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Trish's Next Project:
Lie Of The Mind at Theatre Vertigo
Harold's Next Project:
The Front Page at Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre Company
(Check the "Munin Pages" button for sites he's currently working on)
Get the other side of the story.
8/5/05 2:18 PM Hey everybody!
Well, my buddy Kert is right... I really AM the worst blogger on the internet! Three months since the last post? OI! I'm going to start correcting this right now, though... by changing "blog" hosts.
From now on you can find our "Weblog" at http://trishandharold.blogspot.com. I'll explain why I've moved there on that page... go ahead and update your bookmarks and click the link.
See you at the new page!
This public service announcement was sent to me by my friend Bob Rindt. It's something that EVERYONE on the internet should see!!!! Please click here immediately for the good of us all!
Then pass it along... you can either send people to my web site by copying-and-pasting
this address into your email:
Ok, that's all for now... I gotta try and get my lawn mowed before it rains again.
5/18/05 11:01 PM Well, last night's post wasn't much... I had just finished watching the video of the speech and was pretty tired so I crashed out.
Been a while since I posted anything of substance... not that there are hundreds of you out there reading this or anything, but I don't want to be called the "worst blogger on the internet" by my friend Kert up in Alaska again.
On that note, I'd really encourage those of you who check this 'blog from time to time to use the Change Detection box that I've got at the top of the page... to the best of my knowledge their service is private (I've never had anyone send me spam at the address I've used for it), and it'll send you an email whenever I post an update to my weblog. You can also use this same service to notify you when other sites change... I have it set up to send me notifications when Something Positive and PVP are updated... when new comic strips are posted I'm told about it and I can go check them out. A very cool service.
Now that Henry V has closed, a little time has opened up for trish and I to do other more mundane things like laundry, dishes... you know, the boring stuff. Life stays busy, though.
Trish is in rehearsals for Sam Shephard's Lie of the Mind almost every night at Theatre Vertigo and she's loving it. The cast is marvelous and VERY committed to the play and the process. They did run into a little jam recently, though... the actor who was slated to play her husband, Baylor, ran into some health problems and had to drop out of the show. A replacement has been found, and they're working him into the play this week... but even with that complication Trish is very excited about the show.
Things at Mt. Hood Rep have also been busy... as you know, we're in the pre-production phase for this year's American Classics Festival. This includes getting the plays cast (we've got to hold a second casting for Front Page this Saturday), publicity photo shoots arranged (we've had to rearrange this a number of times due to peoples schedules), a Technical Director to hire (we had someone slated to do the job, but he decided that he needed to go to grad school this summer instead of working for us... hrmph. We've had interviews and made an offer to a young man who's done a lot of work with students... hopefully it's going to work out), and student interns to interview and put into the program. Woof!! And we haven't even started rehearsals yet (those start June 26).
Then there's my various standardized patient projects that I'm doing with Oregon Health Sciences University... we've had to re-write my psychology/ drug abuse case a few times to get it up to speed before performance - I start that one next week. Then there's the School of Medicine CPX exams... we have our first meeting for that one tomorrow, before a do a week of performances (from 8:30 - 5 every day) for the medical students.
So, yeah... we've been keeping busy. Ok, that's all the time I have budgeted for weblog posting for today... I have to go get ready for a film audition.
5/17/05 11:41 PM Holy CRAP!!! Have you guys heard about Bill Moyers' speech to the National Conference on Media Reform? Do yourself a favor... read the text of the speech here. There are also links that let you watch the speech and listen to audio on that page.
5/2/05 11:01 AM Yup... had to reset the buddy counter at the top of the page... We're so busy right now that we actually had to hire someone to do some landscaping out at our place (grates on my male ego to no end, I want you to know... having to pay someone else to mow my own lawn? Grrrrrr). Anyway... we opened the gate to let the guy into the back yard and thought we'd secured it again... but if there's the slighteset hole, that damn beagle will get out through it. So, Trish was a little late for her Henry V call because she had to chase him down. Thankfully he didn't get far this time.
It's GREAT to finally have this show open. No more 4pm rehearsals in Gresham! Hooray! The show itself has turned out ok... as I said before, it's not The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but it's not bad for a Community College Shakespeare Production. I've been very impressed with several of the your actors we're working with, and I'm hoping that I see them do more here in the area.
My parents were actually good enough to come down and see the show opening night. We spent a too-too-short weekend with them before they had to get back up to Blaine Washington for my Dad's rehearsal (he's in a community theatre production of A Luau For Lear... yeah, it's as kooky a play as it sounds).
Now that we've got some time open, we can start looking at some of the other things that we've had to put on hold while we were in tech week, like... uh... laundry? We've had a bit of a shake up over at Mt. Hood Rep. The guy we had on tap to be our technical director this summer has decided that he needs to go to grad school, so we're scrambling to find a replacement for him.
Speaking of which, I better get back to work... sigh... Later.
4/27/05 9:01 AM And the beat goes on... Trish and I keep telling ourselves that it'll be better next week!
Well, Henry V is opening on Friday, which'll make things a lot better (rehearsals from 4pm until 11pm this week have been pretty hard on us... both of us are rushing from Downtown Portland to Gresham at 3:30, just when the rush hour on I-84 is getting bad). It's not going to be a bad show... it's not going to be Oregon Shakespeare Festival by any means, but as community college productions of Shakespeare go, I think it'll stack up pretty well.
Thankfully, Trish got a couple of weeks off from Lie of The Mind rehearsals (her next project with Theatre Vertigo so she can focus on Henry V's tech week and run. Once Henry closes, however, it's back to the grind with that one.
God bless our agent Kaili... I had a film audition yesterday, and I've got two industrial auditions today (packed into the cracks in my schedule... this will be one of those no-lunch kind of days, I'm afraid). She keeps on working for us. Today is our one-year anniversary with her, and in the past year I've auditioned at least 30 times and gotten more than a couple of jobs. Her faith in us is downright inspirational.
Ok, I've gotta run to my first appointment of the day... in case you're interested, I've posted some photos from The Waiting Room on the Photos page... and there are more City of Heroes screenshots as well (click here).
Hope you're all doing well...
4/14/05 12:42 AM Oh my freakin' God, guys... I'm so tired.
Those of you who check our weblog regularly know that a lack of regular postings usually means that I'm busy doing other things... this is definitely the case right now. In spades! I feel like I'm running in three directions at once. Just so you all have the low-down on what's going on in our crazy lives... at the moment Trish and I are both working on four theatrical projects (yes, at once), AND our day jobs. We barely have time to breath!
Meanwhile, I was in a different location last Saturday and Sunday helping to run the auditions for The Front Page, another show in this season's festival. That audition was just as hard for Trisha Pancio Armour, the director. We thought we were going to have to do yet another call-back for that show this coming Saturday, but Trisha managed to put a cast together without calling people in for another reading.
And THEN there's the student internship program to get going... I stayed at the MHRTC office until 10:30 last night printing out mail-merged letters to send to all the high schools and colleges in the area with theatre programs... thank god one of our board members, Jerry Lesch, consented to stuff and mail them for me.
So... if you see me pass you in the street with a glazed look in my eyes, don't take it personally... I'm probably just hustling off to my next appointment.
Hope you're all doing well... and to my brother James, I didn't forget your birthday. I just forget to wish you a happy early birthday when you called last night!
I gotta get to bed... hope you're all doing well.
3/16/05 6:12 PM Damn my agent's good! I simply LOVE HER!!!! She's gotten me another film gig... nothing you'll see, though, unless you happen to be in the sales department of a certain major internet search firm. See, the gig is an "industrial," which is a video or film that's shown within a given industry (usually for training purposes). Sure, it's not glamorous, and I'm certainly not going to get rich off of this one, but it's paying work and I'll never complain about that.
I've been really enjoying this web-based comic strip called Something Positive lately. It was referenced on some message board I was looking at or something, and I started going through the archives. Funny stuff, in an evil kind of way... want to see what I mean?
and then -
and because all good stories must have a denouement, Click here
Now aren't you glad I shared that with you? Go forth and spread the gospel (or at least start checking the Something Positive web site often.
3/10/05 6:53 PM Oh my god, this is just freakin' cool!. There's also some shockwave animations on this site of varying levels of humor and taste (and some adult content - a lot of it isn't suitable for kids)... but click the link above to see one of the greatest car commercials ever made.
3/9/05 11:15 AM Hey gang. It's been a while since I updated this page, so I thought I'd give you the low-down on what's been going on with Trish and I.
Of course, the big news over here is this freakin' early spring we're having. Oregon's had maybe a quarter of the rainfall we get during a normal winter, and for the past two or three weeks the weather's been warm and the plants have been blooming! We often have a false spring in February, then the cold snap hits and things start to bloom again in April. Something tells me that this one's here to stay... which means I probably have to get off my lazy butt and mow my damn grass! Global climate change? Naaaah... it's just some myth propogated by all those left-wing environmental wacko's. Riiiiiiight...
Oh, yeah, we did have another nature-related event here yesterday... but I'm sure you already know all about that. For those of you who've been sending me emails, don't worry... we're fine.
Mt. Hood Community College has asked me to join Trish as a guest-artist in their production of Henry V. We'll run April 28 - May 8 on the MHCC campus... more details on that as they come in (first rehearsal's tomorrow).
I'm also going to start working with the Oregon Health Sciences University Psychiatry Department in the coming months... no, not as a patient! Well, actually, yeah... sort of as a patient. For a while now Trish and I have been acting as "standardized patients" for various departments at OHSU. We come in and act like patients at the doctor's office, and the medical students work on their interpersonal skills during a "visit" with us. We're called "standardized" patients because we're expected to be the same patient for each student, with the same affliction and the same pre-determined character. While staying "the same," we have to tailor our responses to the particular questions the individual student asks (and trust me, there's no way to prepare for EVERY question they ask!). It definitely takes some improv skill to be able to bob and weave with the punches.
Now the Psychiatry department is starting up a "standardized patient" program, and I'm going to be working with them as they develop it. This will be a little different than coming into the school of medicine and saying "Ow my elbow hursts," however. The maladies I'm going to have to portray here are going to be decidedly more... intense. Should be interesting!
I recently heard from my agent that my Taco Time spot is probably not going to air in Oregon, Washington and Utah until mid-March (which could mean tomorrow or in three weeks... who knows?). Watch for it... I'm in the one with the political candidate at the press conference (you'll know it when you see it).
We're working triple-time to get everything in place for Mt. Hood Rep's 2005 American Classics Theatre Festival. For those of you who aren't in the theatre production end of things... there's a MASSIVE ammount of work that has to go into putting one of these things together! We've got to work out our schedule with the College (we're having some issues with getting final dates for this year's festival confirmed), hold the auditions (a more difficult task to get arranged than you might think), do the fundraising, work out the PR, assemble the staff... and all this is before the first rehearsal! Needless to say, we're burning the candle at both ends already. God, how did people ever put up a production before the age of email? Yeesh!
Trish has picked up a little part time job back at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine as the personal assistant for our friend Dr. Rita Bettenberg. It's only 20 hours a week, which works into her schedule just fine. Between that and the occasional job with our friendly local casting agent, we're doing just fine.
And, of course, the villians of Paragon City are learning to tremble at Trish and My names... we now have a new recruit in our war against evil: my brother James has picked up the game, and is having a devil of a time putting the hurt on the bad guys. We don't get to play as much as we'd like (with all the other stuff I've mentioned in this post, I'd guess you can understand why), but we do try and make time for some non-work-related stuff too. It's important to strike some kind of balance between recreation and hard work.
Speaking of which, that's all the news I have time to pass on... have to get out to an appointment. Hope you're all doing well...
2/18/05 11:30 AM Well, it's not great, but my current show, The Waiting Room got a review in Today's Oregonian. You can read it here. I'm not mentioned in it (Unless you look really closely for the line about "government officials not having the public's interest at heart"), but some of the other actors get good notices.
Otherwise things are proceeding apace in Trish and my lives... caught a little cold last week (it was COLD while we were shooting the Taco Time spot, then I followed that up with appearing half-naked in The Waiting Room - The Tribe Theatre isn't exactly the warmest place in February), but I'm getting over it. Trish, unfortunately, seems to be coming down with my little bug, though... gotta love a shared infection, eh?
Hope you're all doing well...
2/1/05 12:45 PM Hey folks
By now most of you know we're back... yeah, we would have loved to spend an extra month in Europe too, but reality must be obeyed and so we were forced to return and get on with our work-a-day lives.
As you might expect, we've been pretty slammed - hence the lack of updates since December of last year. I'm running out the door to an appointment right now, too, so I can't really write much now. Just wanted to let you in on a couple of newsworthy bits from our lives since we've been back:
Ok, that's all the news that's fit to print... I've got to hit the road. Hope you're all doing well!
12/28/04 8:42 PM (Paris Time) Hey everyone! We made it to Paris, and our hotel with the WiFi connection. It's been a great trip so far... we spent five days in London, a week in Torquay (on the South Coast near Plymouth), a few days in Scotland (where we had an honest-to-God White Christmas!), and then we moved on to Paris.
There are many stories to tell about this trip... I'm busily recording them all in a journal that we'll post after we get back (too busy having fun to sit in front of the computer right now!). In the mean time, take a look at the Photos we've shot thus far!
Hope that you're all doing well, that you had a happy Christmas and are planning a wonderful New Year's Eve. Trish and I sure are here in the city of lights... and then we'll have to get on the train to Amsterdam. Do you feel sorry for us? Yeah, I didn't think so.
See you all when we get back...
12/5/04 10:00 PM Holy crap, only 5 days until we leave? Where did the time go??
Well, as you can see above we had to re-set the Buddy counter... he managed to get out the gate while we were up in Washington visiting our friends Walter and Beth (saw this year's Voices of Christmas, which Walter directed - fantastic show! Really gets you into the Christmas spirit from the sing-along at the beginning to the climax at the end) and my family up in the Custer/ Blaine area. Got to hang out with my brother's new family (i.e. his girlfriend Laurie and her two girls Kaitlin and Tia - all three are very nice ladies), played some mahjong and had THREE helpings of turkey over the weekend. Mmmmmmmmmmm.... tryptophan...
As I write this I'm just recovering from some sort of stomach flu bug that's been going around. I was SOOOOOOOO sick Friday and Saturday - vomiting and diarrhea... not my idea of a good time. Thank goodness that our hair stylist Nancy is willing to reschedule me for tomorrow night to cut my hair before we go. It's going to be a good month between cuts; I'm going to need to get it shorn nice and short!
Trip preparations are winding down to the wire... we've got the suitcases open on the guest bed and are packing on-the-fly. I just spent a VERY frustrating evening working with the US State Department's Travel Registration Web Site; it's a great site that allows the State Department to find us if there's a crisis (don't laugh, there's a travel advisory for Amsterdam right now), but their server sucks and kept crashing on me. I had to enter my info 5 times before I was done. Grrrrrrrr...
Otherwise, we're just wrapping up our final items and getting ready to get on the plane... heep an eye on this site - we'll try and post photos!
Have a great week, everyone!
As nice a day as we're having today (Jesse and Jessie are over and we're cooking a big meal), we're also keeping an eye on our Trip counter at the top of the page. 15 days??? YIKES!!!
A bunch of people have been asking me just what we're going to be doing in Europe... where we're going, what our plans are, etc. I guess I haven't specified. We've been planning this trip for months with the help of lots of Guide Books (thank you Rick Steves and Lonely Planet) and personal recommendations; here's the Brief itenerary:
So, that's the deal. That's how we're planning on spending our Winter Break. Keep an eye on the weblog; I'm hoping to be able to make some posts from Europe (with some photos, perhaps... who knows?). We'll be keeping in touch, don't worry.
Hope you're all having a good Thanksgiving...
11/21/04 9:35 am aaaaaaahh... this is a great weekend. For the first time in a very long time we're in the middle of a weekend with no deadlines! No work hanging over our heads. No rushing around trying to get things done.
I'm not sure I know what to do with myself!
Actually, we did watch a couple of movies last night: Secret Window with Johnny Depp (eh... it was ok...) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which was... INCREDIBLE!!!! It's evident that Charlie Kaufman is one of the most brilliant minds writing films today. His stuff is such a trip... if you haven't seen this movie, it's totally worth the rental.
11/17/04 10:45 am WHAT???
Look, I'm sorry Republicans... I know you all have deep convictions, and I know that you think that your party reflects them. But look at this AP news story - do you really need more proof that the leaders of the GOP don't give a damn about the laws (or, dare I say, MORALS!!!!!!!!!) of this country and are only interested in their own power?
If you're too lazy to click the link, here's the nutshell: The GOP (in a closed-door session, of course... you know they never do anything where the light of truth or logical examination might intrude on their machinations) have changed the party rules so that a felony indictment of a party leader (read= Tom Delay) does not force him to step down from his leadership position. Instead a "party committee" will decide if that action is warranted.
Let me just repeat that, for those of you who didn't get it the first time: if a GOP leader breaks the law, gets caught breaking the law and gets indicted for a breaking the law, he doesn't get removed from power.
Guys... this is not the country I was raised to believe in. You mean to tell me that the party that won the election on "moral" grounds is taking this action?
I can't write any more... I'm gonna go throw up now...
11/17/04 12:36 am Yo Star Wars nerds... check this out:
Now, check this out:
Sadly, I agree with Brent on both counts... sigh... it's amazing how Lucas can keep making money on such substandard movies. Yeah, yeah, I know... I'll watch it too...
So anyway, Trish and I just had a PHENOMENAL reading of our friend Francesca Sanders' new play, Take An Elf Off The Shelf. I can't tell you much about it (heck, I don't know how I'd go about telling you about it... it's too multi-layered); suffice it to say that when it gets produced, people are going to go crazy! Keep an eye on her folks... this woman's going places!
Off to bed...
11/16/04 12:29 am Hey guys, late post. Just thought I'd mention that we had a GREAT reading of The Little Foxes at Reynolds Middle school tonight. Over 85 people came on down... if you're in the area and are looking for a cheap night out on the third monday of the month, by all means check out our Readers Theatre program at The Rep. It's getting to be really popular, and we're very pleased to be pulling high quality actors and directors from around the area to perform in the readings.
So, I forgot to mention earlier - I figure it's a good idea to have a spare pair of glasses to take with me to Europe (just in case), and it'd been a few years since I'd had an eye exam... so I went to the eye doctor today. My eyes have actually gotten stronger since my last perscription. Whoda thought? It was the first time I'd ever gotten my eyes dialated though... that SUCKED.
So, whaddayathink? Square-ish frameless glasses? Trish and I are going to Lens Crafters (they have a sale on) later this week... we'll see what I end up with.
Anyway, I'm so swamped with web site work that I should really stay up and work... but I had a nice little post-reading glass of Black Swan Merlot (I'm in training, ya know, for France. Really! That's the reason I'm drinking all this wine!), and I think I'm going to hit the sack. Later...
11/15/04 4:45 pm Hey, check this out! My friend Jill from New Orleans sent me a link to this web site: http://www.sorryeverybody.com; not only does it give those of us who tried to save the country from Bush an area to commisserate (in very inventive ways); it also hosts messages from people living in foreign countries who say that they forgive us (and that they know we tried). Click on the "Gallery," and then scroll down to view the photos. At the time I'm posting this, there are 425 pages of photos. Nifty, huh?
11/12/04 11:31 am Oh my god! A morning at home! I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the concept that I'm not running out of the house as if my hair was on fire to take care of five clients in one day!
Instead I'm trying to get caught up on the past-due web site work that's been hanging over my head and getting ready to open The Dining Room at Concordia University this evening. If you guys are looking for a cheap night out, incidentally, and you want to come see a play about the "vanishing culture of Northeastern United States WASPS," then by all means come on down. The show only runs for three performances (Tonight and Tomorrow night at 7:30, Sunday at 2), and you don't need reservations. Tickets are only $7. The cast and crew are made up of Concorida students, with Patrick Wohlmot, Kam Cisco and I serving as "Guest Artists." Carmela Lanza-Weil directed.
Yeah, I've been busy... but I'm doing better now. Those of you who read the 11/3/04 entry know how bummed out I was after the election. I'm still not feeling too happy about where this country is headed (great... we trade in Ashcroft for the White House Counsel that called the Geneva convention "obsolete..." oh yeah, we're moving forward), but one thing gives me hope: the millions that organized in the last election to defeat Bush aren't going away. They're joining me in declaring that "We will not go quietly, and we will take our country back!" Or, to hear someone say it better, download this MP3 file (no, I don't know who it is... I found it on The Randi Rhodes Show's web site).
A perfect example of this is the grassroots effort to look into voter fraud in this past election, especially in Florida and Ohio. What's that, you say? You haven't heard anything on CNN or NBC about voter fraud? Hmmmm... imagine that! It seems that the "party line" (when, oh when, was it ever exceptable for the press in this country to have a "party line?") has been that lat Tuesday's election was undisputable... reporters who have tried to interview Bev Harris from Black Box Voting have been told that they can't. The only "mainstream media" person covering this issue is Keith Oberman on MSNBC.
Now, look, I can understand the impulse on the news directors's part to just put their heads down and move forward. No one wants another 2000 election where the country was bitterly divided and the courts had to, however improperly, decide the election. Everyone, including John Kerry, is calling on us to try and mend our divided country so that we can stand united in the face of an uncertain future.
All fine and well, but it seems to me that 200,000 phone calls to the nationally run voter complaint line is a story that needs to be covered. A district in Ohio that locked observers out while they were counting the ballots is a story that needs to be covered. Districts in Florida and Ohio where votes on voting machines are lost, mis-represented or just plain recorded wrong (yes, there are several reports of people voting for Kerry and seeing "You have voted for George W. Bush" come on to the screen... maybe Bam Chicago was more prescient than they knew) is something that we should all be looking into!
I'm not saying that investigating these problems would overturn the election, or save us from "dubya." I am saying, however, that these issues need to be addressed and fixed if our democratic system is going to survive into the next century. Before the election there was a lot of concern about the lack of security and auditability of these voting machines that many states have put into place... judging by the reports that are starting to surface in the wake of last Tuesday's elections, it would seem that those concerns are valid. If there was ever an example of the need for a paper trail with these things, this is it! There's simply no way to recount now; the voting machines memory doesn't accomodate it.
There are a few organizations who are tying to do just that... I'd ask you to please look into them for yourselves. Check out The Alliance For Democracy and Black Box Voting. Whether you're Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or whatever, the fairness of our voting system is of a top priority. It's the basis by which we trust that our voices are heard in the decisions of our government. Lets not take our eye off of the ball.
11/4/04: 1:08 am Oh, and just in case you're wondering... Canada: No Free Pass To Expatriates
So, I'm sure that you're not at all surprised that I'm in a deep state of depression right now. I have been since about 10pm last night. By the time Trish finished her last performance of Three From Column A at Profile Theatre things weren't looking good. We were home in about a half hour and drinking heavily. I think I killed about a third of my bottle of scotch in an hour and a half.
I simply cannot understand what's happened to the country that I was brought up to believe in. Yes, the voting machines may have been rigged (Remember this? All reports from both Florida AND Ohio are that things went down exactly that way... and there's no paper trail to verify. If they were rigged, we'll never ever be able to prove it... all we have is the stories from the voters who saw their votes erroneously going to Bush), yes Karl Rove got the evangelical christian churches to mobilize so that they'd swamp the polls (It's all about Gays, Guns and God, right Mr. Schultz? How right you were...), and yes all the exit polls showed Kerry winning but somehow the votes that got tallied didn't match up... but that's not what's got me upset.
Here's what's really depressing me: I have to brush up my Canadian accent now for our trip to Europe. "Hey, I dunno what's wrong with those hosers down south, eh? I mean, that doof horked the election in 2000, ran the country into bankruptcy, deked 'em into a war they had no reason to fight, wiped his freakin' ass with their constitution, and generally buggered up things all across the world. And they still voted him back in. Sheesh... those guys are real hosers down there." (Thanks to Stewart Moorehead's Candian - American Dictionary for starting me on my language lessons)
Seriously, think about this a second, guys. On November 1, 2004, the rest of the world thought that Bush was a madman driving this country full-tilt down the the twisty road to ruin at breakneck speed, and that the traditionally smart, optimistic Americans were his hostage in the trunk (Tony Blair and Sylvio Berlesconi being the exception to that view, of course... oh, and DON'T FORGET POLAND!). Now, on November 3, they think that we're all stupid enough to give this homocidal maniac the keys, fill up the tank, go into the mini-mart to get him snacks for the road (please, god, just let it be PRETZELS!!!), and then get back in the car with him and hand him a beer.
Needless to say, I'm gonna have some 'splainin' to do once Jacques European realizes I'm an American. Oh, sure, he'll be nice about it (especially Jacques.. he'll be a real prince, I'm sure!), but he's gonna want to know what the hell happened, and the old cliche' about being an ambasador when you're traveling out of the country is still valid. I'm going to have to tell him something... and I'm going to have to tell something to the children that are going to be born without freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, social security, and the very notion of what America used to be. What do I tell them? How do I explain what happened?
Ok, now I'm just getting more depressed... I'm going to bed. I can take solace in only two things:
10/31/04: 10:30 am (though it should be 11:30 am... damn daylight savings time!)
Started to get the sniffles yesterday... I could tell that a cold was coming on (the weather's been getting much colder over the past week here). So, I took my usual course of vitamin c and at Trish's urging I tried a homeopathic remedy called oscillococcinum. Damned if it didn't work! I took two doses yesterday, and today I woke up without a stuffy nose or head. Just goes to show, there's something to all these herbal remedies you've been hearing about. I heartily recommend the stuff!
Well, it's been a busy week, as is evidenced by the fact that I haven't been posting much lately. I've been frantically trying to learn my lines for The Dining Room which opens on Nov. 12 (we have tech next weekend and I'm not even off book!). I've been making several computer consulting calls as people try to get problems taken care of before I leave the country in December. I've also been working with Oregon Health Sciences University on their standardized patient program (I act like a sick person and the medical students examine me); Trish and I had one gig last week, and we have three next week. Good cash, but definitely a strain on the time.
The big thing taking its toll, however, is the impending election. Sure, we got our ballots in (remember, Oregon votes by mail. We actually voted last weekend), but there's a queasy feeling of impending doom as we get closer and closer to November 2. I believe in my heart that Kerry will win; all the polls show Bush not breaking 50%, and they never take into account newly registered voters (of whom there are several thousand) and people with cell phones (they don't appear in the phone book for the polling companies to call). Still, I just have this sick feeling that Bush might somehow manage to sneak away (yes, like a thief in the night) with another four years. Seeing what he's done with his first four years, I'm terrified at what might happen if he doesn't have to worry about re-election.
You know, Trish and I were talking about this just the other day. We're going to Europe in December; Tuesday's outcome (well, lets admit it, we probably won't know on Tuesday - it'll probably have to be taken to court again) will determine how we're treated. If Bush wins, the Europeans will think that Americans are too sad and stupid to realize how much trouble their leader is getting them into. They'll think we actually agree with him. If Kerry wins, however, we don't have to worry about perfecting our Canadian accents; it'll be as if Germany rejected Hitler in 1936. Yeah, I know that sounds harsh... but look at some of the things that Bush has done to this country over the past four years. Scroll down and read about the repression of his own citizens when he was campaigning in Southern Oregon. You think the rest of the world isn't watching?
Ok, enough serious stuff. Check out this funny shockwave game: "Give Bush a Brain." If you manage to put the brain in the "President's" head, you get treated to some of his greatest hits from the past four years. A lot of fun!
This is pretty funny too:
The answer is 10.
1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.
2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.
3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.
4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for darkness.
5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb.
6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner, "Mission Accomplished."
7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.
8. One to viciously smear #7.
9. One to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along.
10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb, and screwing the country.
Don't forget to vote...
10/22/04: 3:56 pm Ok, you want to know why I feel so vehemently that Bush MUST be ejected forceably from the White House? It's because he doesn't believe in the ideals that make this country what it is! As often as he says that "the terrorists hate our freedom," it's obvious that he hates it more!!!
Don't take my word for it, though... look at this!
This is happening in America, folks... it's not Solviet Russia. It's not some middle-eastern country filled with "terrorists who hate us." This is our President crushing public discourse, in a country founded on the ideal that its citizens not only can question those in power but SHOULD. And when I see these kinds of totalitarian tactics being exercised by the man-who-would-be-king, it sickens me. Physically. Look folks... election's just a little over a week away... if you love your country, if you believe in true American values, you really have only one choice. This man MUST be removed from power, or our children will never know what it means to live in a free society.
Think. Vote. Defend America and eject Bush.
10/21/04: 10:45 pm Wow... ok, my life just changed pretty dramatically.
I was going along minding my own business when an email popped into my inbox from my friend Carmela Lanza-Weil (artistic director of Bump In The Road Theatre). It seems she needs someone to step into a production of A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room she's directing at Concordia University. She had to replace someone in her current cast... and I'm on the boards. What a funny business... so, if anyone wants to see a cheap show (tickets are something like $8), come on down to Concordia November 12, 13 or 14.
Now I've got to get to learning some lines!
10/21/04: 9:30 am Hey guys. I finally put the dishes that have been piling up on our counter into the dishwasher, and I noticed something... it seems that the dirty "travel" coffee cups outnumber the rest of the dishes. Think that says something about how busy we've been?
I'm running out the door, but I just wanted to throw a few links at you... last night I got an email from my friend Paul in Colorado that had this little movie attached... it's pretty funny, but you'll need Windows Media Player to view it. If you want to send a link to anyone, use this one: http://www.munin-ent.com/trishandharold/voting_machine.wmv.
Then my good friend Mary Lasswell sent me a link to this shockwave "film strip." There were severl links in the comments section, including one to a Mexican hip-hop band's anti-Bush song, "Supadubya." Not my kind of music, but the video is awesome - if for no other reason than it parodies a Bush address broadcast on "Faux News." Dig it!!I was interested in the music that the "Film Strip" maker had used, so I clicked the link to Jim's Big Ego - Fun music. Check it out. They're the ones who linked to my new most-favorite web cartoon in the whole wide world (Sorry Scott Kurtz and PVP; you'll always hold a special place in my heart): Slow Wave. Some seriously wacked out stuff there.
And that's how I wasted an hour-and-a-half this morning. Some life, huh?
10/19/04: 8:45 pm Hey everybody! It's one of those rare evenings when Trish is off at rehearsal and I'm home... I always feel so out-of-sorts when I'm home in the evenings. Damn, shouldn't I be doing something? Yes... I should be working on some of my overdue website work... and doing the dishes, and vacuming, and planning for our European trip... we'll I'll get to all that later.
Last night was the our first performance in Mt. Hood Rep's 2004-2005 Readers Theatre season, and it rocked!!! Kammi Harris directed a reading of Neil Simon's Female Odd Couple. We did have one little hitch - Laura Reeves, who was to have read the part of Florence (i.e. Felix in the original version) broke her ankle over the weekend. Susan Moen was good enough to step in at the last minute. Aaaahhhh... Live theatre! Nothing quite like it. We managed to pull 74 people in the audience. I think (but don't quote me here) that we only had two houses that big last season. So, needless to say, we're building our audience!
Trish's back is still an issue in our lives... we visited our chiropractor last week and went through her MRI reports in great detail. She's got a lot of different problems at multiple areas. One good piece of news, however, is that she went to the doctor today and got an injection of steroids into her spinal column. Sounds like a really horrible procedure, and it's not particularly comfortable... but the steroids decrease inflamation, which shrink the spinal nerves, which keep them from rubbing on bone or getting constrained. If we can decrease the inflamation, the doctors are pretty confident that her sciatica may just go away. We've got our fingers crossed...
Anyway, I'd better get to work. Hope you're all doing well...
10/14/04: 11:53 amHi all. You might notice that I've made a little change on the left-hand side of the page. One of the common questions that Trish and I get when we meet up with people is "What are you in next?" I figured I'd give everyone a quick way to find out by visiting the web log here - so, from now on, I'll update the left-hand bar with our current project.
As you can see from the top entry on the left-hand bar, Trish is going to be appearing in Three From Column A at Profile Theatre October 25 and 26 and November 1 & 2. Profile focuses on a single playwright in a given season; this year their focus is on Terrance McNally. Three From Column A is a group of McNally's one act plays from the 60's: Next, Botticelli, and Bringing It All Back Home. Trish is appearing in Next and Bringing It All Back Home. These aren't fully staged productions - they're staged readings. So, you'll get to focus on the words and the performances without the added spectacle of sound, lights, and set. Trish had her first read-through on Monday and she's very excited by the project. Hope you can come see it!
Catch the debate last night? If you didn't, here's the transcript. There weren't a lot of big surprises in the debate... Kerry out-talked Bush, outshone him on the issues, and overall seemed much more "Presidential." Bush wasn't as out of control as in the first debate, but he did seem unprepared... on several topics he just didn't have an answer, so he went back to Education. A question on Jobs? Education. A question on healthcare? Education. It's like he didn't bother to study any section of the textbook but the education study... and then he got slapped down by Kerry for not fully funding the No Child Left Behind initiative. I'm surprised W even bothered to show up.
Suffice it to say we've got 19 days to show this fool the door... I think it's high time.
10/11/04: 8:56 am Hey everyone! Had a great weekend... our friends Walter and Beth came down and hung out with us. Peeled some apples, Beth (who's a physical therapist) helped Trish with some excercises to strengthen her back, and generally had a good time.
So I got Volume 1 of the Oregon Voter's guide on Friday (you can download a PDF copy of it here if you live in Oregon and haven't gotten yours)... I started reading through it this morning.
Those of you who DON'T live in Oregon may be wondering why we just got "volume 1" last Friday... there's a pretty easy answer. The first volume is filled with voter initiatives (155 pages in all). Between Oregon and Washington I think we have half the voter-approval initiatives that are being voted on in the country. Why do we need all these initiatives? Isn't that why we elect legislators? That's a rant for another day.
Anyway, there's a couple of initiatives this year thatare no-brainers for me. One is Measure 36, an attempt by the religious right to place an ammendment banning gay marriage in the Oregon Constitution. Yeah, I think you know how I'm voting on that one... a bumper sticker I recently saw says it all: "Defeat Measure 36! Let the homosexuals be as miserable as the rest of us!" (Just kidding, Trish ;) ). Seriously, though, I really don't get how allowing gay people to get the benefits other married couples have is harmful. The notion that gay marriage would somehow denegrate the "sanctity of marriage" is patently hipocritical (I don't see the backers of this ammendment looking to roll back divorce laws), and contrary to what some of the pro-36 ads are claiming, there aren't other legal recourses in an emergency for non-married couples. Even when a gay partner has power of attorney the wishes of a person's extended family or the state always trump him/her (just ask Jeb Bush about that one).
The most abhorent part of this initiative is the idea of writing explicit descrimination into the constituion - it just turns my stomach. Adding a discriminatory provision to the state constitution is a giant step backwards. It was only 40 years ago that this state started allowing black people to get off the train... is that the kind of legacy we want to leave for our children (yes, that's right right-wingers, I'm asking you to think of the children!), or do we want to have a state where people are free to have their own opinions on a subject but are encouraged to have tolerance for those different than them? I really do worry about this country sometimes.. ah well, another rant for another day.
Anyway, Measure 36 isn't my main focus today. It's measure 31 (PDF), a little known measure that's slipped by most people's radar. Basically, measure 31 ammends the constitution by "authorizing law permitting postponement of election for particular public officd when nominee for office dies." Now on the face of it, there shouldn't really be a problem with this initiative... Oregon just wants to be covered if we have a Mel Carnahan situation (you remember him... he's the incumbant senator who died in a plane crash while he was running against John Ashcroft, and still won the election. Yeah, Ashcroft was beaten by a dead guy. I don't understand how he still has all this power, but that's yet another rant for yet another day). They want to avoid a governor making a partisan appointment, and they want to hold another election.
I don't have a problem with this concept... but I do have a problem with this ammendment and the way it's written. There's no set time limit on when the new election has to be held. Now, I'm not suggesting that there's some horrible conspiracy here - I'm sure it just slipped the initiative authors' minds. Still, it's troubling. I don't really want to give the legislature the power to postpone an election indeffiniately; I'd be much more comfortable with a set time limit for the special election they'd hold with a new (live) candidate. That's why I just emailed all the initiative's sponsors, telling them that I was voting "no" but would vote "yes" if they offer it in the next election with a set time limit for the new election.
I don't think that's too much to ask, do you? Read that voter's pamphlet, folks... you might be surprised at what's in there.
10/8/04: 9:54 am Hey all. Second Presidential debate tonight... lets see how many times Kerry spikes it over the net this time!
The fight for right and justice continues in other venues... there's been a lot of political talk on the PDXBackstage listserv lately... got a little less theatre-centered and a little more political-philosophy-centered, so I suggested we set up an arena at Theatre Vertigo's message board. We'll see where that goes... damn, all this political talk is breaking into my game playing time! Grrrrrrr...
Speaking of gaming... one of the reasons I love playing City of Heroes so much is the other people who play it. For some reason, this game isn't as populated with 14 year old "Leet d00dz" out to kill everything and get all the loot (maybe part of the reason is that there's no loot to get - no material posessions to hoard = nicer players? Maybe...). By and large the people I meet in this game are adults, or at least community oriented folks, with a lot of creative energy.
That's why CoH's recent Paragon City Film Festival was such a joy... the ammount of talent on display in the making of these movies was extraordinary. Want to see why I love this game so much? Check out "The Operatives in Crash Landing." It's c00l, d00dz!!
More City of Heroes videos can be found on this page.
In other news... Trish's back continues to be an issue. It doesn't help that she's had to be at NCNM 8 hours a day all week this week. Hopefully once this week is over she can get some bed-rest in and heal up a little.
In preparation for our upcoming trip to Europe, I've been having a great time listening to a British "Jazz" station on the internet (their definition of Jazz seems to be 60s and 70s R&B, jazz standards, and light rock... but whatever). Listen Live from their web site... it's nice.
Ok... gotta get to work!
10/6/04: 11:47 pm Yeah, so I watched a good chunk of the vice presidential debates last night... there were some interruptions during the 90 minutes that the two candidates sniped at each other, so I wasn't able to watch the whole thing. You can find the transcript here in case you didn't get to see the whole thing either.
Essentially there weren't a lot of surprises during the debate... Edwards came off with an "aw shucks" southern charm, and Cheney looked as cold and calculating as most people expected. Both VP candidates did a lot of sound-byte parroting, and the big concepts weren't really elaborated on.
The one thing that really struck me about the evening, however, is that Dick Cheney can really talk a lot of smack, and do it well! There can be no doubt that he's much more skilled at structuring his 2 minute statements and 90 second responses than Edwards is. He had a masterful way of starting out with a blatant falsehood ("The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11..." oh come on Cheney, lets try January 22, 2004?), then he'd stir in some attacks on Kerry and or Edwards (the favorite being, of course, his assertion that as Vice President of the Senate he'd never met Edwards until the Night of the debate... a charge that was debunked straightaway), add a long list of statistical facts, pepper in a bunch of campaign-approved sound-bytes, and then finish with something completely innocuous and disarming. Simply put, he overwhelmed Edwards on a number of occasions, giving him too much to respond to in 90 seconds and forcing him to use time during the next segment to respond to attacks made during the previous one. He's one canny bastard, that Dick.
In any case, it's water under the bridge now. We get to see Kerry smack around Bush again on Friday.
Oh my god, what a week... this is Trish's week to test hundreds of people for TB at NCNM, so she has to get up early, stay at the school all day, come home and chill for an hour and then go to bed so she can get up early again the next morning. Three days of this so far have really begun to take their toll.
Heck with this... I'm gonna play a little City of Heroes and head to bed. 'Night all...
10/4/04: 11:48 pm Wow... almost exactly 12 hours later. Spooky...
Hey, check out the Bookmarks page... I put something very cool at the top of the list.
Well, we got some bad news this evening... for a while now our sweet little pug dog Baby (we didn't pick her name) has had some discharge coming out of her eyes. Hey, she's a pug dog with big bulgy eyes - you kind of expect that. Still, it had been getting really bad lately, and this evening she couldn't even open one of them, so Trish took her to our vet.
Turns out she has keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Essentially, her tear ducts are malfunctioning. She's not making enough tears to keep her eye moisturized, which is leading to infections in the eye. An unfortunately common condition in pug dogs. So... looks like we're in for putting eye drops in three times a day for the rest of her life. Sigh... a small price to pay for something like this, wouldn't you say?
10/4/04: 11:47 am Uh oh... watch out everyone... must be time for the terror alert level to be raised again...
Or maybe the Bush administration will link these huge terrorist explosions at Mt. St. Helens to Al Queda... one way or the other you know something's going to happen. Past experience has shown that whenever Bush starts to slip in the polls there's suddenly a "huge revelation" in the news to distract people from the political facts. Time to take Osama off the ice, maybe?
Only time will tell...
10/2/04: 10:40 am Doesn't that just figure? Even the Republican pundits are saying that John Kerry won the debate (but Bush managed to open his mouth and not drool all over his shirt, so some of them are actually trying to call it a "tie"), and Karl Rove arranges to have Mt. St. Hellens erupt to distract us from what's going on.
Ok, so that's not what happend... even the most severe conspiracy nut wouldn't go that far. It was a funny coincidence, though. I guess nature doesn't care what's going on - when the mountain wants to blow, it's gonna blow no matter what's happening in the presidential race.
The photo, incidentally, is from Northwest Cable News, sort of a regional CNN we have out here. It's an alliance of local stations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho covering stories of regional interest... I don't know if those of you in other parts of the country have a similar service or not, but we often get better coverage of local issues there than on the big networks.
Anyway, for those of you not in Portland, we're perfectly fine down here. I haven't even seen any ash in the air... if it's there, it must be fine particulate matter that isn't settling to the ground. I'll see if there's any on the hood of my car when I go out later... but I doubt it. This isn't anything like the eruptions we had up in Alaska... you lower 48'ers, always making such a big deal of your little "earthquakes" and "erruptions."
There are reports that pressure is building under the dome again... looks like we're not done with these little "burps." No one's expecting a repeat of 1980, though.
Oh, I posted some new images in the City of Heroes photo album... Off to look at some shoes and maybe a new jacket to take to Europe... see you all later! Oh, and Lori: thanks for correcting me on the date below.
10/1/04: 8:34 am So, did you watch the debate last night? Kerry mopped the rhetorical floor with our current "President," and it appears that the people who watched know it too!
I'm throwing in a link to the transcript of the debate for those of you who weren't able to watch last night, but it's not going to give you the whole story. You'll be able to see what each candidate said, but you're not going to get the visual contrast of the two men (something that James A. Baker tried to destroy when he negotiated the rules of the debate - he fought hard to keep them 10 feet apart so that Kerry - who's 6'4 - wouldn't tower over bush - who's 5 ' 11 and slouches, and he fought to force the television networks not to take reaction shots of the candidate who wasn't speaking... which the network did anyway).
What you saw last night if you watched was a calm, intelligent John Kerry smiling warmly when he was attacked, thinking fast on his feet to answer questions, sticking to his message that he can do better, answering many of Bush's charges with simple explanations and then returning his opponent's thrusts with questions of his own. When the camera panned over to him while Bush was speaking he was taking notes, listening, and at some points smiling when Bush made an attack or a verbal blunder. Kerry stood tall and resolute (yeah, he was the "resolute" one last night) and filled the stage with his presence.
By contrast, Bush seemed to be a kid forced into the big leagues. I've heard pundits on the air say that he started strong and petered out by the end, but to my mind from the beginning he had trouble putting together an answer to Jim Lehrer questions in any kind of a coherent manner before resorting to one of Karl Rove's crafted sound byte campaign phrases. Often he'd stammer, squint his eyes in that ferret-like way he does when he is trying to form a full sentence, and grimace. When the camera was off of him he habitually scowled at the points Kerry was making and glanced offstage. Overall he came off as defensive rather than strong and "resolute" as many of the Fox News comenators were expecting him to.
One thing Bush did well last night was stay on-point with the campaign language that he's been spouting about Kerry over the past months. As has been mentioned in the past, he's really good at "staying on message" when he debates, bringing the conversation again and again to the sound bytes he uses in his campaign. He repeatedly said that Kerry shifts his issues, that the only thing consistent about Kerry's position in Iraq is its inconsistency, that he's sending "mixed messages" to the troops and the enemy. Whenever he was questioned in detail about this, however, he had a hard time putting together supporting arguments, and just clung tenaciously to the sound byte.
Kerry, on the other hand, was flexible. Neither candidate knew what questions were going to be asked, but Kerry seemed to be able to listen to what Lehrer asked and then respond with a thoughtful and informed answer. As I mentioned above, he took notes during the entire debate and was fully prepared to repel the barbs that Bush launched at him.
By far my favorite moment was when Bush, struggling to figure out what he was
going to say about
whether or not we would engage in another "preemptive war" like the one in Iraq,
said, "But the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the
American people, to do everything I can to protect us." Kerry's response when he
got the chance:
"Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said, 'The enemy attacked us.'
"Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaeda attacked us. And when we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora (Afghanistan), 1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains. With the American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best-trained troops in the world to go kill the world's No. 1 criminal and terrorist.
"They outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, who only a week earlier had been on the other side fighting against us, neither of whom trusted each other.
"That's the enemy that attacked us. That's the enemy that was allowed to walk out of those mountains. That's the enemy that is now in 60 countries, with stronger recruits."
(Defensively) "First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that."
As I sign off, I just want to point to another repeated refrain that our President kept using last night: "It's hard work!" "It's HARD!!!" Obviously he's ready to go on Vacation again... lets give him what he wants. Let put him on permenant vacation.
9/30/04: 12:26 pm This just came in over the email... please consider it as you watch the debate tonight:
9/30/04: 9:05 pm Oh my god.. two updates in the span of 24 hours? This must be a record.
Actually, I just got a break today - no "office visit" appointments, so I get to stay home and work on some of my backlogged web site work (Sorry, Dawson, Walter and Jeff - I'll get to work as soon as I post this. Really!)
As I was drifting off to sleep last night, it occurred to me that I left off two peices of recent news that you all might be interested in knowing:
She's doing her best to keep her spirits up, though... thank god we've got a hot tub. Between this new episode and some way-past-due dental work, however, we're getting to be pretty cash poor. No matter, she says..."We're going to Europe this winter if you have to haul my ass around in a wheel chair!" I know better than to disagree with her when she talks like that :)
So, this summer has been taken up with making jam, plum sauce, apple butter, and every other canned concoction we can think of. As I write this there's another 200 lbs of apples sitting on our patio getting older and older... we just don't have the strength to keep up with them.
Baby the pug dog, however, seems to have no problem keeping up with the fruit assault. I think she's put on about seven lbs over the summer by eating the plums and apples she finds on the ground. We were too busy canning earlier to get photos... I'll see if I can't shoot some before they're all gone.
Before I sign off, I just want to add another reason why voting for Bush this year is simply not an option, and I'm aiming these points at my friends and family with ties to the military. Traditionally, people have been taught that the Republican Party is more supportive of the military than the Democrats. This may have been (arguably) true in the past, but it's not true for this administration. The Bush administration has broken faith with our citizens who serve in uniform, from cutting their hazard pay and veterans benefits (remember the 87 billion dollar defense appropriation bill that John Kerry is accused of voting against? Bush threatened to veto that same bill if an increase in veteran's benefits was included. Click this link to find out more) to forcing us into war with Iraq unprepared, understaffed and undersupplied. He's even gone so far as to cut improvements to military housing This is support for the Military?
When you're in the military, you're taught to support your commander and follow his/ her orders. The President is the Commander-in-chief, so by default many who have or are currently serving in the military feel that it's their responsibility to support the man currently giving the orders. Take a look at Bush's record on his support for you, however, and reconsider this position. In President Bush we have a man who misuses and abuses those Americans who give us their greatest service. I'm asking you to please investigate the reality of Bush's treatment of the military, and to vote appropriately in the next 32 days.
9/29/04: 10:30 pm Wow... that was a long break. Do you realize that my last post was in April?? Yeesh... it's no wonder my good friend Kert LaBelle recently called me the "Worst Blogger on the Internet" (wonder if I can trademark that name? Hmmmm). And this is after another friend of mine, Playwright Dawson Moore updated HIS Updates / News Page... and he's HORRIBLE about keeping his site updated! I've obviously been slacking in a SERIOUS way.
Ok, so we all know I suck, that's not news. The big question is why am I updating our weblog now? Sure there's all kinds of news to relate, and I've finally posted the journal from our Cross Country Trip so you can all read it... but why am I making the time for this right now?
I'll get to that. First what's been going on over the past (sigh) six months:
Well... The surgery was very successful, and her arm stopped hurting. The elbow didn't have any complications with the removal of the radial head and everything seemed to be going swimmingly... until she realized that she couldn't move her hand on that arm.
To make a long story short, we went through physical therapy, braces, occupational hand therapy, and many other procedures for about three months. Recently she's recovered almost full use of her hand, so we're over that... but it was a stressor there for a while.
All Right then... by now you're wondering why I called you all here. You either read through all that stuff up there, or you just hit the link and popped directly down the page... in any case, what I have to say is of vital importance, and I can't stress it enough.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends and neighbors, the US election is 33 days away. I'm begging you - vote that incompetent, destructive, childish, and yes - I'll say it - fascist bastard out of the president's office (I'll leave it up to you as to whether I'm talking about Bush or Cheney).
Look, previous posts to this weblog like this one and this one tell you that I don't have the most Republican of leanings. Chances are that most of you know that already. What I do have, however, is a deep and abiding love for this country. If my childhood in the military taught me anything, it's that this country is more than a geographic land mass. It's a set of ideals. What makes us American is not where we were born or where we live, it's the principals that we believe in as a nation.
The last four years have shown that George W. Bush and the people he works with and / or for don't share our ideals. Period. End of story. There really isn't any argument.
There are so many examples of Bush and his cronies' desecration of American principals that we were all brought up to believe in, that I can't list them all here. I've already stayed up way past my bed time. The most damning of these, however, continues to stand out each and every day: this administration refuses to give a hearing to the people they're charged with governing.
Questions of security and polish for the camera aside, the FACT is that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and anyone else connected with this administration will not allow the average, non-focus-group-approved American to question them. Anyone wishing to criticize the President is banned to a "Free Speech Zone," often miles away from the event. Several times in the past year people have been arrested at Bush / Cheney events for wearing t-shirts questioning the president's policies, and in some cases they have been fired from their jobs by "party loyalists." The pinnacle of Bush and Company's disregard for the values that make the United States of America what it is is their demand that people who attend their rallies sign a loyalty oath or they're barred from admission!!!!!
I was brought up to believe that each citizen in this country had a right to voice his or her opinion without fear of retribution; that those in government were beholden to the electorate and not the other way around. These people do not live in the America I've always believed in - in fact, it seems to me that they're determined to change that America into a state where those in power are not questioned or held accountable for their actions. If things are this bad now, what happens if Bush gets reelected?
Please do your duty as an American. Make an informed decision when it comes time to vote. When I urge this, I'm not asking you to simply act on my beliefs. Do your own research. If you read the newspaper, supplement it with news taken directly from the Associated Press (a good way to get this news is by registering for a "My Netscape" home page at http://my.netscape.com. If you get your news from TV alone, supplement it with Air America Radio (620 AM in Portland, or streamable from the web at http://www.airamericaradio.com).
We are supposed to live in a country where those with a dissenting opinion are allowed to to have a voice. Don't silence that dissenting voice by only listening to one news source. If you listen to the dissenters and decide they're crackpots then so be it. If you hear something rings true, though, it's your duty as an American citizen to look further into it.
We're given an awesome power by our constitution: the ability to choose our own leaders. People in many other nations across this globe dream of this power; it's one of the things that the rest of the world admires about us. If we're going to have this power, however, we have to wield it responsibly. We have to be as informed as possible before we cast our vote. Please, watch the debate tomorrow. Listen to both sides of the argument. That's all I ask.