May 5th, 2013


Beauty Sleep

Got lots of sleep last night. Yay!
Did nothing useful until about 3, when I headed for PA to be early enough at Starbucks to buy Janice a half price frappuccino, since she might not get there before 5. She got there at 4. That gave us a lot of time to chat.

From there to Lucie Stern Theater, way early, which let me sit in the shade on a park bench far from the screaming children, and read A Box of Oxen, Alan Dean Foster. I always enjoy his writing, and this one starts quickly and is keeping up the pace.

Picked up my ticket and sat in the garden in front of the theater with the others, they did not open the front doors until after 7:30 - odd, because they usually open for concessions at 7, and open the house for seating at 7:30. The show started about 10 minutes late, too.

Miss Saigon by Palo Alto Players was a mixed bag for me, but 90% of the mix was excellent. Teeny tiny Katherine Dela Cruz as Kim was out of this world, a total rock star. Strong voice, all the acting skills a director could want, and she did okay impersonating a Vietnamese. Brain Palac as The Engineer was given many completely over the top assignments, and he was world class in performing those. I did not like those numbers, they were too long, too insane and did not move the show along, but he didn't let that keep him from nailing them.

John was played by Adrien Gleason, who was one of the stars of my last SBMT show, and he was very good, with a stunning solo to lead off Act II. They did the show as a 2-act, but it looks like it was written to be 3. The audience could have used a break before the "3 years later" section.

Ed Hunter's lighting was great, impressive right from the start. There was a lot of scrim work, flys, spotlights and cyc effects in the show and the action was usually weighted to favor stage left.

Costumes were a mess. The People's Republic army uniforms were too ornate, way too much insignia & piping. The bar girls were wearing all the wrong kinds of outfits in both the Saigon and Bangkok bars, but that wasn't nearly as bad as dressing the female Bangkok street vendors in formal Vietnamese gowns. Speaking of women, only two of the bar girls had figures which would be seen in a SE Asian bar. Most were too fat and too tall. I understand more than 200 people auditioned for this show, I bet a lot of women who looked the part were turned away. In some shows, the reason is they need to also be strong singers, but not in this one.

One of the PR things they did early on was hint that they might have a helicopter on stage. They made a mock-up of a cockpit and front door which was "flown" in from stage right, way upstage. It was tacky and fake, but it would have worked for me if they had not put a stuffed dummy's torso & head in the pilot's seat. Hueys in the Saigon evacuation  had heavily tinted windows, you probably would not have seen the pilot.

Danny Gould, playing Chris, had some issues with articulation and staying on key. It's a tough part to play, and I don't think he go enough guidance from the director. Lindsay Stark, playing Ellen, Chris' American wife, was unconvincing in both her acting and looks. This is supposed to be a woman attractive enough to make Chris forget his fantasy wife. She sang well, though.

Enough already. It was a good show, I'm glad I saw it, and am recommending it to others. One more weekend to run.

Plans for tomorrow:

Fremont: Take the camera to Ardenwood Farms in south Fremont, then up to Fremont auto mall to see car dealerships there, starting with an appointment at Chevy.

Weather Break

I wasn't wrong to disbelieve the forecasts of rain today, but the heat wave broke and it was mostly cloudy when I went out at about 1 pm. Headed across the Bay to Ardenwood Farm hoping to get pictures of the new baby sheep. The clouds were high enough that shooting conditions were excellent. I've been there a few times before, so already had pix of most everything else, so I didn't take many.

Got to the animal pens, and saw the baby sheep were no longer newborns, a news article about their birth was dated February. Merino sheep, fluffy and round and cute, but not babies. However, there were baby goats. They were pretty cute. And a baby turkey vulture, who wasn't.

I didn't get any outstanding pictures, nothing worth sharing.

At 3 I headed for Fremont Auto Mall Parkway, stopped off at the el-huge shopping center for lunch, and was still early for my appointment at Chevy so I stopped by Honda to refresh my memory of the console of the Fit. It has the speedometer in the center, which is Good.

On the Chevy, the internet salesguy was great, but it was clear the available packages for the Cruze didn't fit what I was looking for. We also tried the voice control, and it was a total joke. It didn't follow its own syntax, and mostly just misheard me. And the rep. It kept asking me if I wanted to switch languages to French.

We did, however, solve the in and out problem - position the driver's seat low and back.

I'm closer to a decision, now. Not much, but some:

If I get a Honda or Chevy, it will be without Nav, I'll put in an after-market unit.
For Ford, I would get their nav system.

No hybrid - the price tag and amount of space the battery eats up are not worth the emotional spike.

Honda Fit
Ford Focus
Chevy Cruze

are the finalists. Toyota Corolla is sort of in the running, but Toyota's prices may knock it out of contention.

Back home by way of the bridge, I had  chance to test my FasTrack unit. Have had it for almost 3 months, but did not make any bridge trips or rush hour commuter lane runs. No cops chased me, I figure it worked.

Dinner was baked beans and a slab of Costco beef ribs, which were scrumptious. After dinner as I was watching something on PBS, Kaan hopped up on the recliner, and spread himself along the left arm, and was happy to stay there till I got up.

Got a notice that my Google bonus shares, which normally would have been doled out over 4 years, had all vested. I sold them all, which means paying income tax on the gross and capital gains on the net. It wasn't many shares, but Obama will get about 1/3. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:
Work (10 am team meeting)
Black Cat Whiskey world premiere at a cinema in Cupertino, an indie movie starring a long time theater pal Jeremy Koerner.