Letters to Holly

Monday, June 29

Lots of Much.

Setting up a laptop is serious business. Your Sister's has a fingerprint scanner for security and provides a touch screen similar to that of an iPhone. But it does not simply turn on and get rolling. It's a Vista Windows machine too and, she's learning why Vista has its reputation. She learned she can watch some Netflix movies on her laptop via the new modem, and she's interested in the Tudors series from Showtime.

I used the magic modem to try an online superhero game, and it's a blast. You make a costume, assign the powers, and immediately get to beat up thugs. The game has a tutorial -- unlike World of Warcraft -- and it's right up my alley. I now have to pry myself out of the workshop.

Our Saturday morning theatre meeting was sparsely attended and accomplished little. The crunch of shows is evident as we look for show runners, stage crew, tech crew, and street festival volunteers. This is just what I feared would happen. No one wants to raise his hand; everyone is burned out. I got to see the stage and measure our movement space. It's not as bad as I thought, but the limited curtain options restricts our entrance choices. I also learned how to set up a sound board from the Scrooge actor. He knows his stuff.

I learned last week that all theatre positions are volunteer. No one gets paid. Here lies a fundamental problem. There's is no incentive to do the best work consistently, and there is no penalty for failure. The theatre can't dismiss people; they need the warm bodies. Every theatre needs, at least, people on retainer for such positions. Now I know why the posters all use clip art. Why should a publicity director spend hours on artwork if he's paid the same amount to find something online?

We bought ourselves a ventless gas stove as part of our master plan for the living room. Instead of my mural idea, Your Sister prefers a wall of bookshelves. We talked to a local cabinet company for designs, and the stove will anchor the structure. We also need to stamp our books with our hyphenated library name.

I staked the tomatoes in the morning. The garden is that time period when the plants explode with food. I mowed the yard and weeded the borders, and the flying grass turned me into a green Wookie. Ares of sod washed down the shower drain. That much yardwork replaces a run as far as this correspondent is concerned.

We watched much sport this weekend. The National track and field championships were held at the University of Oregon, and we watched the US-Brazil soccer game from South Africa. The constant horns in the audience are infuriating, and I might not last the whole World Cup if they're blaring every game.

Sunday night, we returned from an outdoor dinner to survey the mowed and weeded yard. We plucked our first produce: two yellow squash and a cucumber. This squash has fuzzy hair on it unlike last year's butternuts and acorns. They will be grilled later in the week. We decided that there was no need to wait to pluck and gobble as we'll be up to our belts in squash and cucumbers, judging by the vines.

I stood in the backyard with my bride, holding my meager garden harvest, in a summer day with light breeze and fading light. It was a good moment. The night got better when I signed and stamped the last check for my student loans. I'm all paid up. It's done. We cracked open Smirnoff Ice and toasted the memories of school and career, and I drank too much to run the next morning. I can live with that.

In the News
Michael Jackson is all over the radio. This American Life used song titles for their segments, and the NPR money show uses his songs for bumper music. We heard Thriller as we drove home last night. I downloaded Scream for running music. The BET Awards was dedicated to his legacy.

Sunday, we lost Billy Mays, the bearded TV pitchman who liked to yell. He entertained me and had a good sense of humor about his place in TV culture.

Picture of the Day
A volcano eruption seen from the space station.

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