Saturday, November 15, 2014

On Getting Old--A Grumblement

Mostly...on good days...I look like this.  Many thanks to Doc List for this shot, which he took while doing show shots for Godspell with Austin Theatre Project last summer.  I was the Costumer and Wardrobe Mistress for that production.  It's nice to have a (heh) Project.


However, there are days...  This is another of Doc's shots, cropped out of a show shot for "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," an earlier Austin Theatre Project production, in which I played Nanny.  I was amazed at the small amount of time and effort it took to make me look this bad.



I must confess, there are days when this image is burned onto my consciousness.  Days like today, when it is cold and everything hurts.  My knees, which I was told (at 21) would be a problem "later," are now a constant hurt.  The thumb on my left hand no longer bends.  My eyelashes have migrated to the general vicinity of my eyebrows, which are going wild.  Don't even get me started on the incipient mustache and the chin hairs!  I am, also, beginning to acquire a bunion.

My skin is dry and flaky; I find a new Brown Spot every few days.

On the plus side, I have flown free of some of the things I used to allow to enslave me, such as shaving my legs.  I mean, really--who cares?  Who is even looking?  I no longer wear underwired bras.  What the hell would I do with perky boobs, at my age?  I keep one such bra around, in case of theater need--

~cough~  ~Bitsy~  ~cough~

So that's my assessment of my physical condition at 65.

How are you doing, Dearly Beloved?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Was I Thinking?

Ever a glutton for punishment, Dearly Beloved, I have done it again.

I am directing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at Sam Bass (www.sambasstheatre.org).  Not only that, but it was I who suggested doing so!  Of course, of all the kids who said at that time that they would love to do the show, not one came to audition.

Still, I may just have the best cast I have ever had for it, and certainly, the best crew.

Wish me luck, friends.  I will be updating.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Thick Coffee Mugs



Remember when we used to get coffee in restaurants and diners in thick mugs?  There was a reason for that.  Mom used to say it was because the breakage factor was lowered, but there was more to it.


When the waitress poured the first cup, your thick mug would warm up, cooling the coffee to a drinkable temperature pretty fast.  When you had sucked it down, and the cup was still warm, she'd be back to fill it up again.  This time, poured into a pre-heated cup, the coffee would stay hot long enough to drink it more slowly.


In these days of triple mocha lattes served in styrofoam cups, I just wanted to remind you of that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Outlander



I love the books and I love the TV show.

I joined a couple of "fan pages" on Facebook, and continue to be appalled at people.

First, the show is based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon.  So far, there are eight books in the series and she is working on Number Nine.  They are big books that are impossible to put down.  Do you like romances?  It's a romance.  Adventure?  You bet.  History?  Well researched and brought to life.  Science fiction?  Oh, yeah.  Sex?  Yup.  Fighting?  In spades.  In short, these books have everything I like, and tell a rollicking good story.

So STARZ picked the series up and we are seeing the first book this season, with Season Two all ready to go.  Hopefully, the whole lot will make it to TV.

Fans of the books, though, have had issues with the transfer from page to screen.  When Sam Heughan was cast as Jamie, the shit hit the fan.  His hair was not red.  He wasn't muscly enough for some.  Not tall enough, either.  He looked too old.  He looked too young.  It's as if these people never heard of hair dye, or acting.  The problem with putting books on the screen is, as always, that each individual reader has his or her own mental picture of the characters, and mine will not look exactly like yours.  You have to trust the writer, who was consulted on casting, when she said, "Sam IS Jamie."  He may not have been your Jamie, or my Jamie, but he IS Diana's Jamie, and, as she wrote him, I GUESS SHE SHOULD KNOW.

And Claire.  Oh my god, the arguments about Claire.  Catriona Balfe was cast, and, horror of horrors, she doesn't look exactly like Claire in the books, either.  Claire's eyes are whisky-gold in the books, and Cat's are blue/grey.  She is slender, and Claire is described as having a bit of a butt.  Why is her hair more curly in some scenes or episodes than others?  This coming from people who obviously have never dealt with curly hair.

Now that the show is up and running, most of the grumbling over casting has subsided.  These actors are bringing these characters to life, and the fans are analyzing every frame of footage.  The grumblement has gotten just a little nit-picky.

In the book, it is Spring when Claire goes back in time, but when it came time to film, it was Autumn in Scotland.  While a lot can be done with makeup and hair dye on actors, there is really no way to transform Autumn into Spring for an entire landscape, so they changed the time to Autumn.  The Fans howled.  Claire was wearing a print dress in the book.  In the TV show, she is wearing a white dress.  Howling ensued again.

When she undresses after she marries Jamie, her shift resembles that white dress she wore in the beginning.  I see this as the costumer and the director showing the fans why the dress was changed to white.

Now, I've been seeing complaints that the damn shift wasn't wrinkled enough when she took off her stays.  And complaints that she doesn't seem to have armpit hair.

Armpit hair.

We are looking at some of the steamiest sex ever shown on TV, and there are people worried about armpit hair.

And that's not the only thing!  The wedding ring was not the same as it was in the book. The pearls are just pearls, and not the same as the necklace described in the book.  It seems as if some people are just looking for things to dislike.

As well, people are very unhappy because of voice-overs.  Claire's story, told in the first person. There have to be voice-overs, or how are we going to see her internal monologue?  We see her face, we hear her thoughts.  This is how transition from book to film works.

A book cannot be totally transferred to film.  Changes must be made; events and characters compressed or rearranged.  This is a TV series based on a book, not a documentary of events told in the book.

There is so much going on in the world that is actually worth complaining about that I just can't see wasting time and energy looking for things to hate in a TV show.

Life is too short.  Enjoy what you have.  Fix what you can.  Eat well, get enough sleep, and greet the day with joy, for it could always be your last.

Slainte Mhaith!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Has it Really Been Seven Years?

Seven years seems like such a long time....and yet, August 20th 2007 feels, in many ways, like yesterday.  That's the day I watched my husband walk out the front door with a gun in his hand and didn't get there in time to stop him from bracing the butt of it against a tree and the barrel against his temple and pulling the trigger.

He was the love of my life.  We met in 1984, when he directed his first show at Sam Bass.  It was my second show, and a friendship developed that continued through my divorce, his divorce and our subsequent (separate) love lives, until one day, late in 1997, when it became something else entirely.  At that point, I had known for several years that I loved him, but had given it up as a lost cause.

He asked me to marry him two years later, and we planned a June wedding.  "How about June 11," he said.  It was his mother's and grandmother's wedding day.  I didn't really care what day would be our anniversary, so plans ensued.  We had a lovely little wedding.

His mother died three years after that, and he sort of lost focus.  While I was waiting for him to regain it, he sank into ill health and depression, and, as a result, I am a widow.

No, I am not "over it."  I will never be "over it," but I have accepted it and I realize that I am grateful for what I had.

I am no longer mourning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression. It's a Disease


In eight days, it will be seven years since Jim killed himself.

Yesterday, one of his favourite actors did the same thing.

There may be only a couple of hundred people who remember Jim...people he touched and influenced in his life.  Students.  Friends.  Co-workers.  Family.  Me.  There are millions mourning and speculating about Robin Williams.  And some of them are crying, "Coward!"  I did that when Jim died.  I guess it is, in a way, a measure of my journey down the road to forgiveness that I no longer feel that way.  I now recognize that depression is not a moral failing, it is a disease.

So, when stupid what's-his-name on FOX called out Robin Williams for cowardice, I was appalled at his ignorance.  

Depression is not something that can be cured with a hug, or a hundred "likes" or a smile, or a song, or a pill.  It's not something a person can pull himself out of or joke his way out of or sing, or run, or walk himself out of.  It is a deep, black pit that sucks in everything, to the point where the victim can see nothing else.  Suggesting that a victim "reach out" for help just tells everyone that you have really no clue what depression is all about.  To the victim, there is nothing to reach out with, or to, or from.  There is just the pit.  All the beauty of the world, of life, is gone and nothing remains except the pain.

I wish I could have helped Jim.  I wish someone could have helped Robin.  I hope others who suffer from this disease can be helped.

I am very sad, today, like thousands of others.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Home!

Our trip home was relatively uneventful.  A visit with friends in Indianapolis, and a drive from there in the pouring rain all the way to the Red River.


We had to forego Chicago and Milwaukee in the interest of fiduciary responsibility.  As it was, we arrived home with a quarter tank of gas and $3.59 overdrawn at the bank.

Aidan is a wonderful travel companion and navigator.  I hope we get a chance to take another trip!