Ahhhh.

Mar. 9th, 2015 12:11 pm
ceelove: (Default)
It's been a winter of tribulations - seasonal, physical, monetary, personal - and also a time of awareness of how much worse it could be if-not-for. One of the biggest bulwarks against misery has been the greenhouse, where my tiny oasis of greenery stood stoically against winter's onslaught. Outside, it will be weeks yet before the ground is bare of snow and warm enough to germinate seeds. Inside, I did my spring cleaning, harvested the broccoli, and started a new round of greens and lettuces.
I spent a lot of money and time making the greenhouse happen, but being able to go play in the dirt now? Priceless. Even scientifically indicated to be happifying!
ceelove: (serendipity)
I wish I could make screenshots of my thermometers from various points in the last few days. I've been attending closely to the brutal cold, mostly because of how it might affect the greenhouse. Even when the low temp was down to 13 outside, and with no solar energy available to collect, just geothermal energy kept the greenhouse above freezing.

But last night, when it got down to -4, the greenhouse came down to 23 degrees. Oh noes, Cee, will it kill your plants? Maybe; but they're cold-hardy broccoli, leeks, carrots, Asian greens - it's not like I'm trying to grow tomatoes in there - so I'm not rushing in with a space heater, I'm just noting the data. And right now, the temp in there is back up into the 60s - while we're at the today's high of 16.

There's tinkering yet to do - I bet in years to come, I can do even better at trapping the heat - but I believe I have made my point.

Oh, and just because it amuses me: the broccoli was intended purely as an experiment, to teach me when I would need to plant it to get a yield. But now, in January, when it gets a mouthful of sunlight a day, it's producing heads. With salvaged glass and lots of insulation, I have turned the seasons on their ear.
ceelove: (serendipity)
Earlier this year, I wrote a new play, Twelve Nights. This time I cleverly excluded any of those bothersome songs, hoping that would make it more stageable, but less cleverly sabotaged the play by using twelve characters. I had fun in the writing and learned from the feedback, and next year I'll write a new play with many of the same themes but half the characters.

For now, though, I'd like to have a read-through. Just for funsies. To be done properly, it will require twelve readers, six female-presenting and six male-presenting (plus one for stage directions).

But wait, Cee, what's this play about? Friendship, sex, religion, and mid-life crises. It's a comedy of manners, a modern take on what happens when a love potion a la Midsummer Night's Dream sends a group of friends into a tailspin. It's a love letter to a certain romantically adventurous subset of my community. I'm told that it's witty, interesting, and timely.

So, who will take a role? All I need is twelve other people who can commit to getting together once to read aloud, some time in the next month or two. If there's more interest in that, then yay, we'll have backup readers (which we might need, with a cast of twelve) and maybe even an audience. If there's sufficient interest, I'll reserve a library room or somesuch for the read-through.

Comment or email me at ceelove [at] speakeasy (dot) net, and I'll get you a PDF of the script.
ceelove: (serendipity)
I just got the last arrangement done of Fire and Ice, two and a half years after I first set out to make-there-be-music such that other people could hear how it's supposed to go.

Seventeen songs, people. And in a couple of weeks, the contests open (and one closes again after three weeks): the big-name contests of the music theatre world, with money and prestige and recognition attached, almost always won by men (and teams of men at that). To coin a phrase, if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. The best-known contest requires 45 minutes of music submitted with an entry - and I have 56 minutes.

There's everything-else happening in the last few weeks, with high drama, huge emotions from Sylvana, a resumption of the land search, and all the late-spring grubbing a girl could ask for. But I can't begin to get a handle on it, so I'll leave it at this: I shared The Princess Bride with Sylvana, and it was awesome.
ceelove: (serendipity)
I've seen Chess three times now, starting at 17 when I didn't get it at all but loved the music, even though it was the watered-down American version. It's been rewritten [again, still] and is playing in Needham next month.

So who's up for a bit of a traipse to see what I hear is a cool new production of a perhaps-even-more-intact-than-the-original-British Chess? The only date I can make work is May 10 at 8:00 (and I'd still need to get childcare - this is not a kid-friendly show). Tix are $22.

Moar infoz: http://needhamtheatre.org/showinfo.html
ceelove: (serendipity)
And now it's time for the next project, Pyglatian and Gamalea! For this, I need data. See, it's all about tattooing, and my own experience is not very representative: I haaaaate needles, I needed a two-person support crew to get through it and tried to faint, twice. So I'm asking you: tell me about your tattoos. Tell me about deciding to get them, designing them, having them inked, how they've impacted you since. Send your friends to tell me about theirs. Share freely.

Yes yes, I'll be asking to talk to the artists at tattoo studios and hitting up the library and such too. But this is going to be a deeply personal play, and verisimilitude will be my watchword. So I want to hear from individual people, the why and how and ouch and yay and change of it all.
ceelove: (serendipity)
4/1/14: 41!

I'm getting the best birthday present a zombie-apocalypse-bootstrappin' girl could ask for. :)
ceelove: (serendipity)
Recommend contemporary plays/playwrights to me!

The last time I was seriously reading a lot of stageplay scripts was in college, which noncoincidentally was the last time I was seriously submitting my scripts. I've kept up with musicals quite well in the two decades since, and this winter, I did a lot to shop around my musicals. But now I'm working on a non-musical and planning another, and it occurs to me belatedly, I really oughta know what's being done today.

I love artists who pick the world apart and put it back together in a, you know, differently challenging way, like Tom Stoppard and David Ives. And I'm particularly interested in female playwrights, for obvious reasons.

Thank you!

Recommended

Mar. 7th, 2014 09:31 am
ceelove: (serendipity)
Much as I love me some musicals, I rarely feel that there's something worth saying to y'all about them. But I just watched something (by Netflix video) that was such an interesting intersection of cultural icons, I have to recommend it: the 2011 production of Company. It includes Stephen Colbert singing, dancing, and being beat on by a woman, Christina Hendricks (Malcolm Reynolds' "wife" in Firefly), Patti LuPone, and the finest performance of "Being Alive" I have ever heard, by Neil Patrick Harris. The production had both a depth and coherence I've never before encountered, plus the kind of cleverness of staging that you'd expect from that star-studded cast.

Here's to the ladies who...love Sondheim! And now, back to my playmaking.

ETA: Oh hey, it's up on Youtube in its entirety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8uJ6wlm828
ceelove: (serendipity)
ETA: Apparently I (and the TJ's employee) misheard, the lyric is "world, shut your mouth."

Today, I went shopping at Trader Joe's. I happened to be underneath a particularly loud speaker while it was blasting out a song for which the refrain seemed to be, "Girl, shut your mouth, shut your mouth, shut your mouth" - sung, of course, by a man. A crew member confirmed that those were the lyrics I was hearing ("it's an awful song," she agreed), but no one else seemed to be registering that we were listening to misogyny over loudspeakers.

So I went to customer service and asked them to make it better. Not by changing the channel of the Muzak, but by telling the company that makes such channels that such a song is offensive and has no place in a grocery store. But really, I'd like to say to the people who wrote, recorded, produced, and distributed the song at all that such a song is offensive and has no place in the universe.
ceelove: (serendipity)
I'm humming along on Twelve Nights, my new (non-musical) play, with four (of twelve) scenes done. It's about polyamory and community and friendship and belief systems and parenting and modern life. Warning, it has twelve principle characters (no small parts), so there's a lot to keep track of: part of what I need to know is, is it All Too Much?

I'm excited and self-congratulatory and in need of a reality check. Want to give me one? Read my 30 pages (it will take you maybe 20 minutes?) and tell me what you think.

Given an email address, I can point you at a dropbox link or send you a PDF.
ceelove: (serendipity)
So remember that extra fun bleeding I was doing for a while there? It did not resolve quickly. Finally, when I was 26-for-42 days on, I saw a Chinese herbalist. She prescribed a bunch of herbs that I made into a truly vile tea and drank twelve times while holding my nose. It was worth it. As of today, I've gone through a full normal cycle.

So I went back to get another round of tea prescribed, this time for the excess of phlegm that's been plaguing me for four years. Thank the gustatory gods, the tea this time is palatable. Oh, not to be hacking phlegm out of my lungs and snorking it out of my face many times a day!

However much I want phlegm out of my face, though, I want my teeth to remain in my face. So I really really hope the moderately spectacular faceplant I did this morning doesn't result in permanent damage to a tooth, which is currently unable to take the tiniest bit of pressure without making me jump. Eating is going to be...difficult for a while.

er...?

Dec. 23rd, 2013 03:43 pm
ceelove: (serendipity)
Why is LJ showing me all my friends' entries instead of my Default View? in multiple browsers?
ceelove: (serendipity)
Woot, I am chair-dancing! My revision of Fire and Ice, she is finish! Almost a year after the first take, but I was kind of busy this year. :P

I've never before enjoyed rewriting - when I did it to get a story published at 20, I said that it was like cutting off my baby's arms and sewing them on backwards (not that I would have known). But this! This was fun. I shaved that puppy down from 129 pages to 99 (should be under two hours), tossed out two songs, and now have something that feels manageable instead of lumbering.

And now I must read everything the internet thinks about what I can do to get it produced. Unless you happen to know a theatrical company looking to do a cutting-edge apocalyptic musical with eight principles and six in the ensemble?
ceelove: (Default)
I met John Felker when I was 23, he was 33. At that point, I had more life skills than he did. Both of his parents were dead by the time he was 18, and he'd led an aimless, floundering life. We both needed someone to help pay rent, so we moved in together, at which point I discovered what "poor life skills" could mean: he rang up $1000 of phone sex bills in a month and then lied to me about having used the money I gave him to pay our utilities.

Never has a person been more eager to turn his life around as when I confronted him. We worked out a system for him to repay me and his other debts, and he stuck to it like a rock. When we moved in, he came with his "matched set of Hefty bags"; when we departed, he had money saved up and a plan for starting afresh. I moved to Massachusetts, he to Louisiana, and we kept in touch for the next 15 years. He became a travel agent because he wanted to help people see the world. He stopped frequenting bathhouses and met a life partner, Scott, with whom he adopted rescue dogs and made a wide circle of friends.

When we met, he was incredibly fatalistic: he had dreamed that he would die at 35 and didn't see the point in taking care of himself. I was curious what would happen at 35, which came shortly after we moved apart. At 35, he discovered he had AIDS. It galvanized him. He discovered that he cared very much about living. He did die - to the person he had been. The rest of his life, increasingly, was spent managing his many medical complications. But he loved it. He was genuinely happy for every day he had.

Yesterday he passed on: the last remnant of people I cared about from my time in Florida, a joyous mystery while alive, celebratory up to the moment of his death. He had Scott send a final group email which made me cry with happiness. I am proud to have known him.

Rest in Fun, John.
ceelove: (Default)
Reminder: greenhouse raising tomorrow. I've had few responses and those, mostly maybes, so I hope you can make it!

Sunday, September 8, from 1:00 to 6:00, let's raise the roof! And, you know, attach the glass panes, fit the door and vent, add plywood/siding/insulation/shingles, all that jazz. Show up for any portion of that you'd like. You needn't be skilled, just able-bodied and able to take instruction.

I've got work gloves and eye protection to spare. I'll rent nail guns, but if you've got a chop saw (mine is small) or a short ladder (the structure's peak is 12 feet), they would come in handy.

I'll supply a wide array of beverages and some finger foods; we'll leave open the option of a celebratory meal at the end.

RSVPs are exceptionally welcome.

And lest you doubt that I know what I'm doing - I don't! I've been operating way outside my comfort zone for months. But my parents have helped build dozens of houses, and they will be there, and that gives me a lot more confidence that we'll get this puppy up safely.
ceelove: (Default)
I used to rely on my ex for handydude things around the house, which was not a winning strategy overall. Now that he's gone, I'm having to figure out all kinds of things, like how to build a greenhouse, which is a ginormous project spanning a year. More in-the-moment, though, is figuring out how to change the blade on the mower, so it'll again actually mow.

I was defeated in round one: could not - for love, money, WD-40, a socket wrench, and a rubber mallet - budge the nut that was holding on the blade. But then I was very pleased with myself for thinking outside the box, in taking the mower a few blocks to a service station, where I reassured them that I didn't want them to fix it, merely sic a pneumatic drill on it, which they did. *premature victory dance*

Took it home, then couldn't get the nut back on. Or rather, I could, but then the mower sounded like holy hell, a big awful noise. Having told them I only wanted that one thing, I couldn't bring myself to return for another (a girl's got her pride) - but then, after further thought, brought it to my regular auto mechanics.

Again, I said, I just want you to drill the nut on, which a guy obligingly did, but it still made the awful noise. So then he took it all apart, determined that the noise was some plastic scraping, reamed out a washer to fit the shaft, put it all back together: purred like a kitten. *deserved victory dance!* He refused money and thanked me for giving him something interesting to do while waiting for an auto part.

There was a lot to be learned from this: about problem-solving, assumptions, pride, human decency and connection. I'm kinda glad I went through it. Much nicer than the lessons about plumbers and incompetence and melting ceilings. I headed home feeling somehow both humbled and exalted, and tomorrow I will have a special appreciation for my ability to mow the lawn.

traipse

Aug. 28th, 2013 09:36 am
ceelove: (serendipity)
I'm going traipsing about the state with two seven-year-old girls on Friday. Definitely Northampton, dinosaur tracks in Holyoke, and some fruit-picking. Recommendations for a farm/orchard to hit? Thoughts of other things we could do? (There were going to be baby alpacas, but oh well.)

er...

Aug. 20th, 2013 02:53 pm
ceelove: (Default)
A few months ago, I went to Home Depot repeatedly to gather materials for constructing a greenhouse. I was impressed many times by their attitude towards me, which was consistently helpful, competent, and (of utmost importance to me) not condescending. Never once did I feel I was being treated differently because I was a woman.

One time, though, I went with the intention of bringing back a door. I asked a male employee upon my arrival if it was an okay idea to tie it to the roof of my car for the mile trip home. He said it wasn't but quickly followed it up with the offer to follow me home with the door in a Home Depot truck. Really!?, said I. Oh sure, said he, it's a new service, Drive and Drop. He told me to find him again when I was done purchasing, and and he would load up the truck and follow me. He did, even unloading it (and my other bulky purchases) into the backyard for me. I was pleased if a little embarrassed about how much was being done for me, an able-bodied woman.

Today, I went in to buy some more bulky items and asked for Drive and Drop. No one had ever heard of it. I rented a truck and drove my bulky items home, and it was fine. But, um...what was that? Did that guy make up the service on the spot for my benefit? Which, well, I can only assume he would do because he's a guy and I'm, uh, an attractive woman. But he seriously didn't try to get anything out of it: he was the soul of courtesy.

I don't know how I feel about it.
ceelove: (Default)
Despite my best efforts, I have a substantial surplus of veggies. Local and in need of kale, chard, or kohlrabi? I'm your girl.

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