "The child that's born on the sabbath day is fair and bright and good and gay."  Didn't see a lot of those qualities this past year.  We had drab and dull and bad and sad.  I've always thought that "Monday's child is fair of face" is a bit superficial, but hey.  It is what it is.

The usual complement of icons from my misspent youth shuffled off this mortal is a fairly comprehensive list.  From Chuck Berry to Sue Grafton, we are down several score of friendly voices, at a time when every little bit of positivity counts.  There were a few of whom I say, "Good Riddance," such as Charles Manson and that bishop who shuffled priests accused of child molestation around from parish to parish on the grounds that they had "repented."  I swear, I wish I believed in Hell as an actual thing.

I had fun costuming several shows, one of which, For the Love of Mahalia, got me a Broadway World nomination for costuming, which is an honour in itself.  Many thanks to Austin Theatre Project and RKJB Entertainment, for letting me play.

Things were pretty grim on the political front, but we had a few hints towards the end that make me hope for a change this year.  Keep fingers crossed, please, and knock wood, or whatever you do.  RESIST!

So, here's to keeping on keeping on.

All the best to everyone in this Year of Change!

Oh, and Surfy?  Could you please contact me via the email link in my profile, or leave a comment saying how I can contact you?  That would be awesome!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

An Egregious Example of Rape Culture in America

We're all familiar with the name Brock Turner, right?  The POS who was arrested, tried and convicted of raping an unconscious woman?  The one that resulted in a six month sentence (because prison would damage such a sensitive snowflake with such a promising future), of which he ultimately served only three months.

Well, Brock (Piece of Shit) Turner is back in the news, appealing his conviction on the grounds that the prosecution lied about the location of the assault (behind a dumpster).  They claim the attack took place out in the open, and he wasn't trying to conceal his actions behind a dumpster.

He wasn't trying to conceal his actions, because he was doing nothing wrong.  Apparently, in his world, it's perfectly OK to rape an unconscious person...after all, she didn't say no, so it's all good, right?  I mean, she fell down right there, and didn't cross her legs while falling, so she wanted it, right?

(Where's my barf icon?)

According to CNN,
 "What we are saying is that what happened is not a crime," John Tompkins, Turner's legal adviser, told KNTV. "It happened, but it was not anywhere close to a crime."
So, they maintain that the unconscious woman had consensual sex with Brock (POS) Turner just anywhere on the ground.  IMO, they should stop after "It happened," because nothing else is relevant.

I guess Mummy and Daddy don't want their Golden Boy® to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The judge who sentenced him to six months is currently fighting the consequences of such a blatant disregard for justice.