You Swore That You Never Would Leave Me, Baby What Ever Happened To You?
I'm an avid checker of blogs. Spending a couple of minutes here-and-there throughout the day to peek in on the online musing of friends, acquaintances, random strangers is a good way to take a short mental break from whatever I happen to be engaged in at the time, and makes me feel connected to them in a very immediate way.
Still, I've noticed a definite downward trend, something to which I myself have recently succombed, namely, a decided lack of things to write about, resulting in decreased frequency of posting. Clearly for a lot of people I know (and I don't think it's an unsafe assumption to posit this as a general trend), blogging has lost its enticement. Understandable. Most people have difficulty maintaining even private journals, where mundane activities can at least become fodder for fantastical musings. Few of us are willing to commit to that level of day-dreaming in something we know others will read. So, after a while, the gild comes off the lily as it were, and people just fall out of the habit. Then, next thing you know, you've forgotten to renew the registration for the DNS, or you can't remember your Blogger password, or any of a number of other obsticles get thrown up in your path, and you just say, "eh, it's not that important anyway."
Which is kind of sad in a way, knowing there are all these mega-trillions of bits-and-bytes representing moments in people's lives suddenly and irretreivably orphaned out there in the cyber-ether, never to be seen again, except perhaps by future generations of Internet archeologists.
I keep a list of favorite abandoned sites (see "Lost At Sea" listings way down on the left margin), and check in every now-and-then, just to see if anybody has renewed their enthusiasm for online journaling. Occasionally, I'm surprised to see a fairly recent entry. Mostly though, it's just a blank page or worse, the dreaded "Page Not Found" redirect, indicating the owner has pretty much abandoned any prospects for reviving the site. On very rare occasions, the owner may have simply switched to a new, different means of blogging (many of my friends have been briefly seduced by MySpace, although I note even that already has its fair share of neglected pages).
Still, I hope all those rants, ramblings, reviews and recollections don't disappear completely and forever. I think it would be fascinating both for writers and readers to be able to re-access those sites at some future date, to reacquaint oneself with that previous version, like going back and looking at old high school yearbooks; pull out that snapshot of the person you once were to see how different you've become (or not) in the interim.
Just so you know, there'll always be a little memorial open here to keep those forgotten spaces as accessible as I can, in case you decide to come back someday.
(In which your trusty scribe goes a little crazy with the hyperlinkage)
Went to the book-signing for former Portland-based performance artist, filmmaker, and now published author Miranda July at Neumo's last night. My good friend Sarah Rudinoff performed a terrific opening set, accompanied by Seattle Symphony OrchestraWunderkind, Joshua Roman, followed by Becky Stark, an L.A.-based folk/pop singer who vocally bears a striking resemblence to perennial NPR commentator, Sarah Vowel. Her between song banter was actually much better than her music, which tends toward breathy falsetto renditions of neo-folk romance ballads.
And then came "Awesome", about whom I'm sure some of you are probably sick of hearing praised by now, but who nevertheless put in a marvelous, albeit brief set of new, original music based on July's just-published collection of short stories, "No One Belongs Here More Than You". I particularly enjoyed "This Person", which was notable for providing "Mr. Jorgensen" a rare opportunity to move forward from the back row.
Ms. July's reading of a couple shorter pieces from the collection followed, and those of you who've seen her recent indie film would have been quite delighted with her signature combination of quirky humor, meditative self-examination, dreamlike fantasy, and often painful yearnings for love and acceptance. The Q&A session that followed was pretty standard fare (including a mercifully brief "Five Questions Every Writer Gets Asked" segment), but July is just as entertaining when tossing out off-the-cuff answers to banal questions as she is when reading her own conversational prose.
Not sure what the problem is, and I'm checking with my DNS registrar to see if we can get it resolved, but my top level DNS seems to be temporarily off-line. If you're reading this, it probably means you're linking here using my Blogger DNS (http://www.rockingtheboat.blogspot.com), but if you got here via some other route, you might want to bookmark the link above for futrue reference.
Well, whatever the issue was, it appears to have been resolved. Welcome back. We missed you.
You would think, taking a three day weekend would have allowed me time to get caught up on various and sundry projects, but alas, best laid plans and all that.
I played hooky from work on Friday, with the hopes of getting some late Spring planting done, and although I didn't quite get everything in as anticipated, I got enough of the beds cleared to leave a minimal amount of work for the following day. Unfortunately, four straight hours of garden-sizing left me so stiff and sore on Saturday that I didn't really feel like doing much of anything besides running a few errands. Completely missed two chances to see my all-time favorite movie at a midnight screening, because I was just too darned tired to stay up that late. Yesterday the back and knees felt better, but I also had two meetings scheduled in the mid and late afternoon, so my window of opportunity to finish Friday's work was limited.
Still, I did manage to get everything bedded, and if I can prevent the neighborhood critters from turning the yard into an all-you-can-eat salad bar, I should have a small bounty of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, collards, strawberries, zucinni, and some kitchen herbs to enjoy come late summer. Meanwhile, my upstairs neighbors also went to work on a few box plots, and set in several lettuce varieties, a few toms of their own, potatoes, onions, and brocolli. We'll see what we end up with come harvest time.
Howard was a legend in this town. For something like 45 years, he led a string of sing-a-longs and open mike nights at various establishments throughout the city, long before the term "karaoke" entered the American lexicon, or "American Idol" was just a gleam in some producer's eye. During his heyday in the 1980's, he was a fixture at "Sorry Charlies", a dive bar on Lower Queen Anne, the kind of place that would have inspired David Lynch, if he'd ever walked inside. Howard could usually be found there several nights a week, but Monday's was THE night; the dark, nicotine-stained wood paneled lounge would be full-up with a veritable cornucopia of aspiring singers - along with musical theatre types, and it wouldn't be uncommon for performers at the Seattle Opera to pop in.
He was one of those amazing musicians who could sight read anything put in front of him, whether it was from a legit songbook, or a tenth-generation photocopy; he could transpose instantly, and if you didn't know your key, he'd find it for you in about two measures. Permanently ensconsed at SC's battered grand piano, boubon-and-soda balanced precariously on the edge of the keyboard, cigarette perpetually dangling from his lips, Howard could play practically any song from memory - assuming it had been written before 1968, and was, despite being known primarily for the open mikes, a masterful jazz improviser (although I've been told opera was his first love). He transcended style, and time, and age. He was popular with old-school musicians, high-brow artists, hipsters, and scenesters alike; everybody loved Howard, and Howard in turn shared his incredible talent with everyone, regardless of age, experience or ability.
I spent many nights there in the company of friends, table littered with the detritous of too many cheap drinks, and be darned if I didn't succomb to the urge once or twice myself to stand next to Howard, knees-a-knocking, while he followed me through an old Gershwin tune, making me sound a thousand times better than I could imagine.
After "Sorry Charlie's" closed down a few years ago, he was asked to make a return engagement at it's successor, the short-lived Mirabeau Room, and he also performed a couple of times a week at other locations around town, and was still relatively active until just recently, so far as I know.
He was a character, a fixture, one of those people you just assume will be around forever. He's going to be missed.
The fundraiser went off last night pretty much without a hitch, so far as I could tell. I was tabbed for the rather unglamorous job of directing patrons from the parking lot to the event site, but it was a pleasant evening, and nice to spend some time in the out-of-doors.
As a result, however, I missed most of the pre-auction events, but still, it was fun to hang with a bunch of my theatre friends, many of whom, like myself were roped into helping out by the Event Coordinator, who is also one of our gang. We even had our own table set aside for the live auction portion of the evening, although, being poor artists, I think only myself and one other person even bothered to secure bidding numbers.
Now, I'm nowhere in the league of your typical fundraising auction participant, many of whom have sufficient disposable income to drop several thou during the course of an evening without so much as batting an eye or doing the mental math to figure out how much more they're going to have to shell out for next month's credit card payment. Still, it's all for a Good Cause, right? Plus, I do have a knack for scoring amazing bargains on items that are ridiculously underbid. And last night was no exception.
I made a couple of half-hearted bids on some things early in the proceedings (Garrison Keillor doing your voice mail greeting, among others - sorry, Rachie-Rache), but when people are willing to pay $800 for a box of donuts, you know you're in amongst some relatively heavy-hitters. Even so, at a certain point a sort of "shopping fatigue" begins to set in after patrons have upbid on the big ticket items, and of course the freely flowing alcohol pushes them over the edge from being loose with their wallets to becoming downright sleepy and inattentive. So, I was able to literally steal one particular package, late in the evening, when everyone else was either literally heading for the exits, or dropping off into a post-prandial, post-bidding doze. Ironically, it was also the one package I was asked to display for the auctioneer, so I had a stand-in do the bidding, which turned out to be a no-contest.
- A "Northern Exposure" crew jacket, previously owned by former "NoEx" Location Manager (and current Seattle Center Events Development Manager) Vicky Berglund-Davenport - Value $250
- A Gift Certificate good for four admissions to the "Eve Of Destruction Demolition Derby" at The Evergreen Speedway In Monroe - Value $70
- One "Collectors Edition" DVD of "Cold Mountain", autographed by Jude Law - Value - well, certainly more than the $20 retail price of the DVD itself.
Clearly, this was the "grab bag" package - there's usually at least one in every auction - where all the miscellaneous items that don't really fit anywhere else get tossed together. And although I was really only bidding for the jacket (hey, I worked on about a dozen episodes over the years - I'm entitled), the rest of it was just icing on the cake - and at a considerably more affordable price than some actual cakes that were auctioned off earlier in the evening.
Now I just have to learn to deal with the inevitable, "Why does your jacket say "Vicky" on it?" questions. But, you know what? I can live with that.
I apologize for the dearth of postiness this past week, but fear not, although it seems pretty clear the whole "blogging craze" has peaked, I'm not giving up on the online journal thing quite yet. I've just been rather busy, that's all.
Yesterday the office decided to play hooky (otherwise known as "staff retreat day"), and motored north to La Conner, a former sleepy fishing village turned arts colony/tourist destination (also known around these here-parts as the home of a Famouns American Author), about an hour's drive North of SeaTown. Ostensibly, we went on a staff retreat, and to plan the Boss' impending retirement party, but I think it was really a clever plot by our Freelance Coordinator to wangle a free trip up to Tuliptown. Unfortunately, it appears we missed the boat by about a week, because, aside from a little display garden, all the fields had already been topped for the season. That didn't deter co-worker, however, who still managed to spend an inordinate amount of time wandering around the two-acre site, bulb catalogue in-hand, scoping out potential purchases. I took some pictures of pretty flowers - I'll post a couple later, just for fun.
Still, we had a pleasant lunch at one of the town's innumerable riverside restaurants, before heading back to town, although it was something of a challenge to weather co-worker's non-stop backseat travelogue; some people have a knack for providing interesting and colorful anecdotes regarding the local scenery, history, personages, etc. - co-worker just rambles on about anything that happens to pop into her head.
And of course there's more show work to be done. Theatre A has a show opening on the 15th, and we're in the midst of assembling all the various and sundry technical elements (for example, last evening was spent hanging all the lighting equipment and electrical cabling). And we had our first reading for the new round of "Twilight Zone - Live!" episodes at Theater S on Sunday, with my first actual rehearsal this coming weekend. Toss working a fundraiser for a local Cinemateque, seeing a couple of shows, and trying to cram in gym visits, yard work, laundry, and a brace of more mundane activities over the next few days, and well, you can see how something like blogging might get relegated to the back burner.