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Monday, July 30, 2007

We Come From The Land Of The Ice And Snow

The service techs have been scurrying around all morning setting up our semi-new personal HVAC units (they were installed about five months ago, but it's taken this long for the city to do the electrical upgrades and whatnot that would allow them to actually function), all of which apparently have a default setting of "cryogenic deep freeze".

Seriously, I can barely move my fingers to type this.

Posted byCOMTE on 11:15 AM

4 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Normally, I'm not one for doing the re-posting thing, but this image, posted on Mr. Daisey's web site was just irresistable:

My only questions now:

Where can I get one done like MY bus?


How many organs will I have to sell to be able to afford it?

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Posted byCOMTE on 1:39 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Our House It Has A Crowd, There's Always Something Happening, And It's Usually Quite Loud

Last night was my first look inside the new space, sans the 30-odd years' accumulation of junk (removed by a genuinely superb group of Company members, friends and well-wishers while I was out of town), and as of the end of the evening, we had completed moving almost all of our gear from our old space a couple of blocks away. We finished carting over the remaining office furniture and boxes of files, leaving only our lighting grid pipes (which we may or may not move depending on some other circumstances), and the lighting and sound equipment that we will continue to rent to our old landlord. But, for all intents-and-purposes, we're officially moved out of the Old Space and into the New. Congratulations all around to everyone who made that happen.

Obviously, there's a great deal of reshuffling to be done to get all the items that have been packed in organized into some rational and coherent scheme, not to mention the considerable task of reconfiguring the physical space itself. But at this point most of the heavy lifting is done, and we can now start focusing our energies on turning this semi-decrepid (and frankly, neglected) venue into something that will be functional, sassy and stylish.

So, for those of you in the neighborhood, if I seem to drop off the radar screen for a bit, it's not because I'm lying low; you'll just have to come by and check out the new digs - and maybe bring a paint brush, screw gun, or push broom along with you - just in case we need to put you to work.

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Posted byCOMTE on 11:06 AM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't It Always Seem To Go You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

Back from vacation, although I must say the return trip turned into a veritable comedy of errors.

You know those stories about some crazy guy who hires a cab to drive him some ridiculously looooonnnnggg distance? That was me yesterday, although truth be told my airline picked up the tab for the cab (and please keep in mind, these guys just got OUT of Chapter 13 protection. At this rate they'll be back in faster than you can say, "poor financial management".)

So, The Story: I got to the airport in plenty of time to catch my outbound flight to JFK, where I was then to get my connecting flight direct to Seattle. The only problem was that the first flight had some sort of mechanical problem and was now scheduled to depart two hours late, meaning I would miss my connector. So, they decided to rebook me on a flight that would leave JFK about two hours later than my original. However, when the ticket agent did the math he realized I might not make THAT flight either. The solution? Put me in a cab at the Philadelphia airport and have me driven to JFK, a roughly 120 mile (one-way) trip that took about three hours.

Hey, at least I got to see the beautiful New Jersey countryside.

Of course, as soon as I got dropped off, I was informed my new flight was delayed for an hour, meaning if I'd taken the later flight from Philly I would still have gotten there in plenty of time to catch it.

So, now I'm scheduled to leave JFK about three hours late. Eventually, we get our boarding announcement, all us downtrodden airline passengers wedge ourselves into our narrow little padded seats, buckle in - at which point the pilot informs us that, due to the heavy international departure traffic, we're going to sit on the tarmac for an hour until the backlog clears up and we can take off.

By the time we actually go "wheels up", I am now four hours behind my original schedule, and instead of arriving at Sea-Tac at a comfortable 8:00 p.m., it is instead almost exactly midnight when the cabin doors open (after yet another delay while waiting for the plane occupying our parking slot to be wheeled out), and we finally shuffle out for the inevitable wait for our luggage.

Which turns out (for me at least) to not be so bad. The nice skycap at JFK, true to his word (and with palm sufficiently greased), has in fact managed to get my bags up near the top of the pile, and so I'm out the door in a remarkably short time. It is now approximately 12:30 p.m., and I'm ready to head for home.

But, as you can imagine, things aren't going to be quite that simple. Crossing over to the ground transport area, I confront approximately 100 people standing in line for taxis, which are arriving at the rate of about one every two to three minutes. So, doing the math myself this time, I calculate that if this keeps up I will arrive home with just about enough time to take a shower, change my clothes and go to work.

Not a promising scenario.

I tend to think of myself as a fairly resourceful person, so I immediately start weighing my options. I trundle my bags over to the bus stop to check on the possibility of catching a 194 back to town, but this being a (now) early Monday morning, there won't be another one coming by for several hours. Okay, on to Plan C. Unfortunately, the door-to-door shuttles have nearly as long of a line as the cab stand, plus the dispatcher tells me that unless I've already made a reservation there's No Way I'm going to get one tonight, so that's out.

There's really only one other thing left to do: call for a town car.

Now, the great thing about town cars, that many people evidently haven't figured out yet, is that the cost for an airport run is at a flat-rate only slightly more expensive than a taxi, generally $40 - $45 compared to say $35 for a cab. And they're nicer, cleaner, and if nothing else, you make all those poor schlubs waiting for their Yellow/Orange/Checker Cabs think you must be SOMEONE IMPORTANT. But, the best part is they usually show up within about ten minutes of your calling them.

So yeah, it was worth paying an extra ten bucks for the privilege of not having to stand in line for two hours. And even though I pissed off the guy who thought MY car should have been HIS car (which is why they dispatch to you by-name - to avoid just that sort of confusion - not to mention potential fisticuffs between us hoity-toity types), I managed to get home by 1:30 a.m.

And of course, still being on East Coast Time, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. this morning, and managed to get into the office just after 9:00 to start digging into the week-long backlog of emails, phone messages, snail-mail, etc., etc.

So much for the vacation.


Posted byCOMTE on 4:32 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Thursday, July 19, 2007

(As you might expect, I've been far too busy doing on my trip to spend much time writing about what I did, but I've managed to eke out some time to jot down a few impressions, presented below.)

My Father’s House Was Warm At Night, He Used To Sing Me Lullabies

Philadelphia may be the “Cradle Of Liberty”, and it’s certainly got the creds to back up the title: The Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin, et al, but Washington, as the Nation’s Capital is literally awash in the ghosts of 231 years worth of struggle, and while many of them linger in the shadows, a few are painfully visible.

Most tourists pick the daytime to make the rounds of the museums, monuments, statues and parks, but, visiting them at night casts them in a completely different light, one that doesn’t always reflect well on our collective National Heritage.

At night, Washington, and particularly the National Mall, which runs in a roughly East-to-West line between the Capital Building and the Lincoln Memorial, is a line that demarcates a historical lineage of death and carnage that may seem nostalgic in the light of day, but at night circumscribes a darker, and decidedly more morose aspect.

After barely an afternoon sweltering though the heat and humidity, I decided to try to cool off by taking a walk from my hotel, located a few scant blocks from the White House, to the Washington Monument, and from there, along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial.

There’s really not much to see that that time of the evening; the north entry of the White House facing Lafayette Park is fairly nondescript, overshadowed by the French neoclassical monstrosity of the Eisenhower Executive Building adjacent to it; even the creepy Gulf War vet who’s been perpetually camped out across the street since 2001 doesn’t lend much in the way of gravitas. On the other hand, the view across the South Lawn, toward the Rose Garden and the more famous portico has a sort of off-putting effect at night, like looking from a distance at the entry to some hoity-toity hotel meant for high-fallutin’ folk who only drop by when the weather is clement.

The Washington Monument is a curious thing amidst a veritable cornucopia of curiosities, is a huge bare marble obelisk, fashioned in the likeness of some ancient Egyptian paean to a departed pharaoh. It stands in prominent and stark contrast to the more ornate memorials that surround it. People who approach it exhibit an instinctual, almost primeval need to touch it, to lay hands upon the base of it, to sprawl against it as though it were some sort of huge, pointy lifesaver meant to help keep them afloat in turbulent seas. In the brief time I was there, I saw this action repeated perhaps a dozen times; always spontaneously, by people who simply could not have seen others performing the same oblation from differing sides of the structure. I have no idea what causes this behavior; again perhaps the very featurelessness of its surface compels people to sprawl against it, to attempt to ascribe some sort of feature to it, if only by way of imprinting it with some slight pressure from their own bodies.

To the West of the Washington Monument, at the eastern edge of the reflecting pool is the relatively new World War Two Memorial. It’s a decidedly more traditional type of structure, as opposed to say the stark, dramatic simplicity of the Viet Nam Memorial, consisting of a central pool flanked by double fountains which are themselves surrounded by shooting sprays of water, set amidst 52 stanchions, each bearing the name of a state or territory and accompanied by quotations from significant personages of the time: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Nimitz (interestingly, nothing from McArthur), along with the names of the major battles, those of the Pacific Theatre on one side, and the Atlantic on the other.

The Lincoln Memorial stands at the far end of the reflecting pool, which has evidently become an evening haven for ducks and a large contingent of Canada Geese. The Lincoln had the largest nocturnal crowd of any of the memorials I visited, and unlike the Washington Monument, a definite atmosphere of somber reverence pervades the site. The huge seated figure rests wearily on the great chair inside the immense vault, eyes gazing into the infinite distance beyond the Capital Building far to the East, and flanked on one side by the text of the Gettysburg Address, and on the other by the Second Inaugural Speech. The ghosts abound here in abundance; the hundreds of thousands of war dead, the hundreds of thousands more who grieved for them, the millions more who suffered, both as orphans and widows, as well as slaves kept under the yoke of oppression, whose freedom was exchanged for rivers of blood. I had originally hoped to go to Gettysburg, to see the battle site, but in a way, the Lincoln Memorial stands as an even greater witness to the tragedy of our Civil War as an encapsulation of not just a single battle or of a particular struggle, but rather as the distillation of all of them.

Starting back toward my hotel, I stumble on “The Wall” almost as an after thought in the darkness. Sitting at ground level, the dimly lit faces of polished black granite appear suddenly to the unwary, as if a great gash had been cut into the earth by a giant scythe, one arm pointing back toward Lincoln and his singular burden of suffering, while the other points forward toward the Capital Rotunda, like an accusatory finger. The ghosts are more in evidence here, as the rows and columns of the dead and missing seem to rise out of the earth like smoke or fog. Along the base people have placed photos, written biographies, flowers. As one walks down its length, figures emerge from the darkness: a heavy-set man gingerly bending down to peer at a particular name while a teenager, presumably his grandson hangs back, nearly lost in the shadows. Even in the dim light the clean surface is smudged by the fingerprints of those who have come to touch the name of a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, friend or comrade, leaving only the trace of the oil from their hands as evidence of their homage and grief and remembrance. The very simplicity of The Wall makes it heart-wrenching to behold, because it makes no political statement, makes no judgment about the rightness or wrongness of the cause for which the men and women whose names are inscribed upon it fought and died; it only asks us to make the effort to remember.

I feel a little shaky walking the final few blocks back to the hotel. Certainly the still not-diminished heat and humidity are to blame in part, but one feels the accumulation of the emotions equally, and along the way one can’t help but have a keen awareness of the figures sprawled out on the park benches as one passes; the homeless, the destitute, the damaged – all casualties of another war still being fought, but one where the enemy is so much more difficult to define. The living ghosts of the present, who normally walk amongst us barely seen or acknowledged, occasionally pitied, more frequently despised, and I can’t help but wonder how long they will have to roam before we can lay the memory of their suffering to rest, along with the legions amongst whom they reside day-by-day.


Posted byCOMTE on 3:13 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Saturday, July 14, 2007

They Sang To Me This Song Of Hope, And This Is What They Said

From the Virtual Desk Of Gillian Jorgensen:

Hello, dear company members.

It is with great delight that I officially announce that we have made
the decision to move out of CHAC and into what was most recently the
home of Northwest Actors Studio. (All parties have been informed of
this decision, which is why it is now appearing on this email list.)

We will be moving out of CHAC between now and the end of the month.
Our moving plan will be constructed on Monday, July 16th during staff
meeting. Please feel free to come by and say hello; we'll be
starting at 6:30pm. (If you do plan on coming, it wouldn't hurt to
give me a heads up.)

We are, as you know, very grateful for our time at CHAC and how our
home there allowed us to grow and expand the company and our ideas
for the future.

Here we are, 21-years-old and about to return to a place with steep

Moving and building work parties will be flying across this list:
please come and pitch in!

Congratulations to all!

As for me, well, I'm on vacation for the next nine days - on the other side of the continent wouldn't you know? So have fun with all that cleaning and such; I'll jump in when I get back.

But, I have to schedule a date in there sometime too, so please cut me some slack.

Yay Us!


Posted byCOMTE on 12:12 AM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Friday, July 13, 2007

Woke Last Night To The Sound Of Thunder

For once the song lyric title accurately reflects reality. Huge thunder strikes at around 3:45 a.m. this morning. Evidently, all the static charge-up from six or seven straight days of above-80 degree temps needed to dissipate, and so we got a bit of flash-bang early this a.m. whilst Nature did her thing.

Trying to wrap up things in the office in anticipation of being gone for the next nine days - almost there, almost, so there's a good chance I'll be out of here roughly on-time. Still have to pack, clean up a bit and leave a note for the upstairs neighbors, who will be cat-sitting while I'm gone. If I feel really, REALLY ambitious, I MIGHT try to catch a little theatre thing tonight, although, if I do, it'll most likely be the late show, which means getting to bed late, which means not getting quite a full night's sleep, which means being tired on the flight, which means - oh, what the hey, it's a vacation - I'll just deal.

Interwebbiness may be sporadic at-best for the next nine days, as my laptop is still in the shop, and unless they miraculously call me in the next two hours, I'll probably be a the mercy of public and/or hotel accesses during my trip; which is an additional bummer, since most of the electronic gear I'm schlepping along - PDA, digi-cam, storage media, MP-3 player, etc., etc., all require being plugged into a USB port in order to download and/or charge, so that's going to be very problematic without something to actually plug them into.

We'll just have to go with, as the dudes say.

So, don't expect emails or blog updates until I get back - if you're lucky - and I have your mailing address - maybe you'll get a post card.

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Posted byCOMTE on 2:29 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hab' 'Nen Luftballon Gefunden Denk' An Dich Und Lass' Ihn Fliegen

On a totally unrelated note, please consider this completely unhypothetical situation:

You're opening the day's office mail, which includes a large patchworked brown paper envelope sent from a barely legible address somewhere in Deutchland (the address is hand-written in German).

Upon opening said envelope, you discover it contains a cover letter, typed in German, addressed to your company, and dated "30.11.2006" (which, you assume uses the European dating practice of day/month/year, hence November 30, 2006), meaning that it took roughly eight months for the contents to arrive, assuming they were sent on or around that date.

The letter in German states: "anbei sende ich Ihnen ein paar Unterlagen und Fakten uber die scientology kirche un andere organisationen, die Ihnen eventuell vorenthalten sind oder werden und von Interesse sein konnten" (umlauts and other foreign punctuations are necessarily omitted). According to the online translator I used, this converts into English roughly as: "enclosed I send you a few documents and facts about the Scientology sect church and other organizations, which have possibly been withheld from you and which you may find of interest."

What follows is 60 double-sided pages of continuous (i.e. lacking even a single paragraph break in the entire 120 pages!) single-spaced typing, all in German, originally addressed to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in New York, and which apparently consists of a non-stop psychotic rant about the Church of Scientology.

(I am of course, only guessing about the psychotic part, but given the above observations, it seems a completely reasonable assumption to make.)

Now, here's the Question: Under these circumstances, what would YOU do with this document?

1. Ignore it and round-file it.

2. Spend an inordinate amount of time/energy having it translated.

3. Send it to someone else as a joke.

4. Send it to someone else who might actually be interested in the contents, if you can figure out who that might be (my vote would be Charles Mudede).

5. Write a blog entry about it.

Clearly, I've made my own choice - and feel free to add options I haven't considered - but in any event, this IS just plain weird, isn't it?

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Posted byCOMTE on 1:04 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

So Let's Turn Up The Heat 'Till We Fry

Yeah, yeah broke the thermomobobber thingie at the airport yesterday with a blistering (for us, anyway) 97 degrees; not abnormal for many parts of the country, but just a tad above normal for the Upper Left-Hand Corner.

Okay, perhaps more than a "tad"...

And the humidity, which normally hovers in the 30's this time of year bounced up considerably as well; it was reading in the low 60's in my apartment as of 12:30 a.m. this morning when the inside temp finally fell below 80, and I felt like I'd have a fair shot at getting some shut-eye. Still, it should make me a little less uncomfortable when I hit those East Coast mid-90 temps and 70+ percent humidity in a couple of days.

And my brand spanking-new Survival Kilt should help keep me feeling cool on those short jaunts through the muggy heat of "foggy bottom" between air-conditioned government buildings and what-not.

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Posted byCOMTE on 12:49 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Monday, July 09, 2007

He Got 50,000 Watts On A Big Acoustic Tower

As of 9:00 a.m. this morning the power was still out in my office, and the landlord, who had been waiting for a City Crew since 7:00 a.m. to come in and turn the lights back on still had no idea when they were going to show up.

Called my boss, who was just getting into the dentist's chair, and he decided, in light of the circumstances to call it a day; he can always work from home, as can the SAG Exec. And since our Freelance Coordinator is on vacation this week, there would have been no point in my sticking around, so I'm getting a free day, courtesy of Seattle City Light.

Typing this up at our oh-so-fabulous Seattle Public Library downtown branch (my neighborhood branch doesn't open until 1:00 p.m. "We like to give them a break after the weekend," offered the old man sitting on the bench outside the front door when I walked up), since my laptop is still in the shop.

But, enough of this chit-chat. I've got a free day, with nothing planned. I've got sunglasses, sunscreen, MP3's and a full tank of gas in the scooter.

See you later!

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Posted byCOMTE on 11:16 AM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

Saturday, July 07, 2007

When The Weather's Fine We Go Fishin' Or Go Swimmin' In The Sea

Survived our annual Day of Independence Celebration of Blowing Things Up with nary a scratch - kids in the neighborhood naturally got the festivities off to an early start by setting off a 20 minute round of ear-splitting explosive devices at around 11:30 p.m. on the 3rd, but aside from one semi-major mishap far to the north (Mt. Vernon, I believe) most of the denizens of Our Fair City adopted the "safe and sane" approach.

It was a beautiful day at the lake, and nice to touch base with old dock-mates, some of whom I swear I haven't seen in a couple of years.

And Amy, on the extremely remote chance you ever come across this blog, "hairbrush" is a lousy "safe word"...

In other news, the festival of mini-plays is going along quite smoothly. We did the piece I directed on the 4th, and it was generally well-received by the passersby, along with a few friends and colleagues who also showed up. We'll be doing a mini-marathon of all this week's offerings tomorrow, 4:00 p.m. at Cal Anderson Park on CapHill, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by.

Last night was the culmination of the other little project I've been helping a friend out with for the past couple of weeks, sort of a payback for her performing in one of the "Twilight Zone" pieces I directed back in January. She was looking for an extra set of eyes for some directorial feedback, and so I stepped in on a couple of occasions to give her a chance to be an actor, instead of just an actor/director, which can be a difficult juggling act under the best of circumstances. The pieces themselves were definitely out of the "mainstream", as one would expect for the type of organization this is, but they managed to pack in about 120 people into their little studio space last night, and the response was so enthusiastic, that they are seriously considering adding a play series into their schedule on an on-going basis. Naturally, I politely requested to have my hat thrown "into the ring" for future directing opportunities.

Otherwise, it's been a fairly slow week in Our Fair City. My theatre projects are winding down for the summer, although there may be one or two surprises that come down the pike - aren't there always? - and I'm counting down the days to next weekend's mini-vacation in the Land Of The East before four days of conventioneering; which I'm still not totally sure about in terms of my actual participation, since I'm going as a staff member, and not as an official delegate, so I have a feeling my "duties" may be relegated to mundane activities such as fetching beverages and gathering materials, and perhaps attending a meeting or two.

We'll just see when we get there.

BTW, my computer is in the shop for a sick video screen (nothing serious - I hope), so entries may be even more infrequent and/or sporadic for the next couple of weeks, depending on when I can get it back. I'll update as I can, when there is bloggy-good updatingness to be had.

In the meantime, wear that sunscreen and consume that liquid - it's a hot one out there!

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Posted byCOMTE on 11:34 AM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

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