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Midweek: Mother’s Day and Other Things

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Midweek: Mother's Day and Other Things

Wednesday – 17 May 2017
Stuff and Things.

This past weekend was… busy. But also awesome. Saturday saw the usual ballet and swim morning routine. I missed the swim portion, as I was judging a game tournament. Then there was a little break – filled by running a couple of errands. Next, early dinner and dropping Team DiVa off at their grandparents’ house, so that Sara and I could see Utah Opera’s Don Giovanni. Again. (We saw the final dress rehearsal, with the little ladies, but went back Saturday for opening night.) I enjoyed the production. They updated the sets and costumes to place it in a noir setting. This changed a couple of scenes, but worked for me on the whole.

Sunday, was Mother’s Day.  Sara had been wanting to go to Spiral Jetty for a while and Golden Spike National Historic Site is just a (long) hop, skip, and a jump from there. Thus, we were up early to pick up DiVa and meet friends at Golden Spike and Spiral Jetty. The first time we went to Golden Spike, the locomotives were in the Engine House for the season; that was not the case this time. We arrived just before the Jupiter made its appearance.

About half an hour later, No. 119 rolled up.

The presentation that the rangers provided also informed us that the engines were fired differently: Jupiter is wood-fired, while No. 119 is coal-fired. You could also tell this from the way they smelled as they approached – Jupiter smelled like a camp fire, No. 119 smelled like a coal-burning oven.

 

After a while, we made the drive to Spiral Jetty. Fifteen miles. Forty minutes. Over bumpy dirt road. The water level was a little higher this time – still not up to the jetty, but only 20 or so yards away to splash pools and just past that to deeper water.

 

 

 

All in all, it was good weekend.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.

“I’m (a) super… thanks for asking!” (Part V – Finale)

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"I'm (a) super... thanks for asking!" (Part V - Finale)

Sunday – 20 March 2016
Today was the final performance of Aida for Utah Opera‘s 2015-2016 season.

Aida: War

Aida: War

That was a bittersweet statement. I met a lot of fine people and had a fantastic experience. I’m also going to have snippets of the music from the opera playing in my head for some time to come. This was a great run, with an exceptional cast and crew.

In fact, let me quote UO’s Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, to accentuate the point:

Near as I can figure at the moment, Utah Opera’s AÏDA played to well over 10,000 people. This calls for my best pipe and tobacco. Thanks to all involved in a great run and full houses. Slaìnte!

Let’s do a little math here:

  • The Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre seats 1,790 people, according to the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts website.
  • The show ran for five (5) days, plus one tech rehearsal – open to a smaller audience – before opening.

By those numbers, I’d be inclined to say that we played to full houses every night of the run. I consider that a pretty remarkable feat.

Anyone who’s been reading my posts for the past couple of weeks knows that I’ve truly enjoyed my experience as a supernumerary. Let me elaborate on what it took to get me to actually become part of the process:

  • Sara was a supernumerary in The Italian Girl in Algiers. She had nothing but good things to say about the experience and suggested that I give it a try sometime. This was in 2010.
  • Christoper McBeth is also a friend and had suggested that I be a super, many times over the years; I always respectfully deferred.
  • After The Merry Widow (earlier this season), Michelle Peterson, Utah Opera’s Company Manager, was talking with Sara and me and said, “You need to be in the next opera!” I told her that I’d give it due thought.
  • Christopher, at our January Guys’ Night Out gathering, mentioned – to the entire group – that we should run away and join the circus be part of Aida. Some of the guys gave him contemplative (but entirely non-committal) looks.

It was shortly after that January GNO that Roy and I decided “Why not…?!” We reported to rehearsals at the UO Production Studio in mid-February, without any idea of what to really expect. What we found was not only an incredibly well-run organization, but one that welcomed newcomers openly and warmly. To my knowledge, at no point was anyone made to feel like an outsider and they were very kind to the mistakes and questions of those who were new to the environment.

Rehearsal

Rehearsal at the Production Studio

Let me also note here that when it was rehearsal time, it was a serious endeavor, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t have fun. Roy was cast as a guard, I was cast as a Captain.

Roy: Guard

Roy: Guard

 

Robert: Captain

Robert: Captain

 

No good can come of this...

No good can come of this…

We rehearsed for the next couple of weeks, first at the Production Studio, later at the Capitol Theatre. It was when we first arrived at the theatre that we got to see the set. And at that point, things started falling into place. Next came costume fittings and dress rehearsals.

Costume fitting

Costume fitting

 

Final dress rehearsal...

Final dress rehearsal…

 

Captains: Thomas, Richard, David, me, and Cayman

Captains: Thomas, Richard, David, Robert, and Cayman

All too soon, it was time to hit the stage for opening night. And, as I mentioned in a previous post, they threw a curveball at me and told me – minutes before the show – that I’d be filling in for another role, during one part of Act II. I’d heard the phrase “The show must go on…” more times than I can count; it never really hit home until this point. And the show did, indeed, go on. A bit scary. And far more fun that I could have imagined.

And it was like that every night.

The members of the cast and crew were great. Our director, Garnett Bruce, made a comment at the opening night cast party that stuck with me. One of the other first-time supers noted that he had really enjoyed the experience and that Garnett’s demeanor and energy had helped to make it so. Garnett simply said,”If we don’t make the rehearsals fun and welcoming, people don’t come back. We want to make opera inviting.” And it was. I would gladly be part of another of his productions, as long as my schedule permits.

Robert, with Garnett Bruce (director)

Robert, with Garnett Bruce (director)

I’ve mentioned Jennifer, our AD, before – she’s the one who got me my new axe. She was also the top kick after opening night, as Garnett had to leave and prepare for his next show. She’s also the one who informed me of my role-reassignment (co-assignment?). And I don’t think that I ever saw her without a smile on her face.

Our stage managers, Kathleen, Carli, and Sarah ran a pretty tight ship, but they also kept the wheels on the bus. And kept the bus running. Carli was the Stage Left ASM and she gets my undying gratitude for putting up with Roy and my shenanigans:

One of Roy’s entrances had him carrying a statue of the Sphinx, our group was carrying litters of treasure, but referred to as “booty palettes,” right after him. So, naturally, we lined up at the same time. Whenever Carli would give us our standby calls before we walked out of the wings, “Standby, Sphinx and booty palettes…,” we’d break into booty-shaking dancing. Just off-stage. Barely out of line-of-sight of the patrons in the balcony. Her reaction was (usually) head-shaking… with laughter.

I also need to acknowledge one of our dressers, Jason, who helped lace me into my cuirass before every show and would also help adjust any other costuming issues he noticed as I was walking down the hallway to head onstage.

I’d also like to be sure to give a tip of the hat to the costumers, hair designers, makeup artists, musicians, dancers, and the backstage crew for also making this not only a fun production, but a memorable event.

Whew.

There was a lot to say and I’m sure that I could say so much more. But, I think that I’ll just close with “Thank you, to Utah Opera for providing such a fantastic opportunity, not only to be part of this amazing production, but also to see what goes into putting on such a show and for allowing me to meet so many new and interesting people.”

Derrick Parker (Ramfis) and Robert (Captain)

Derrick Parker (Ramfis) and Robert (Captain), after the last performance

 

With Jonathan (Guard/Carrier)

With Jonathan House (Guard/Carrier)

 

Robert, Roy Dawson, Will Johnson

Robert, Roy Dawson, Will Johnson

 

With Jennifer Cheek (Aida) and Roy Dawson (Guard)

With Jennifer Check (Aida) and Roy Dawson (Guard)

 

Roy Dawson (Guard), Derrick Parker (Ramfis), and me

Roy Dawson (Guard), Derrick Parker (Ramfis), and me

Namaste.

“I’m (a) super… thanks for asking!” (Part IV)

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"I'm (a) super... thanks for asking!" (Part IV)

Friday – 19 March 2016
Fourth performance. Still having an amazing time.

Our AD, Jennifer, emailed me and told me that the gentleman for whom I’d been subbing in one portion of Act II would not be able to return to the show. She also asked if I’d mind continuing in that role for the next/last two shows. I told her that I would be happy to do so but, since I wasn’t walking out with my original group and not getting to carry the axe that I was supposed to have as a prop…

Eye of Horus standard and axe...

Eye of Horus standard and axe…

 

My axe... that I haven't gotten to wield since our last rehearsal.

My axe… that I haven’t gotten to wield since our last rehearsal.

…that I wanted a commemorative axe to take home. (Hey, it worked for Samuel L. Jackson and his lightsaber, so why not ask?)

She totally hooked me up.

My new axe - IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!

My new axe – IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!

So, I proceeded as a standard bearer for one entrance and returned to my group of Captains for the other two entrances.

We also received our Aida t-shirts tonight:

Front

Front

 

Back

Back

One other thing of which we were informed: Tonight’s show was sold out! That’s always a good thing.

There’s only one more show – Sunday matinee – so if you’re interested in seeing this amazing production, I’d suggest getting tickets soon.

Namaste.

I’m (a) super… thanks for asking! (Part III)

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I'm (a) super… thanks for asking! (Part III)

Saturday – 12 March 2016
(Some of this was written during my group’s break in the opera, some was written after.)

To liberate (in the name of the people!) a few words from The Muppet Show…

It’s time to put on makeup!
It’s time to light the lights!
It’s time to get things started
At [Utah Opera] tonight!

It is opening night for Utah Opera‘s Aida. I found out – as I was getting my costume on –  that I’m going to be filling in for another role for a couple of nights. No pressure. (LIES!) We did a rough walkthrough of my changes partway through my getting dressed. Different cues, entrances and exits. Yeah, no pressure. We did, however, head down to the stage, so that I could find my marks… five minutes before curtain.

Captain

Captain

 

Captains: Thomas, Richard, David, me, and Cayman

Captains: Thomas, Richard, David, me, and Cayman

They just called us for our first walk-on. I’ll finish writing this after I’ve either rocked it or embarrassed my ancestors, family, progeny, and myself.

::: heading up to stage :::

::: back from stage :::

Nailed it.

For my second and third walk-ons, I rejoined the other Captains for our regularly-scheduled roles. (Nailed those.) Then, there was a lot of waiting in the Green Room for Act III, in which we had no part. Fortunately, the others waiting for their calls helped keep the mood light and fun. Then came the curtain call. And then, my first opera as a supernumerary was over.

After the show, was the cast party at Squatter’s Pub. It was a nice – if a bit cozy – gathering. It was nice getting to have a more relaxed social interaction with members of the cast and crew.

me, with Garnett Bruce (director)

With Garnett Bruce (director)

 

Roy Dawson (Guard), Derrick Parker (Ramfis), and me

With Roy Dawson (Guard) and  Derrick Parker (Ramfis)

 

With Jennifer Cheek (Aida) and Roy Dawson (Guard)

With Jennifer Check (Aida) and Roy Dawson (Guard)

 

With Jonathan (Guard/Carrier) - no, we really didn't coordinate outfits intentionally.

With Jonathan (Guard/Carrier) – no, we didn’t intentionally coordinate outfits.

On the whole, this process has been amazing. As I’ve mentioned many times before, it’s been great to be part of the production. Thank you to SaraRules!, Michelle Peterson, and Christopher McBeth for suggesting that I jump into it! Thank you also to Garnett Bruce, our director, for making my – and many others’ – first supernumerary role a fun and inviting experience. Thanks also stage management, cast and crew for providing an opportunity to check something off my bucket list that I never even knew was on it! (Two things, actually, but let’s not quibble over minutiae.)

One show down, four to go…

…but for now, bed.

Namaste.

Friday!

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Friday!

Friday – 11 March 2016
It’s the end of the week! Of course, I thought that last week and wound up back in the office at 11:30 PM…

Tomorrow is opening night for Aida. If you:

  • are in the Salt Lake City metropolitan opera,
  • are looking for something different to do on a Saturday evening, and
  • like opera,

you should come check it out – ticket information can be found here. It’s pretty amazing. (Personally, it’s even more amazing, having seen what’s been going on behind-the-scenes.) Added bonus, you get to see about 100 more people1 (other than just Roy and me) dressed up as – and walking like – Egyptians:

AIDA: Captain (me) and Guard (Roy)

AIDA: Captain (me) and Guard (Roy)

sdfklj

Stray Toasters

  • Conversations like this are among the many reasons I love Sara:
    • 1:25pm
      Sara
      I apologize, in advance, if I come home with a windmill tonight.1:34pm

      Robert
      I’m sorry…. WHAT!?
      Like garden-sized windmill?1:36pm

      Sara
      Well, I’m going to a vintage market… there’s no telling what I might come home with this time.1:37pm
      Robert
      You bring home a windmill, I’m making a miniature golf course hole in the backyard.
      Just putting that out there.

      1:38pm
      Sara Kelly Neal
      Okay, I accept that gauntlet.

    • Minister Golf
  • Does anyone have a recommendation for a good OBD-II diagnostic scanner?
  • What is the order of the Gorillaz videos in terms of plot line?
  • It seems as though Shohreh Aghdashloo has joined the cast of Star Trek Beyond. That’s just a bonus, right there.

Namaste.

1 – DISCLAIMER: Not all 100 will be Egyptian; some will be dressed as Ethiopians.

I’m (a) super… (Part II)

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I'm (a) super... (Part II)

Monday – 07 March 2016
When I signed up for a part in Aida, I knew that there would be a couple of proverbial hoops to jump through. Rehearsals. Props. Costuming. All of which is to be expected when you’re in a production, be it stage or screen.

One of the things that came later – in the details of what it meant to be cast as a male super (a.k.a. “the fine print”) – was that I would have to be clean-shaven for the part. Finding out that I had to shave wasn’t a deal-breaker, but that’s not to say that I didn’t inquire as to whether it was an absolute for the role. I did, it was.

I’ve worn a goatee since… 1991 or 92, if memory serves correctly. Since then I have been clean-shaven exactly twice: Once for a friend’s wedding (September 1993)

1993

1993

and once for a Hallowe’en costume (October 2005).

2005

2005

 

As the pictures show, there is precedent for me having a naked chin. That said, Sara had never seen me without a goatee, nor (obviously) had Team DiVa. So as to not have an encore presentation of their reaction to Sara’s cutting her hair a few months ago – let’s just say that “less than pleased” is a gross understatement – I told them a few days ago that I was planning on shaving my goatee. That hurdle passed fairly easily. This morning, I asked them if they wanted to watch as I shaved it off, since I won’t see them until tomorrow morning – tonight’s rehearsal runs until well after their bedtime. They were both enthusiastic in saying “Yes!”

I went about my usual morning shaving routine, but also pulled out the clippers, to thin the goatee before using the razor. The girls kept asking “When are you going to shave it off?!” I had to inform them that it had to be done in steps. They were okay with that… but still impatient, as the hair apparently wasn’t coming off quickly enough for them.

A few minutes later, the deed was done:

Going, going, gone...

Going, going, gone…

And this is how I’ll look for the next two-ish weeks.

Namaste.

Scenes from a Saturday

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Scenes from a Saturday

Saturday – 05 March 2016
I like sleeping in as much as the next guy. Being the father of twin four-year-olds, however, opportunities to do so is rare. (Granted, I can often extend some weekend sleeping by letting Team DiVa play Starfall or color on the iPad for 30 or so minutes…) This morning, I slept in until 10:30. It was glorious. It was also very necessary.

Yesterday, I was up at 7:30, worked all day, went to rehearsal, and came home… only to get a call from our monitoring company, saying that a system wasn’t allowing users to access shares and files. I wound up having to go back to the office at 11:45 PM. I didn’t get home until almost 3 AM. By the time I got home, I was completely drained.

The drawback to sleeping in was that I lost a couple hours of my day. At this point, I’m considering that a necessary evil. On the plus side, I was awakened by little girls who wanted me to take them outside to play. If you need a reason to get up and start the day, that’s a pretty damned good one, I’d say.

I got up, had a quick bite to eat, grabbed a shower, and took the ladies outside. They “chopped down trees” with axes (curved branches that had fallen off the corkscrew willow). They played on their balance beams. They put up an obstacle course with cones. And, they “climbed” trees… with a little help.

Tree-climbing001

Learning to climb trees

This picture was taken a week or so ago, but you get the gist. The sheer joy they had from “climbing” in the trees made getting out of bed worthwhile.

Namaste.

“I’m (a) super… thanks for asking!”

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"I'm (a) super... thanks for asking!"

Friday – 04 March 2016
A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I’m going to be a supernumerary in an opera – Utah Opera‘s production of

uoAida

Aida (for performance details, click the image)

(And, no, the irony of being one of a handful of Black performers in an opera set in Egypt being performed in Utah has most definitely not eluded me. In fact, it amuses the Hell out of me.)

We’ve been in rehearsals this week (and part of last week, as well). So far, it’s just been staging and timing, without our costumes. And, for the record, there are going to be a LOT of bodies on the stage. And a LOT of moving parts. I was warned that being part of the production, even “just” as a super, was a totally different experience. It’s true. Seeing how it is all coming together to present this show has been very enlightening, especially for someone who hasn’t done anything on-stage since grade school. But, I digress…

In a Facebook post, I wondered how similar/dissimilar my costume would be from that of my former City of Heroes/current DC Universe Online character, Nefer-Tem…

Nefer-Tem

Nefer-Tem (City of Heroes)

 

Still super... re-suited

Nefer-Tem (DCUO)

Yesterday, I went in for my costume fitting. I’m in a headdress, tunic, cuirass, beaded necklace, belt, sandals, and a shenti. (For those who aren’t familiar with the term “shenti,” let me break it down for you: “man-skirt.” (Oddly enough, I knew the term “shenti” because of some research I did while playing City of Heroes. Yeah, yeah, I know… “Nerd.”) The headdress was close enough to make my inner fiend smile; what made it laugh was remembering a secondary costume that I did for Nefer-Tem:

nefer-tem_costume3_001

Nefer-Tem: Alternate costume (The kilt was the closest I could get to a shenti. Go figure.)

Just add the tunic and swap out sandals for the wrapped boots and you’re pretty much looking at my costume for Aida. Yes, I do have pictures of the actual costume; no, I’m not posting them before the performance… mainly because I’m not sure if we’re allowed to show them prior to opening night. #sorrynotsorry

For those interested in attending the production, click here for ticketing information.

Team DiVa/No Bad News Thursday

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Team DiVa/No Bad News Thursday

Thursday – 08 May 2014
First off: “Happy birthday” to my stepmother and brother!

147 456

Around the homestead, things have been good. Not to say that they haven’t been “interesting,” but the overall take is “good.” Most of the “interesting” revolves around Team DiVa. Go figure. Here are just a few examples:

  • Almost every car ride is either narrated or seranaded. If it’s the latter, it can be pretty much anything, from Wheels on the Bus (Go Round and Round) to I’ve Been Working on the Railroad (which I did not teach them, by the way) to Three Little Birds to Hourglass.
  • We went to the zoo last weekend, to check out the lions at the partially-opened African Savannah (among other animals).  The girls liked the lions, but weren’t terribly impressed. Granted, the lions were just lying there surveying things like they owned the place. And I can’t lie, I thought about this:

    …more than once. It made me grin like a fiend.
  • Sara! introduced the girls to taking showers last week. They have been a pretty big hit. I’m sure that it would also look rather comical to an onlooker. (Hell, it looks pretty comical to me when I’m giving the showers.) It’s usually Sara! or me in gym- or swimwear, and one or two very soapy and giggly little girls. This is something of a departure from just a few months ago, when the shower was very much a “nope, not me” thing for them, even if it was just to wash their hair.
  • We’ve returned to story time before bedtime. The girls pick their favorite-book-of-the-night (which can change at a moment’s whim) for us to read. A couple of nights ago, we started story time with Vanessa’s book. When it was time for Diana’s book, she informed me that she was going to read it. And proceeded to “read” it… the only thing: It wasn’t exactly the story as I remembered it, but it was awesome – and a bit hilarious – to hear her take on it.
  • Yesterday morning, we were awakened by both little ladies coming into our room to climb into our bed. At 6:30, a full hour before they usually get up. We still haven’t gotten the real reason “why,” but I suspect that someone had a bad dream. Usually, when they come into our room on the weekends, shortly after they climb into bed – and when they are done with family cuddles – they want to “do/play Globey,” which is their term for playing with the World Atlas app on my iPad. In order to (hopefully) stem the tide on that, I told them that we couldn’t do Globey since it wasn’t Saturday or Sunday. Surprisingly, they accepted that at face value and didn’t ask about it again.
  • Last night, when I came home from work, after saying my “Hellos,” I sprawled out on the living room floor. What I didn’t know, was that this was apparently the international signal for the girls to pile onto my back. At one point, it was… uncomfortable. I made this know by saying “Ow!” At this point, Diana got off my back; Vanessa, instead, stayed on my back, but kissed me on the back of my neck and rubbed my head.

And, I should probably throw a couple of pictures of the girls up here, as well:

photo 2

photo 1

…and, if I can get this to work, even a video:

Fun with Meerkats!
[KGVID width=”568″ height=”320″]http://blog.echopulse.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_2380.mov[/KGVID]

Stray Toasters

And with that…

Namaste.

No Bad News/Team DiVa Thursday

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No Bad News/Team DiVa Thursday

Thursday – 20 March 2014
It’s the first day of Spring. Seems like the perfect time to clear the cobwebs off the ol’ blog.

Last night, Sara! and I attended Utah Opera‘s production of Turandot. And “production” is the perfect word for it because it was more than just a “performance.” The staging, the set design, the costuming, the performers. All of it. It was quite literally amazing. If my count is correct, this was the 26th opera that I’ve seen… and it easily makes it onto my “Top 5 Operas” list. The three-act story had elements of drama, comedy and intrigue deftly woven throughout and never felt like it was dragging.

During the first intermission, we were advised by Christopher MacBeth (Utah Opera’s Artistic Director) to wait for Turandot – performed by Maida Hundeling – to first sing. He wasn’t making idle boasts; she was fantastic, truly a pleasure to hear sing and to watch perform. To that point, all of the performers were great. I’d also give a special note to Kelly Kaduce, as Liu, who turned in a stirring aria in the third act.

If you have a chance to see Turandot during it’s run, by all means: Do so.

Team DiVa has been doing well…

Digging for fossils at the Museum of Natural History

Digging for fossils at the Museum of Natural History

At the "Chocolate" exhibition at the Museum of Natural History

At the “Chocolate” exhibition at the Museum of Natural History

On the terrace at the Museum of Natural History

On the terrace at the Museum of Natural History

Post-haircut

Sporting new hairstyles!

And, this was taken this past weekend:

The little ladies have entered the realm of potty training. It’s been going well. Sure, there are still a few mishaps and accidents, but that is to be expected. Fortuately, both girls seem to be excited by the idea of using the toilet and wearing “big girl” underwear.

I usually play music when I wake the girls in the morning. Usually, it’s Rhapsody in Blue, or The Ride of the Valkyries (this video is actually their favorite version) or Cristofori’s Dream. The girls will often ask for them by name (“Rhapsody,” “Hoyotoho,” and “The Dream Song”), if I haven’t started the music before waking them.

We’ve also introduced them to other genres of music. They’re fond of Bob Marley and Miles Davis, by way of Sara!, while I’ve most often let them listen to more pop/upbeat fare. And, let me tell you that listening to a couple of two-and-a-half-year-olds trying to sing the chorus of Squeeze’s Hourglass – which is one of their current favorite songs –  is hilarious.

All in all, life is good.

Namaste.

“In brightest day, in drunkest night..”

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"In brightest day, in drunkest night.."

Sunday – 17 March 2013
Happy (what’s left of) Green Lantern Day!

…or, as some people refer to it: St. Patrick’s Day.

This post actually started on Friday, but between bouts of laziness, keeping up with Team DiVa, going to the opera, and life (in a nutshell), I haven’t been able to get back to it until now. Better late than never.

Friday morning, Sara! flew down to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of a friend. This meant that Friday night, it was just Team DiVa and me. Suffice it to say that we all survived the experience. Saturday was a mostly stay-at-home day. Team DiVa and I did venture out around 4:30 for a bit; we stopped in at SteamHead Cafe to visit Melissa… who had left shortly before we arrived. Oh, well. The Toddler Titans had fun running around and exploring.

Saturday evening, Bonne came over to watch the girls while I went to the airport to pick up Sara and head to the opera. We attended opening night of The Magic Flute:

themagicflute

IMG_0002

Outfits for a night at the opera…

IMG_0215

The stage

I’d never seen The Magic Flute before, nor was I familiar with the story. I wasn’t expecting there to be asides in English, but there were. After the shock of that wore off, I sat back and enjoyed the show. It was fun. The leads were quite well-suited to their roles. The costumes were also good. If you have an opportunity to see it, I highly suggest it.

Today, Sara!, Team DiVa and I headed to Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast. A little later, I headed to Home Depot with Dave, to pick up the last of the drywall needed to complete the train room closet. Later, it was off to the in-laws’ for St. Patrick’s Day dinner:

  • Corned beef
  • Cabbage (with carrots)
  • Potatoes

…and some RubySnap Noelles for dessert.

And then, it was home for Team DiVa’s bedtime, a little clean-up and tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Stray Toasters

  • “Beware the Ides of March!”
    As I mentioned above, this post started out on Friday, known as “The Ides of March.” I had a really geeky moment at one point in which I realized that I want to create an RPG character named “Ides” and have him or her come from a land called “March.” Go figure.
  • DC’s Women Know How to Spend Ladies’ Night
  • Speaking of DC Comics and animation: I’m also watching the last episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice.
  • rl_20130315_2999
  • The last time I checked, the Ravens were down a net of six players. I have faith in management’s decisions, but I’m definitely curious to see how this shakes out in the long run.
  • Sinestropotamus and The Green Lamprey. Ha. Thank you, DC Nation Shorts. Nice way to end things.

Yeah, that’s good enough for now.

Namaste.

 

‘Clix, Opera and the AFC

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'Clix, Opera and the AFC

Monday – 20 January 2013
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

martin-luther-king

mlk2005_noline

This past weekend was a good weekend.

Saturday, I judged a HeroClix tournament. I set up an event for my friend, Keith, who is in town on vacation. Keith was the judge for ‘Clix tournaments when I first started playing, so I was happy to do it. There was a good turn out for the game – we wound up with 12 players.

After the game, Sara! and I headed out for the evening.

IMG_0023

That’s right, time to break out the tuxedo..

It was the opening night for Utah Opera’s staging of Florencia En El Amazonas:

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This is a fairly “new” opera, first staged in 1996. The set design also included a projected background, which changed over the course of the opera, making it appear that the boat (the main piece of scenery) was traveling on the Amazon River.

The Utah Opera costume shop also did an outstanding job of outfitting the cast. There was also a big of… whimsy in some of the ladies’ dress designs. I was particularly taken with the costuming of one of the male leads, to the point of wanting a couple of the pieces for my own wardrobe.

The music for the opera was well-suited to the story. It wasn’t oppressive or heavy; on the contrary, it was lively and, quite frankly, beautiful.

Something else that I enjoyed was that the libretto was amazingly well done. The stories in many operas are fanciful and often rely on some “magical thing” to happen to wrap things up by the coda. That wasn’t the case in this opera. Far from it, in fact. It was easily one of the – if not THE – most realistic bit of storytelling I’ve seen in an opera. The characters were… human, not just characters and far from being caricatures. Their motivations and reactions were incredibly well-grounded.

I haven’t determined exactly where it falls, but this is definitely on my favorite opera list. I highly recommend  seeing it to any and every one.

Sunday, or at least the early part of it, was mostly spent around the house. The afternoon, however, was dedicated to football. Brad and Keith came over to watch the AFC Championship Game…

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
28 – 13
The Ravens headed to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship:

  1. The Patriots beat the Ravens in last year’s matchup.
  2. The Ravens beat the Patriots in Week 3 of the regular season.
  3. Coming into today’s game, Tom Brady was 5-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Pats were 9-point favorites.

There was a lot of expectation that tonight’s game would turn out like last year’s…

…but the Ravens and their fans knew that they didn’t want Ray Lewis’ “Last Ride” to end in New England.

The game was close in the first half, with New England drawing first blood with a field goal. Baltimore answered with a touchdown in the second quarter. New England put up another FG in the 2nd and the teams went into halftime with the Pats up 13-7.

The second half belonged to the Ravens. They put up another 21 points while keeping the Pats out of the end zone and out of field goal range.

On the Pats’ last drive, Brady was moving his team downfield well. It looked like they were about to put 6 points on the board until Cary Williams picked off a pass.

Joe Flacco was able to take a knee and send the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years.

ravens_afc_champs

Congratulations to the Ravens on a fantastic and well-played game.

On to New Orleans, where the Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh will face the San Francisco 49ers, coached by former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh… John’s brother.

20_FinalStop_home

Stray Toasters

Yeah, my team is going to the Super Bowl. Boom!

Namaste.

“This mornin’, I shot six holes in my freezer…”

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"This mornin', I shot six holes in my freezer..."

Monday – 14 January 2013
It’s cold here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain.

How cold? Well, this is what greeted me when I checked the weather before getting out of bed:

What?! I was reading on my iPad before going to sleep; it was right there. Don’t judge.

This was the difference between my car and outside as I got ready to head into the office:

Yes, that is a nearly 70°F difference. So, like I said: It’s cold.

Reeling By On Celluloid: Tomb Raider
As of last Saturday, Sara! and I finished our run of Bond’s movies… since Amazon wanted me to buy Die Another Day. Yeah, that was not going to happen. We decided to start a new run of movies; we just had to decide on a theme. We wound up going with “Action Movies with Strong Female Leads.” That, in turn, lead us to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

lara_croft_tomb_raider

We’d both seen the movie before and knew that it was light on brainpower and fairly full of action. Win. Win. And something that we’d forgotten: Daniel Craig was in the movie. That’s right. James “Double Oh Seven” Bond. Well, five years before he was Bond. And who could forget that Ms. Jolie’s father, Jim Phelps, I mean Jon Voight was in the movie, as well.

And, in the final analysis: It was fun.

Instant Replay: Football
Saturday afternoon, the Ravens took on the Denver Broncos:

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
38 – 35
The Ravens traveled to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Number 1 in the AFC Denver Broncos for the AFC Divisonal Game. Going into the game, the odds were stacked against the Ravens:

  1. The Broncos gave the Ravens a thorough trouncing in Week 15, just four weeks prior.
  2. The Ravens were playing on a short week – having played in an AFC Wild Card game on Sunday.
  3. Peyton Manning was 8-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Broncos were 9-point favorites.
  5. Playing in Denver meant that the Ravens would not only have to travel across the country, but they would also have to acclimatize (quickly) to the thinner air at the higher altitude.

And, there was also this gem, as tweeted by the Ravens’ own Terrell Suggs:

ESPN_RavensNation

But, as Han Solo once told C-3P0: “Never tell me the odds.”

Because the Ravens went to Denver to make like Big Daddy Kane and Get the Job Done.

The game was close all the way through; the score wound up being tied a total of five (5) times! There were amazing plays on both sides

At the end of regulation, the score was tied 35-35.

Then came overtime.
Then came the second overtime.

Then, Peyton Manning threw a pass… that was picked off by Corey Graham.  That set up a game-winning Justin Tucker 49-yard field goal, sending the Ravens to the AFC Championship game.

After the game, two future Hall of Famers met at mid-field for the last time as competitors.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.10.16 PM

Congratulations to the Ravens on a great game.

Hey, Joe…?! How does it feel to go into Denver and handle business like you did on Saturday?

Flacco_Denver

Next stop: New England.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Kids, Trucks, and Opera

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Kids, Trucks, and Opera

Monday – 14 October 2012
It was a good weekend…

…but let’s go back a few days. I mentioned on Thursday:

I was also informed that there’s also some good news from one of the East Coast contingents of the family. Good news is always welcome.

Well, the good news was: I’m an uncle again. My sister, Kristen, had a little girl on Thursday:

Kennadi Noelle

She was 5 lbs., 18.5 inches. Wee thing. Kennadi and Kristen are doing well and both should be going home from the hospital tomorrow (Monday).

Saturday, Sara and I took Team DiVa to the Junior League of Salt Lake City’s Touch-a-Truck event. The girls got to see – and touch and climb into – a number of trucks and buses:

Vanessa (l) and Diana, on a school bus

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Later, Sara! and I attended the opening performance of Utah Opera‘s 2012-2013 season, Il Trovatore:

And, aside from being a great date night, it was also a great opportunity to wear my tuxedo:

The performance was quite good. If you live in the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area, I’d recommend seeing this opera.

Sunday was a mostly quiet day around the house, but we did manage a trip downtown to the Urban Flea Market. Later, Sara!’s parents came over for dinner. Sara! made a french onion soup, which was delicious. We weren’t sure how Team DiVa would respond to it. We shouldn’t have worried: They loved it.

Instant Replay: Football
Today, the Ravens hosted the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens
29 – 31
Tony Romo led the 2-2 Cowboys into M&T Bank Stadium… and the Ravens sent ‘em back to the Lone Star State with a loss.

Joe Flacco and the offense started out strongly, but ended their first drive with a field goal. Dallas marched down the field and scored a touchdown.

The defense got broken down like fractions by Dallas’ run offense. Fortunately, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees figured out where the gaps in the defense were and closed them for the most part.

Possibly the game’s biggest highlight: In the Third Quarter, WR Jacoby Jones, fielded a kick-off – eight yards deep in the end zone – and ran it 108 yards for a touchdown, tying a NFL record and breaking WR David Reed’s former Raven record of 103 yards.

The game came down to a Dallas 51-yard field goal attempt… which went wide to the left.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Ravens still came away with the “W” and stay atop the AFC North with a 5-1 record.

Stray Toasters

And with that…
Namaste.

It’s Tuesday, but this still isn’t Belgium.

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It's Tuesday, but this still isn't Belgium.

Tuesday – 15 May 2012
Huh.  It’s been a week since my last post. And there have been goings-on… which is to be somewhat expected, as seven days have gone by.

The biggest happening is: I resigned last week. And it was good. I’m going to miss the people. (And possibly the view from my window, but they are looking at moving fairly soon, so the view was going away anyway.)

The next biggest happening was that Sunday was Mother’s Day. More specifically, it was SaraRules!’ first chance to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother.

We had a fairly quiet morning at home, and then dropped the girls off at the in-laws’ while SaraRules! and I went to the Utah Opera performance of Of Mice and Men. It was my third American opera; I was cautiously optimistic, as I was one-and-one on American opera to this point. My optimism was rewarded. I enjoyed the performance.

And, just in case you needed more Team DiVa cuteness:

Stray Toasters

Namaste.