Yes, this is another one of those omnibus blog entries, comprised of several things that are on my mind lately but aren’t meaty enough to be entries in and of themselves. Or I’m too lazy to make them so.
I spent some time with Mila, our big blue and gold macaw, this morning as I do most mornings, but she was particularly interactive today. She does talk; her vocabulary is small but specialized, and it’s not often that she utters more than a word or two, but once in a while she seems to build up her nerve and blurt out a whole sentence. I was running a little late, and as I got out of the shower she yelled, “Bad! Gotta go! Bye Bye!” She’s pretty good about spotting when I’m late for work and letting me know about it. But I can’t for the life of me figure out how she does this.
Birds don’t operate on the arbitrary, fixed hours humans do. Their days are referenced to sunrise and sunset, which change throughout the year relative to time of day. But somehow, without fail, Mila knows when it’s time for me to leave, often to the very minute. What’s adjusting her clock? Perhaps she’s just sensing the time that passes between the time Allison leaves (around 7) and the time I should leave. However she’s doing it, she’s very reliable.
In other news, a local group has done a very ugly, cruel thing to a dear friend of mine, and for a couple of days I’ve been extremely angry about it. I wrote a letter to that group telling them exactly what I thought of their decision, and they’ve probably had it in their hands for a day or so. There are also rumors spreading, rumors apparently designed to make the action seem justifiable. It’s not and the rumors are patently false. The whole thing stinks, and I’ve distanced myself from that group and shall not work with them again. I’m giving them some time to respond to the letter but hold out little hope that they’ll consider it significant. So watch this space and social media. I may have to drop some truth to head off the disinformation.
I’m learning a new programming language, one called Ruby. Many say it’s a language of declining importance and popularity, but to me it’s fascinating in its unique features and syntax. I’m not learning it for any practical purpose; I’ve been learning new programming languages since I was 15 and I’m pretty multilingual. I have a good working knowledge of several forms of BASIC, Fortran, Algol, Pascal, c, php, perl, forth, and LISP. I can write adequate, pedestrian code in a few more: Java, RPG, PL/1, APL, Snobol, and TECO (if you count it as a language: its programs look a lot like line noise). It’s just fun to learn new methods of converting thoughts into tools. As Niklaus Wirth, inventor of Pascal and Algol, titled one of his books, “Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs.”
I’ve been very anxious lately. A lot of things in my life aren’t going the way I’d like them to, and feeling out of control in that way is extremely uncomfortable. I’m constantly nervous. To steal a bit of imagery from comedian Stephen Wright: “You know that feeling you get when you’re sitting in a chair and you lean back so you’re just on two legs, and you lean too far so that you almost fall, but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time.” I’m taking a break from theatre stuff … I’ve got about a month before I’ll have to start serious work on Aida, with nothing intervening except a couple of simple, one-night events. Maybe some rest and some focus on home, studio, and life will help.
I did work a straight play recently as an assistant to the A1, a young sound designer named Brittany, and it was quite enjoyable. I got to put together some of the sound effects for the show and ran them while calling cues. Around The World In 80 Days is a comedy take on Jules Verne’s classic tale, and the cast brought far, far more hilarity to the production than a mere script can lay claim to. The director, a fine young actress and singer who was well known in local theatre before I ever moved here, did a tremendous job pulling it together. It was a genuinely good, drama-free, pleasant experience of the sort I’d like to have more of.
My top-secret project, one I started working on right after RENT, remains at a standstill, and I think I’m kind of stuck. I’m not sure how to proceed with it. I’ll be getting back to that shortly, because it involves music and recording and that always lifts my spirits once I get deeply involved.
To my Jewish friends, Shanah Tovah. I understand that the traditional holiday greeting translates to “Good Year,” a sentiment so universal that someone actually painted it in huge letters on the side of a blimp!