Monday, August 31, 2009

The Producers - Casted

If you're a Facebook type and want to see the full cast list for JCC Uncommoners' production of "The Producers" then click here.

A very short list:
Max Bialystock - Tim Smeal
Leo Bloom - Gary Peters Jr.
Franz Liebkind - Len Barry

I singled out these three because they have main parts and they all have the distinction of having worked together before in the local improv group, The Unexpected Guests. While I bet it's not unusual to have a cast where people have worked together before, I'm guessing that this kind of collaboration doesn't come along all too often unless you're talking about the Christopher Guest movies.

They're also friends of mine so I'm unabashedly biased. Congrats to them and the rest of the talented folks who were cast! Performances are scheduled for the first three weekends in November. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Elvis Costello at Chautauqua

Elvis Costello at Chautauqua Institution. We're sitting southeast of the soundboard with our friends, Lynn and Tiny B.

Highlights of the evening included:

  • Laughing over the lyrics for "Sulphur to Sugarcane":

  • "The women in Poughkeepsie
    Take their clothes off when they're tipsy
    But I hear in Ypsilanti
    They don't wear any panties Once they gargle with the finest champagne"

  • 8-song encore that included "Alison" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, & Understanding" which brought me right back to the Jeremy Piven moment in "Singles" where he starts wigging out in the check-out line - "Of course, you may be busy."

  • Running into a consultant/friend from WBWC on our way out who I haven't seen in a year. Totally random and had a nice time getting caught up on the front porch of the Methodist House

Buffalo News: Costello sublime in intimate venue

Another Song About The Rain

If you've been in Western New York for any amount of time this summer, you've experienced the wonders of an El Nino summer. Well, perhaps wonders isn't the best choice of word when you consider that rain has figured predominantly in the forecast for the past several months. On the upside, those who prefer milder winters may get their wish since the National Weather Service figures it won't be too bad of a winter.

Normally, an El Nino summer wouldn't bother me. I'm not a hot weather lover. If I only had to break out shorts or capris a week or two out of the year, that's cool. However, my new job has had me wishing for drought-like conditions. It's been a summer of rescheduling softball games, tournaments, concerts, playground events, and now we have major concern with the weather cooperating for the big Labor Day Festival. It's enough to make someone cry, and I think I have a couple times. It's preferable to taking a bat to someone's head. But if that happened, I doubt it would be due to weather.

Fortunately, Autumn is nearly here. Once we pass September 6th, I'm fine with whatever kind of weather we get, just as long as the snow melts and the spring showers end by early April.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Office Drone Day

Our friend, Len, came up with the idea for an "Office Drone Day" some time ago. The premise is that people would meet up at noon on a set day wearing trousers, short sleeve dress shirts, and ties. Once gathered, the crew would then head somewhere for lunch. The key thing here is that the initial group of fellows involved in this gathering don't have to wear traditional office drone outfits to work. Jeans are quite commonplace. Nonetheless, the idea was put into action today. It was a small group that gathered for the first office "Office Drone Day." I helped encourage the mood handing out copies of the new cover sheets we needed to attach to our TPS reports:

Matt joined us at The Pub a little bit later. He appeared confused by the new procedure with the reports but seemed ready to comply:

We hope, with Len's leadership, to make this a monthly ritual, alternating the places we choose to eat lunch.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It All Starts After Labor Day...

The subject line is a bit misleading since I'm going to backtrack a little to say, "Hey! This is what we've been up to!" Fortunately, I don't have to go into many details because I've had my cell at ready to transmit pictures from wherever we've been this summer.

My parents came down for a visit/house work last week. My mom wanted to finish sewing seat cushions for a window bench in our dining room along with the dining room curtains. To give you an idea for how long the latter project has been in the works, we had bought the fabric for those curtains around the same time that my grandmother died in August 2005. Since my dad is unemployed, he tagged along figuring he could work on other house related projects for us. The impressive list of what happened over a four day period includes:
  • seat cushions sewed

  • curtain rod hung

  • curtains sewed and hung

  • new-to-us screen door installed on our back door (previous one busted)
  • railing installed on back steps

  • moisture barrier laid down in basement crawl space
In turn, we took my parents out for dinner to Forte last Friday and also provided them with musical entertainment (King Rail in Allen Park) and tasty beverages (Beer at Forte and Beer at the Empty Pint at Southern Tier Brewing). I'm really fortunate to have parents who are as crafty and handy as my mom and dad.

On the downside, while working on the crawl space project, my dad came across some troubling issues with several of our foundation blocks. We have a call into the guy who worked on our garage to come look at our situation. I'm not feeling too optimistic about how much this will cost us right now.

On the positive side, once I get past the city's big Labor Day Festival on September 6th, the craziness takes a turn toward crazy of my own making. I've signed up for Tuesday/Thursday sessions of Zumba that start September 9th and go until December 22nd. I decided that keeping good health is important and I've enjoyed the weight I've lost over the past couple years (over 17 pounds!!).

The Wednesday after Labor Day will be the first rehearsal of the pit orchestra for "The Producers" at Jamestown Community College. I have the music and Broadway soundtrack to guide me. I just need my violin back from the repair shop where I sent it to get a new bridge put on. Other music endeavors for the Fall will be the usual Jamestown Community Orchestra and The Living Christmas Tree. Non-performance items we're looking forward to include the Elvis Costello concert at Chautauqua Institution this Saturday and the Chautauqua Region Word Local Music Showcase on September 12th.

Throw two more weddings in there, including one where I'm supposed to play violin, and it's a full Fall. Possibly a little less crazy at work, but I don't think anything ever really slows down. It should be fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Late August

Whenever I get to this point in August, I tend to somewhat wistfully think of one specific time in my life. I wouldn't say I'm stuck in the past, but there's something about late August with its milder days and cool nights that inevitably takes me right back to 1993.

I was just shy of turning 17 and mere days from breaking up with my first serious boyfriend. If my memory serves me right, and those of you who know my memory retrieval abilities will know I'm usually not far off, today is the day I had my first garbage plate from Nick Tahoe's on Lyle Avenue in 1993. For a teenager in Rochester, this is a rite of passage that must be experienced. But that aside, there was something about those last days of August before school started again.

I attribute much of it to getting to know a group of friends better. It was they who got me to consume a plate of greasy goodness. A couple nights later, we had a somewhat illegal cook-out in the depths of the Helmer Nature Center under the cloak of darkness. A week later they took me to Chimney Bluffs for an afternoon hike and cook-out. The group was mostly guys, hence the obsession with nature, fire, and food cooked over fire.

They were the perfect ensemble at a time when I was trying to finally be myself. I think in a lot of ways their antics and jovial manner helped me realize it was okay to unabashedly be myself. I've carried that with me since, even though sometimes I forget. Late August seems to help me remember.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walking In Water

Matt walks in Lake Ontario. There weren't too many people in the designated swimming area yet.

Hazy Sunday on Lake Ontario

Sunday walk down to Durand Eastman Beach. It is hot out here but the breezes off the lake feel good.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rochester Skyline and Flour City Brewfest

Somethings just make me extremely happy. I am having one of those moments. It's the view, being with my family, and enjoying summer.

Flour City Brewfest in Rochester

Just a small part of the very large crowd at the Flour City Brew Fest. Had some cask ale from Tap & Mallet. Some Pumking from Southern Tier. Several IPAs. Phew!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Personal Under Education

No sooner had school ended then did you see adverts for school supplies urging you to forget the summer and get prepared now! Given the cool, rainy weather we've had, it may as well have been the cusp of September for the past two months.

High School was the prime topic yesterday when I stopped at Ryder's Cup for an Americano to go while running errands for work. Owner/Barista Elise and I got to talking about having math tutors to get us through Course 3 math and the various science classes we avoided once it was possible to take something not in the Regents arena. Then I remembered something,

"Hey, I even opted out of Participation in Government and Economics!"

"WHAT? You got to do that???" Elise responded with edge of slight jealousy and incredulousness.

"Yes. All I had to do was take a multiple choice exam to get out of Economics, but I had to write 3 essays to get out of Participation in Government," I recalled. "Of course, looking back now it probably would have behooved me to have taken both of those classes seeing as how I ended up working in government and at one time had a job that involved economic development."

We laughed at the irony of my under-education. I had replaced P.I.G. with European History AP, which gave me some further understanding of the rise and fall and rise again of that old continent at least. Truthfully, I learned fairly fast the workings of government through the internship I did at WXXI the summer before my senior year in college. I was shuffled off to pick up items for County Legislature and City Council meetings. I quickly had to learn what a District Attorney did when we decided to cover the murder of a local man whose body was found in a mini-van in Niagara Falls. It was also my first inside look at politics from a news perspective. A fellow named Chuck Schumer was running against Incumbent U.S. Senator Al D'Amato. The guys in the newsroom called D'Amato the "Pot Hole Senator." The significance has been forgotten, but I think it had to do something with his ability to get local with projects even though he represented an entire state. While my knowledge base was still small, it was a good start.

So my under education in high school wasn't a huge deterrent to future success. And I'd be surprised if other classmates of mine who took P.I.G. our senior year retained what they learned then beyond the college years if they weren't going into a field where it was necessary to remember the inner workings of our country. Not that this is acceptable, but at least we're afforded many opportunities to make amends and engage in our civic duties to know what the hell is happening in our national, state, city, town, and village halls.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Night In Allen Park

Another Wednesday night in Allen Park. I am here to listen to the Infinity Big Band perform as part of our summer concert series. Great youth group.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Deluge

Hooray. Another beautiful Sunday in Jamestown at my in laws. It's a small wonder I haven't become an alcoholic this summer since I feel inclined to drink whenever it rains on days where I know re-scheduling softball games is almost impossible.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

I really didn't believe when I saw that Matt had tweeted, "Can't believe John Hughes died. Believe in the curse."

I enjoyed a good many of John Hughes' films, maybe more than other directors/writers. I certainly never went to a party before that had its theme built around a guy's movies until a couple weeks ago. It was a fine party too.

Plenty of news sites and blogs will have better tributes than I could ever write. I'm still in shock. Not so much because of John Hughes' death, but of the timing of it.

Remember the "curse?".

At the time that was written, we were days away from going to Madison, Indiana to visit friends. Not long after we left, half a block burned down. We joked it was our fault.

I'm starting to take it personally that bad things happen after I've been somewhere on vacation. Then again, nothing has happened to Pittsburgh yet but maybe their road system and traffic is punishment enough. Either way, I'd like a reprieve for the sake of good people and cities. That, and I like traveling.

It Wasn't Supposed To Rain

Weather forecast for today was partly sunny. I just turned around in my office to look outside and saw this. Radar shows a small group of rain showers so I guess the weather guys got it wrong. At least it will all move through the area pretty fast from what I gather. And those clouds do look pretty awesome as they move in to cover up our sunny area.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Talent Show Time!

A nice sized crowd gathers for the city's summer playground talent show at the Allen Park band shell. I must admit this is my first time in this part of the park. I know, I know. I am a slacker in that regard. At least the weather is beautiful for once!

Producers Book In Hand

The books are in for The Producers! I almost wept when I opened my part and saw that it was crisp, clean and very legible. Rehearsals start immediately after Labor Day. No rest for this lady!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Catch the Brass Ring

I almost forgot to post this. After the wedding, the bride's family rented out the park carousel for pictures. This is a great shot I got of my parents having a ball. You can see Janine, the lovely bride, on a horse behind them.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Personal Book Club - Book 4 Begins

The reading of A Room With A View has commenced. I am trying to decide if I am hindered by my many viewings of the movie adaptation. So far I am enjoying it but find myself craving something lemon-y.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Java Fix

Sometimes you need a fix even if it's decaf coffee and you are only spending fifteen minutes. I enjoy the coffee shops in Jamestown but there is just something about coming home. Java's is still home even when nothing else feels that way in Rochester.


The sun disappears behind clouds near Syracuse as we drive on the Thruway. We had visions of stopping at Java's for coffee but I think we are just going straight to my parent's house and to bed unless struck by a sudden burst of energy.

Congress Park - Saratoga Springs

A shot of Congress Park before we head out of town. It was an interesting weekend!

Speeches Before Lunch

Kabir's brother and sister give speeches before the wedding lunch. I was mistaken for his brother's wife yesterday which is fine because he is good looking.

The Beautiful Bride & Groom

Janine and Kabir are married. Janine actually went through a muslim conversion ceremony yesterday.

A Muslim Wedding

Waiting for the ceremony to begin. The man standing on the left is the Iman (spelling?), who is like the Muslim Minister. Kabir, the groom, is sitting next to him and Kabir's dad is the blurry guy standing to the right.

Veiled Threat

Waiting for our friend's muslim wedding to begin. I'm wearing a simple silk scarf on my head. The rest of my outfit is the black dress I wore to a wedding last year and a long sleeve jacket.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Bride Is Decorated

One arm of the bride is done. She needed a pillow to help hold her arm up while the artist worked.

Henna on My Hand

Henna time. I opted just to have a little bit done. Multiple women are doing the painting in the family which I imagine is necessary when you have large families.

Mehendi Party

Janine, the bride. We just ate an amazing meal of Indian food. I couldn't tell you what any of it was but it was nice and spicy.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...