July 5th, 2014


Going 4th

Lazy day. Stayed in bed till noon. Domino kept me company, on her fleece blanket at the foot of the bed, after trying to nudge me out at 7 am. Around 10 she discovered the bathroom door was open and sunned herself on the ledge around the tub.

Nowhere to go, nothing to do, played online, finally took a shower and came back to finish some online updates, then got dressed. By now it was 1 pm, I turned on the Brazil FIFA game, and for once the motormouths in the booth were helpful. They had some creative excuses for why the refs were not handing out yellow cards for blatant fouls. Colombia was by far the more aggressive team, but Brazil played very good defense. Very few of Colombia's shots reached the goalie, most were blocked well before they got that far, something the USA team needs to learn how to do. Too late now. Far too many penalty kicks, the refs too way too long setting them up. Both teams have the acting down pat - as soon as you kick or push a guy, spread your arms way out in a "I didn't touch him" motion. If you are touched, however slightly, fall down, roll around, and if you can, writhe in pain. The announcers were saying that the refs were handing out fewer fouls in hopes the players would stay on their feet longer. The fact that I watched the whole thing is a testimony to how bored I was. Odd, because this is one holiday I am usually into. For the first time in years I was not playing in a band or at a celebration.

Late lunch around 2, then after the game got too bored to stay home, remembered the car was almost out of gas and the new iPod needed a checkout in the car. So I drove out for gas, the iPod worked great, better sound than the Classic, it'll be a while before I find out if it manages to refrain from rebooting. Got gas, then went to Starbucks and was rewarded right away with the sight of a strikingly gorgeous woman. Not much eye candy after that, though, mostly under-aged kids and policemen. I finished reading Wakullah Springs and started in on Equiod, but the headache I left home with refused to succumb to an iced mocha, and I left with a 1/4-full container.

Home, took 2 Anacin® and a 45-minute nap. Facebooked, did a load of laundry, had some crackers and cheese. Domino spent a lot of chair arm time. Took out the laptop from the car, updated its virus definitions and did scans with Norton and Spybot. Those go pretty fast, it has an SSD drive.

Dinner was way late, frozen pot roast dinner, ice cream. I put it off for an hour because there were professional grade fireworks going off, visible from my porch. They started at about 8:30, which is way early, and after half an hour seemed to be done, so I started dinner and sat down to playback Midsommer Murders on Tivo (playing the first half as it recorded the decond). But only a few minutes in, I heard fireworks again. They were being shot off in groups of about 10 minutes on, with 10-15 minutes off. Very strange, unless maybe those were at Shoreline Amphitheater, where the symphony coordinates their music with the fireworks, and sometimes they do a number, then a narrator blabs for a while, and lather, rinse, repeat. Time to look at a map and see where those came from. From my porch it was at 222° and there was 2-3 seconds from flash to boom so 2-3 miles away.

 Looking at the map, that would have been Shoreline. Hmmm.

Anyhow, they kept shooting stuff off well past 10:30 pm, but I'd seen enough, and went back to the TV. Once again disappointing on so many levels, it's coming off of my auto-record list.

There are at least two other fireworks displays close enough to hear. Great America is about the same distance from here as Shoreline, in the opposite direction, and there are random firecrackers going off in the neighborhood of the Hindu temple. There's probably something in Fremont or Milpitas we can hear too.

Domino didn't seem scared but she did hop on the bed in the very dark bedroom while I had the door open (screen door closed).

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe see a movie. Ida looks promising except it's another Nazi-themed one. There's something called Earth to Echo which would be great if it didn't sound exactly like ET The Extra Testicle.
Coffee with Janice at 4
Captain in the Bath

Bonnie and Clyde, The Musical at San Jose Stage

So many conflicting things to say about this. Let's start with why I went:
The very talented Cliff McCormick is playing Clyde. Cliff played Jekyll & Hyde in the Palo Alto production I was in, 7 years ago. He was great to work with, did the very difficult part justice, strong voice and great control. The ultimate professional while still being fun to work with. Also, the music for B&C is by Frank Wildhorn, who wrote the music for J&H. I auditioned for J&H because I fell in love with the score.

About the tech: This production is done on a bare stage with a few random platforms leading up to a cinema-size silver screen lashed to a frame with rope through a series of large grommets. Very rustic. All through the show, projections on the screen provide the background scenery, except at the start and a few times during the show when they play video of the children who are young Bonnie and young Clyde. The actual children never appear, even their curtain call is recorded. Especially at the start, but not so much later in the show, the projection video hands off to the live actor(s) coming out from the wings. The good news is when done well, this is very impressive. The bad news is the poor quality of the projection sabotaged the effect, and sometimes the timing was off as well. Other tech - the follow spots are atop ladders built against the wall, and the operators sit behind them. Very uncomfortable, and awkward.

About the acting: I didn't recognize Cliff. He's a Facebook friend, I have seen him in concert since J&H a couple of times with one of the women Hyde kills (they were an item, at least professionally, for a couple of years), so I was very surprised that I had to read the bio in the program to be sure it was him. He shaved his beard and hit the gym for this show, and put on a Texas accent as well. Allison F. Rich, playing Bonnie, was very good, but I was totally stunned by Clyde's sister in law Blanche, played by Halsey Varady. Her bio says she has played almost every leading lady in SJ Stage's history. Frankly, I think she would have made the better Bonnie. Rich is a tall leggy blonde, Varady is very petite - more like Bonny Parker IRL. Rich was also the music director, which is interesting because her intonation was off all night. Noel Anthony Escobar impressed with his beautiful voice in the preacher role, and his convincing switch to the sheriff. Again, had to check the program to see it was the same guy. Weak point was the cop in love with Bonnie, Ted Hinton, played by Michael Doppe, who struggled with words and notes and what key he was supposed to be in, and was completely unconvincing as the avenging angel his character is written to be. Also not quite up to the level needed was Will Springhorn, playing Buck, Clyde's brother. Some of that was the script, which changes Clyde's IRL stronger older brother into a henpecked weakling. He did well on the one song in which he was featured.

Also doing well in their one featured song were three women of the ensemble, beauty parlor customers Jill Miller, Courtney Hatcher ands Ashley Garlick. Their number You're Going Back To Jail was one of the few memorable tunes in the show.

Which brings me to the music. In a nutshell, Wildhorn wrote every kind of music he knew, and a few kinds he didn't. Most of the numbers are too long, not tuneful, and Don Black's lyrics seem to have been wedged in sideways. In J&K, Wildhorn had the honor of one of the best in the business, Leslie Bricusse, to work with, and a lot of time to try out the songs. Black is no Bricusse. The cast (and the band) handled the wide ranging music pretty well, McCormick's part was especially challenging.

One thing that did not work for me may be the fault of the script, by Ivan Menchell or director Michael Navarra, or both. This production makes it all about sex. Bonnie and Blanche spend a lot of time in period lingerie, Clyde even does a (tasteful) implied nude scene.

The show runs through July 27, more info at their web site.  

First Sunday of the weekend

Once again, I did nothing. Or as close to nothing as possible.

I stayed up way late, 2:30 or so, but slept all the way till 8:30. So after checking the plumbing I went back to bed. Domino tried nudging me out from both sides. She finally gave up.

Did some Worldcon OCD stuff, looked at the loncon3 site, which now has enough major programming info to do some planning with. Tagged things onto my Google calendar for each day of the con. Am kind of upset that my plan to check out of the hotel on Monday and start traveling after closing ceremonies got blown away by them scheduling a major guest at 7 pm. WTF? Scanned their call for volunteers, and there are about a dozen things I could do, but I'll let the locals handle it, at least until the actual day of the need.

Sent email to my London area cousins with dates we could get together, which included my preferred dates to hop on a high speed train Elsewhere.

I watched about 10 minutes of the Netherlands soccer game, was disappointed at how slow the pace was and how Colombia was no match for them at all except for their goalie. And even then, it was more because the Dutch kept hitting the ball right to him. Boring. So I got into the car and drove the Shoreline park, because I had a date at the nearby Starbucks at 4, and it was a gorgeous day. There was a very fancy wedding being set up at Regsdorff house, and the videographer was blocking the pathway with the bride and bridesmaids. There seemed to be two brides, and while the bridesmaids were all in bright red, one woman who looked to be one was in black. Who wears black to a wedding?

I had parked in the golf course lot, the main lot being a mess. And kicked myself for forgetting the camp chair. Canada Geese made the lawn a non-starter. I found a spot on a rock wall in the shade and read some more Hugo verbiage. Equiod, the last of the novellas. It started out great, a British Men in Black rip-off. But then the author inserts letters from HP Lovecraft in what he believes to be HPL's antiquated style. But he overdoes it to the point of obfuscation, and then he starts to present the letters in modern style. I finally gave up when I got tired of the author forgetting which voice he was using, when. No guilt because two of the other novellas were Hugo worthy.

Had a good chat and a bit of a stroll with Janice, but it would have been nicer if all of Starbucks' outdoor umbrellas had not disappeared. They have a huge patio, but no shade. Indoors the aircon was brutal.

Home, checked to see why Discover had sent me a fraud alert when my Starbucks auto-reload went through. No fraud, just that I had not updated my card's expiration date or my address on Starbucks' site. Took care of that, reset my Starbucks password while I was at it.

Looked at my list, and saw there was enough there for me to submit votes for Hugos. Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Dramatic Presentation Long Form, Pro and Fan Artists, Fanzine. Voted "No Award" for Graphic Story because IMHO the category is not worthy. Many of my friends deeply disagree, which is their right. Also voted no award for short form dramatic presentation because (a) half the entries are from the same series and (b) the other half require a subscription to see. IMHO the rules should only allow one entry per series, or punt the whole series to long form.

Did not vote on novels, because I haven't read any of them, and the freebies are only samples. Can't judge a book from an excerpt. And I won't have time to read all the books, I am a slow reader.

Next, opened up the retro ballot, which I had not expected to vote on, but was surprised that I knew enough to vote in all the categories except artist and fanzine. I had actually read all the novels. 1938 was a good year.

Dinner was a reheated lamb shank from Costco, which comes in a thick plastic pouch. Note to self - next time, poke holes in the pouch before putting in the microwave. Major cleanup ensued.

Watched some Dateline, and for some reason kept watching to the end. What a brainsuck.

Organizing my Nexus, decided to download the Hugo novel snippets just for something to read, and also saw that though I had checked "no award" for the Campbell, because none of them held my attention, there was one I had not read, so I downloaded that. The Campbell is for body of work, but the Kindle app separates out the individual works and does not always display the author's name on the cover graphic, so I missed Ramez Naam. And may also have missed Max Gladstone.

Domino continues to divide her time between working on her tan and being very affectionate, sitting on the arm of the recliner and sometime with two paws on my thigh. She is so woefully thin, I gave her a little canned food as an experiment. If she doesn't barf it up I'll give her more tomorrow. 1/4 of a small tin.

Cut the sourdough starter again, this time the discarded half went into a mason jar and was also fed, but with a lot more water. Tomorrow is Day 5, which means put it all in the fridge and let it grow slowly.

Plans for tomorrow:

Sunday. Maybe see a movie, but more likely go to Bayshore Park.
Maybe take the emergency committee's advice and put up some spare water. Check out the emergency rations aka camping meals at Walmart.