Monday, July 28, 2014


Karen’s unfortunate timing with the weather hasn’t gotten any better. Here it is her first day off in six days, and what she really wanted to do was work on the trailer. And it poured. Buckets. With lightning and thunder. The boys’ swim lessons even got called off. We did treat ourselves to brunch out at our favorite hole-in-the-wall hangout, and we spent some time in the library, so the day wasn’t a total loss. We’re hoping for better weather tomorrow, at least for part of the day.

The boys discovered a program that I’ve had on my computer for a long time that allows them to do animation, and they’ve been having fun with it. Maybe the results will be on YouTube soon. It reminds me of Thomas playing with the Amiga computer many years ago. I’ll have to try to recover some of that animation and convert it to a modern format so that we can look at it. I remember being pretty impressed with what Tom could do at nine years old.

I don’t think the boys realize what a magical age they’ve been born into. When I was there age (now wait, I’m not trying to sound like an old fogey), if I wanted to make a movie I had to spend a lot of money and there were some things I just couldn’t hope to do, like sync sound and any kind of special effects. Now there are so many resources, so many tools that are a part of our everyday lives, and so much free and low-cost software that money is no longer the limiting factor in making some spectacular media. Now all it takes are hard work and patience.

It remains to be seen if my boys will devote enough of that to create some amazing movies. I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Off the Stage

My run in Pittsfield is done. The set is gone, the cast party is past, and goodbyes have been said. I'll miss my Pittsfield Players theater family. But it's time to get back to home projects before New Hampshire's winter creeps up on me.

And, of course, creative work. I have a couple of short stories, some videos, and several songs that I haven't had time to do much which since rehearsals started.

Evernote, a service and a set of applications that let me write from wherever I happen to be, helps a lot this time of year. For example, I'm writing this blog entry using my phone while the boys are swimming.

Lessons this week. We're only doing two weeks of lessons this year, because the cost went up, but the boys are good swimmers, and the lessons are mostly to keep them safer. They spend a lot of time in the water during the summer. I don't think they know how lucky they are.

But I think they'll remember this fondly when they're all grown up. Which seems as if it's coming up tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


It's interesting in the summer trying to get everyone, including me, where they're supposed to be. This morning, William and Daniel attended a very interesting talk on water at Lake Wentworth, which included information about watersheds, erosion, invasive species, fish anatomy, and even a carnivorous plant that is found in New Hampshire waters. Not to worry, the utricularia only eats plankton.

After stopping at the store to get food for lunch and dinner, we had to get back to the house so that William could meet up with a friend, with whom he is staying overnight. Then just enough time to get some writing and a little carpentry done before cleaning up the kitchen and having dinner.

Just Danny and me for dinner tonight; Karen ate a late lunch and Tom is working late, so sandwiches for the two of us, and Karen is bringing home a special dessert for our temporary only child. She'll arrive—I hope—just in time for me to leave for rehearsal tonight.

Three more shows to do, two of them on Saturday (whew!), and then I'm done with the commute to Pittsfield for quite some time. I'll miss the theater and my new Pittsfield Players family, but I won't miss the extra driving.

And now it seems that Danny is done making his sandwich. My turn.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Castle In the Clouds

Karen is in love. With a house. In Moultonborough, New Hampshire. It's known as "The Castle In the Clouds," and it was built in 1914 by a shoe factory owner named Thomas Plant. It's a huge house, but that's not what Karen is in love with: it was built during the Arts and Crafts movement, and every detail shows it.

We spent the afternoon there with the boys, stopping on the grounds for a picnic lunch. Then we had to rush back for my final rehearsal. Tonight is opening night. So what will I be doing to prepare for this momentous occasion? Working on Karen's trailer, what else? By the time you've rehearsed a show this much, it doesn't do any good to beat yourself over the head with it leading up to the big night. I feel ready, and I've got a great cast up there with me.

So now I have to go do carpentry. Now that makes me nervous.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Busy, Busy Busy!

As you can tell from the reprise of Danny's blue tongue, I have had a bit of trouble keeping up on pictures. And it's mostly just forgetfulness. I forgot to bring a camera when the boys were swimming yesterday, and to rehearsal (I was going to have one of the crew take some pictures of me). But the camera didn't make it into my mental packing list when it was time to go.

But, if it helps, I finally have a gallery of pictures from the camping trip HERE. No captions yet, but perhaps I'll get that done after opening weekend.

The play is going well. We open on Friday (yikes), and Karen and the boys will get to see me on opening night. Karen has some time off this week, and we're going to spend it having some fun with the boys, and also getting some work done on the house and the trailer. We're aiming at having the trailer ready to sleep in for a camping event in September, and I think we can actually make that date.

Meanwhile, I am taking an online course on programming mobile media applications now, and starting another one in music theory in a week. The overlap was unintentional (class schedules changed) and it should make things, uh, interesting. At least my theatrical run will be done before either class ends.

Not that I'll be able to relax. It's the kids' vacation. Not mine.