April 7th, 2011

storyteller doll

Belated Weekend Write-up (plus a few things since)

Most of this delay was because one of the things I did this past weekend was take some pictures. See, there was a Volksmarch to celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival and I braved the unwashed masses of tourists to walk around D.C. with a camera for a change. It was a particularly enjoyable walk, across the mall, around the tidal basin, and up to the Botanic Gardens and the Capitol.

After that route, I made my way over to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and (finally) took some pictures of the completed Smithsonian Community Coral Reef. I added them to my coral reef set on Flickr.

I was intending to insert some photos here, but that function doesn't seem to be working, presumably due to the DDOS attack.

I came home and got some errands done, then went to a story swap in the evening. I used that as an opportunity to rehearse one of my stories for the Kensington Row Story Salon. There was the usual wide range of material and good conversation over snacks afterwards. Ralph is championing the need to revive the art of narrative poetry and we discussed that, which led to talking about sequels. That, in turn, led to a discussion of Flanders and Swann.

The major event of Sunday was seeing And the Curtain Rises at Signature Theatre. This is the most recent product of the American Musical Voices Project, which funds the development of new musicals. The story involves the development of the first American musical, The Black Crook in 1866. The show starts as a dreadful melodrama, Return to Black Creek but the producer takes advantage of a ballet troupe (living in the theatre after being burned out of their own venue) to create a spectacle. There are a few love stories woven in. The show was reasonably diverting, with a few genuinely funny moments, but the music was utterly forgettable. Still, it's good to encourage new musicals to be written and, with some work, this could be a nice second tier show, i.e. the sort of thing that gets done by summer stock companies and high schools.

By the way, I renewed my subscription to Signature for next season.

As for the week, I've been surprisingly productive at work during most of it. Yesterday was the exception. Because I was telling stories in Kensington after work, I drove in to work. And Neptune decided he needed new shoes about halfway to the office. That is, my car (called Neptune because it's a blue-green Saturn and I am a space geek) got a flat. Fortunately, I was reasonably near Sears. And I knew I was going to need new tires soon, so I just got all 4 replaced. Given that Neptune is 17+ years old and the previous tires were only the second set, I can't complain too much. (I also got new front brake pads, while I was at it. I knew that was coming up soon and I figured it was easiest to do it while the tires were already off.) This is why I have a reserve in my budget for contingencies.

I also had a return of my phone issues at work. In short, our building manager has now managed to disconnect my phone twice. While there is an advantage to the phone not ringing, there are times when I need to call people and it is a lot more convenient to do it from my own desk. At least this time, she knew how to fix it herself and didn't have to wait three days for Verizon to come out.

Then there was the joy of driving to Kensington after work. I have finally figured out how to get there without getting lost. (Let's just say that Arlington road signs leave something to be desired.) But there was an accident on the GW Parkway and another slog on the Beltway. All of the times I've gotten lost getting to Jane's house actually helped me there, since I knew how to get across Bethesda on surface streets. That was important since it also let me buy gas. And I got to Kensington on time.

The storytelling went fine. Liz started, with a mixture of personal stories and Hindu myth, plus other snippets about creating stories. I attempted to be seasonal, with a bad pun involving baseball. I followed that with my piece about my father's less than literal translations of the Passover Haggadah. Then I did some material from my "Fortune, Fools, and Fowl" program. That included an Armenian folk tale, a Bill Greenfield story, "Why I'm Not a Millionaire" and a couple of short poems about chickens. And, yes, I had my rubber chicken out, as sort of a prop, though there was not really a good place to put it. Overall, I had lots of fun and got laughs in the right places (and groans in appropriate ones).