Letters to Holly

Friday, August 24

Fishy Business

Your Sis just called to say she got her brochures from the local print shop after two rounds of excuses. Yesterday, they announced a full invoice price with no deductions for service errors. Today, they handed her the prints but had no idea how many were in each bundle. Is it a full thousand? No one knows. Also, their press broke last night, and they had a competing shop run the remainder of the order. Then they passed the price of that order onto Your Sister. That other shop, by the way, is the company that got my order so horribly wrong in the winter.

Lesson learned: There is no reliable printer in Mayberry.

We drowned our sorrows in lamb curry and ice cream. There was no pre-breakfast workout this morning, but we will do something tomorrow. I'd like to run at the school again, but I'm her gym buddy.

Picture of the Day
Disney is taking The Little Mermaid to Broadway after a preview run in Denver. This was the movie that reinvigorated Disney after about decades of forgettable stuff. Really, unless the title includes the words "Witch Mountain," it probably stunk. Although Pete's Dragon was just fine for a single-digit-aged me. The one person who I think would soil herself with joy about the Mermaid show is my ex, and we ain't talkin'. What I am for comics and wrestling, she was to '80s musicals. Lion King was supposed to be amazing on stage, Tarzan is just about to close after a disappointing run, and Beauty and the Beast is closing so Mermaid can use the theatre.

The cartoon is mostly remembered now for two bizarre phalluses, one in the original poster and the other during the wedding ceremony. The animation is almost quaint by today's standards; I remember the whirlpool scene used some CGI. But the music holds up. "Kiss the Girl" is a standout song. Any musical would give up its stage manager to get that tune. The vocal students at my first college would sing the score while playing pool, especially one guy I've known since elementary school. He did a great Ursula the Sea Witch. Mermaid was one generation's first successful musical, and it paved the way for the form to come back to theatres, although it took South Park to prove someone other than Disney could make money at it.

Still, my favorite Disney cartoon remains Aladdin. We won't talk about Hunchback of Notre Dame or Pocahontas.

Thursday, August 23

Bad Business

Your Sis made a brochure for the new school year and handed it over to a local printer, adopted a haughty demeanor, pointed with steely glare, and yelled "make it so, cur!" It works much better on retail clerks than me; it takes more than that to get me to do the dishes.

It was a straight-forward print job. A tri-fold, double-sided, letter-sized brochure. It has some spot color. She turned it in before we left for Washington. She received a call yesterday (Wednesday) saying there was a problem with the job. The local printer sent it to another shop (they apparently can't handle color locally), and the other site couldn't read her file's fonts. I saw the file as she designed it. She's not using archaic typefaces. Any print shop with automatic Microsoft Office updates would get them; even her hamster-powered laptop got the updates. She decided to run the brochure in b/w so the local printer could handle the job, and they offered to meet her today before they officially opened to get the job done before school starts Monday.

You Sis says she would have had no idea how to handle this if I hadn't spoken of my own print jobs. And the print shop did two things very bad things:

1) They didn't tell her that the job would be sent to another facility with potential difficulties in fie handling.

2) They waited ten days to tell her they had a problem. Granted, they knew she was out of town last week. Let's set aside the possibility of calling her cell phone to inform her of this. They knew she returned Saturday and waited additional four days to inform her of the problem.

She won't use them again even if they handle the b/w print just fine. By the way, she went to this shop because I discouraged her from going to the other local shop, as they royally screwed up my magnet order back in January.

We talked volleyball last night. The school hired a team of spouses to handle both teams. I know the husband coaches local volleyball in the offseason, and I think she may as well. To the relief of many parents, the varsity team now has a male coach, a development thought to magically make them better in the toughest conference in the state. I assume he can use a shorthand developed in previous years, and that may help, but if this team doesn't win their division or the playoffs, this season will be seen as a failure. For the vocal parents to be satisfied, these coaches have to surpass what Your Sis and the other coach provided. And keep in mind, Your Sis ended her final season with a 4-1 winning ratio.

Picture of the Day
And now... Stephen Hawking in Legos

Wednesday, August 22

A Bad Idea

I have avoided the tweedy productions of the local theatre company since I moved here. I have seen their production ads, and I have winced at their newspaper write-ups, almost all of which feature the words "wacky" and "calamity" and "ensue." I have seen the pictures of their casts, brimming with retirees posing in what appears to be the director's living room. I have never heard of their plays but they feature such titles as The Marine Wore Stockings.

However, they have recently advertised that they are mounting Witness for the Prosecution. This is meaty stuff. And the hook was this: They were going to mount the show in the county courthouse. Here was a chance to do a standout courtroom drama in a courtroom. I couldn't refuse. I read about these plans over the summer and noticed just last night the article officially calling for auditions for this play. This article was published Monday.

I called the director to ask if I could pick up a script, and she broke the news: They won't do Witness after all. Heartbreak. Despair. They decided they didn't want to dismantle the non-courtroom set after the weekend shows. Now, consider this: They had announced the play and the setting months ago. Months ago. The article for the auditions, proclaiming the play and the setting ran just two days ago. And only within the last few days have they wimped out of what seems like a crucial bit of planning.

I was told they would do another courtroom play instead, a small Ayn Rand show called The Night of January 16th using the courtroom as a philosophical pulpit. I was also told that my age and voice suggested I would have gotten a choice role in Witness (not so reassuring; maybe they should wait to see if I could act).

Anyway, I'm going through with the audition. I'm gonna try this company. Despite all my previous rants against them and their show choices. It's a courtroom drama. Always wanted to try one of those. And it's using a courtroom. But my spidey-sense is goin' crazy.

Picture of the Day
Coffee art.

Tuesday, August 21


Your Sister begins a week of a slow death march back to work. My work becomes a cumbersome armload of crazed fish; I have big publications coming out before November, the most significant issues of the magazine and newsletter. Also, we're trying to launch the shopping site and manage a fund-raising project. I needed a vacation just to gird my loins.

Kathy and Travis came over for the Monday couchtime, and we traded notes on Washington. She was there in 2002. They leave for Germany at the end of next month.

The formal wedding was two years ago yesterday, and the time has flown by.

Almost Scandalous Pictures of the Day
Strolling through the local grocery store, armed as always with crackuccino, I spotted a cereal box that stopped me dead in my tracks.

It looked, I was convinced, just like a cover I had done a few years back for the weekly paper. I was so resolved that plagiarism was at work that I snapped a picture to compare the two at home. And then I dug out that particular issue:

Nope. Not that similar after all. Coffee makes me paranoid, it seems.

Monday, August 20

Settling In

We had lunch with Your Dad upon returning. We arrived home, comforted the cats, and started the laundry. Well, I did. She took a nap. We started the day at 4:30 to get to the airport on time, and our previous night's reservation time with a shuttle van came and went with no van. After a half hour, the van drives by us and keeps on going. Five minutes later, he calls us asking for directions. I really wanted to get a taxi instead, but we stuck with him and he did pick up before 6. Our plane was to leave at 8. He got us to the airport at 6:30, after picking up two more passengers (another fare had given up and grabbed a taxi).

The Spy Museum made her hungry for spy movies, and we rented Ronin (a low-budget DeNiro flick) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the Pitt/Jolie married-agent flick). She tricked me into taking a nap on Sunday. Curse her. She discovered earlier in the day that she left her purse in Your Dad's trunk. Your Mom brought it by to my office this morning. We still went to the gym this morning before work, and I am dragging from lag and stationary-bike exhaustion.

Picture of the Day
The T. Rex stands no chance.