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February 18th, 2013

So much to tell

Saturday I did as planned, went to the apartment office, showed The Letter to the rep, and had her relay the message to the asstmanager who wrote it that one does not send a collection notice to someone to whom you have not previously sent a bill. And one does not set a deadline of less than 48 hours for payment. And one does not send it using boilerplate which suggests opening an auto-pay account to someone who has had an auto-pay account since last October. And one does not post said notice outside the apartment door, as it is tacky, not a legally binding notice (no proof of delivery), and shouts "nobody's home!".

Next stop, a place called Click Away to see what they would charge to fix the camera lens on the Samsung. $150 or so. Have to think about that.

Most of the afternoon was spent building the Brigadoon backup web site. HTML by hand was tedious, but the diversity of material and naming required it. Maybe. I got about 70% done before it was time to go to MV and meet Janice for coffee and then to see a play down the block from there.

Janice finally told me all about her trip to NJ to be a Red Cross volunteer. Lots of drama, FEMA has cut so many people loose who still don't have places to live, and rents have skyrocketed. Also lots of drama among the volunteers, some of whom had no idea how much work they were expected to do.

Got to the theater in plenty of time, especially since the house opened only 10 minutes before curtain. Staged reading of a new musical called In The Hands of the Raven, by SF composer Peter Alexander. How I got to this show goes like this: I was in a Palo Alto Players production of Jekyll & Hyde - The Musical which starred Melissa O'Keefe and Cliff McCormick. Both were great to work with and very talented singing & acting. Peter brought them in to sing some tunes he had written, did a few cabaret shows with them (I went to one) and some of those songs plus a few others were fitted into a story Peter had in his head. He had gone to Alaska, was astounded by the number of ravens there, did some research on native American folklore and then wrote something which ignores all that and goes off in his own direction.

Basically, he changes the natives' belief that the raven is a joker and thief and turns them into the beings in the afterlife which Christians would call angels, watching over us. With the Hindu twist that the ravens in the afterlife are the souls of people who have died, and who will be reincarnated Real Soon Now.

This was a staged reading, everyone had scripts which they used more or less, the stage was mostly bare, with the occasional table, some folding chairs and a podium. Music was provided by a grand piano in the corner which should not have had its top open even a little in this voice-smothering space. The pianist also played an device which looked like a small accordion without keys, a shaker and a rain stick. She and a couple of the cast played a hand-held round drum now and then.

I can't give a real review, because the cast mostly could not be heard in the side seat I was in, and almost all the lyrics were lost to the too-open piano. People in the reserved center section obviously heard more than I did. But I got the gist, and have some conclusions. One is the title is wrong, as there are several ravens, and the actors playing living people are definitely not in their hands. The theme is dealing with grief (or more accurately, not dealing with it). I liked many of the tunes, will check out the lyrics sometime soon.

After the show the stage turned into a reception (neat trick, because the final scene is a reception) and Melissa found me to ask what I thought, in detail. And I got some hugs. I am blown away that someone as talented and famous and beautiful is thrilled to see me. But I'm not going to fight it. The director also buttonholed me, he asked me if I would sit down with him sometime 1-on-1 and give feedback. He has seen me in a lot of shows, and wants some experienced honest opinions. I said yes, of course.  I also got a chance to chat with some of the cast. Everyone did great, but I wish they had found someone to play Melissa's mother who could sing. Not required for that part, but helpful. They built very clever pleated raven wings which I really liked. The only other costumes were some dresses for Melissa and a red one for "Candi Apple".

While I was not blown away by the show, I'm looking forward to the next step. Hopefully a fully staged production in a small theater. They have their sights set for off-Broadway, but I think LA is a better choice for this material.

Day of Sun

It took till 10, but when I finally opened the blinds the sun was very bright and it was 75° on the patio. In the sun. Out of the sun it was 59.

Kaan had wanted me to play fetch, but I didn't find this out till I made the bed and his toy was there. I slept through it. He's also not sneezing much, which is good. Meanwhile, Domino is being more affectionate.

Lots of targeted errands. Dropped the phone off at Click Away, did the math and it would be much less to repair than replace. Then to Penny's for a quilt and a wallet. The place is coming to the end of a vast remodeling project, the object of which seems to have been to hide the cashier stations, remove all useful signage (including all the directories by the escalators), and create long lines of angry customers. And make pricing a guessing game.

After a long hunt I found the quilts, most of them on clearance. Yay. I found three identical ones with a retail price of $100 , one was marked down to $80, one to $60 and one to $50. I took the $50 one. Waited in line for 10 minutes at the "customer service" counter (all the cashier stations are called this) watching two staffers in a 4-register setup try to handle President's Day Weekend sales crowds. When I got to the cash register, the cashier couldn't make the new remote control scanner work, she finally picked up the hard-wired one which worked fine. She said the quilt had been marked down further to $36. Excellent. When I got home and looked at the receipt it said $30. Even better.

Went upstairs, found the same style wallet I have been using (mine got torn and needed replacing). Was in line for 15 minutes, this time three staffers with only 2 registers, one of which was tied up by a lady whose receipt had not printed, and none of the three cashiers had the sense to call a manager right away and clear the transaction so it didn't hold up the line. The man behind her timed it at 17 minutes to get a receipt. :-(

Was not feeling 100%, so dropped the stuff off in the car, found a restroom and then went to the food court for a diet Coke. It didn't help much.

On the way home, stopped at the produce store for bananas and limes and celery. Also got tangelos. Backtracked to Safeway for kitty crack and ice cream, and on the way out bought some Girls Scout crack aka Thin Mints.

Home, finished the Brigadoon site, emailed the cast & crew.

Dinner was celery with home made onion dip (I used light sour cream, but there used to be something called Imo which was non-dairy I wanted to use but have not seen it in the stores. Must research that) and the last 8 pieces of frozen dim sum. And ice cream. And 3 thin mints.

Unpacking the groceries, there were only 9 Fancy Feast cans. I had put 10 on the conveyor belt. The receipt says I only paid for 9. I wonder where the 10th went...

Seeing lots of tweets and FB posts from friends who are at Gallifrey 1, the LA Dr. Who convention. I used to love that show, but then they brought on below-par companions and the final straw was Matt Smith whose face looks like he used it to break out of prison, and his skin is unnaturally pale. And I don't like what he has done to The Doctor. I ditched Torchwood when they traded intelligence for blood and gore. So that's not a con I'd enjoy overly much.

Put the last 600 Thailand slides back in their binders. Gathered up the B&W negatives from the same time period, estimated 1800 frames (but that's at 36 frames per roll for 50 rolls and it's going to be somewhat fewer). Found a place relatively nearby, Burlingame, which charges too much, but at least they do them. Costco doesn't. Boxed them up, went online and placed an order, which included UPS shipping labels and a 50% deposit. Ouch. Will send them off tomorrow.

Plans for tomorrow:
Up early, 9 am team meeting
Ship the negatives
Brigadoon rehearsal 

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