Monday, July 21, 2014

Bugs, beetles, bats!

For the past two years, my son has been involved in the Shakespeare and Autism Project, a collaborative effort between the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Nisonger Center, and the Ohio State University Theater Program.

Yesterday we attended The Tempest, the play that is adapted for the program. There is a lot of wordplay involved while the whole play is not covered word for word. Neil was not interested in even go into the performance space at COSI at first, but once we got inside he was able to settle down in his seat.

He would not go down in the circle with the actors and other children. There were about three dozen people in the audience, and the children represented all segments of the autism spectrum. Neil sat, hummed and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while the play was going on but when Ariel started singing he stopped to pay attention.

There was one part of the performance in which the word game is “Bugs, beetles, bats” words that are shouted by all the players. I prompted him, and he already knew and shouted out bats at the right time. I was quite astonished that he was so on it.

Kelly Hunter, the director of the program, noticed and rushed over and asked Neil if he wanted to get in the circle. He got up, Kevin, one of the actors, took him on and they played the game together. It was quite remarkable. After that game was over Neil came back to his seat. There were a couple of other times where Neil participated and it was quite moving to watch.

When the play was over, the door opened and Neil took notice of that and essentially sprinted out of the room so we could not stay and thank all of the actors who took part. Neil seemed to know his obligations were met! The other children really seemed to get something out of the play as well, some left in the middle of the performance. One girl pulled out her cell phone, one got up and left the room to a chill out area then came back.

Here’s more information on Kelly Hunter, the creator of the program. She has a book coming out on the project that will be published later this year. If you have an opportunity to experience this program, it’s quite rewarding.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On influence and what we hear

This is one of my favorite songs of the year, off one of the year's best records.

As I was in the car, hearing it for the first time, could not help but be reminded of the chorus and another song. Now what did that sound like?

Did not take long for it hit to me.

The hook was right there. Influence can be a cool thing. There's no writer or musician who does not nick a phrase, or a couple of words in their work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not to be trusted.

Because it did not take long to find this.

Nicole Atkins - The Killing Moon

There's no malice intended here. I think the circle is pretty awesome. It's cool to take some of what we love and pass it on, as what got us to this point in our own process and life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Date night at the moving picture show

Tonight was the CAPA Summer Movie Series annual showing of a silent feature. I was pleased that they were able to get a Harold Lloyd film. As I watch more of his work, I respect him a lot more as a comic and tonight's feature, Girl Shy, was no exception.

It's a very pleasant comedy of a boy who meets a girl, likes the girl but does not think he's making good, so he unpleasantly dumps the girl. Then, he realizes he's doing well for himself and tries to get the girl back. There's a wonderfully zany chase sequence of over twenty minutes that closes the film. The crowd loved it, Girl Shy is a fine way to be introduced to Lloyd's work.

Once again, Clark Wilson was amazing playing off the cue sheets and providing the sound from the Mighty Morton Organ of the Ohio Theatre. It's summer to me, and they've been doing it since 1969.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to East Main Street

It was really sad to click on the link that revealed one of my former bosses died over the weekend.

He was the same age as my Mom, had four kids, a few grandchildren. Weird that neither of his wives were mentioned, so I'm not sure what happened with his wife who owned the liquor store with him.

They bought the store in '87 or '88 and kept the staff. Somehow I was promoted to manager, more of a title than a pay raise I can assure you, and got to figure out the ins and outs of ordering product. He gave me a good learning opportunity and that's when I really got my start drinking and appreciating wine. He bought into one of the first point of sale systems in any business and that was a cool thing to learn.

He was not the most generous with pay, paid time off was not in his mindset so I came to work hungover, sick or both too many times to mention. He knew how to have a good time though and could be very gracious. After one trade tasting they took me to Salvatore's Italian Gardens and I was too wasted from the booze I had already taken in to really enjoy it.

I cannot call him the best boss I ever had, far from it. He was not an addict or idiot though, not going to rank my bosses here. I probably was not the best employee or manager either. Mistakes were made, as can happen when you're in your early twenties. He trusted me though, and I was honest enough to not betray that trust.

Trying to contact one of his kids through Facebook to express my condolences a bit more than in this blog post or a message board on a website. I hope I can thank at least one of them personally to say what a good man their father was. Rest in Peace, Don - and thank you for the opportunities you gave me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A decade ago

This was in my Live Journal ten years ago. I'm having trouble finding the differences and changes.

"I did find time to write today. About five pages, Most of it's shit, but I wrote, and that's something. Wrote about being a retail drone in america. How it's become so damn hard to make a living being a public servant, and being treated like crap while doing it. The joys of upper level management. The craziness and suicidal urges of employers and small business owners. The sex and drug use. Weird interview questions by the larger companies. Human resources: friend or foe? Smelly customers. Savant customers who can tell you the plot of every friday the 13th movie, but get drunk and lose their kids. Drunken, tenured english professors who come into the store three times a day for quarts of the cheapest vodka in the store.

And the sex and drugs.

But most of it's shit..."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Potato salad and circuses

I'm down with some trends. I've seen plenty of crowd funding projects in my day. I've seen millions of dollars spent to develop an app that just says, "Yo."

The outrage of the day, which we will all forget about next week the way we love Ani DeFranco or Bryan Singer again is that some dude in Columbus wanted to make some potato salad.

(if I was not so lazy, I'd download a picture of a pop culture icon eating some potato salad at a picnic in this space)

The dude's from Columbus, I do not know him. I'm sure he's a fine young man. I have nothing against him.

(Here's where I'd make a meme linking Game of Thrones to potato salad)

The dude started a Kickstarter in which he would accept donations from people to make potato salad.

(Here's a picture of James Dimon eating potato salad, or maybe drinking a smoothie)

The fund link went viral and the guy at one point had raised over twenty thousand dollars. Not bad for a guy who just wanted to hang out, maybe watch the World Cup and chow on a side dish.

(here's a shot of Lebron James from his Ohio days, at a picnic)

Meanwhile other people who have begun their own Kickstarter campaigns for their own business dreams are struggling to comprehend how some guy is raking in much more coin than they.

(put Marlon Brando from Streetcar Named Desire on the curb staring up at a window with Lana Del Rey photoshopped in place of Vivian Leigh)

Meanwhile food pantries are struggling to stay stocked while people donate to a man's quest for a potato salad recipe.

I'm not hating on the player, the guy found a niche and is running with it. The game though, it's a mess.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Three days, three things

It's rare that my wife and I are social. Usually on the weekends people do stuff we have my son, or a cool thing happens on a night we can't get out of the house. We're not recluses, but when we do go out, we do not usually go where everyone else goes.

So this holiday weekend we had invites to three separate things, in three different places. All with friends, which was wonderful. There was a cookout, dinner with another couple, drinks and a send off to friends who are, sadly, leaving town.

Felt good to break the social phobia a little, to have the energy to leave the house. And it was nice to be thought of. Have one restaurant criticism. If you are a well established dining destination, how come your desserts are not made in house? And to proclaim you use Haagen Daaz, when Jeni's is a 150 yards away is ridiculous!

While all this is happening over the weekend my wife has been working her ass off getting the bedroom painted. You do not want me painting because, paint. So she got all the paint in the right places while I sat around and watched a few dull world cup matches. Sure, I mowed the lawn, kept the sunflowers moist and took the back door screen to the hardware store for repair.

She, though, did the heavy work, as usual. So she earned that shandy, and then some.