Letters to Holly

Tuesday, July 28

New Toy

I mentioned yesterday that I got a new digital camera. It's another Sony, the same brand that Your Sister bought me more than five years back. I knew that I'd need another one before this convention, and I planned for one since last year. I did the homework. I had no luck getting the office to spring for one. I decided to buy it myself and own it outright. The advances in miniaturization are shocking. A 16 G memory stick is half the length of my thumb and as thin as a credit card. My previous camera's memory stick is 126 MB. The new camera is 10 megapixel, twice that of the other camera. This card will hold more than 3,800 photos at the maximum resolution. Madness.

I had no brains when I opened the camera and didn't see the AC adapter. I thought I had been hornswoggled by the salesperson. Your Sister figured out how it worked within the hour. I now can fit the charger, a backup batter, a back-up memory stick, the camera, and a USB cord inside one small belt pack. MADNESS. My old camera is a brick in comparison. I adore it. It's been a boon for comic reference pictures and vacations. But this new camera will be the new favorite, and we'll keep Old Reliable on the bench until it's needed.

The only downside to the new camera is it requires lithium-ion batteries and will not accept any alkaline. I can't power it with batteries from a grocery store. But those batteries can be recharged quickly with a wall outlet, and two batteries can power through about 5oo photos. There's no way I can go through both batteries in one day. Not even at a museum.

I'm in such a lockdown mental mode to prepare for the trip that I can't get thrilled by this brilliant new toy. I plan to download photo copies to the work PCs at convention each night just to be safe.

In Maine, Your Sister visited a comic store and bought me three original Star Wars figures. All evil. A Death Star gunner, an Imperial commander, and a Darth Vader. A real, old Vader with a plastic cape. He's going with me to convention as a good-luck totem.

I've spent an obscene amount of money for this work convention, and I wonder how much I can write off on taxes. The camera and the suit were things I needed, but both expenses within a month is a serious budgetary bump.

I won't be able to post anything for the blog until next week. The only PC access I'll have is to upload photos copies.

You and Your Sis are gonna surf. Have fun.

Picture of the Day
The newsgirl for the science-fair-esque display I made for the convention. The title is "Read All About It" and markets the company publications.

Monday, July 27


I spent all of Saturday girded for war, and it was for naught. When the two tech folks arrived, I walked them through the headset usage and tested their volumes. Right before we began, the tech lady, to my shock, apologized for missing cues. I told her Friday was an off night for everyone and to forget it. Also, I fielded tons of calls from actors warning me they would be late and updating me on their progress. Also, you and I talked briefly.

We had some rain. That cooled down the hot theatre air greatly. Also, the Legionaries we're in full swing on the other side of the stage wall. We had a very smooth show tech-wise thanks to copious formalities and courtesies, but my cast had line troubles. Seems everyone did. The whispering actress didn't realize her mic was unplugged for her play, causing her much distress. The third play had a line hiccup, and we shared stage horror stories as the fourth play hit the stage. We somehow finished up earlier than normal, and I got home right after Your Sister did.

Sunday, I was dead tired. My eyes watered, my back ached. I was beat. I was eager to get the show going and over, and the day dragged by. My cast got off to a stumble and never hit a groove. I stayed on the wings, reading a Chuck Palahniuk book. I couldn't read Sons and Lovers anymore; it hit a rut. I usually sit there and read each night. I keep an eye out for tech troubles.

After setting up the second play and getting them started, I went into the green room to congratulate my guys for ending their work. The mom actress was livid. She stormed to me and asked why I was reading the script offstage. I told her I wasn't. And wouldn't. We talked about this a few nights before. I hadn't cracked open the script since we moved to the theatre space. Once the show starts, the play is between the actors and audience. It would be an insult to follow along with the script, and she took it that way. Livid, I say. I even showed her the book. Couldn't calm her down. She was riding a mad, and I couldn't dissuade her. I didn't try. Screw it.

Intermission was spent coordinating the production party with pizza options and cataloging the reservations. This was done by others, and I greatly appreciated their command of it. The show finished without incident, again a little early, and we killed time before the party started. I cleared the stage of tape and furniture and boxed up my play's props into the car. I killed time by calling Your Sis and My Mom.

My theatre liaison attended to begin the disassembly of the set pieces. He also, in the span of an hour, asked me to consider three positions with the theatre. I told him I'm not saying "yes" to anything. I'll be gone for two weeks starting Wednesday, and my brain is mush. I was flabbergasted when one of the actors publicly presented me with Visa gift cards paid for by the cast and a signed card. Floored. Stunned. I gave a short thank-you speech and thanked the tech guys for their work too. The liaison sketched out the new green-room design, and the theatre plans to have new curtain systems installed before September. They're moving forward. But we still don't know if there will be any shows after Christmas. The script committee hasn't met to consider plays or scheduling.

Best moment of the last day? Giving the keys back to the whispering actress. She was the one who handed them to me the day I said I'd stage manage. I think she was shocked. She may have intended me to keep them as a gesture of being brought into the inner circle of the theatre. I didn't see it that way. It's my hope that some other new person is taped to stage manage. The liaison and I have talked about making a stage-manager manual for the next sucker. It's needed.

I left at 7. Monday morning, I stopped by the warehouse to stash the props and officially, finally, decisively end this play, four months after I first agreed to do it.

I packed for the convention last night. The suitcase will go on our office truck today or tomorrow. We picked up a new digital camera, and Your Sister found it included an AC charger, saving me about $40 I would spend on one. We have two nights together before I fly off to Chicago, and I'll be gone a week. I'm ready to get that over with too. We spent last night watching On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Bond film starring George Lazenby. It's very dated; they adopted the style of the day in everything from fashion to sound effects.

Picture of the Day
A German fan at the Tour de France.