a little east of reality

Saturday, June 23, 2007

roadshow update

Last Wednesday we finally had a rehearsal and a proper shamozal it was, too, at least at first. A woman who has, apparently, a lot of experience in youth productions came along to offer advice. What actually happened is that she contradicted the director loudly about half a dozen times in two hours. Which is not to say that all of her points were bad, but her way of doing it undermines him. Still, we assigned all the parts, we had two decent run-throughs, and the kids are committed to two nights of rehearsal a week, so we got there in the end.

Because of the short time frame and the fact that they are already all free one night a week (the night they have their regular youth activity) the roadshow has basically become a youth play. Which is fine. It's a good experience for them and at this point I think we have to go with whatever might work in a few weeks. Normally I love being on the acting side of things, but this time I'm totally okay with just being in the background. I've defined my own role as getting needed props together and helping the youth to run lines, plus one other thing I'm very excited about, which is writing some lyrics for 'the big number' in the middle. I was going to write an original tune, but that takes a lot longer, so I'm putting new lyrics to 'I Will Survive' instead. It starts slow, which is good because the song starts as an apology (storywise), but then will build into a huge disco number that the whole cast can join into. Looks good in my head, anyway. :) I wonder if I can get hold of a disco ball...

T minus two weeks and counting.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

monkey personals

Are you a cheeky chimp in need of some mad monkey loving? A lonely lemur looking to pal it up with other prosimians? Submit your ad on Monkey Personals and make some ape-mazing connections!

'Monkey Personals' is still in its beginning stages, but it made me laugh. It's a dating site...for primates. I can actually think of a few people with the right kind of manners to fit right in there, maybe better than they would on other dating sites. Or do I slander the good monkeys of the world by saying so? :)

Anyway, if you have any monkey mates looking for more fun in the jungle, or you just want a bit of a laugh, here's the link.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

hating these gaps in between posts

Right now I'm hating that there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, etc. I'm NOT hating the things that are filling up my time lately. It's more that it's always a trade-off ~ whatever you give your time to, you are making a choice NOT to give your time to something else. I've agreed to do roadshow, and I LIKE doing roadshow, but it still means I'm putting off things again that I was hoping to get back to this month.The fact that it's inevitable doesn't make it any easier a choice.

One light at the end of this tunnel is that I just booked a flight to visit Adelaide at the end of July. I haven't been home for months. So yah!

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I've just been enlisted to help run the upcoming roadshow. Roadshow, for the non-LDS church members reading this, is a play challenge that happens (in our neck of the church woods) every two or three years. Each ward submits and performs a play, usually involving at least some singing and dancing, on a given theme. Most of the great roadshows I've seen over the years could be described as a cross between a comedy skit and a pantomime. The plays are all performed on the same night and are judged in various categories. Back when people didn't have to sell their firstborn child to afford petrol, the roadshows actually travelled around from audience to audience in the various chapels in the area, hence the name.

Here's the fun part. For various reasons, our ward didn't get started on its roadshow until this week. I in fact spent tonight with two other people (including the original author) turning the submitted script from a story outline with basic dialogue into a workable (and funnier) script. We have not yet assembled a cast. And the roadshows are due to be performed on July 7.

Gonna be an interesting four weeks...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I just love being told off for doing a good job

I just answered a query from an overseas regulator explaining our policy on a particular issue. I sent it to my boss for her okay prior to sending it, and her response was to say that "we don't need to answer all of his questions so thoroughly. It is generally better to guide people to our website and let them do their own research."

Um, yeah, fair comment, IF THE ANSWERS TO HIS QUESTIONS WERE ACTUALLY ON OUR WEBSITE! When I explained that the only relevent information I could find on the site was on pages that he had quoted in his query (read: had already read and on which he was asking for clarification or more info) she basically said that if you answer too well they'll just keep asking more questions.

Now, let me see if I have this straight. She wants me to create a reply that I know doesn't answer his questions and provide links to pages he's already read. Wouldn't that mean that he would NEED to ask me more questions, because I haven't ANSWERED any yet?

Edit: In fairness to my supervisor I have to add an edit. The guy did write back with thanks and two more very specific questions (asking for examples basically). She was totally cool about me writing back and didn't change anything I wrote, so I guess she's come to terms with my "too helpful" nature. :) I haven't had any further queries since then, but the guy did agree to send me some info on how his country's policy develops when this research period is finished, so I feel like karma will bring some good stuff back in the end.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

in an austen kind of mood

Last night I fell asleep watching Pride and Prejudice (THAT'S how tired I was!) and this morning when I woke up I couldn't even think of having a shower or getting dressed until I'd watched the rest. Ah, that Mr Darcy!

Actually it's been an Austen-filled weekend. I watched both the newer ITV version of Mansfield Park, and then re-watched the 1999 movie version just to compare as I hadn't seen it for years. What a beautiful and perfect movie that is, and I like it so much more than the newer version. The casting is much, much better and the dialogue of the romantic ending, so important to any Austen devotee who's waited through two hours of unspoken but fervent feelings to hear it, plays like music, not because it isn't corny, but because the actors are good enough to make it sound natural and lovely.

Edmund: Fanny, I must confess something.

Fanny: Mmm?

Edmund: I've loved you all my life.

Fanny: I know Edmund. [She smiles and then goes back to reading her book.]

Edmund: No Fanny. As a man loves a woman...as a hero loves a heroine...as I've never loved anyone in my entire life. [Now she's listening.] I'm so anxious to do what is right, that I forgot to do what IS right. But if you choose me...after all my blundering and blindness, it will be a happiness which no description could reach.

Fanny: Oh Edmund. [They kiss. It's terribly perfect, and I of course have the expected and involuntary moment of wondering if things like that ever actually happen in real life.]
Actually let me tell you a secret. They do.

When I was fifteen, I fell in love for the first time, with a guy in my class at school who was sweet and funny and so interesting that most of the girls in our year liked him in spite of the fact that he really wasn't particularly good-looking. When I first got to know him about a year before, he was going out with one of my closest friends, so we became friends, too. They broke up eventually, but he was in my class and we remained friends, and by the next year I was writing bad poetry about him and generally wallowing in my spare time in the angst of unrequited teenage love. And one night in the cemetary next to our school where we'd all met up before a dance (because we were wretched little smokers and didn't want to get caught :)), we had a moment where everything shifted suddenly. We decided to spend the following Saturday together.

Well, I made the mistake of getting on the express train and consequently got off the train two stops past the one I wanted. I was so worried that he would leave, thinking I hadn't come, that I ran about two kilometres back along the road by the train line to make sure I wouldn't miss him. He on the other hand had missed his bus and, I confess to my secret delight, stolen a bicycle from outside the bank because he was just as worried about being late and missing me. (Yes, yes, I know, but he took it back later.) We spent a most Austenesque day, talking fervently about everything except what we were most feeling right then. I remember lying on grass with my head on his lap, looking up at him as we talked, and studying his hands just as an excuse to touch him.

That night I had the strangest phone call from a mutual friend of ours, a guy I rode to school with on the train every day and knew really well. He knew I'd liked the other guy for months and so it was with much amusement that he explained that I absolutely, positively had to assure him that I was going to, without fail, be going to the movie about six of us were seeing the next day, because he had already had three phone calls that night from the other guy, asking if I was going, and asking him to please call me and make sure that I was going, and explaining that life as they knew it would surely end if I did not see a movie with them the following day. I was so happy that I considered spontaneously combusting, but decided against it on the grounds that it would prevent me from going to the movie, a clearly unacceptable option.

And that was the beginning and eventually there was an end, but the point is that when I read Jane Austen novels or watch the movies based on them and the couples are aching for each other but completely unable to make the first move because they're not sure whether the other person really does like them or if they're just imagining it because they want it so badly, I know how that feels. And I know what it's like to realise that they really do. And it makes the stories far more powerful, and far more beautiful, and occasionally far more painful, too, because I sometimes wonder if it will ever happen again.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

all fiction is fantasy

...as Neil Gaiman once said (I was there!) but some stories are more 'fantastical' than others, with their dragons and faerie folk and magic. Today I went to a course at the Writers Centre on writing fantasy, which was run by Sophie Masson, a French-Australian writer who looks like a gypsy and speaks like a witch explaining how to make a complicated brew. Probably half the time was spent on the practicalities of finding and dealing with publishers, and on what was available in Australia in the form of arts grants for writers. And that was useful.

But the other half was spent talking about world-building and ancient myth and lore, which was a lot more fun. Some things I already knew, but had never thought about long enough to realise I knew them. For example, Norse dragons are rapacious, gold-hoarding creatures (think Smaug in The Hobbit). However Chinese dragons are wise and benevolent and considered lucky. So not all dragon stories are alike. [An interesting webpage on the same subject.]

We talked about language and political structures and how to translate existing cultures into something genuinely new. But the best thing I walked away with was what I always walk away with when I go to courses like these: ideas. Somehow the discussion opens up my mind and ideas start bouncing off whatever they say. At the last course I went to someone said something like "I wish I had more spare time" and suddenly I found myself scribbling down a story idea about time-shifting. It's not so much what is said, but more that I'm in a mode where the ideas flow no matter what happens to be said. This time I came out with my mind full of triangular symbology because we were talking about modes of transport and my brain went, 'planes...plane crashes...Bermuda triangle...hmmm).

It made me wonder why I don't put myself into that kind of creative environment more often. I love the side of me that it brings out.

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 01, 2007

five busy days

I've been in Melbourne again, this time for work. Monday and Tuesday were planning days for the branch. We basically worked out our strategy for the next three years, and especially the next twelve months. The facilitator was excellent. He stopped the two days from just being about the facts and figures of projects and made sure that there was a lot of focus on the way we work, our relationships with other branches and governments departments, and on our methods for prioritizing work. One nice thing was that we flew in on Sunday night. More expensive for the branch, but it meant that everyone didn't arrive at the conference room Monday morning tired and grumpy from having to get up at 5am to fly to Melbourne.

The Crown Promenade was really nice. The picture of the hotel room that appears in the sequence on the hotel's home page is exactly how my room looked, with a glorious comfy bed and a huge window that looked down on the lights of the casino centre and city. One night I was walking along the riverfront and there was a busker playing the most beautiful music. I sat down on some steps and closed my eyes and listened. After a few tunes I decided I'd better head back to the hotel, and I stopped to see what instrument he was playing. I nearly fell over in shock when I realised it was an ordinary plastic recorder, the kind we all seem to learn in Australia in the first year of high school. I didn't even know a recorder could make a sound like that. When I told him so, he laughed and played me a very squeaky note that took me straight back to year 8 music class. He told me that in one place where he busks there are a group of Minor birds that start singing whenever he plays in their note range. I wasn't surprised, because I'd thought when he was playing that it was like elevated birdsong.

Tuesday night I had teppanyaki, one of the few types of Japanese restaurants I'd never tried before, with some of my workmates. The chef didn't throw any food, but he was still pretty entertaining to watch. The last night at the Crown I decided to stay in and order room service, mostly because I had a job interview the next day to prepare for. And yes it's just a tray with some silver lids over the plates, but ordering room service is fun, especially when you've never done it before. My dessert was creme brulee with a strawberry compote. Oh my.

Wednesday was section planning, kind of a follow-up from the branch planning days and in the afternoon I had my interview. I think it went well. The following two days, Thursday and Friday, I moved to a cheaper hotel and went to a two-day training course on policy formulation, which was run by a great presenter I'd done a course with before. I flew home this evening. It felt like a long week, but it was useful. Both planning days and training courses have the potential to be a complete waste of time if they're badly done, but I actually came home feeling motivated.

Labels: , ,