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HB 2015 [04 Nov 2015|01:03am]
Another Haunted Basement is done. I am still exhausted, incredibly sad that it's done, and coming down with the usual post-show-immune-system-gives-up illness.

This year was terrific. I mean, they all have been, otherwise I wouldn't keep coming back. But the social aspect of it really took off for me this year; when I'd arrive and pick what room I was to work that night, it was more about who I'd be working with than what I'd be doing. I got to pair up with some old friends who I'd never actually played with, and learned new games each and every night. I made up a song, took two rounds to refine it, then sang it to horrified patrons as I used their hands to stroke each other. I made grown men scream, grown women run, and hugged my friends doing the same. I got interviewed by a magazine, communed with a ghost, and taped a bloody tampon to a friend's face. I'm glad it's done- it wiped me out. I'm sorry it's done- I love those people, and spending time with them in any other way just isn't the same. Creep Prom is in a week and a half (note to self; find a dress), but as much as I'm looking forward to it, it won't be as good as the exhausted hanging out after the final show, sitting in the burned-out Christmas room and talking about sex lives, or lying in a pile on the green room floor, or standing on the porch watching people in bloody makeup shotgun Summits.

I figured something out this year. What makes the Creeps so special, as people, is that when we're down there, we're honest. We're pure, for the duration. Everyone is in touch with who they really are, and what they really want. I don't like everyone down there; in fact a couple of them I can't stand. But they're family, in a very real way. And I'll miss them, and I'm glad to get away.

So it always goes- I want everything. I want to spend every minute there. I want to escape and do something else. I want to live every life I can, and the one I've had so far is so damned wonderful sometimes that it hurts. How weird is it that a haunted house brings all this out?

The List, Day 1 (11/3); 0/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero: Round Three [24 Oct 2015|03:49pm]
One. More. Time!

Filled out the blanks with new items; some ambitious, some modest. Time period starts October 25th 2015 and ends July 22nd 2018. Further elaboration upon request. Private goals are due to confidentiality agreements, embarrassing things, or master plans. I’ve also started tracking how many lists each goal has been on, to show how many years it’s been on my radar. And away we go.

Last edit: October 24th, 2015 (Day 0). New items: 0/41. 2-Listers: 0/32. All 3 Rounds: 0/28. Total: 0/101 done.

1. Fix Teeth (Remaining: 2-3 Fragment Extractions, 1-3 Implants)
2. MD Checkup
3. 10 Day Master Cleanse
4. Sleep Apnea Study
5. Visit Allergist

6. Cook 10 New Dishes (0/10)
7. Learn Welsh
8. *private*
9. Didgeridoo
10. Meditation class
11. Dance class
12. Fold 950 Origami Cranes (0/950)
13. *private*

14. Get brianwatsonjones.com up and running
15. See plays by 4 established Twin Cities companies that are new to me (0/4)
16. See 6 plays that don't have any friends involved with them (0/6)
17. Get an agent
18. Draft one-man show idea
19. Finish first draft of Tunesville
20. Write something for cracked.com
21. Buy season tickets for a theatre company; use them all (1/3) [Initial: Starting with one down, begun during the last list]
22. Get reviewed by name in a paper (in any capacity)
23. Develop Hallowe'en show
24. Get a play produced by submitting to an out-of-town contest
25. Write “Business People”
26. Draft “Rumors”
27. Redraft “Word Salad”

**Default World
28. New day job
29. Write Will
30. Pay off credit card [Initial: 50.82% of credit limit]
31. Help 5 friends move (0/5)
32. Clean Walls
33. Apt Nooks/Crannies
34. Seattle Move
35. FB Memorial Settings
36. Inbox Zero [Initial: 159 Emails, 56 Starred]
37. Clean Out Egg Archives
38. Clothes Purge
39. Cull Books
40. Full Car Fix
41. Computer Cleanup
42. Cull FB Friends

**Long Overdue
43. Empty "get-rid-of" tub
44. Beat "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess"
45. Get a tattoo
46. Finish pulp magazines (68 to go)
47. Take an IQ test
48. Finish Misc Movie List (22 to go)

49. Phase out VHS (23 to go)
50. Legalize mp3s (264 to go)
51. Repair Pea Coat
52. Revamp Bike

**Fun (or, because I want to, and I can, which means I should)
53. Sky Dive
54. Visit L.A.
55. Absinthe party
56. Visit Russian Museum
57. "Ancestral" tartan
58. Eat sushi 65 times (0/65)
59. Revisit Burning Man
60. Attend an opera
61. Learn Greek letters
62. Learn NATO letter callsigns
63. Learn Cockney rhyming slang
64. Do a pub crawl
65. Restaurant: It's Greek to Me
66. Memorize The Raven
67. Go skiing
68. Celebrate Festivus
69. Empty new DVD shelf (48 to go)
70. *private*
71. Visit NYC
72. See Aurora Borealis
73. Visit Spam Museum
74. *private*
75. Get Asian wooden bell
76. Emily's Movie List (? to go)
77. Read Foundation Series
78. Complete TMBG Collection
79. Eat Camel
80. Eat a Bug
81. Do a Corn Maze
82. 10 Old Friend Dinners (0/10)
83. Hike a Mountain
84. See Sarah C
85. Read “Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark” in the dark
86. Watch all Classic “Who” (578 episodes, 8 Doctors to go)
87. Visit Virginia
88. Visit Boundary Waters
89. Get a Corgi
90. Tip 100%
91. Tip Mailman at Christmas

92. Cache in a new country
93. Achieve Earthcache Platinum status (3 to create; Silver level; Gold level)
94. Cache in a New State
95. Complete Jasmer Grid
96. Blackout MN Counties (0/35)
97. Blackout Wildflower Parks (0/78)
98. Project A.P.E.
99. 10 Icon Day
100. 400 Find Day
101. Host 14 Events (0/14)
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Project Zero 2.5: Trashing old goals [05 Oct 2015|06:57pm]
Okay, time to cull some goals that stopped mattering in the last couple of years.

what was cut, and whyCollapse )

...huh. Thought it'd be more. Well, five cut out, 36 completed, leaves me with 41 replacements to think up. Have probably a quarter in mind already, now to put them down on paper. Onward and upward, with a bit of weight shed away.
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Project Zero Two: Conclusion [05 Oct 2015|01:18am]
Another 1001 days pass. As a yardstick of my life, I've measured out two project zero lists, for over 6 years; nearly a fifth of the time I've existed. Which is... man, weird as hell. Anyway, how'd this one go?

Decent. Knocked out a little more than a third, didn't clear my big backed-up-reading goal, and a lot of important things went untouched. But a lot of other, difficult entries were cleared so long ago that I forgot that they weren't on the previous list. I'll make a third, no question, and start it as soon as it's written. Whether I get any better with time management is... unlikely. I think I'll also look at the goals that I dropped, uncompleted, from the first list and from this one, and give a think about what it means that I no longer cared to attempt them. But that's for the future. First, a look at what is ending.

Updates since last postCollapse )

Long-term goals.

Read more...Collapse )

And the final count.

Project Zero 2- 36/101Collapse )

Completed since last checkinCollapse )

So there we are. I didn't clear as much of the list as I did of the first one, but I was more ambitious with the items on it. Not sure if that counts enough to wash it out. Now, I just have to cull my old list of items that I don't care about any longer, replace completed and discarded entries with new ones, call that the 3rd list, and start it up. Onward and upward.
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Western loop 2015 [31 Aug 2015|07:20am]
So! Emily and I just got back from a two week road trip. How'd that go?

Fantastic. And a few train-wreck moments, and near-train-wreck moments, but boiled down to its core, it went fantastic.

Geocaching: I haven't finished logging yet, but we found over 150, including the Block Party and APE Mega event. Failed on the 10 icon day attempt. We each logged in five new states, although not the same ones. Uncounted new counties, but we almost drew a line from Seattle back home. At least a half-dozen challenges completed, a couple dozen virtuals, 4 webcams... lots of little things that would mean a lot if a single person reading this knew what the hell it means.

National Parks: First off, I screwed up big time, and left my passport at home. So we didn't route thru Canada on the way back as intended, and so missed Banff. Because I am an idiot. So our route consisted of Dinosaur National Monument, the Cascades (our re-route instead of Canada), Glacier National Park, and a drive thru Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Dinosaur was awesome; the Quarry wall of fossils, a nice campground, and a box canyon all to ourselves. The Cascades were quick, but lovely. Glacier we stayed at for several days; a drive along the Sun Road, a whitewater rafting trip, a hike up to Grinnell Glacier, camping in the rain, a night at the Lodge, and a couple of good steaks, one made of bison. TR was really lovely, but I was antsy to get home by then, so the time spent felt too long. We'll have to go back to that one.

Miscellaneous: We did a whale-watching tour north of Seattle, and had an A+ day. A minkie, two humpbacks, and a whole pod's worth of orcas. Two half-pods, really, since they were identified from both J and K pod. We had a couple of near-fights that turned into processes, as our fights tend to do, and came out the stronger for it. We drove through quite a lot of brushfire smoke; I hadn't expected to be affected that much. But Glacier was shrouded in smoke for most of our stay (the rain cleared it up in time for the Grinnell hike), and we had a brief moment of panic when 187 miles of I-84 were closed in Oregon before we got there. It was reopened by the time we arrived the next day, but we still worked out a couple of alternate routes. And, uh, I agreed to move to Seattle. So that'll probably happen in a couple of years. I haven't told FB yet, since it's way too early for that, so consider this an exclusive.

So, yes. A few bumps the road (my passport, a few near-fights, one big caching goal unclaimed, a few near-misses where we arrived *just* in time for something), but overall, this trip was fantastic. I'm almost done unpacking, not nearly done logging caches. And well back in the real world. Stupid employment.

Otherwise, one Halloween project was destroyed by its own company (I wasn't deeply involved, but deeply enough to watch the drama unfold), and I've accepted a role as a Core Actor for the Haunted Basement again this year. We had our first meeting yesterday, and a tour of the build in progress, and yeah. I am excited for this, still. Can't wait for that bit of the future to begin.

The List, Day 971 (8/30); 36/101 DoneCollapse )
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CONvergence, onstage and backstage [13 Jul 2015|09:51pm]
So! Human Combat Chess opened, then closed. Good stuff in between; I think I did some really good work, got consistently positive feedback from cast, crew, and audience. Made some friends, got more practice on my "improvising from a basic script" skills (LEVEL UP!), and a good-sized chunk of Emily's family went to see it, so there's that. Oh, and an old friend from college showed up completely unexpectedly: he was in town for the evening on a flight layover, recalled I'd posted on FB about the show, attended, and nabbed me afterwards. Totally shocked me, too- I absolutely didn't recognize him for the longest time, probably due to the wildly different context. We ended up hanging out at a bar and shooting the breeze about London and mutual friends for hours. It was awesome, but in a way made me feel older. I've never gone to a class reunion, but that had to be what it feels like. Pure, uncut nostalgia. Still, great. And a great run overall for the show.

Then! CONvergence! CON is a local... con. Convention. It's the biggest one of the year in this area; not a specific genre of convention like Comic-Con or an anime one or PAX; it's a generalized nerd convention, focused more on costumes than anything. Transvestite Soup ran a party room there last year, and we did the same again this year. Plus, we performed on the mainstage Thursday night.

Great performance. GREAT performance. We rocked it, the audience loved it, our logo was on the podium, we were broadcast throughout the hotel on the internal station... that was one of our best shows ever. I'm incredibly proud of my cast, and thankful for the opportunity, and glad to have done it.

The party room? Also rocked. I worked the bar for a good deal of it, and there was a hugely positive reaction to the drink options. The decorations were gorgeous, great response from all who visited, and the tip jars were well-filled each night. And, though we didn't run out of condoms and dental dams, we sure came close. I think we ran out of some of the non-latex options, but that was due to someone who stopped by during the first night and took a whole fistful. Hopefully they needed 'em, who knows. Overall, great room.

But! And there's always a but. There was some HUGE backstage drama this year. I only know about it secondhand, but I got some pretty extensive information anyway. I don't want to go into it here, and let's face it, if you really care you already know it. In short, a friend got fired. No good reason has been given. Lots of bad reasons have been hinted at or theorized. This friend has many powerful friends. Something big could topple from this, or it could be a huge behind-the-scenes brouhaha with little-to-no lasting effect. Time will tell.

I'd love to return to CON, as a member of Transvestite Soup and/or a patron. But we'll have to see how this all shakes out.

The List, Day 923 (7/13); 34/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero Two (The Reckoning): Day 900 Checkin [21 Jun 2015|02:43am]
Down to the wire, into the last 100 day round. Made a bit of progress this time, but still nowhere near a finished list. The next few months will be busy; Fringe, a cross-country road trip with Emily, but a few of my items are tipping right on the edge of completion, and I want to clear out a couple of the big ones this summer. So we'll see, as always. For now, how were the last hundred days?

Updates since last postCollapse )

As it stands, Day 900 (6/20); 33/101 DoneCollapse )

Completed GoalsCollapse )

Long-term list items (percent to go):

19. Origami Cranes (50/1000 - 95.0%) (Again, not a one. Just fell out of the habit. Unlikely to do 5 a day for the next three months, but who knows?)
44. Pulp magazines (78/212 - 36.79%) (Again, not a full 10%. Since, at this point, I'd basically have to complete 3 every 4 days to finish off, I feel safe saying this won't happen. But I should be able to get it below a third of the original level)
48. VHS (23/48 - 47.91%) (Still no change. This might need to be the special focus of this period)
49. mp3s (265/300 - 88.33%) (Deleted a bunch of useless, borderline-legal music, but none of the ones that are relevant to this)
65. Sushi (68/79 - 86.07%) (Not this round. Got a plan for a date night, though)
82. New DVD shelf (45/41 - 109.75%) (Well, some progress. Maybe THIS should be the special focus)

Down to the wire, now. Time to prioritize, focus, and knock out the entries that I really want gone before the final summation. Or time to get distracted again and only do some incidental work. Time alone will tell!

Onward and upward.
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A life that's hard to explain [07 Jun 2015|02:16am]
That's my new mantra. Well, I've used it two or three times now, so it's closer to a running gag. I'm living a life that's hard to explain. It came about because of how busy next Saturday is:

First off, help a friend move (leave her husband, with her kid, so, y'know... oy)
If time, attend a geocaching event that involves renting a kayak on Lake Calhoun
If time, act as an extra in another friend's movie, where they need a couple hundred people to be eaten by a giant monster
Then, the first open invite Haunted Basement idea jam session
Finally, color commentary for a Human Combat Chess match.

So, yeah. Tough to explain most of those. I'll probably only have time for three, but even then, busy day.

Oh, and the Human Combat Chess thing is ongoing, as it's my next show. So I found something to fill the void left by Crime & Punishment, and it's talking about how versatile a weapon the small sword is (very). Plus feelers out to a couple other projects, in a more writing/creating capacity. The road goes ever on.

The List, Day 886 (6/6); 32/101 DoneCollapse )
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Post-show depression [08 May 2015|05:32pm]
Crime & Punishment is closed. In the next few days, the set will be demolished. It's already fairly cleaned out; I walked through it the other night, probably the only one in the building, and said my quiet goodbyes. This production was a remount of last year's Fringe show, but it's unlikely to receive a third remount in the future. So, in an important way, the show is gone forever.

I mean, that's true of all shows. They're ephemeral; that's the main thing that keeps theater relevant even after a half-dozen spectacular inventions in the field of entertainment and information dissemination. Movies, TV, Radio, uh, the printed word. If we have the money and the time, we can do literally millions of things other than go to a play. But live shows HAPPEN, whereas movies and such EXIST. Same reason people go to concerts rather than listen to music at home for much less cost and hassle. But when the action is happening in front of you, done in person and in that moment, it gains an immediacy and importance that you lose if it's something you can pause to make a sandwich. Every live theater piece I've had has become a memory the moment it closed, never to be revisited as it was, whether it's Crime & Punishment or A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But A Midsummer Night's Dream can happen again. Different cast, different circumstances, different performance space and different me performing, but the base script itself can happen again. Company-created shows can't, not really. The Upright Egg Projects, Valhalla, C&P, were made and stamped by the people who were there, both onstage and off. The scripts still exist and can be done again, theoretically. But not really. They'd become new scripts, by virtue of the voices used to express them.

But Crime & Punishment was something new for me. I had lunch with a friend during rehearsals, and he asked if I'd ever done something with this sort of immersive environment before. I honestly had to reflect. Because although it feels like I have, I haven't, not really. I mean, every Haunted Basement has elements similar to it: direct interaction with audience, immediate adjustments to performance based on who's in the room and the attitude they're bringing. But HB isn't really a show; it's a world, a mood, an environment in a pure sense. It's pure attitude, not attitude in aid of another goal. And I've done company-created work before, plenty of it. But even when it contained serious moments of breaking the 4th wall, that 4th wall was THERE. It has to exist to be broken. C&P didn't have it to start. Everyone was in the world, as present and involved as they allowed themselves to be. We made the world, we shaped it, and they had to navigate it. It was visceral and wonderful in ways I didn't expect.

And it wasn't diminished by the fact that I was barely there. I was present at all performances, but for the majority of them I was on the phone, calling in, having audio interactions with maybe a dozen or so patrons out of as many as 80. I'd be seen midshow by 3 or 4, who came back into the Tea Room or who I went out to nab. And everyone saw me as the show began, when I gave them part of the curtain speech as they were led in, and most saw me after, offering food and business cards on a tray to the exit line. But I wasn't there for the scenes, not really. Even the few shows where I was switched to a $100 man due to audience needs, I was a sherpa, a guide, not a participant. But I still felt like one, felt like a vital part of the world, even from my entirely supplemental role. A tribute to the quality of the production, or my professionalism, or my arrogance. The cast had a rapport, and that's broken, and I'll miss it.

I'll miss this show, and I'll miss these people, as we were. But as with every graduation, all I can do is mourn the loss and move on to what's new.

The List, Day 857 (5/8); 32/101 DoneCollapse )
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Crime & Punishment [11 Apr 2015|05:43pm]
Been a busy month. I had a couple of auditions last month; after updating my audition record, I realized that I hadn't actually needed to try out for anything since late 2013, which is fairly trippy. I'm not as active as I used to be, plus a lot of things I do now and instances where I'm just asked to be involved, or I'm running the show myself. Either way, no audition.

Then I had two in a week. Brushed off my monologues, did pretty good at one and killed at the other, got cast in the first and called back for the second. Didn't get the second (alas; it was one I'd been coveting for a year), but callbacks for that director actually mean something, so it's a partial victory. The first, which I got, was Crime & Punishment with Live Action Set, a company I've wanted to work with for a long time. I had one foot in the door already, since they ran the Haunted Basement last year, and the director ran the HB the year before as an individual. So they know me, and what I'm good for, and found a place they wanted me.

And, after a shockingly short rehearsal period, we opened yesterday. It's a great show, a real experience inside and out, but it's really hard for me to get a read on it. It's an audience-immersive show, where the storylines and performances happen in a large environment, and the patrons wander at will from one space to another, seeing what they find with minimal guidance. So the show you see is entirely a matter of your choices and chance. My role, without getting spoilery, is removed from the rest in a unique way, allowing me to interact with the audience in a way that's simultaneously more direct and more remote. It's been an interesting challenge, and I was left on my own to create a great deal of my lines. Which, of course, appealed to my writer side, and I'm really proud of some of the stuff I created. But the way my role happens, combined with the fact that all the audience members are in masks, leaves it hard for me to get that immediate response feel that I love in working the Haunted Basement. I can't tell if what I'm doing is effective, affective, contributing to the world or distracting from it. I've had a few really great moments in our previews and the two shows last night, but as a whole I'm just doing my thing and trusting that, if it isn't working, someone in charge will stop me. It's frustrating, and fantastic, and unusual. I'm glad I'm doing it, and I'll be refining and adjusting right up until the last minute of the final show. And, considering that this production is a remount of a 2014 Fringe show, possibly beyond the final show into whatever's next.

In the meantime, good times with a great cast. And a couple of really good parties. There's worse things, for certain.

The List, Day 830 (4/11); 32/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero Two (The Reckoning): Day 800 Checkin [13 Mar 2015|01:45am]
Another update without any new goals cleared. I'm at a transitional point in my River right now; I've been a hermit, partly due to winter, partly due to temperament. But I just got cast in a show that starts rehearsal Monday, and I have an audition Saturday for a show that I really, REALLY want, and would start rehearsal just as this new one ends. So I'm going to be forced out into the world, to interact with people and learn lines and stuff. Should be good for me, because I've been feeding my introvert side far too much lately, and because nothing makes you feel like getting things done quite like getting things done. We'll see if it has an effect on this List nonsense.

Updates since last postCollapse )

As it stands, Day 700 (12/2); 30/101 DoneCollapse )

Completed GoalsCollapse )

Long-term list items (percent to go):

19. Origami Cranes (50/1000 - 95.0%) (Closest I got to origami this period was a brief B-story in the first season of House of Cards)
44. Pulp magazines (91/212 - 42.92%) (I've basically accepted that I won't finish this by day 1001. But I'm enjoying them, mostly, and I'm putting myself in a really good place to wipe 'em out in the next List)
48. VHS (23/48 - 47.91%) (Huh. Thought I got at least one. Well, I have most of the replacements ready to go, anyway)
49. mp3s (265/300 - 88.33%) (Another non-progress round. Cleared out a lot of podcasts and old-time radio, though)
65. Sushi (68/79 - 86.07%) (Eh, anything is good sometimes)
82. New DVD shelf (47/41 - 114.63%) (Another round where my purchases exactly matched my progress)

We'll see if this newly-active feeling helps clear out a few more entries, or if losing the free time balances it out.

Onward and upward.
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Valentine's! Scotch! 6 weeks' silence? [15 Feb 2015|03:58am]
I always viewed Valentine's Day as a good excuse for a date. I mean, unless I was two weeks into dating someone, in which case it was a chance to PANIC HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WHAT ARE WE CALLING IT AHHHH, but usually just an excuse.

Emily and I had our excuse-date last night, since she was working tonight. I got her a feather-flower and we went out to a steakhouse for a fancy dinner. Really good, too; terrific steak, a really complex soup, great service. But honestly, nothing huge. We basically agreed that next year we'll do the same, but mid-week on not-VD so that the crowds weren't as bad. We didn't do anything big and special, but we didn't feel the need; we're pretty affectionate when we're actually around each other (work schedule conflict lead to us being barely roommates a couple days a week), so it's not like we had to remind ourselves we were dating or anything.

One concrete thing that last night led to: I'm gonna get a scotch app for my phone, so that I remember the names when I try something at a restaurant. I got an ounce of Lagavullin 16 year; really firey and strong, but not my style. It was as strong as Laphroig, but not as complex. Just very one note. I prefer milder, smoother. And I really need a phone app to remind me, so that if I'm at another establishment picking a scotch, I can bring up a reference to what I've had before. So, off to the app store I go.


Found one. Not ideal (only lets you save five varieties without paying), but the interface has all I think I want. If it works well, I'll pay the $3 for unlimited entries. Man, I am way more stingy with $3 for apps than I am for $21 for scotch.

I haven't felt the drive to update lately, but figured 6 weeks was long enough. So here's an entry. Geocaching remains ridiculous (today marked day 365 of a streak, woo), writing remains absent (though the play currently in my head is bubbling over, so I have to make time soon to put some of it down). Fringe lotto in just over a week; Orphans is in again, as is Tedious Brief. Now, I'm off to watch old Doctor Who and try to be productive, maybe pay some bills.

The List, Day 774 (2/14); 30/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero Two (The Reckoning): Day 700 Checkin [03 Dec 2014|10:32pm]
Man, I don't even know what kept me so busy this period. I mean, yeah, Haunted Basement, but that's been over for a month and I've only made progress on the long-term goals. My brain is just full.

Updates since last postCollapse )

As it stands, Day 700 (12/2); 30/101 DoneCollapse )

Completed GoalsCollapse )

Long-term list items (percent to go):

19. Origami Cranes (50/1000 - 95.0%) (Still nothing. Serenity and meditation are hard to create)
44. Pulp magazines (103/212 - 48.58%) (Not enough, not by far. But a few down, a few down)
48. VHS (23/48 - 47.91%) (Nope, nothing here either)
49. mp3s (265/300 - 88.33%) (Didn't even try)
65. Sushi (69/79 - 87.34%) (More than usual. Not nearly enough for the average, but any delicious sushi is delicious)
82. New DVD shelf (47/41 - 114.63%) (Dead even; got one and finished it)

I don't know what else to say. I'm wiped out, despite not having a show right now. I guess a full-time job, geocaching streak, recently moved-in girlfriend, and adorable cat are enough to take up my time now. It's hell getting old.

Onward and upward.
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Haunted Basement: Le Grand Experiment [03 Nov 2014|09:24pm]
So the 2014 Haunted Basement is in the ground... man I really don't post much. Anyway, it's done, time to record my thoughts before they're warped by memory.

There was a lot of experimentation this year... different format, different approach, a proper rehearsal process. Rather than a track system of rooms, each designed by a different artist, the Basement was built en masse for Crime & Punishment during the Fringe, and then expanded and adjusted for the HB run. The Basement was a big, open environment: people were led in and dropped in multiple locations, then left to explore on their own until time expired and we forced them out. And instead of the room artists designing the inhabitants' costumes and scare tactics, then actors being plugged in those roles, a group of core actors auditioned and designed their own stories and characters, then volunteer actors were fit into the gaps to fill out the space. I was accepted as a core actor.

A lot of that fell apart quickly. The idea of stories and characters, with interlocked interactions in an immersive environment, was something I'd always wanted to try. It worked out wonderfully for Crime & Punishment, but halfway through the rehearsal process the leadership decided it just wasn't working for Haunted Basement. No one can focus on such things while being terrified, so either we wouldn't scare people or it would be wasted effort. So that went; we simplified our actions, simplified our beings down to the twisted monsters that the Basement does well, kept a bit of the ideas and moved on.

Then, well after the show opened and with a week left in the run, we changed format. No longer fully immersive environment, with random audience drops, for a specified time. Now, a couple of hours of steady running; audience entering one end and seeking the other, but with the option to turn back and experience more. Not fully a track, but much closer to a track to any other description.

All of the changes were made for a reason; apparently audience feedback upstairs was much more negative than in past years before the change in format (for the first week, I sought out the comment book and noticed negative remarks... then I noticed that they stopped leaving out the comment book). The feedback got significantly more positive after the change, so it obviously worked. But it was still pretty disappointing, and very disconcerting to change so many horses in midstream.

I'm not often tempted to join the other side of the table in a show, but I'd like to know what sort of conversations are going to go on about HB2015. I still think we learned a lot this year, and a lot of the changes certainly felt like improvements from the performer side. And the immersive environment excites me in a way that the track doesn't... just the change to chase someone back and forth thru familiar rooms, then drop them in a side room they haven't seen before, was a great deal of fun. For them too, I think. I had an impulse partway into the run to inquire about becoming an AD next year. It was a fleeting impulse, not as strong now, but I'll give it a couple of months and reconsider it. I've done this 5 years now, and it might be time to stretch new muscles down there.

Or maybe I've already overextended myself enough and don't need to add more to my plate. Either way.

The List, Day 671 (11/3); 30/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero Two (The Reckoning): Day 600 Checkin [25 Aug 2014|03:05am]
A surprisingly production hundred days, considering that Fringe was in there, and it's looking like I have theatrical bookings thru the end of the year. Good times. Life keeps my focus elsewhere, as always, but I still keep scratching away.

Updates since last postCollapse )

As it stands, Day 600 (8/24); 30/101 DoneCollapse )

Four down. Pretty good, really, considering how busy this chunk was. I've hit another patch where life is more important than this list, but enough overlap is happening that I'm still hitting portions of it.

Completed GoalsCollapse )

Long-term list items (percent to go):

19. Origami Cranes (50/1000 - 95.0%) (Still nothing. I'm well off the routine. Soon?)
44. Pulp magazines (109/212 - 51.41%) (Way down in my average; I finished the big compilation book, but the stacks remain imposing. Ah well. If I don't finish the pile, it'll go on the next list. The important thing is, really, that I'm enjoying the stories. That feels pretty vital to doing this at all)
48. VHS (23/48 - 47.91%) (Mostly recent hits, but I did over 10% in this tenth. The shelf is looking more and more respectable)
49. mp3s (265/300 - 88.33%) (Once again, not a scrap of progress. Mainly because I barely even listen to mp3s anymore. When I listen, I'm too busy trying to catch up on podcasts)
65. Sushi (71/79 - 89.87%) (I've definitely been going for quality over quantity over here. Man, that one time I went was good)
82. New DVD shelf (47/41 - 114.63%) (Wow. I had a good run there, but I always forget how many I have to clear to so much as break even with where I started. I'm *almost* done buying up the VHS replacements, so at least this number is unlikely to rise any further. Now, to drive it down some more)
94. Caching Difficulty/Terrain (0/34 - 0%) (Done. See above. Rock on)

The time ahead seems busy, but I'm past due to sit down with the list and really work out plans for some of these. The tattoo in particular feels like it should be soon... stay tuned.

Onward and upward.
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Fringe Orphans the Third [12 Aug 2014|01:33am]
Another Fringe is done. Long live the Fringe! Also thank Gods, because I am exhausted.

For the last few weeks, my head has been a bag of cats. Just stress, and confusion, and scatteredness. Obviously, not the best mindset to run a production. But it got done anyway; with the assistance of my co-producer, and the abilities of my collaborators, and some forcing of my mind to razor up and do things that needed doing, and not a little luck, it got done, and we've finished year three. So what's to say?

This year wasn't as successful as previous years. Smaller houses, worse audience reviews, fewer professional reviews overall. Artistically, though, I think we were up to par. Good scenes, funny or touching or just plain weird. No big breakout hit, like "Sound of Food" last year, but that was a surprise by itself. So it isn't really surprising not to have it repeated.

The bad reviews bothered me the most, obviously. But aside from the fact that no one likes bad reviews, I eventually figured out what bothered me the most; the audiences were really responsive. Laughs, applause between scenes, gasps at startling bits, the whole nine yards. But that wasn't being reflected online; Orphans has always drawn a varied response, but this year only the negative reviews were being written. I know for a fact that a few of the people who enjoyed it don't write reviews (local theater friends who don't want to cause drama from that end), and a few good reviews went up after the third performance, but by then I think the bad reviews had done their damage, and our houses stayed small.

I blame myself, of course, since that's how I work. Also, it's certainly no one else's fault that I can discern. One thing that mitigates, and is actually kind of hilarious, is the continuing thread in a couple of reviews of hipsterism. "I used to like this show, but now it sucks", that sort of thing, to varying degrees. But nonetheless, there's lessons to be learned. And since I'm actually putting together a to-do list for next year, so that I don't forget anything or anyone this time, let's put down what lessons I've figured out.

--Let other people do things. I have a co-producer. My girlfriend is an experienced stage manager. This can happen; let it.
--DO THINGS. This is the hardest lesson I've ever learned, and I have to relearn it all the time. When what I have to do seems overwhelming, nothing makes it feel more possible than actually DOING SOME OF IT. No procrastination, no avoidance. Do the things, so that there are less things to do.
--Make a schedule. That's part of the list I'm making now. Send out e-mails two weeks before a deadline, minimum. There was too much last-minute catchup this year.
--Marketing. Do some of that. Not just word-of-mouth. Real stuff.
--Networking. This Fringe was rough because I was burned out and badly needed introvert time, so I ended up skipping a whole bunch of days. That just fed the cycle, really.

Other things too. But that's the main list of lessons. Who knows how much difference it'll make if I actually put them into practice, but that's all I can do. Better than I've done. Because here's what I know for sure- I've had two ideas pitched for Fringe Orphans 4 already, and they're both wildly different from anything in the past three years. So I suppose I have to keep going. I'm thinking Fringe Orphans 4: Back in the Habit. See y'all there.

The List, Day 587 (8/11); 28/101 DoneCollapse )
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#AllEverybody [21 Jun 2014|04:32am]
So I'm a bit late on this one, but hey, isn't society as a whole.

So misogyny has become a trending topic lately. Best way to put it, really. The Men's Rights Movement has gone from pathetic to pretty scary, and from what research I've done lately, rightfully so. The fact that I felt the need to do research says a lot, really. I'd openly dismissed them before as pathetic dinosaurs at best, youtube trolling comments come to life at worst. But now someone up and shot some people because he wasn't getting laid at the high frequency he felt he deserved. And that's horrifying.

Admittedly, it's horrifying in the same way as Columbine was horrifying in regards to Doom. Those two had designed Doom levels that mirrored their high school, and killing people over and over in there probably helped desensitize them, but Doom didn't cause the shooting any more than Men's Rights caused this one. What they did was give someone who was crazy, sociopathic, and/or easily influenced a way to act horribly and feel justified in it. So men's rights didn't CAUSE this shooting. But they sure as hell harbored it, and permitted it, and many voices in its ranks are reveling in it, forgiving it, even celebrating it. Several people dying pointlessly from a pathetic hate is a terrible thing. Voices crying out in triumph and encouragement is far, FAR worse.

I was fortunate enough in the memespread afterwards to be tagged on Facebook in a status celebrating men who fully believed in feminist rights, and acted in a way that showed it. I was flattered, and a little surprised, because while I've always believed in equal rights among the two genders (and all the spectrum between the two clear sides), I don't think I've really done anything special to stand out as such. I don't volunteer for organizations, I haven't spoken out in a big way to support some issue. I responded to the post that I believe in "human" rights, and all the feminist and GLBTQ and racial issues settle down into that bracket once you accept that everyone involved is a human. It's true enough, albeit a bit precious to say. Everyone's human; what do you believe humans deserve to have? Make that list, and then apply it to all. The details will vary a bit from person to person, and sometimes the variation might feel uncomfortable or gross, but "uncomfortable" and "gross" are terrible reasons to deny someone a basic human right. Just make it their business, ask 'em not to tell you, and never ask questions about it.

One thing that I believe everyone deserves to have is a chance to have sex. Sex is pretty great, and I'm not afraid to say it. But one thing I DON'T believe everyone deserves is to have sex. Big difference there, and it's what bothers me closest to the surface of the Men's Rights Movement. The belief expressed there is that they aren't having enough sex, with the women they want, and that they deserve it for whatever reason. Now, I've been a Nice Guy almost all of my life. It's gotten me laid sometimes (including this point of my life- high five!). But, I've also gotten Not Laid. I've gotten Not Laid a lot more often, really. I've Not Had Sex with WAY more women than I've Had Sex Yay High Five. (aside; since this is about misogyny, I'm simplifying it and leaving out all talk of my bisexuality and male experience/lack thereof). So, there have been plenty of times when I've fallen into the trap of Nice Guy, where I get frustrated that women aren't sexing me. Because I "deserved it", or I was "friendzoned", or "women only want *thing I'm not*". And it's only recently that I've realized how bullshit all those arguments are. And not just because I can count on less than one hand the number of times I was legitimately led on, as opposed to blindness and optimism and denial mixed in one.

No, it's because no one ever *deserves* sex, and no one ever *owes* someone sex. Even in the boundaries of a relationship, where one person might feel like it's been uneven and they want a bigger share than they're getting. You can demand, you can fight, you can break up over it, but *only* the other person can decide if you get sex. Anything else is vanity.

Okay, quick story. One time I almost committed date rape by accident.

Short version: she'd said she didn't want anything, I agreed not to try, we had a pseudo-date, stuff started happening, I was actively pursuing and she was going along without resisting. She didn't say 'no' in any way, but she didn't really say 'yes' either. I felt really weird about it, so I stopped and asked if she wanted to go on. She paused, thought, and said no. We stopped altogether.

I made a lot of bad choices that night, but pausing to ask was a good one. Maybe the best choice I ever made, because I knew on some level what her answer was and I asked anyway. And that night SUCKED after that. For various reasons, I was sleeping on her couch, so I couldn't just leave and get some distance. Things were very strained between us for a while, although I think we're back to fine now. Also: blue balls exist, and they hurt. So all of that sucked. But I didn't become a rapist. That's worth more.

I don't know how to wrap this up. So I'll just say that, really, I'm a very vain and selfish person, and that's prevented me from going down a darker path that I'm on. Because no matter how much I deluded myself; no matter how much I "deserved" sex because I was SO NICE, I didn't want to have sex unless the other person wanted to, with me. It's just... it's so much BETTER that way. That's my thesis, if I have one; to get laid in the right way, you have to work really hard, and get really lucky, and spend more than a few awful, AWFUL nights just totally failing to get laid. And it's so, so much better than getting laid in the wrong way. Or trying to, failing, and thinking that justifies shooting someone in the head.


The List, Day 535 (6/20); 27/101 DoneCollapse )
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Project Zero Two (The Reckoning): Day 500 Checkin [17 May 2014|04:37am]
A quiet hundred days. Decent progress on the long-term goals, but nothing else picked off on the side. A family trip and various personal stuff worried away the time otherwise; I haven't sat down to focus on the list itself in quite a while. Eh, life gets in the way; so it goes. No regrets.

Updates since last postCollapse )

As it stands, Day 500 (5/16); 26/101 DoneCollapse )

Not only did I not finish any, I realized my math went wrong somewhere, so I actually lost a peg. Well, realized I only had 26 rather than 27. I'm still way overdue for a coffee shop writing day, but it may be a while yet. Fringe is coming up, after all. Hell, maybe I should have a coffee shop day for that.

Completed GoalsCollapse )

Long-term list items (percent to go):

19. Origami Cranes (50/1000 - 95.0%) (None here either. That's pathetic. I need to make this a meditation routine)
44. Pulp magazines (117/212 - 55.18%) (Fell off a bit in the last couple of weeks, but finished well over 10% of the total. I'm now down to two titles, two big stacks of magazines and a pretty thick book. I'm not sure if I'll keep it up as other aspects of life take precedence, but every issue finished is done, so I'll clear what I can)
48. VHS (28/48 - 58.33%) (Didn't catch up to the total average, but cleared more than a tenth. And have enough on the DVD shelf to knock out a bunch more. On with the entertaining)
49. mp3s (265/300 - 88.33%) (Nope. Didn't even touch 'em. Didn't even TRY to touch 'em)
65. Sushi (72/79 - 91.13%) (Well, one down. Sushi just isn't the priority it once was. Man, I want it now that I'm thinking about it, though)
82. New DVD shelf (51/41 - 124.39%) (Woo! Huge progress! Over halfway towards what it was in the first place! wooooo)
94. Caching Difficulty/Terrain (8/34 - 23.52%) (Only knocked out a couple, but still way ahead of the needed average. And have a couple more challenges on my radar to clear. Will keep fighting)

So, some good, some bad, not much else to say. My focus is elsewhere right now. So it goes, and we shall see how that continues.

Onward and upward.
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Eastern trip, Emily, my grandfather [10 May 2014|05:49pm]
Emily and I just got back from a road trip cross-country, MN to NH. It took a few days to make the trip each way; we did a ton of geocaching, impulse-brought the cat, and saw more of my family than I expected and even a couple of hers. During the trip back, my grandfather died.

It wasn't a surprise. He'd been going downhill for years; Parkinson's is a slow road down. And while we were there, the hospice nurse told us it was likely a matter of days. But it's hard as expected. He was my grandfather, and now he's gone. All the rest is details. I'm thankful Emily got to meet him before he went. We're pretty sure he was still present when we first arrived, and she's sure there was a glimmer in his eyes when they met. I hope who she was penetrated all the way into his mind. She's important to me; it would be nice to know if he saw that.

He was a great man, my grandfather. He invented the idea of satellite-directed navigation, figured out how to make it work, worked on the first American object sent into orbit (that's still there!), loved covered bridges and wood plant clocks, had a loving marriage of 68 years, and would totally lie about squirrels out the window behind you in order to steal your ice cream. Goodbye, grampa.

The List, Day 494 (5/10); 26/101 DoneCollapse )
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Non-entry Project Zero update [04 Apr 2014|11:55pm]
Nothing to say today... well, plenty to say, but no time or motivation to make a journal entry. Suffice it to say: don't forget to actually do things, you idiot. That's how you AVOID panicky attacks. Anyway, list catchup:

The List, Day 458 (4/4); 26/101 DoneCollapse )

Love, luck, and lollipops!
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