Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Tell Me Why"

I have a question to direct to Google (and Facebook, Microsoft, HP, Creators of any Software programs, etc., etc., and so forth)

"Tell Me Why."  Just, why?  I really need to know why!!  Why do you keep changing things, willy-nilly, for no discernible reason other than to drive us all crazy??  I have heard that Google's latest fruit basket upset is to eliminate Google Friend Connect.  I think that means that the collection of lovely little thumbnails representing all the people who have signed up as a follower for a blog will disappear!   Pffftttt, Gone!  Why????   They aren't hurting anybody!  They don't take up much space.  It is just a nice visual showing all the people who like a blog well enough to become a follower.  But Google says "No more".  Suddenly my very respectable 54 followers will disappear and that probably means the number of followers will disappear too.  It took 2 1/2 years to rack up 54 followers!  They're MINE, leave them alone, darn it!
Members (54)
Aren't they cute??

Now look here, I've worked hard on this blog, trying to make it attractive, interesting, funny sometimes, informative other times.....all for the express purpose of making this site a place people would like to visit regularly.  And now Google just says, "No more".  Well, that just sucks!  I'm proud to call those followers, friends and I don't want them to disappear.  Leave them alone! 

Oh I know there will be some new something to replace Google Friend Connect, but it will undoubtedly be a pain in the neck (or lower) to figure out the new thing and it will be different enough to make it not as useful to me.  So why can't you just leave well enough alone?  I understand that progress requires change, but do we have to have change ALL THE TIME?

As for Facebook, Microsoft, and all the all do the same darn thing.  I spend two years getting really proficient at using something you have created for OUR use when some bozo will get a bee in his bonnet that it's time to change everything around.  It is as if, without warning or alternative, I suddenly rearranged every single piece of furniture in my house when everyone was out and then kept the rooms completely dark so no one can see anything familiar and they keep falling over things that aren't where they used to be and they can't even see!

Most of the time any improvements brought about by these gratuitous changes are totally overshadowed by the frustration, aggravation, and downright anger that we have to go through to be able to use a replacement for something that wasn't broken. 

Why do you keep doing this kind of thing to your loyal (but not for much longer) customers?   So, can you "Tell Me Why??"   And you'd better make it good!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Back in the Saddle Again"

Ever since 1979-ish, I have had an on again-off again affair with theater.  I have mentioned my love of performance and directing in live, volunteer, community theater.  Unfortunately (for me, anyway), Austin and its environs are chock full of theater venues.  This town has about 20+ different venues and companies performing live theater.  This should be great news for theater lovers, and for audience and professional or semi-pro performers and techies, it is great news.  Starting with the big houses (3000+ seats)  (e.g., Bass Concert Hall (UT), Long Performing Arts Center, the Paramount, Erwin Center, down to small makeshift spaces made to work with imagination and just a little bit of money. 

The reason this is not good news to me (and others like me) is because these venues are restricted to professional, for-profit companies.  The employ ONLY Equity or Equity-eligible (them's the pros, folks)actors.  There are only 3 true  non-professional, volunteer, community theaters that operate on a non-profit basis.  All of which are more than 20 miles from where I live.  Thus opportunities are slim for the non-professional actor or director.  In, fact, only one of the three theaters is a true community theater, in the standard of community theaters across the nation.

About 2-3 years ago, I had a very unpleasant experience with that community theater, the group I had been working with for several years.  I removed myself from the group due to my frustration and disappointment and I have spent the last three years, thinking that my theater "career" was over.  That made me very sad and I missed being able to do what I love.

Well, as we all know, life is waaaay too short!  We have to take advantage of opportunities when they come along because who knows when your last chance is coming along!  So, I auditioned for a role in a play called "At First Sight", a comedy in two acts.  The play is being done by the group I pulled back from not quite 3 years ago.  Aaaand, I was cast!

I will be playing a Senator who is the male lead's mother.  (the guy playing my son is, in reality, old enough to be!)  My character is a strong-minded, tenacious, outspoken, and larger-than-life kind of character (Think Bella Abzug.)   It isn't a huge role, butI have three good scenes and that is just fine!  My rehearsal schedule is a lot easier than that of the other principals.  Considering the time of the year coming up, that is very good news.  Rehearsing around Christmas is very stressful.  Luckily we don't open until 1//21/12 and will run for 4 weekends (total of 14 performances).

We had the first read-through tonight (Monday).  Even though we have a lot of work ahead of us, it's a cute play with some pretty funny moments.  I gotta tell you, it felt just great to be "Back in the Saddle Again".  I'm going to try really hard not to get thrown again! 

This may (or may not) have an impact on my blogging.  I won't know for sure until we get further into the play.  But if (and that's a big IF) I seem to disappear for awhile, that's why.  It really shouldn't be a problem, after all I used to do this several times a year, while I was working a full-time job, Ratchlet was still in high school, and I was active with a couple of singing things.  It's amazing how much energy you can find to do what you want to do!!

I'm hoping that is still true when one gets to be my age.  We'll see!  And if you happen to be in Austin, around the end of January, you could come and see the show! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Thanks For The Memory"

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  It was so good to have our family together for a lovely, happy, well-stuffed (and not just the bird!), holiday meal.  We didn't exactly have a crowd, there were just the five of us (Mikey, Ratchlet, T.A., M-t-G, and me) for dinner and later we were joined by T.A.'s mom and her beau. Oh, plus Dora (the dog).  That's all the family we have close by.  Little Sis and her kids gathered (I gather) in Mesa for their own Thanksgiving traditions.  I have a multitude of cousins and the Big Guy has six siblings and their multitude of offspring and cousins, but they are all scattered across the country.  It's too bad in some ways, I have  always loved entertaining a crowd.  I would love having more family at our family celebrations, especially my sister, but it seems unlikely that there will ever be a large gathering of family as we used to have. Try as I might, I haven't been able to convince anyone to come and join us here in Austin.  Still, my favorite part of the family was here!

The Big Guy is our official chef and he put together our delicious traditional dinner (with last minute help from Ratchlet and T.A.)  My job is decorating, planning, arbitration (mostly unneeded this year!), troubleshooting, presentation and ultimate decision-maker.  All that means is that mostly I have very little to do with the preparation of the actual meal!  (Hey, in our family we go with our strengths!  It's safer that way!)

Because things always take longer than we plan for, there's a lot going on at the last minute and things get a little chaotic.  At that point there isn't a lot for M-t-G to do, but this year I had a brilliant idea.  I gave her my camera and made her the official event photographer!  I figured she would enjoy having a "job" with real substance and we would get at least a few photos to record the day.  She did a pretty great job!  I told her to just take pictures of the people, the decorations, and whatever else caught her eye.  Here are some of her best efforts

And our P-P-P-Pies! 
Best Pecan Pie Evah!!

Pumpkin - with the cutest little leaves!

Mikey's first fruit pie effort --  Wonderful!

And a few more photos that didn't turn out quite as well.  She started to play around with the settings.  :)

We were caught nibbling before dinner!

A little canoodling on the side! me!

There were many more -- some good, some more "artsy", but all in all she did a great job, especially for a 10 year old.

Portrait of our budding photographer

So M-t-G, "Thanks for the Memory"! Great Job! 

And here is one last one of all of us.  We all look a little bit overstuffed, understandably because it was Thanksgiving after all!  Nevertheless, we had a great day!  I hope that your's was the best ever!

[I tried to fix the scary "pet eye" thing that made Dora look possessed. 
But this "repair" is just as scary!  She's a nice little dog, really!
 As long as you don't enlarge it, it's not too bad, but don't make it bigger, okay??
Don't say I didn't warn you!]

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