Finished off my third and final dental procedure this morning - turns out I had three cavities to fill, not two as I'd thought, but they were all in the same general location (upper right quadrant, but different teeth). So, at 8:00 a.m. I was in the chair with a swab of topical anesthetic stuck up against my gum to numb it for the Lidicane injection - using one of those horribly large, old-fashioned looking syringes - which, given my latent Aprilophobia was enough to set my eye to twitching.
Fortunately, the dental tech was pretty delicate, and in about twenty minutes I could literally feel the right side of my face drooping like the expression on a cartoon bloodhound. Then it was all a matter of drilling-and-filling, followed by a forty minute session of tooth bleaching.
So, now I've got gritty new tooth-colored molar coverings (I had been concerned they were going to use metal or some-such, but once they fade down a bit, I'm guessing they'll be indistinguishable from natural dental enamel, which pleases me somewhat), some sparkly white incisors, and a sore jaw now that the anesthetic has worn off - and of course, another bill racked up on the ole' VISA. Still, at least the insurance covers 80%, so I guess I should be thankful to have it.
Guess this will teach me not to put off regular dental hygiene for decades at a time.
One could sure get used to long weekends. Because of scheduling vagaries, this is the third long weekend I've had in a row, and I'm going to miss them. Tomorrow it's back to work on a full five-day schedule, and no let-up until Christmas, but fortunately it's also a fairly slow time of year at work, and my fellow staff members will be out at various times on extended vacations during the month of December, which means a little more variety for me as I pick up some of the slack.
Fortunately, I've got most of my extra-curricular projects out of the way until the beginning of the year. We've still got a lot of work to do on sound insulation for the theatre, but we made a crucial decision at retreat last weekend to only attempt to complete Phase I (installing the sound-deadening cotton insulation) ourselves. Given the amount of time and work it's taken us so far, staff could see that it was going to take a lot longer than we anticipated just to get this first phase accomplished, and that we would be risking burning out volunteers if we attempted the next phase on their backs. So, we'll be calling in some professional dry-wall installers to get the really heavy work done sometime in January. It means shifting resources, and reallocating funding, and so we most likely won't be able to afford some hoped-for electrical upgrades, but we can work around that, particularly since our next show is going to be lit solely by the efforts of the cast anyway.
Thanksgiving was interesting, as it was the first in about fifteen years that I've spent with one of my parents. Dale had a massive chemo session late last week, followed by reintroduction of about 7,000,000 T-cells on Monday, so he was a bit out of things. However, the docs indicate he should show steady improvement over the first seven to ten days after reinfusion, so with luck he'll be well on-the-mend. There's still another month or so of testing and monitoring to verify that the melanoma has been eradicated, but Mom says they expect to be released and back home for Christmas. Now, it's just a matter of hoping the treatment reduced the cancer level to the target fraction of a percentage that means his body's natural defenses can keep it in remission.
We ate early, which gave me time to stop in at my friend Bob and Rae's for an evening of comaraderie, and kicking actual bona fide rocket scientists asses at interactive party games. Now, rocket scientists finally have a response for when they get asked whether some task is difficult or not, "hey, it ain't like playing 'Celebrities'!"
Have You Seen Her Dressed In Blue? See The Sky In Front Of You
One more item off the slowly shrinking project plate for 2007: The annual theatre retreat went down over the weekend, at our now-regular fortress of solitude deep in the woods near Mt. St. Helens.
As per usual, a good mix of old and new company members in attendance, and a fair amount of discussion regarding our future direction, and what we want to accomplish in the next year. Along the way, a few personnel changes. I'm giving up my dual-staff position of Communications Coordinator in order to focus more on my Facilities Manager position, since a great deal of our goals for the year involve changes and upgrades to our new venue, and so that's where I'm going to need to focus the bulk of my energies in the meantime. Also, this was the first retreat with our new (old) Artistic Director, Bret Fetzer officially at-the-helm, so even bigger changes there.
It's always a great weekend, and the site itself is spectacularly beautiful, even in the pouring rain, of which there was a great deal. Yet the constant drizzle does afford the occasional surprise - and this one was enough to get everyone up out of their seats in the middle of a long day of discussion, for a brief respite to enjoy a little in the way of natural phenomenons.
Needless to say, after a long drive down on Friday, return trip on Sunday, combined with a couple evenings of socialization, followed by short nights of trying to sleep on very hard mattresses (which, even when softened slightly by foam pads, still don't afford much in the way of comfort), I was one exhausted retreater when I finally got home last night after dropping off my ride-sharers and their assorted gear, and got my own unloaded and unpacked. Still, managed to stay awake until around 9:00-ish, in the hopes I'd get a good - long - night's shut-eye, but not wake up at the crack of 6:00 or so. Thankfully, I was out like the proverbial light, and didn't wake up until about 15 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off, so mission accomplished there.
And another three-day work week, making three straight weeks of short schedules; a guy could really get used to this.
Never Understood A Single Word He Said, But He Always Had Some Mighty Fine Wine
So the fundraiser went off pretty much without a hitch last night. It was a smallish turnout, but on the other hand, people were definitely there to buy wine, and buy they did. Not sure what the final take will be, once receipts are netted out and such, but all-in-all, I think they did pretty well. Plus, the board president managed to finnagle an additional chunk of change out of the assembled to match a pledge from another board member to replace the theatre's sagging, and completely ADA uncompliant garage door (the venue being located in an old underground parking garage).
Amazingly, I managed to get all the way through the evening without a single hit on my credit card. I did bid o an couple of items early in the evening (the Fantagraphics compillation of works was particularly attractive), however, I was (thankfully) deterred by the fact that: A.) the starting bids of most of the wine lots already exceeded my initial spending limit; and B.) the paying customers were clearly there to spend some serious money. so this turned out to be one of the rare instances in which I've attended a charity auction (even in a volunteer capacity), and gone away empty-handed, but credit-balance-full.
So, that's one more project out of the way for the year.
Next up, a couple of days hanging Phase One of the sound baffling project for the other theatre, followed this weekend by our annual Company Retreat (which, although we really do talk about Art, and Finances, and Big Ideas, is in addition to all that, just a good excuse to go tromping around in the woods for a couple of days). Then it will be a few more sound mitigation work parties in the beginning of December, after which there will be a brief respite until we get to work on the next show.
Baby, Whatever Comes Monday Can Take Care Of Itself
Show #1 of the season was put to bed last night, and we're already doing pre-production work on Show #2. Fortunately, we've got a couple of months to go, but in the meantime, we'll begin phase 1 of our sound mitigation next week.
Now, all I've got on my projects plate is the wine auction on Monday, followed by a couple of evenings of sound insulation installing, followed by a three day theatre retreat next weekend, and then I'm pretty much in the clear for the holidays.
On the Home Front: Moma and Dale have returned to town from their brief "holiday", and he begins the second part of his treatment sometime next week. According to my mom, they'll reinsert all the T-Cells removed during the previous procedures in one massive dose, then the remainder of the regimen involves monitoring his immune system to see whether the level of reintroduced cells was large enough to wipe out the cancer, which should take roughly two months to determine. So, we'll be spending a quiet Thanksgiving at the Cancer Hotel, and with luck, they'll be able to head home before Christmas.
Not much news on the Work Front. The search for my boss' replacement continues. We did some interviews last weekend, but the search committee wasn't sufficiently impressed with the candidates to make a final choice from among them, and they've directed our National Exec to repost the position, and cull through the previously submitted resumes to see if maybe someone with the right combination of qualifications was somehow overlooked (unlikely). Essentially, we're back to "square one", which means the chances of finding a successor, making the offer, having them accept and be on-board before the end of the year appears slim. Which further means my boss probably won't be able to actually retire until, well February at the rate things are going.
After Friday's show, Lisa V. and her friend Sam invited me up the hill for an aprez performance drink (in reality, it was I who taxied them, since they came by bus, and I had driven "Red Dwarf" that evening).
On the way, we debated where to go. Most of the CapHill bars are either: A.) too loud for my 47 year-old ears; B.) pretentious hipster joints where the service is generally so glacially slow it should single-handedly counteract Global Warming; C.) gay clubs where 70% of the clientele are straight 20-something women (and therefore waaaaaaay below my acceptible age limit, as I generally try not to feign attraction for women young enough to be my own offspring); or D.) Ex-gay bars now frequented by Seattle's version of "the bridge and tunnel crowd" (i.e. suburbanites come to the Big City for a night of urban debautchery apparently not on the menu at their local T.G.I Fridays or Olive Garden.)
After eliminating options as fitting into one of the above-mentioned categories, we finally decided on the newly relocated Cha-Cha Lounge (generally fitting into Category B, but with somewhat better service), but the crowd outside was so large we figured the bar itself would be impossible to navigate. So, we ended up walking down the street to the recently opened Moe Bar.
Now, for those not up on your Recent Seattle History, "Moe" is a NOT reference to Springfield's own purveyor of mood-enhancing libations, but rather, to the iconic "Moe's Mo' Rockin' Cafe", which was pretty much Ground-Zero for Seattle's "grunge rock" scene during the late 1980's through mid-'90's. After a number of spectacularly disastrous attempts to turn the space into a funkadelicized urban dance club in the late '90's & early aughts, the place was rechristened "Neumo's Crystal Ball Reading Room" (a rather lengthy and pretentious appelation that even its own employees have shortened to the more pithy and evokative "Neumo's"), and returned to its original incarnation as a good old-fashioned rock club.
After opening, the owners refurbished a space just a couple of doors down, which has direct access to the Neumo's space, as a strictly drinking establishment, and which has undergone a couple of reboots the past couple of years, with the current "Moe's" being the latest incarnation of said.
I've only been inside a couple of times previously, but it struck me as a much better use of the old warehouse space: high open ceiling, lots and lots of brick, the lighting dark and subdued, but giving it a sort of old-fashioned feel, like how such an establishment must have felt in the days before electric lighting. Plus the booths are now much more comfortable than I recall from earlier iterations of the space, and although the music is somewhat loudish, it's not so onerous as to prevent one from having a casual conversation with the person or persons seated next to you.
Plus, the place wasn't packed to the gills, so we were actually able to grab a table with barstools upon entry, then a booth within about 15 minutes after arrival.
But, the thing that struck me most favorably was that at one point fairly early on during our patronage, the ENTIRE BAR - by this time comprised mostly of 20-something hipsters, with a smattering of late 30's looking rockers and maybe one or two people of "advanced years" (i.e. MY age), suddenly and spontaneously broke out into a sing-along rendition to the Neil Diamond classic, "Sweet Caroline" as it came on the jukebox (or more likely some employee's iPod), with everybody belting at the top of their lungs, and mostly on-key, and including enthusiastic imitations of the obligatory "WAH-wah-wah!" horn sections. Needless to say, Lisa, an unabashed Neil Diamond fan, was overjoyed.
And then, just as suddenly as it had begun the song was over, and everyone went back to their conversations, as if what had just occured was the most natural thing in the world; and for all I know, at "Moe's" on a Friday night, it may well be.
I'm Leaning On These Dugout Steps, Just Waiting For Your Call
Well, yet another little project is put to bed. We had three consecutive sold-out houses, which is pretty significant given the organization has: A.) never done an entire weekend of theatrical offerings as part of its scheduled programming; and B.) had no idea whether they'd be able to come even close to filling the houses for that many performances. On both counts, clearly it was a great success for them.
Additionally, I'm given to understand the audience in general was more diverse than is typical for them. Certainly, there were a fair number of theatre folk who showed up on the strength both of several known local playwrights being included in the evening, as well as several of the pieces having been done previously for 14/48 (and I'm sure Kerry's appeal to the community to come check out the event played a major role in encouraging them as well).
So, it was probably a good way to bring the venue to the attention of the local theatre community - venues always being at a premium in this town - as well as to establish a theatrical "niche" for Little Red Studio itself.
And I certainly got a workout from the process. I described it to someone last evening as the theatrical equivalent of doing a Nautilus circuit: playwright, director, set mover, live voice-over, light board op, and live sound effects - all on the same bill. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I set some sort of local record for covering the largest number of different theatre jobs for a single evening's performance.
Just another notch to solidify my position as a consumate theatrical "utility infielder".
My schedule is full-up today, so I didn't make any plans for a birthday celebration. However, a completely unexpected opportunity fell into my lap yesterday afternoon, which resulted in the arrival of a store-bought German Chocolate Cake to a local watering hole about 8:30 p.m. last evening. I sent out a last-ditch email at around 6:30 p.m., when I was informed of impending delivery, and actually had a few people show for the event (shout outs to Flaming Banjo, Lisa V. and Rachie-Rache - who happened to drop in completely unaware, but stayed anyway).
Promptly at 8:30 p.m. a clean-cut young man bearing a QFC cake-on-a-tray walked in and promptly began eyeing the place, which was packed with becostumed Halloween revelers, for someone who looked like they were waiting for a cake. We waved enthusiastically until we caught his attention.
Since said young man works as an intern for one of the local alterna-weeklys the event was recorded for posterity (and preumably public snarkage at the hands of their web site commentors.)
The sordid details can be found here. Frankly, I would have preferred being hand-fed my birthday cake by someone of the female persuasion, but at my age, beggars can't be choosers.
(And don't ask about the thing on my head - how many of you WOULDN'T debase yourselves slightly, in exchange for free cake?)