Friday, September 19, 2008


Aye today be international talk like o' pirate day. And t'celebrate me young landlubber of a son be having his 5th birthday party and havin' T' Monkey and T' Pirate puppety show in a belated sort of piratey way.


This here image was taken last year on International Talk Like O Pirate Day. This year I be a terribly busy girl, sailing my mighty vessel (Rav4) far and wide to the likes of places like...Chandler, Arizona to tell t'sprogs about fine causes like savin' water through the art of a rapping cactus. Aye and Yar indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

problems solved!

Nothing like solving today's problems by adding problems.

My husband left a message during my 2nd show saying he had been in a car accident. It was true, he had been. He was rear-ended as he was exiting from the freeway and turning right. At that right-hand turn you have to yield. He yielded. Apparently the guy in the dodge SUV behind his small suzuki esteem didn't think either one of them should have yielded.

He is OK. He feels like he was hit by a car...a large SUV to be exact...

The force smashed in the back of our car several feet. The rear bumper now brushes against the back tire. The two back seats are bowed out so there is a goodly gap where the seats are separated for folding-down-purposes. The back passenger door won't close, the back driver's side door won't open. The back hatch won't even think of opening. The trunk area is raised up a good foot and a half. The force of Todd's body hitting the seat after he had been jolted broke his driver's seat. It's now permanently reclining. He had just gone grocery shopping (!) and picked up a 5-gallon jug of water that had been resting in the front-passenger seat. The contents were afterwards covering todd and the rest of the car. The milk in the back was leaking out...we took the jug out later and it had been cut in half with the force. not that its all that difficult to cut a milk jug in half, but our car was peeing milk the whole way home.

The SUV didn't even break a headlight. Just minor scratches.

The car was very sentimental to both of us. My grandfather died in it. He had a heart-attack while driving. (He had come to a stop & his foot fell off the brake, a semi-truck driver saw him and parked his truck in front of grandpa's car so it would only gently hit the truck. A nurse was in the car behind the Semi.) He died September 13th, 2001. Tomorrow is the 7-year-anniversary. I've always felt very comforted anytime I thought about it. In fact, when I got the new car I told Todd to take good care of my grandpa's car and said that he had to use the moon-roof for me. We both respect and honor it very much. He was an amazing man. I got a lot of my sense of humor from him. (dirty old...) One of the first things Todd said to me was "why did he have to hit that car...out of every car in the world, that one should have been kept safe" So yeah, it's hard on both of us.

It's sitting in our driveway. I'll take the "Elkhorn Country Club" plate-holder off before they tow it away and I'll put it on my new car. I also think I have his original license plate somewhere. It was personalized with his and my grandmother's initials.

We'll say goodbye to the car after 7 years. It has kept us safe. That's the most important thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First logistical challenges

Ok, so I'm doing the map-questing of my FOUR shows tomorrow (2 schools)....

The show I do is 1 hour long.

Challenge one:
One show booked at 8:45am and one right after at the same school is booked at 9:30am--giving me 45 minutes to do the first show and reset the stage for the second show. (I can probably cut down on post-show questions--I'll have to.)

It takes me 45 minutes from the time at which I arrive to the point at which I can do a show.
It takes me roughly 30-45 minutes to tear down/load my car, before I am on the road again. If I start a show at 9:30, I have been leaving the school's parking lot at 11:00, sometimes 11:15am.

I have a third show scheduled at another school at 12:00pm. That means I need to arrive at 11:15 in order to check in, unload, and set up before I can do the show.

Challenge two:
The two schools are 25 miles away from each other on busy freeways during a Friday afternoon lunch-hour rush. Mapquest's estimated travel time: 29 minutes.

I have my fourth show scheduled at the same school at 1pm, meaning I'll get out of there at 2:45.

Challenge three:
I'd like to eat. Preferably between shows two and three--with the 15 minute gap & 30 minutes of travel time.

Thankfully I'm leaving from my house and not the theater which cuts down on the day's total travel time, however I'll still be going 83 miles tomorrow, round-trip. It's okay, I love my new car. I also just got an ipod jack so I can listen to my ipod in my new car.

I'm going to start map-questing two-schools days as soon as I find out about them to ensure that the person booking the shows gives me enough time to travel between the two. And maybe eat as well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Smoothing out.

Rav4, Blue, 3 rows of seats, fits my show, completely AWESOME. And it drives like a car. AND it has tinted windows (a must in AZ) AND its awesome AND that has nothing to do with puppetry...except that I did my first four shows monday and yesterday. let's just say the 2nd one went better than the first one....a lot better. Let's also say that I don't like hooded shows due to bad lighting and not being able to find my foot-switch for music cues. Let's also say that I almost fell on my face due to poor balance.

2nd day went well, though. like..I'm really pretty darn amazing kind of well. which means today i fail! I'll go do show #5 in a bit here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's becoming a bad stress

So we had our breakfast today with a friend who used to sell Hondas and Chevrolets. When he sold Chevys he'd send his friends over to buy Hondas. He's a Honda advocate--which is good--from what I hear, everyone who owns a Honda is a Honda advocate.

So basically I was unconvinced that I should get a Honda...we spent some more time with it in the afternoon (friend went with since he's a former salesman--really, you need one of those if you shop for a car). Lateron, after a good long test-drive, I was more comfortable & decided that if they can get the car for me in green, then it's mine. They bend over backwards out their bungles to try to find me a green car--they can't get it today, so we can't sign paperwork, but they gave me a loaner so I could go to work tomorrow with the new car (otherwise I'd borrow one from Gwen or Nancy). Sweet, so I take it down to the theater to get a final rehearsal in and then--much later than I wanted to--loaded up the show. It barely fits. just barely. Like..there's no way I can use this car for the next however many years I'm going to be doing this show & still be a sane human being. The playboard for other shows won't fit down the center and blah blah STRESS.

So after these guys have bent over backwards for me I get to say "oh hey, you know that green one that you had to get from another dealership? yeah that's not going to work for me, but thanks!"

I ended up calling our salesman on his cell phone at 10:30 at night to explain the predicament. I also offered that if he can somehow get me into a RAV4, then that'd be ideal. I will make them cookies. Apparently the dealerships all in a row on Camelback are owned by the same guy, so they can get a car from the other dealership for me. But they don't get as many points? or something. I'm not sure. Either way, I can hopefully get into the Rav4 by tomorrow night? if not by tuesday. Dag nabbit I feel like a dweeb.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's a good stress, right?

My first show is Monday.

I've been car-shopping all weekend.

I think I'll do okay for the first show. I worry nonetheless.

I'm pretty darn stressed out, but I look at the reasons & think Ok, this is because life is good, right? Still, stress is there. (I need to get a car by Monday, by the way.)

Can't decide between a pre-owned Rav4 (Toyota) with 11,000miles (bottom of the line, but drives like a car & has great space inside) and a CR-V (Honda) with 17,000miles (higher model, higher price, drives more like an SUV--but not much more--and is just in general, prettier.

Ok just so everyone can tell me what I should do (please tell me--even if I don't know you or you don't care--just tell me)

Rav4 is good for the: Driveability, cargo area is flat (a plus when loading in puppet stages/boxes) 11,000 miles, back door opens from the side (not sure if/why that's good or bad), better gas mileage by 2mpg (which gives you a free gallon of gas per tank in comparison), Airflow of the A/C is better in the backseats (I have an almost-5-yr-old), parking break is in a better location for me (I like them where a passenger can use it in an emergency), better Consumer Reports rating from the 07 Rav4, Slightly more spacious than a CR-V, it was a reposessed car--so it's practically new (cupholders are in plastic). (the 2007 Rav4 was rated the least depreciated vehicle in its class by someone--not kelly blue book.) Rav4 wins in the cool "push a button and it makes things open/close" category--their 'extra' glove box is pretty cool like that.

CRV is good for the: Exterior looks are better than a rav4 (let's face it , that's important), Cargo area is easy to fold back, mileage is 17,000, It's a certified pre-owned, which means it comes with an extended warranty, back door opens up like a hatch-back (again, not sure which is better), Hondas don't depreciate--dude..really, they don't--ever, it's all "upgraded" n' stuff, it has an mp3 player BUILT INTO THE CAR! (it records your cd's onto a chip in the car & you play them that way...WOW), Its light blue (better than the gold option for the Rav4 as I am not yet 65), gear shift location is pretty cool, although it will take getting used to, kelly blue book is higher on this model by about $3,000...the price we buy it for is going to be close to the Rav4, but its a car that's worth more...and then there's the cupholders. CR-V wins in the cupholder department,

Salesmen: Have been awesome at both places, however the girl that showed us the Rav4 was really, really nice. If its a matter of people to give my $ to, she'd win. Honestly, to the point that if we don't buy the car from her, I'm going to make her cookies. super-uber no-pressure. (The nice folks at the Ford dealership lost the no-pressure round of Sell Todd & Stacey A Car.)

Neither car comes in green. This makes me sad. Very sad indeed.

Ok, so if you don't mind, please leave me your opinion. pretty please. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vote because you love me

Ok, apparently it's not obvious to everyone reading the blog that I have a poll. That you can vote on. Unless its the same 14 people coming back to visit the blog to find out if there's a new poll...I'm just sayin'. You can also choose more than one option when you vote. its amazing.

So I'm starting to pick the show up little-by-little. Very little. Every time I pick up a puppet to perform for an audience of nobody I transform into a human ball of nervous energy that can't settle. And then heaven forbid I need to do the show for the director--or anyone else in the theater! So they sit there & it's just some puppets, a solitary folding chair and me...ready to rap my little heart out.

It was brought up to me that as long as the music isn't going that I can rap okay, but if you add a beat then I'm lost. This I knew. Need not point out--thanks. So then I was advised to tap my foot to the beat. Its helping a little, but let's think about this....when you hear ragtime, or polkas, or some big band you have a tendency to want to tap your feet....but rap? Do you tap your feet to rap? Not so much--so it's either sound like a fool or look like a fool. Which I should be used to already. I am somewhat of a dingus. (Somehow the word dingus is in my web-browser's dictionary--that makes me happy.)

Ok so this is where I make excuses for my bad puppetry skills:
I'm using a style of puppet that I've never performed with before(which is neat!). They're mostly table-top rod puppets. They're controlled by a rod going through the back of their head or body with a string and elastic for the mouth control (all but one anyway). So first off, I need to keep my derned feet on the playboard. Not something I've ever had to worry about before. Second, I'm so used to moving a puppet's mouth with syllables in a word that I am moving my puppet's body with every syllable which is terribly distracting and uncool. I'm also doing 4 characters in one show..not something I've ever done. I'm usually only one or two characters in a show and they're very seldomly on stage together, so I've never had to worry about vocal distinction in characters. I also work with a male puppeteer most of the time, so I'm never really doing any boy-parts. So in this show 3 of the characters are boys. OY VEY!

My first two shows are Monday, back0-to-back. So today is Wednesday. I have--not that long. Keep your fingers crossed, people. Otherwise some first graders at an elementary school in Chandler are going to be very disappointed.

So I'm thinking about the next puppet fest & what kinds of workshops I'm going to sign up for. I'm thinking a manipulation workshop for sure, and probably a vocal one as well.

Growing in your artform is sometimes a very difficult thing.
(Also, I wish people wouldn't smoke in the basement--just sayin')