September 10th, 2006


Review: Bill of (W)Rights

RTE, the Renegade Theatre Experiment, opened their production Friday night of this team-written play which is designed to shock, educate and provoke Deep Thought about what is happening to the Bill of Rights these days.

With one exception, the cast is outstanding. The directing (by Susannah Greenwood) defies classification because the way the show was presented also defies classification. Part of the "Experiment" was to shake things up a bit by not having all of the audience see all of the show in the same order, or in the same room. After the first couple of scenes, the audience is split in half, with half remaining in the theater and the other half herded into a small room in the theater annex, a rehearsal hall, I think. We also saw scenes in an outdoor courtyard (which is a poor choice on windy and chilly fall nights), the hallway outside the main auditorium, and the Green Room.

The general idea of each scene was to take one of the 10 amendments and show how it has eroded in our society, or could under the wrong circumstances. Except for the opening and closing scenes, which were more general.

The opening scene starts with the cast shouting "fire". The theater wasn't all that crowded, and the layout of the auditorium is such that had there been an actual fire, we would have known it, so the point fell flat. There were a few times when the playwrights missed the mark  by either using tired old arguments or by making a scene more complex than it had to be to prove the point.

I'll be honest and say that one reason I went was I was told there would be nudity onstage. There was, on the part of the very attractive Alika Spencer in the opening scene, but it didn't serve any purpose that I could tell. I suppose the fact that she had a swastika tattooed where one might ordinarily expect to find pubic hair may have been some sort of free expression statement, but she had arrived onstage in an Nazi Chick outfit, and obviously was representing that sector, so having her strip struck me as gratuitous.

Also, nobody else got naked, which was disappointing, and made Alika's nudity even more out of place. Perhaps if, during that opening scene,  the whole cast stripped...

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Despite my dings and jabs, I think this show well worth seeing, and recommend it.

Bill of (W)Rights continues through -
well isn't that special: They don't say in the program, I'll have to look on the web site, which also is not in the program. Oh. Here it is on my faves list.
September 23 at
Historic Hoover Theater
1635 Park Avenue
San José , CA 95126

All performances begin at 8pm except Sunday.
Sunday performances begin at 2pm.

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Today was Pumpkin and Domino's annual trip to the vet. Domino is 10 and Pumpkin is 8, so I was encouraged to have the full Senior Cat Workup done on them. I declined last year because I could not afford it. This time around I have a job, money in the bank, and some concern about Pumpkin's health and Domino's age.

Bottom line was almost $900, which included a year's supply of Frontline to share between them (not on the original menu). Turns out the health concern I had about Pumpkin seems to be shared more quietly in Domino, and the doctor says it's probably fleas. Highly likely, since they spend time on the patio, which is accessible to fleas. I haven't seen any actual fleas on them, but doc says it's because there aren't many and the cats groom them off. But the bites still have an effect.

As usual, they cried all the way there, and for most of the time they were there. One surprise is Domino went right into her carrier with no bother. Pumpkin had to be poured and shoe-horned in.  At the office, Domino needed to be poured out but Pumpkin came out no problemo. They have both lost weight (which is a good thing) with Domino at 14 lbs and Pumpkin just over 19 lbs. There will be a further donation to the cause in a couple of months, Pumpkin needs his teeth cleaned again.
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Five DVDs? I Thought there were only 4!

So I'm looking at the 4th DVD of Doctor Who Series 2, and it doesn't have the final episodes which have been mentioned in recent posts on the Whovian LJ communities. I go online to and see there is a final DVD which won't be released until the end of the month. I ordered it, but what a bummer to have to wait so long. I watched the final episode on disc 4 tonight, and thought it was very clever. Told through the eyes of a Londoner whose life was touched by many of the episodes in Series 1 and 2. And the girl who plays his heart throb has a very familiar voice. I'm trying to figure it out all through the episode, and the credits don't show me a familiar name, and then it hits me.

She is Shirley Henderson, aka Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter!

New Tech Meetup

This took place last Thursday in Palo Alto. The purpose is to give a forum for new tech demos, and this time around it was a combination of web sites and web services. On the agenda were:

* - Video publishing over easy! [Joe Hurd]

This is a service which has been sold to AOL and others to make a YouTube - like community available to their members. There is no direct sign-up, these guys make their money by selling a service to corporations. Not a bad plan. Looked like a pretty solid interface.
* - Your garage online! [Ethan Lance and Dave Snider]

A strictly amateur operation, pimp your ride online. The founders apparently have no personal interest in cars, they just saw a niche market and filled it. Pretty attractive design.
* - Buy, sell and create custom products [Jeff Beaver]

CafePress on steroids. With Zazzle you can upload your own art work, and use it to design T-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, etc. and they will create and ship them for you. I'm going to give this a try with my Titanic T-shirt design if I can ever find the original artwork I did. 

* - Keep an eye on your world [Bryan Quinn]

For a mere 34% of the price, these folks will market your digital photographs. I've tried the GUI and found a couple of stupid programming errors, but when I have time I'll upload some of my stock photos and see if anyone bites. I tried from Google's lame wireless connection, but it was too slow, and another stupid programming error wouldn't allow me to do anything. I didn't have time to mess with it, but will later. Will let you know. The web design is too busy and not intuitive, which is probably why this site's users are mostly in Europe.

Vincent Luria has done an outstanding job of organizing these meetups, but it needs to go to the next level - we're outgrown the lovely venue DLA provides. Apple Town Hall, HP Auditorium or some such would be a good next step.

Next Step for Google

Now that Google has wired Mountain View for wireless, incredibly poorly, I might add, what's their next step?

Fiber to the homeless.
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