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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
4:26 pm - Lost Girl, seasons 1-3
I've had a lot of bad pain days lately, so what else am I to do but veg out in front of Netflix? After having swept through five seasons of Leverage in December, Netflix suggested that since I also liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I might like Lost Girl. The official synopsis is the usual crap genre shows have to put up with that makes it sound a whole lot lamer than it really is. "After discovering she's a succubus who sustains herself by feeding on the sexual energy of humans, seductive Bo sets out on a journey to understand herself..." Sounds like bad softcore porn, amirite? Happily, it's actually pretty good softcore porn. Er... I mean, fantasy genre television with some adult content.

Spoilers, sweetie...Collapse )

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Thursday, September 19th, 2013
10:38 am - All the Ruddigorey details
We're two weeks away from opening Ruddigore. (Tickets can be purchased here: http://lyrictheatre.org/jl/tickets/onsale.html but ask me first if I have some discount vouchers.)

I'm really enjoying this showCollapse )

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Saturday, September 7th, 2013
12:39 pm - Threes.
I'm not really superstitious. Not in the general way. But my back brain harbors superstitious notions, sometimes despite my logical sense. When I'm cooking, yes, I will throw a pinch of spilled salt over my left shoulder. I don't think about it consciously, it's just something that's part of the 'cleaning up salt' routine that I don't think about until I've done it and think, "D'oh! Now I have to sweep that up."

A one, and a two...Collapse )

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Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
12:40 pm - They're clumsy clodhoppers with axes and choppers and shepherds and plowmen and drovers and cowmen
Ruddigore rehearsals are going about as well as expected. We're still having music rehearsals, but because the women's chorus kicks massive amounts of ass, we are on light duty this week.

This weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday working on the mural in Teo's room. It's mostly done. My dad came by yesterday for coffee and to inspect the work. He says it looks good and made suggestions on finishing, but wasn't interested in doing any of it himself. Chris, however, appears to have developed opinions on how it should be finished, so I'm going to let him do that. He's better with fine motor control work anyway. That will let me get back to the floor cleaning that Chris said he'd do and abandoned after figuring out how much work it actually was.

The original plan had been that we were going to have the upstairs ready and moved in to by Thanksgiving of 2012. The revised plan says Thanksgiving 2013. Chris and I have figured out that we have too many assumptions in the wrong places to work comfortably together on home improvement projects. It's a good thing he's such a great complement to me in so many other parts of life. I can hire out home improvement jobs a lot easier than I can hire out to find a great father for Teo. Just saying. He's got it where it counts. But it's now my job to hire a plumber, call the painters to touch up the exterior window paint on the ones we had replaced six months ago, and find a reliable mow & blow landscaper to keep things in check until we're ready to do the landscaping and sprinklers for realsies, with the jackhammers taking up the concrete and et cetera.

It's still frustrating to think maybe this all could have been done long ago if Chris had just signed off on having me hire professionals in the first place, rather than wait for him to start a project and abandon it when he realized he didn't have the tools or the know-how to follow through. Also, because of this, we're doing stuff in the wrong order, which is making more work for us, and ultimately more expensive because we have to call people back for touch ups and re-dos to fix our mistakes. But, now I know. Chris will just have to suck it up. He can have veto power, but if I wait for him to make up his mind, we're never getting this house habitable.

I'm proud of myself that I've managed to pick the threads back up and get to work despite all the other things going on in my life. But I will be very very glad when painting is over. The end is in sight!

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Monday, July 29th, 2013
1:10 pm - Thoroughly Modern Millie: Thoroughly Great Fun
Friday C-- and I went to see Stage 1 Theatre's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. C-- has a connection to the group, but I'd never heard of them before this. After our last show viewing together, I went in with very low expectations. The run-down school theatre in Newark where they perform didn't raise them any. And maybe it was that relaxed mood of: "Okay, so impress me, already!" but this show exceeded my expectations in a big way.

exceeds expectationsCollapse )

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Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
5:55 pm - What a Way to Make a Living!
Friday C-- and I went to see a local community production of "9 to 5", the musical based on the 80's movie of the same name.

The Good, the Bad and the PainfulCollapse )

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Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
10:01 am - ...and nobody died!
After ten years of doing Other Things, two days ago I auditioned for a musical production. Lyric Theatre is producing Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore to perform in October. Like Northanger Abbey, Ruddigore satirizes the gothic novels Mrs. Radcliffe and similar, depicting cruel noblemen, innocent maidens, and a stately home full of ghosts. I always told Chris that when Teo was old enough, if Lyric produced Ruddigore I'd feel compelled to audition. Even though it was written in the late 19th century, it's traditionally set during the Regency and seems like a fairly good match to my extracurricular interests. Also (I have done the show twice before) it's one of my very favorites of the G&S canon.

The nice thing about going back to theatre after ten years is that I cut myself a lot of slack. Anything I did in audition was going to be better than anything else I've done in audition in the last ten years. The even nicer thing was that a lot my old instincts resurfaced and I think I was able to make a respectable showing. I wasn't nearly as useless with nerves as I feared I might be.

The nice thing about returning to audition with a familiar company is that I am not unknown to the staff. Except... I arrived fifteen minutes before my audition time, announced myself to the check in desk and was greeted warmly. Then... "uh... I don't see you on my sign in sheet." This should have panicked me, but for some reason it didn't. I insisted he should look again because I was sure I had the 7:30 appointment slot. I had gotten a confirmation email and everything. "OH! That's right. You have a new name." Yes. I haven't performed since before I got married. (Our tenth wedding anniversary is in three weeks.)

The day of the audition was pretty horrible, though. I had performance jitters like I haven't had in a while. But once I was done, I had a balancing boost of euphoria, making the effort all seem worthwhile. Chris asked when I'd know if I was cast, and whether I was going to be "insufferable" the whole time I was waiting. But the spike of manic euphoria faded, and now my glow of pleasure is just a mild background radiation to the rest of my life. I auditioned! And I didn't die!

If I get cast in the show, it'll be a logistical challenge, particularly when rehearsal nights fall on Teo's judo class nights. But I think our family can manage it. I am looking forward to an activity where I can just be myself, not someone's wife or mother; where I have intrinsic value as somebody who does something enjoyable on its own merits, not just as support staff for someone else's fun. (Too much of BAERS started to feel like me showing up to work so other people could enjoy themselves.)

Sadly for me (but happily for her) C-- has been cast in a different show, so we won't be hanging out together in this one. But if this goes well, maybe I'll start doing theatre a little more regularly, and she and I will get a chance to work together later.

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Sunday, June 16th, 2013
4:49 pm - Job Security
I haven't been feeling very well, so I've been watching a lot of YouTube clips of Sophie Tucker to entertain myself and I consider it a personal affront that it took me over forty years to discover her.

But I was talking about one of her clips with Chris, which looks like it was from a movie sometime in the 1930's or 1940's, in which she gives the advice to a young newlywed: You Can't Sew a Button on a Heart.

The song begins with the assumption that a woman's important skills are primarily of the cooking-and-cleaning branch of the domestic arts. Sophie tells 'em that the dish you serve is not nearly as important as being a dish yourself. This song appears to mark that moment of transition in how marriage was thought of. By this point in the early 20th century, marriage was not just a job where a woman was expected to have acquired the skills to run a comfortable household for someone, it became an institution of "love" where a woman is required to have not just skills but a certain look, demeanor and attitude and only then will her marriage be successful.

Chris looked a bit quizzical, as if wondering why I was bringing this up, so I drew a line for him. "It's like the start up pitch: you can't just have mad coding skills. You have to live and breathe the job."

Chris took the bait. "Yeah, but that's the story they tell young engineers so that they work insane hours, live at the office and have no outside life."

"Exactly!" I said.

On the other hand, I want to add this gem to my arsenal: I Don't Want to Get Thin.

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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
10:55 am - My son, the poet
Yesterday evening, in a discussion of the events of the day, Teo said that he had written a song, and he wanted to share it with us. There We Are NowCollapse )

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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
11:17 am - Sing OUT, Louise!!!
Yesterday I had my first voice lesson in twenty years. Teo came with me and was nearly invisible with angelic goodness (and the aid of my 3DS.)

We didn't do much actual vocal production. It was mostly a "get to know you, can we work together?" sort of hour, where I sang some scales, followed some instructions and Maestro and I talked about our experiences and knowledge and goals and all that jazz. And yet, in the course of an hour, I had my tiny little mind blown four or five times with "AHA!!!" revelations that put some puzzling things about my voice into perspective and gave me the start of some concrete tools to get my voice back into shape for singing more publicly. (Because, you know I miss performing.)

It's All About MEEEEE!Collapse )

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Monday, April 8th, 2013
2:49 pm - Dogs in the Heather, or, Too Much Jig for One Foot
Our family has season tickets for all the mainstage Lyric Theatre productions (2012-2013 season): those being The Merry Widow, which we missed because we had both forgotten if we'd bought tickets and didn't find them until weeks after the show closed, Brigadoon running currently through April 14th, and upcoming, the seldom performed final collaboration of Mssrs Gilbert and Sullivan, The Grand Duke.

Yesterday, we saw Brigadoon, but because I thought Chris had put the tickets somewhere safe, and Chris thought I had put the tickets somewhere safe, we spent half an hour scrambling around our work-in-progress house, peering in boxes and slamming doors before racing off to throw ourselves on the mercy of their ticket desk. Instead of a leisurely stroll downtown, it was a frantic death march, as I swore vitriol at myself, walked crippling blisters onto both feet and grumbled right up until the last minute.

I keep forgetting this is the future. The ticket desk has a computer and a printer. It was the work of a moment to spit new tickets (for our already assigned seats) into our hands, and we were shown to our seats between the curtain opening speech and the overture, and enjoyed a matinee show. But I think I enjoyed it for the wrong reasons.

BrigadooooomCollapse )

The Tabletop GameCollapse )

In conclusion...Collapse )

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Saturday, March 9th, 2013
11:49 am - A Matter of Grammar
I've been musing on the injunction to "Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last" and how different it is from "Live Every Day As If It Were THE Last."

If this were *your* last day on earth, would you wash the dishes? I would. Because I can think of no sadder thing than to lose a loved one and then be confronted with a sink full of dirty dishes. I wouldn't do that to Chris. I would go grocery shopping. I would fill the car with gas. I'd go ahead and do 20 minutes of weeding. I would do all the things I normally do, but I might pay a little more attention to them. And that wouldn't be a bad thing. I'd relish my son's affections, watch the birds at the bird feeder, do all the things that bring me joy, but I wouldn't put less pleasant things off.

This is because, in perspective, my death wouldn't be the end of the world. It would be the end of *my* world, sure, but not the end of my influence on it, nor the end of my loved one's existence. I hope that they would have the resilience to pick up the pieces and carry on, to figure out how to live without me in their midst. It is a sad, horrible thought, but a useful one. If there is anything I can do today that would make life without me easier, I should do it. I should draft a will. I should cultivate a robust support network of friends. I should tell the people I love how much I love them, and what they mean to me.

The second case is, of course, pure nihilism. If tomorrow is the last day for everyone, if the world is destroyed, if human life eradicated, if nobody survives past sunset, there is no cause to be anything but indulgent and sybaritic. Fuck the dishes. Let's get takeout. Fuck food. Let's drink through our wine cellar. Fuck everything: it won't matter tomorrow.

One small word is the difference between an injunction to be mindful and a license to purest self-indulgence.

For me, atheism is the first sort of statement. If when we die it's the end of our bodies, our active presence, it's not necessarily an end to our influence. We continue on in the memories and habits of those still alive. Atheism urges us to take advantage of here and now to build a better world. Instead of focusing our attention on some afterlife, or some spiritual being, it brings our focus back to humanity. We act to make this world a better place because we want a good world for those we love, even if we are not going to enjoy it first hand. If I leave a better world behind me when I die, I can greet death without as much fear or sadness. It comforts me to believe that maybe a small corner of the world might be happier for having had me in it.

But too many people interpret atheism as that second nihilistic statement. I saw a bumper sticker the other day: "If you're living as if there is no God, you'd better be right." The assumption that if you are living as if there is no God, you are living badly: that only the threat of what lies in the hereafter can make a person do good.

In fact, my ideas on living as if there is no God are very similar to my ideas on living as if this were my last day. I live with my focus on here and now, the people around me and the world I am in. I work to do good, to be as positive an influence on my environment as I know how, not because I feel threatened by Hell, but because I know my time on earth is short and this may be all we have. I don't want to squander this gift of life, however maddening and painful it can be sometimes.

I certainly hope I will still be here tomorrow, but if I am not, at least you, reading this, will carry this piece of me out into the world and my echo will persist beyond my life.

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Sunday, February 17th, 2013
3:48 pm - The Avengers, a reaction post
Yes, I'm late to the party. But I finished watching The Avengers this morning. (I had to break it into sections to fit around family life.)

And all I can think about is that, with the notable exception of Nick Fury, what I noticed most is that every single person in this film appears to be white.

And before you can say, "But the Incredible Hulk is greeeeeeen...." Hulk is not treated as a person. Hulk is a force of nature, a plot device. He is "other". He has as much agency and personhood as Tony Stark's suit. Heck, the Hulk is so "other" he's constantly referred to as "the other guy". He's also, except for his skin tone, very clearly modeled on a white guy, cosmetic dentistry and all.

And with the exception of a little asian kid in a reaction montage near the end, if you had a line, you were white. Frequently blonde, as well. In fact, with the exception of the couple in the shawarma place post-credits, if you had more than three seconds of screen time, you were white. The aggregate population of New York City seemed fantastically skewed toward caucasian faces. If you were a screaming black guy, you were in the company of three or four of your closest white friends. S.H.I.E.L.D. appeared entirely staffed by caucasians. (Though the gender ratios appeared more balanced than your normal military installation, there are also no ugly women in S.H.I.E.L.D. Hell, I doubt there are any short women. Only tall, willowy, pale models need apply. But that's just Hollywood, so I'm not going to call that out. Much.)

I will cut a certain amount of slack for canon characters being white. Sure it's lamentable that we're telling stories written in an age where men were white men and women were token white women, but there is absolutely no excuse for the extremely whitewashed palette of extras and secondary characters. Heck, even the pointy-toothed, double-thumbed aliens looked pasty white under their crazy armor.

So, to those responsible for the casting of The Avengers... shame on you. Shame. If you're going to tell a story set in the modern day, you're going to break my suspension of disbelief if your urban landscapes are so devoid of diversity that even clueless white people like me start noticing and calling it out.

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Thursday, January 31st, 2013
9:31 pm - The Scenic Route
When Teo was little, he didn't sleep well or easily. As a baby, for weeks at a time the only sleep I got was some fraction of his 90 minute naps as I cradled him on my chest, his tiny baby noggin tucked securely under my chin, my hands on his body, his little froggy legs tucked up under my ribs. Most of the first years of his life is a blur of pain and sleeplessness, as my child refused to respond typically to any of the usual advice and I was too exhausted and hurting to figure out how to ask for help from anyone. But I remember the sweet moments best, as little baby breathing quietly meant I could sleep, damn the experts who wanted me to put him in a crib, because he'd wake instantly out of however sound a sleep he was in.

This morning Teo woke, found me in the living room and crawled into my lap. He tucked his substantial noggin under my chin and curled up on his side like a bean, his gangly legs tucked up around my knees. I wrapped my arms around him and he fell back to sleep. Breathing evenly, his warm weight on my chest, reminded me of those long sleep-deprived weeks when he was a baby and I got a bit choked up, both grieving for the other children I'll never have, and thankful that I'll never have to endure the sleepless madness and loneliness of his early years again.

The road less traveled...Collapse )

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Thursday, January 10th, 2013
9:48 pm - Gucci, Gucci, Louis, Louis, Fendi, Fendi, Prada...
I am currently without a legal car. Because of the mysterious workings of the DMV, the change of address that worked to update my driver's license did not update my car registration. Once we got that sorted out (culminating in a 2+ hour wait at the DMV to be told the opposite of the information communicated by phone) I am still screwed until Sacramento deigns to send my registration stickers. This is a live test of the "walkability" of our neighborhood.

...so I don't even botha'Collapse )

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Sunday, December 16th, 2012
12:15 pm - Christmas In the Park
I'm going to front load this: this is a post about crankiness, complaints and will be full of whining. If you don't need my pettiness today, keep moving. I'll write something interesting next time.

Unmerry ChristmasCollapse )

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
11:58 am - Three blessings
I'm still here. I'm still reading. But I'm a little shocked it's been nearly a month since I've posted.

healthCollapse )

wealthCollapse )

happinessCollapse )

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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
9:55 am - Schrodinger's Diagnosis
I've been waiting, with increasing impatience, for my blood work to come in. And then, I had to wait for four days (more or less) from when I called to confirm the results had come in, to when I actually heard from the doctor what those results were. Stupid weekends.

All the bloodwork points to my NOT being celiac. The detailsCollapse )

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
9:41 pm - Normal
I think the worst question a doctor can ask anyone who comes to them for treatment is, "Is everything else normal?"

What is normal?Collapse )

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Saturday, October 20th, 2012
8:10 pm - Green... like an avocado
This week we've had a team of painters working on the outside of the house. They did a lot in a week, which only makes me realize what a whacking huge job this really is. It's going to be at least another week, maybe longer, depending on how much rain we actually get next week.

I think it's going to look good, but I liked the previous color, too. It's just a beautiful house. I think it would be difficult to paint it to look ugly. (Not impossible of course, but difficult.) I also think it's going to blend in with the neighborhood well, without looking like any of the other houses on the street.

But I really, really am done with contractors. I have decision fatigue. The next time the painters ask for an artistic opinion, I'm going to bust out with: "Whatever, dude. Just do... whatever." I will wave my hands incoherently and say, "Just make it pretty, m'kay?"

We got the nod of approval from the one of the neighbors on the house painting. We're raising property values.

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