Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Total Bliss

See previous post.

My New Closet

It's such a tricky subject for a homosexual.

Before: Drywall, dirty and with cheap horrid metal racks (here, removed). The closet is one of the last places left as it was when I moved in.


Now: Maple and I am in love. Perfectly suited to moi.

Life with Warren


The first time I saw Warren was in a remount of the Arts Club's greatest hit,  Jacques Brel. My friend Bruce was the music director and he had alerted me to the fabulous new voice in town, and when he first sang, I was smitten. Bruce and I talked about Warren and I even made jokes about me having a crush on him—partly due to Warren's handsome face, but mostly because of that extraordinary voice.

Last year, when it came to casting my show though, I did not even put Warren's name on the "potential" list because I found him far too talented and experienced. But he was a friend of the director, Shawn, and so there he was on the first day of our rehearsals. And boy, was he there.

As I have written here before, what threw me completely about Warren was his ability to be on stage whilst seemingly, at the same time, seeing himself —well, all of us—onstage. It was like he could be onstage and at the back of the auditorium at the same time. And during our run, in almost every show, at some point I blanked on my lines and Warren was always there with a cue to keep me going—and he did it in a way that the audience thought was part of the show.

At the end of the show, I was hooked on him. So when he turned up in May of this year insisting we work together to convert my play into a screenplay I was giddy.

For a month, we worked together every day either side-by-side or over the phone. And then I submitted the script to the Praxis competition and he went to Europe. It was like quitting smoking.

Warren got back about three weeks ago. He called when he got back and then I never heard from him again. I sent emails and left voice messages but no reply came. I didn't worry really. He loves our project so much, I knew he was busy. But I felt what? Sad? I don't know. But I was aware of every day he did not call.

Suddenly, yesterday, he called and the world feels right again. For me, having a writing partner is a bit like having a boyfriend. I feel so incredibly rebalanced again because he called. And I am excited because we are going to go through the whole script again together and then he is going to pitch it to Out TV.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chris' Memorial

Click to enlarge.
This was the view off just one balcony. 
Yesterday was my friend, Chris', memorial. It was an awesome event,packed with lots of great, great people. He would have been thrilled and proud of us and what we did to celebrate him and his friend, Brent, who looked after him with such care. Before I went to the memorial, I walked through the Rose Garden in Stanley Park. The memorial was at the Rowing Club.




How to Celebrate Pride When it is Hot


Small Spaces

Saw this perfect party accessory for those
who can quickly flip their band.
One of the best things about living in a small space is one's ability to make everything "perfect." In a small space, one can afford perfection—especially when one's space is a yard-less interior-walls-only condo.

When I moved into this place, the walls were an electric blue and the floors were a horrid tile or fake wood. (Who likes fake wood floors that make you sound like Barbie or Ken walking around on them?) So I put new slab and then had (real) Maple floors laid down, plus I had custom-built woodwork (Maple or Ash) done, including replacing all the flimsy doors with Maple and glass beauties.

The other big changes were:
- Covering all the extruded metal window frames with wood. That was a stunning move because it really "dressed up" my space and allowed me to install beautiful custom (thermal) blinds.
- Putting woven grass cloth wall paper up (@ $250 per roll, thank you very much) and some large travertine marble tiles on the wall below my windows.
- Installing a beautiful Maple counter top that could function as a bowling alley it is so big. I love it.
Last month, I had the dishwasher removed and all the cabinets changed to Maple and today the closet gets done. This is for me, not for guests. Like my other closet, I have designed it down to every millimetre and I can hardly wait to see it go in. And once it is done, the shoji door people can come in to give me an estimate on new doors for my closet.

Then my office and then I will be finished. And like I said, it will be "perfect." By that I mean, exactly to my needs and desires. Doing this, and writing plays and a screenplay, and now with my 100 Dr. Freud kits to make, I have never felt so creatively fulfilled and happy. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dr. Sheldon Freud's Self-Improvement Kit

For an Etsy novelty item, I am thinking of making up some Dr. Sheldon Freud Self-Awareness Improvement Kits.  Each kit will come in a box and contain:
     - An instruction sheet,
     - 10 questionnaires,
     - 10 large envelopes, and
     - 10 small envelopes.

The instruction kit tells you to:
- choose 10 people from amongst your acquaintances to poll
- put your address on all the small envelopes
- put a self-addressed small envelope and a questionnaire in each large envelope
- mail each of the 10 large envelopes to the ten acquaintances chosen

The Questionnaire asks your acquaintances to complete several sentences and then return them ANONYMOUSLY to the sender:
     -The best thing about you is.
     -Other good things about you are.
     - The worst thing about you is.
     - Other things about you that bother me are.
     - The thing you most need to change/do is:

Marketing:
     - Got a friend whose self-mage is way out of whack?
     - Got a problem personality at work?
     - You partner driving you crazy?
     - Buy Dr. Sheldon Freud's Self-Awareness Kit and
       FIX YOUR FRIEND AND YOUR PROBLEM.
     - It's simple. It's easy. It's guaranteed!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

An 11-Year-Old Organ Donor


While the boy's mother weeps in the background, doctors surround 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi's gurney and bow. Moments later, the body was rushed into surgery so that the child's organs could be used to save desperately sick transplant patients, in accordance with his wishes.

The moving shot was taken last month at Zhongshan University Hospital, China, where the schoolboy died of brain cancer. Despite his traumatic battle with the disease, Liang's final thoughts were for the lives of others. His last request was that his organs be donated.

The youngster, from Shenzhen, near the border with Hong Kong, stunned his grief-stricken parents with his insistence that his body be used to help patients in urgent need of transplants, a request which belied a maturity far beyond his years.

Liang's gesture is all the more impressive because voluntary organ donation is a relatively new concept in China. The first national organ registry was set up in 2010 - until then, the majority of organs for transplant came from executed prisoners.

At first, CCTV reports, his parents were opposed to the idea, but they came to understand why their son, aware that he would never fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor, wanted to use his final act on earth to save lives in another way.

When he finally lost his fight against the devastating disease, there was little time for grieving. Medics had no choice but to get him into surgery as quickly as possible in order to remove his kidneys and liver.

Nevertheless, Liang's doctors still made time to pay tribute their selfless patient, taking a moment to bow three times before the gurney, an act traditionally performed at Chinese funerals to honour the dead.

Just eight hours after his death, Liang got his wish -- his kidney and liver had already been used to save the lives of two people.

Very Seductive Lobbying

video

This is a very clever, lovely and simple SHORT and 
beautiful film advocating for environmental care.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tranquility GIFF


Coke Loves Me


Who's In Control?


What is your relationship with your mind?

I certainly am not master of mine. I can be though; for a short period of time, I can use it like a tool. But it seems to also have a certain independence. In the language classes of my youth, my "subconscious" mind (as it was called  by my teacher) would serve up correct answers to questions she would fire at me that would then, mili-seconds later, be "corrected" to an incorrect answer by my conscious mind. My teacher knew this would happen; My "subconscious mind was a better learner than my conscious mind," she would say.

Dreaming seems to be your mind operating independently.  And not being able to remember things on demand, is your mind "not working." Or so it seems, until later when it offers up the name you were searching for.

I never thought much about this before, but I have noticed over the past few months, that every day, I have millisecond "flashbacks." I experience milliseconds of a mixture of déja vu and simple memory. It seems to me that a certain smell, or certain light or a word said by someone nearby will suddenly have me deep in the memory of a place and time past and nearly always, the memory is of a place I thoroughly enjoyed.

I quite like these blips of memory that intrude on my day, but it is  happening more and more and so it makes me wonder what is ahead and if this is something normal or abnormal. I wonder if more and more of my time or sensory awareness will be in memory instead of the present.

And the Winner of the Cleverest Limerick Ever Written Is...


A dozen, a gross and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven
Equals nine squared and not a bit more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday

Brilliant use of bread bag clips — identifying plugs.
Got a pedometer and tried it for the first time yesterday. I went for a nice jaunt that was 24,249 steps. I have no idea at all what that means yet except one wonderful outcome is a great night sleep.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Dictator Dance

video


North Korea's Kim Jong Un is trying to get China to pull the plug on a satirical video that, with some not-so-subtle digital trickery, shows him dancing, running, getting poked in the butt by a rocket and more, all set to catchy music. He also gets repeatedly pranked -- often by President Barack Obama. This is not the only video that has him going ballistic. North Korea recently threatened a "resolute and merciless response" over the upcoming Seth Rogan/James Franco film, "The Interview."

When was the last time you were really scared?

I am often aware of how safe my life is. Illness or accident are my greatest threats. I have never known life during a massive urban fire, an earthquake or any form of political/military action. My life is entirely safe so my greatest sense of fear comes from my dreams.

One night within the past month, I woke up bloodied. Another night, I woke up with a large bump on my forehead that became a lovely blue bruise. I concluded I was doing something during the night because I have a long (but sporadic) history of sleep walking and nocturnal "thrashing" in my bed.

The thing is, however, I never remember my nighttime activities. I only know about them because my father, or my partner or friends with whom I am vacationing have been awakened by my activities and seen them. But last night was different.

Last night I fell out of bed but for the first time in my life, I woke up as I was falling. And, at the same time, I was having a dream that some women, veiled so I could not see their faces, were spraying a drug at me from an aerosol bottle that was making me fall unconscious. The sense of physical falling (out of bed) coincided exactly with the feeling (in my dream) of losing consciousness.

For a millisecond I believed I was being drugged and something horrid was going to happen to me. That was hours ago, sometime in the night, and I am still not over it. It was the most unsettling thing to happen to me in a long, long time.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer

The crisp edges of the shadows are delicious.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Graham Harrop

Graham is a cartoonist in the local papers. He dominates editorial cartooning here now and when I was young, it was Len Norris who was a friend of my father's. So it was a treat and an honour to receive this card from Graham to acknowledge the end of my writing for Opus.

Dinner with James and Mel

I LOVE cooking in the summer in the bright light of late afternoon.

The Thai chicken is missing. (It is cooking.)

The corn is white sweet corn. I cut it off the cob and add butter, lime rind, shallot, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Plus. the item that makes it: Manchego cheese. It is one of my favourite dishes, hot or cold. Apple pie (with ice cream) for dessert. And of course, Champagne!

Artist: Oamul

Oamul is a talented young illustrator and animator from China who brings his hand-drawn illustrations to life in these enchanting GIFs. His subject matter ranges from things he sees, hears and experiences on his travels and in his daily life to his favourite movie scenes….

Why Pay Artists?

video

Marketing test: How to sell ugly vegetables.

video

Friday, July 18, 2014

Padded Cell

My wall upholstering project is done. I am extremely happy with the changes and profoundly grateful to my friend John who partnered with me through the green wall.

Friend, john, came with a beam all sanded and varnished.
I have just started the edging. 
This is goldenrod velvet.
The white switch guard will be bronze.
And the white foot-trim will change.
The living / dining / kitchen is now finished.
Next: the bedroom closet and then my office.

Pride is Coming


Nicomi Nix Turner


Nicomi Nix Turner. With a name like that, you know destiny would deliver something mystical. I happened on one of her drawings (above) and then went to her website. Sadly, what I saw on her website was work of equal technical talent, but less imagination. This piece hypnotized me wherein she was drawn out of her usual patterns and subjects because she was part of a Beautiful Decay magazine project. BD framed their project thusly:
"Evoking a sense of histories long since passed, fascinations with the paranormal are found not only within its connotations with Surrealism and Dada, but has since found itself increasingly commercialized through a dilution into popular culture. 

  

 
 
The following artists present an elusive understanding and reflection on mysticism and the occult. Straying from any form of irony, kitsch or inapt nostalgia, their employment of the occult acts instead as a new means of dialogue and spiritual resolve."

The Autobiographical Playwright Performer

Sue is a lovely enthusiastic woman. She is my dental hygienist who likes to "engage,"so there are always provocative questions such as "What's new?" Her perkiness and affability, sadly, sends me to a dark, grumpy place. It's always been this way I am ashamed to say. But after a while, I always warm up because Sue, and other extroverts, are very often the nicest and most welcoming of people.

So I told her about my play at Presentation House because we were on the North Shore where my dentist is and Sue lives on the North Shore where the play is to be produced. She had a predictably giddy response. But then, when I mentioned the screenplay, it was like she was de-plaquing the teeth of Jesus Christ. I am truly excited about what is going on with my writing but when others get excited about it, I get quite uncomfortable.

Then I remember when I was young and when I had big dreams and exciting ambitions that disappeared as I became a harder and harder working bee. Now, in retirement, I am living those dreams at a lovely modest scale so it is easy to imagine how my current projects light fires in the minds of other bees who are still working. I love to think of myself as a role model retiree, re-igniting long neglected embers of youthful dreams.
*
I had a great meeting with Kim Selody at Presentation House: Our first "production" meeting, and so practical details are emerging:
  • Script-lock day is April 20th. ("Script-lock day" is the day after which no further changes can be made to the script so that I can memorize my lines.)
  • Rehearsals start May 19th and I will be off-book.
  • Opening is June 4th.
  • First workshop: Likely during the last two weeks of September or the first week of October, based on the availability of the actors.
  • Kim is directing.
I am clearly, Mr. I-Don't -Want-To-Do-That-Again. I am a starter, not a maintainer and I like change, that is clear. That is why I cannot re-write Artist Survival Skills even though there's been an offer and why I could't face re-doing my first play. But re-doing things is going backwards for me. I love the learning that comes with the new. For example: I will get paid as an actor and my rate-of-pay is laid out in the International Theatre Agreement. (I am an Actors' Equity member) and I get paid as the playwright by percentage of box-office. (I knew that.) 

But I have never experienced a "Side Agreement" (SA) that creator/performers need. I had never heard of this, but the SA protects both parties in the afterlife of the production. Because Presentation House will own the production, but the production is about me and involves me, the SA lays out how we can work together in the future with the property if there is an afterlife.

What am I doing exactly? For my friends in the biz, here is what Kim sent me today: "Robert is going to put the show in our 'season' brochure as a special event." So there you have it: it's a special event. I like that because it sounds like something a critic would not attend.  I think doing this show is going to be a hoot and a critic could ruin everything.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Itchy Fingers


  1. Warren is back from Italy and fully jet-lagged, he opens Legally Blonde tonight. He affects me like a boyfriend because I get so excited and it is partly due to the work we do, but mostly due to access to a thoroughly engaging personality.

    He turned up here on May 22nd with an idea in his head. Almost a month to the day later, Uncle Gus' Monkey existed. And not only existed, but existed in proper screenwriting software. It was intense. And then he was gone and in Italy for three weeks so it almost seemed, in my mind, to have been an unreal experience. But now he is back and it is real again.

    Yesterday, (movie industry) friend Dianne sent me an email with some suggestions for our next step with (screenplay) Uncle Gus' Monkey and so I forwarded it to Warren. Amongst her suggestions of people and agencies was one: Out TV, the gay channel, and so now I am actually getting excited that this script may actually ….. Dianne knows the owner of Out TV and Warren's first and best friend since moving here from South Africa is Out TV's CEO and he, too, knows the owner so we have our target.

    It seems certain that my our script is going to get read.
  2. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with (artistic director) Kim at Presentation House and I expect to come away with some concrete understanding of how (play) HoMe is going to go forward. I expect to be able to write on this blog tomorrow:
    • When it will run and for how long. That information will also tell me when the scriptwriting has to end because one month ahead of rehearsals, it has to freeze so that I can memorize my lines.
    • A conceptual idea about casting the other two roles (should everyone involved be from the North Shore—an idea not unwelcome to me)
    • The development process—when workshops will be and how many. That identify re-write time and deadlines.
    • Union/payment issues. This issue is why I now wish I were producing because as a producer I would make good money. As the author/performer I will make diddly and Diddly is not an attractive man.
    • I will also find out if Kim has read the last draft I sent to him and his reaction.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Getting Close

I am "getting close" on two fronts. One: My rash is getting better. It was not a fungus after all (So much for self diagnosing). It is an allergic reaction. To what? No idea. But some good strong cortisone cream has brought quick and soothing relief.



The wall is really coming along. Tomorrow I will go to the hardware store to get some brass fixtures for the plugs in the wall and do that. Soon, the trim will go up but I need John to help me with that. And where you see the staples going across, there will be a Maple beam that matches the beam on the windows.

Biker Hopper

This is a grasshopper on a two fern fiddleheads.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Living Room Wall in Progress

Dear friend and handyman, John, helped. First we put
up lath around the perimeter, then we started with the batting.

Tomorrow, Costin comes to help move the tank so
that I can do the part behind the aquarium.
I moved the sofa to the window wall and like it.
When I am finished, I plan to use this new configuration.

Athletes

This past weekend, Australian olympic sensation, Ian Thorpe, came out as gay. He has won five Olympic gold medals; at the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won three of them plus two silver medals making him the most successful athlete of the games. Like others before him (Greg Louganis, Martina Navratolova, Mark Tewksbury, etc.) he seems to be a class act and a fabulous role model for gay youth. He makes me proud of my tribe. And look at those legs and that handsome face!

I Am Rotting


Yesterday I did the seawall, but I shouldn't have. Still, I did do it six times in seven days.

I went to bed slathered in anti-fungal cream and yesterday I started taking the systemic anti-fungal medication, Fluconozol. Still, I have trouble sleeping because the fungus is terribly uncomfortable. So I have to get up, bathe, lather up in more cream, and go back to bed. Still, no change.

So… no more walking. Instead, another day of bathing every couple of hours to see if the pills and cream take. Otherwise, it is back to the doctor.

I just went through two weeks without a doctor appointment, but I feel an appointment over this coming on and next week, the I see two different lung docs. White is the new black.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dream Life of Paper

video
Relax to enjoy.

T4 Bacteriophase under Electron Microscope




A bacteriophage is a virus which infects bacteria. In particular, the bacteriophage T4 is a virus which infects E.Coli, a bacteria that has been used extensively for molecular biology research. The bacteriophage T4 exemplifies the life cycle of viruses. It exists as an inactive virion until one of its extended 'legs' comes into contact with the surface of an E. Coli. Sensors on the ends of its 'legs' recognize binding sites on the surface of the host's cell, and this triggers the bacteriophage into action. The bacteriophage binds to the surface of the host, punctures the cell with its injection tube, and then injects its own genetic blueprint. This genetic information subverts the host cell's normal operation and sets the cell's biosynthetic machinery to work creating replicas of the virus. These newly created viruses escape from the cell and then float about dormant until one happens to come into contact with a new host cell.