February 5th, 2014

The Gov - Nightshirt

A Trip To Skid Row

Starting at the middle and working my way outward.

Tonight's adventure was going to the home of a Sunnyvale Community Players board member to audition for Little Shop of Horrors. Apparently the person they cast as Mushnik either said no, dropped out, or they didn't find a match through the audition process. The director found me on Facebook, messaged me an invitation to audition, and tonight was it.

I had brought music, but the music director was already in callbacks mode, meaning teaching me one of Mushnik's songs from the score. He did a good job of breaking it down into bite-sized pieces, and I did a good job of breaking it and leaving pieces scattered on the floor by the piano. It's a patter song, which is bad enough, but on top of that the words and they lyrics don't quite jive, and even when they do the syntax is not natural to me. Funny thing is when he switched from playing the melody to just the accompaniment, I got it a lot better. It's a really cute tango. The fellow playing Seymour showed up in time for me to yell at him. Nice guy, cute as a button with a Velcro top.

After many many run-throughs of the 32 bars or so we rehearsed, the director and production staff were called in to hear me totally not nail it, and then Seymour and I read a couple of pages from the script. That I nailed. But it's going to be a challenge learning lines because the script puts both stage directions and yelled lines in the same font & size italics.

Director kept a poker face, thanked me for coming all the way out for just a few minutes of audition (it was actually almost half an hour), and said he would message me on Facebook tonight.

Thai Pepper is a cleverly hidden restaurant on the way home, also happens to be across the street from Michelle's Nails. I'd been meaning to try it, and as it was only 8 and they are open till 9, I did. The place is huge and the decor is nice, with some gorgeous pieces of Thai temples which are probably illegal to export from there. The location sucks and the prices are high, even for a Thai place, and even though there were about a dozen customers, the place looked empty. The waitress spoke un-accented English, I asked in English if she spoke Thai, and she said "what?" So I asked in Thai, and from then on it was all in Bangkok Thai. I ordered chicken satay, basil seafood and white rice and Thai Iced tea. The satay was very American, thick pieces of chicken, cut enough halfway down the stickto fork off easily. The peanut sauce was bland, soupy and without actual peanut bits. Cuke and onion bits in vinegar were just right, though. The irony here is those are to cut the spiciness of the peanut sauce, of which there was none. The main dish came out while I was still working on the second satay stick (out of 5? 6?). I had asked for not spicy and that's what I got, but I had not asked for not tasty. The calamari rings were way too chewy, but the scallops and fish bits were good, and so was the shrimp once I pulled off the tails. WTF is it with tail-on shrimp in Thai sauté? The iced tea was very good, authentic. $28 was a bit too much, but I took home half of each dish, so maybe not.

It took a while to flag down my waitress because I was way at one end of the place and the kitchen was way at the other end. I should have sat closer so I could hear the kitchen conversation, which is usually amusing and at my vocabulary level.

Work was a summer festival. Boss figured out what was wrong with the database, but he needed to reset it, which didn't happen today. Instead he assigned me a test of an undocumented feature which I could not get to work because it didn't. The directions were screwy. And somewhere in there our network went down, which set me back to square 1 transferring a boatload of files.

Attended a meeting on another feature I own and the good news is they are adopting an industry standard way to implement it, the bad news is this means we have to re-write all the test cases and automation scripts, which were written for our home-made implementation.

The file transfer thing kept me in the office till after 6, but there wasn't enough time to go home and get to the auditions by 7:30, so Plan A was to stop in the Starbucks on the way, but I got trapped by rush hour traffic in the wrong lane and ended up parking in the Thai Pepper lot, walking around that little strip mall and then listening to the car radio for 15 minutes.

Home after dinner, Domino got her usual half can of Fancy Feast, and yelled at me to feed her. Looked in her bowl and for the first time in ages she had completely finished it. So I gave her the other half. While she was munching I changed the litterbox and plopped the old one into the bif new! improved! garbage container. Much better than the old small one.

Box on the porch was a new Pocket Wizard, which I installed batteries in, put it on Channel 1 which is what everyone in the studio uses, and plugged in the USB to download updated firmware, but there was none. Put a new battery in the mini PW which had crapped out on me last weekend, but it wouldn't fire up. I'll have to check if it's under warranty.

Nothing on Facebook when I got home. But the director sent email inviting me to the show. And he had found my photo album of programs/cast lists from shows I've been in and emailed that we had been in one together - Annie in Palo Alto, 1984. That's the 80s show I have the most FB friends from. He's using a different last name, which is part of the reason I didn't click on the connection earlier, but also his name is the same as the student body president when I was a Junior in college, and the author of the novel on my Kindle right now. James Gunn is a pretty common name in my life. So is Tom and Thom Gunn. Anyhow, I accepted the part, and am now in "What have I done?" mode. It's a bigger part and the music is more difficult than I usually attempt. But I guess if I can sing similar roles in Gilbert & Sullivan, I can handle this too. First read-through is on the 15th,  then  the grind begins Sunday through Thursday on the 23rd. The show opens April 4, runs Thurs-Sun till the 27th. Very long run, IMHO too many performances for the small audiences they get. 

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe do some laundry