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Catching up.

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Catching up.

Monday – 20 February 2017
Today is President’s Day in the U.S.

For my President’s Day #morningcoffee picture, I used Lex Luthor. Because I could.

Today was a slightly busier-than-planned day, but still very good. Team DiVa, after sleeping in until after 9:30 on Sunday morning, were up at 7:30 this morning – Diana decided to play with the Kindle, while Vanessa decided that crawling into our bed was her best option. (To be honest, I still appreciate getting kid cuddles when I can, as I know that they won’t last forever.)

After breakfast (cinnamon rolls!), it was a kind of lazy morning… until 10:30, when I got an email from work.

<sarcasm>
Yay.
</sarcasm>

So, I did what any diligent IT guy would do: I made like Kool Moe Dee and I went to work. I got there and looked at the system in question, only to find that there was nothing wrong. At. All.

*grblsnrkx*

Back home in time to surprise Team DiVa with a trip to the theatre to see The LEGO Batman Movie. It was a big hit. (Sara and I enjoyed it, too.) Back home again before heading up to Park City for…

…dinner with Liz, a high school classmate:

With Liz (photobomb by Maya)

We met at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, where Liz and her family are staying this week. It’s the first time we’ve seen each other since high school graduation. We had a nice dinner and caught up a little bit on the last three decades. (Man, it really seems like a long time when you put it that way…)

Diana, Liz, and Vanessa

 

Liz, Maya, and Michael

 

Diana, Maya, and Vanessa

After dinner, said our goodbyes and headed back to Salt Lake City. We got little ladies ready for bed, took care of a couple of chores, I caught up on a couple episodes of The Flash, including one that I somehow missed about three weeks ago.

And that brings us to now.

Stray Toasters

Tomorrow comes soon, I should probably start considering hitting the rack.

Namaste.

Life, in a Nutshell

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Life, in a Nutshell

Wednesday – 26 October 2016
Today marked my successful completion of another orbit of the sun while, simultaneously, eluding the grasp of The Dark Lady. In accordance with International Robert Neal Days past, I took today off from work. I also took the rest of the week off… because.

The past week was full. I don’t mean that in the sense of “I had so many things going on,” although, that’s not untrue. I mean it in the sense that I got to spend much of the week in the company of some rather fantastic people. The week started with breakfast with my high school classmate, James, and his family…

Breakfast with the Leventhals

Breakfast with the Leventhals

…then there was stuff and things in the middle of the week (mostly work)…

…capped off with a co-birthday celebration on Saturday with Alex and some of our friends. And if I want to extrapolate a bit and add this past Sunday, there was dinner with the in-laws AND Sara’s grandmother.

It was a good week. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if there had been members of my side of the family involved. (There’s a tentative “something” in the works for Thanksgiving along those lines…)

Today was a quiet day; Sara and the girls let me sleep in. And I did. Then, I proceeded to spend a leisurely day full of… well… a lot of nothing. And it was perfect. Later, Sara and the girls came home and took me to dinner at the local Outback Steakhouse. We then came home for cake and presents. The ladies got me a humidor and a box of RubySnap cookies. Win-Win!  I wound up the evening (so far) with a cigar, some whiskey, and an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There may even be some videogaming to close out the day.

Hello, 46. I look forward to getting to know more about you.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Life in Black, White, and Blue: One Week Later

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Life in Black, White, and Blue: One Week Later

Thursday – 14 July 2016
It’s been one week since I wrote Life in Black, White, and Blue. In that week, I’ve had a number of people read it and thank me for giving a voice to my feelings and casting it out to the world. Some have even asked if they could share it with others; I happily said “yes” to those requests. I was also deeply touched and honored that they thought enough of what I had to say to want to share it with others. Hopefully, something I wrote will help someone else be able to address their own uncertainties.

This week has been better. And I have a few things to say about that. (Surprise!)

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night… 1
Those are the first two lines of the Green Lantern Corps Oath. (I’m a comic book fan, but there really is a point to this.) The GLC are, basically, space cops. Members of the Corps are chosen for their ability to overcome great fear. Their weapon is willpower.

Let’s explore that for a moment: People chosen not because they don’t fear anything, but because they can overcome their fear.

What could we do if we didn’t fear each other?
What could we do if we had the will to stand up for – and with – other?
What could we do if we chose to not let our differences divide us, but instead found things within each other to lift up?

Do you realize how powerful we’d be?

We would be unstoppable.

We only have to let go of our fear.

You can’t have something for nothing, you can’t have freedom for free… 2
People are protesting. To voice their frustrations and to hopefully have that frustration heard and acted upon. And they have done it despite the very real possibility of being arrested. Why? Because, for them, freedom of the body is a small price to pay for the freedom of their souls. Because it’s worth taking a stand, not only for themselves, but also – possibly, especially – for those who can’t.

We ain’t got no time 4 excuses, the promised land belongs 2 all… 3
There are inequalities in our system and, partly because of that, we’ve become polarized:

  • Black (or just “brown”) vs. White
  • Rich vs. Poor
  • Those with power vs. Those with none and/or no voice

I found a couple of items today that made an impression. One was an article from Henry Rollins in L.A. Weekly, excerpted below:

If white America experienced a fraction of what black America deals with regarding law enforcement, incarceration, the court system, employment and countless other facts of life, they would immediately and collectively lose their minds.

…and…

I’m an educated, Caucasian, heterosexual male. Does this ensure I will have success and live the American Dream? Obviously it doesn’t, but it damn sure drops me on second base with a great opportunity to steal third.

The other was a Facebook post from Molly Suzanna, recounting her experience after being arrested for a traffic stop when she was 19, excerpted below:

This arrest is still on my record. It doesn’t prevent me from anything but I do have to explain felony charges when I get pulled over or apply for a job.

I have never publicly told this story.

I tell it to you, today.

And here’s why:

If I were a black man, I would be dead. Plain and simple. Pretty white girls don’t get shot during wrongful arrests. Not any that I know of, and certainly not me.

You can’t deny white privilege and what it affords you. To deny it is to acknowledge it exists, that you are privy to it. You don’t see it because it exists for you.

Something is very wrong in this country. There is a sickness. Black men (and sometimes women) are dying. They are being gunned down. For no discernible reason, and at an alarming rate, by white officers.

Seeing these two points of view – from people who are not Black and who have realized the advantages a privilege that is a by-product of the fickle finger of fate and genetics have given them – gave me hope: Hope that there are people out there who get it and are willing to put their stories out there. And hope that change can happen.

And the knowledge that they fear is a weapon to be used against them… 4
Knowledge is power.

  • Knowledge of our rights and how to exercise them.
  • Knowledge that we can raise our voices to call out the things we refuse to stand for any longer.
  • Knowledge of that there is a lot of work to be done, but that it’s worth it to build a better world.

Properly applied, knowledge can combat the problems we see on the news and, for some, in our neighborhoods.

Be well.

Namaste.

1Green Lantern Corps Oath, DC Comics
2Something for Nothing, Rush
3 – We March, Prince
4The Weapon, Rush

Life in Black, White, and Blue

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Life in Black, White, and Blue

Thursday – 07 July 2016
I usually denote Thursdays as being “No Bad News Thursday.” Today is not one of them. The news – and social media – are full of nothing but bad news today.

Quite frankly, it’s been wearying. A heavy, ponderous weight that even Atlas would be hard pressed to bear.

Before I go further, I want to state the following:

  • This may not be pleasant for some to read. I refuse to apologize for that.
  • If you have something you would care to address about something I have written, do so.
  • I have friends and family members – black and white – in law enforcement and military. I respect the job that they do. It is no small undertaking to go to work and not know, with absolute certainty, that it won’t be the last time you come home. The last time you see your family. The last time you kiss your spouse. The last time you hug your kids. The last time… for everything. Yet, they suit up, walk out the door, and put their lives on the line to protect the peace and safety we hold dear. Every day.
  • There are problems with our system. The words “The land of the free and the home of the brave” appear to mean different things for different people. That’s ironic and unfortunate in a country that was founded on the principle that “All men are created equal.” Yes, that was by mid-18th Century standards, but the meaning and the intent were clear… even if it took another 100+ years to (mostly) fulfill that promise/premise.

With those things stated, let’s begin.

I am a man in my mid-40s.
I am a Black man in my mid-40s.
I am a Black man in my mid-40s, with a wife and two children.
I am a Black man in my mid-40s, with a White wife and two biracial children.
I am a Black man in my mid-40s, with a White wife and two biracial children, living in America.

These are truths and the facts of my life.

I woke this morning to learn that another Black male had been killed by a member of their local police department. This occurred less than forty-eight (48) hours after another man, hundreds of miles away, suffered the same fate. There names were: Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. To borrow a line from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

“No, they’re not just names. We must remember that.”

These were men. Men with lives and families. Men who were promised, by the founding fathers of this country, the right to “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is a promise that failed them. Lives and liberty cut short. The pursuit of happiness unfulfilled.

I do not live in either location where these tragedies happened and the only “eyewitnesses” I have are the video footage from bystanders of the incidents and the news media. According to what I’ve read and seen, both of these men were minding their respective business – one selling CDs outside a neighborhood store, one on his way home from the grocery store.

As I stated above, I have family and friends who wear the uniforms of peacekeepers. They chose to undertake a job that puts them at risk. The essence of their jobs can be distilled to this: They put themselves in harm’s way – on a daily basis – so that we can feel safe. So that we can be safe.

That’s not my job. Distilled to its essence, my job is to push buttons and see to it that computers work. It could also be extrapolated that my “other job,” that of parent and caregiver, is to ensure that my children have a safe and loving environment in which they can grow and flourish.

As a Black man in America, I am subject to a level of suspicion and scrutiny that my friends who are not “persons of color” are not. Yet for a difference that is, literally, skin deep, that scrutiny can often be taken to the level of “guilty until proven innocent,” a gross perversion of the law. My mother and mother-in-law had a “conversation” on social media earlier today, during which my mother expressed the following sentiment at one point:

Rob is my first born…I love him more than words can express. I continually pray for his safety/well-being.

When I read that, it nearly brought me to tears. My mother worries – genuinely worries – about me and forces beyond our control. Because, she too watches the news and sees the too-often unnecessary deaths of men my age and/or younger. Snuffed out for no apparent reason beyond the abusive use of power.

Any loss of life, especially for senseless reasons, is heinous. Just because I am Black, does that mean that my life, hopes, and dreams are worth less than someone else’s? No. But, looking at the news and social media today, I’d be hard pressed to find proof to bear that out. According to this article and this article, as of July 5th, since the beginning of 2016, at least 532 people have been killed by the police and as of this morning, 136 of those were Black. For the record, July 7th is the 188th day of the year. That means that a Black person has been killed almost daily by police since the year began. The Guardian provides an interactive database of statistics of “People killed by the police in the US” that can be found here.

Going by the Guardian’s count, 261 white people were killed by police — the highest total out of any racial group. But data also shows that black people and Native Americans are being killed at higher rates than any other group. – ThinkProgress

Let me note that I in no way mean to diminish their deaths or the deaths of anyone of any other ethnic background. I sympathize for their families and loved ones. But, theirs isn’t my paradigm.

I spent a portion of this afternoon talking with a friend who works as civilian support staff for a police department. She said that she feels like:

…I’m caught between defending the good cops and defending “offenders” to the not so good cops.

and

I’ve found myself realizing that we haven’t progressed as a society, and these shootings are not isolated incidents. It scares the hell out of me. And I don’t know where to start to fix/help.

What needs to happen? Change. What form should that change take? I don’t know. But, I would love to see the hatred and fear that separate us and seem to be driving us farther apart transformed into something that can strengthen and forge us into something far better than we’ve seen in far too long. And I would like to see accountability levied against those who wield their power as a divine right rather than as civil servants and defenders of the law.

Be well.
Treat yourself – and others – well.
And let’s find a way to come together and show the world that we are better than this.

Namaste.

A few thoughts on family and funerals…

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A few thoughts on family and funerals...

Wednesday – 05 April 2016
I am writing wrote this on an airplane. I spent the last three days at home in Maryland. I went home for a grandparent’s funeral – my stepmother’s mother. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but it is never pleasant. Of my step-grandmother, I can honestly say this: At no time in the forty odd years that my father and stepmother have been married, she never treated me differently than any of her other grandchildren. Ever. And she was a loving great-grandmother to my girls, as well. She was a lovely woman and a genuinely good person. She will be missed. Greatly.

grandma anderson

Taken a three years ago…

I didn’t make any concrete plans while I was in Baltimore… for the most part. Of course, I was going to get crab cakes – living in a landlocked state made that something of an imperative. But, I also wanted to get together with a few people, schedules permitting. That part worked out reasonably well. I wasn’t able to connect with a few of my former classmates, but I was able to spend time with family. And, that was fantastic.

Sunday night, when I got in,  was able to spend three-plus hours talking with my father and brother. Opportunities like that are far and few between, as we live in different parts of the country. The conversation ranged over a number of topics, but it was great to just be able to sit in the same room and talk with the two of them.

Monday, after the funeral proceedings, I went out to visit an aunt and uncle. I didn’t them that I was in town, nor that I was coming out for a visit. That might sound a bit presumptuous, but I have what I consider a very good reason for that:

Before I moved out west, I would occasionally take a day trip to my paternal grandmother’s; she lived about three hours from where I lived. I would show up and there would be a spread of food laid out for me. I appreciated that, but hated that she went to the work for me to be there for an hour or two.  So, I stopped calling before heading to her house. That served a few purposes:

  1. She didn’t worry about me being on the road,
  2. She didn’t spend part of her day preparing a meal for me,
  3. I got to give her an unexpected surprise, and
  4. If she wasn’t at home – as happened a couple of times – she didn’t feel bad about missing me AND I got a great afternoon’s scenic excursion out of the deal.

So, as I noted, I didn’t tell my aunt and uncle I was coming by. This turned out to be equally fortuitous. Apparently, my aunt was having a kind of a “down” day and needed a boost, which she said my visit provided. (WIN!) I also got to sit and talk with them for a couple of hours, which was fantastic. I got to hear a few stories about when I was little and I was also treated to a story from (and about) my uncle that neither I nor my aunt had heard before.

Tuesday was a little more open-scheduled. We slept in and then met another aunt and cousin for lunch. We were going to go to one of my old haunts, but it wasn’t open for lunch. My sister suggested a nearby option, that also had seafood. Good call. Actually, excellent call. After that, my brother and I decided to walk over to the Inner Harbor and do a little shopping. We also had a chance to talk one-on-one, face-to-face. We also walked up Federal Hill, to get pictures of the skyline.

The Inner Harbor (taken from Federal Hill)

The Inner Harbor (taken from Federal Hill)

 

That evening, I made plans to meet my god-sister at her parents’ house. We talked for about an hour and a half, before she had to leave. After that, I sat and talked with my godparents for the next four hours. Again, I got to hear stories and learn a few things. I consider it time well-spent. By the time I got home, it was well after midnight… And my entire family was still awake. That was a not-so-minor surprise. And we proceeded to talk for the next couple of hours.

This morning Yesterday, my parents, siblings, and I went out for breakfast. I can’t recall the last time that the five of us – just the five of us – were able to do that.

Breakfast with the family...

Breakfast with the family.

It has to have been nearly twenty years, if not more. Again, time well-spent. We said goodbye to the ladies at the restaurant and headed to the airport with my father. All too soon, my time at home was at an end.

Despite the reason for us getting together, I had an amazing time with family and extended family. It also punctuated how valuable they are to me. It also made me even more appreciative of the fact that Sara, the girls, and I were able to go to Boise over Easter and visit her grandmother… who has become my sole remaining grandparent.

Namaste.

“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 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.

Brimful of Asha on the… 45!

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Brimful of Asha on the... 45!

Monday – 26 October 2015
I was born forty-five years ago today; it was also a Monday.

My sixth birthday…

The past year has been a good one. I have been blessed and lucky enough to have spent it among some rather amazing people and had the opportunity to do a few cool things.

In celebration of what I’ve come to refer to as “International Robert Neal Day,” I took Friday and today off. For some reason, I thought that I’d have gotten a lot more rest out of it than I did. But, when I consider the reasons that it was so busy, I’m glad that I had the time available to do so.

Friday, Sara and I dropped Team DiVa at daycare and then took a drive up Emigration Canyon to Ruth’s Diner for breakfast; I hadn’t been there in at least a year or so. After a couple of other stops, Sara dropped me at home and went off to do other fun things. I worked on a Pinstripes and Polos post for a while, until it was time to pick up Amy, who was in town for an event that I’ll get to in a minute. It was her first time back here in a couple years, if I remember correctly. We hit a few stores including: The King’s English Bookshop, The Train Shoppe, and a couple other places before meeting back up with Sara and Team DiVa. That evening, we had dinner with Amy, Russ, Gala, and a few others, but wound up missing Clitorati.

Saturday, we got up, dressed, and headed to Bountiful for Galadriel and Russ’ wedding – the aforementioned event.

#TeamDiVa2011 and @saravictorious – before the #wedding. #GaladrielAndRuss

A photo posted by Rob (@shadorunr) on


Sara was Gala’s Matron of Honor, which put me in the role of “Crowd Control/Damage Control” with Team DiVa. This came to a head during the processional, when Vanessa decided, “I want Mommy…” and began crying and getting loud about the issue. Not wanting to be “that parent,” I got her under my arm and made a beeline for the nearest exit. This didn’t help matters much. A minute or so later, my friend, Leah, came out with Diana in tow.

Great.

The girls finally calmed down enough that we were able to go back and watch the remainder of the wedding. We got back just in time to hear Topher give THE BEST wedding sermon from the Book of Batman that I have ever heard. Seriously, it was fantastic. And very appropriate for the bride and groom. (I learned later that Gala had more than “a hand” in crafting it.) As Matron of Honor, Sara also gave a lovely and heartfelt speech during the reception. The rest of the reception was equally nice and the girls were decent through the rest of the event… and I ran into a number of people whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.

We came home for a little downtime, before heading to Russ’ parents’ home for Reception 2: Electric Boogaloo. Actually, Sara and the girls had some downtime, I went out and ran errands. The evening reception was a rather informal barbecue. It was nice to let the girls run around and play – and eat a bit – while Sara and I had the opportunity to chat with adults.

Yesterday, I woke up a bit after Sara, who was awakened by Diana, who had an irritiable stomach and needed to poop. (What?! I’m a parent of toddlers. Surely, you realize that at some point, I’m going to talk about poop at some level.) And poop, she did. A lot. And often. Fortunately, as she cleared her system, her stomach felt better. Hallelujah. Most of my day was spent watching football and cleaning the train room. I can actually see the floor in there, now. We went to the in-laws’ for family dinner and came home to get Team DiVa ready for bed and for us to get ready for The Walking Dead. While I won’t go into spoilers, I will say, “Wow…” Yeah, that’s pretty spoiler-free.

Today, I don’t know what manner of mischief I’ll get into. But, I’m sure I’ll think of something. CBS is giving me – and the rest of the country – the pilot for Supergirl for a present. That was nice of them. Hopefully, the Ravens can scrape together a win for me tonight, as well. I’d appreciate that, given how this season is going.

“What I need is a good defense, ’cause I’m feeling like a criminal…”

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Thursday : 23 February 2006
Another “No Bad News Thursday” comes to a close.

I’ve been asked where I got the idea for “NBN” Thursday. Its origin comes, more or less, from The Wiz (the Broadway production, not the Diana Ross-Michael Jackson version). In it, Evillene, The Wicked Witch of the West, (along with “the Winkies”) sings the song Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News. I took the song and adapted its concept to the work environment. I’ve informed my team (and most of the Team Leads at work) that they are allowed to bring me bad news until I leave on Wednesday… or they can hold it until Friday morning. Thursdays are mine. Why Thursdays?

  • Wednesday is the middle of the work week (for most people); if you’ve made it to Wednesday without a problem, you’re on the downhill slide.
  • If someone brings you bad news on a Friday, you can – in a lot of cases – put off the problem until Monday.
  • Everyone knows – and expects – that any given Monday (just because it is “Monday”) is going to suck.Thus, by choosing Thursday as your “No Bad News” day, you can usually delay the doom until Monday, the day that was created for work-related doom and sucktasticness.

Today was a good Thursday. Selah.

The Dark Trespasses of Dhoruba
Tonight, I roamed the streets of Port Oakes. Despite the fact that I was invited to join three supergroups – all within ten minutes – it was a slow night.

I was asked to join a group for a mission… which was nearly over by the time I joined the team. Thus, I got no extra experience or infamy at the mission’s end. So much for “honor among thieves.” I wandered a little longer and was invited to join another up-and-coming evil-doer. I did and we went on one of his missions – rescuing a mob boss’ daughter from a rival family. It went fairly smoothly. He had to leave after we safely returned the girl to Port Oakes.

I checked the newspaper for leads on a new caper and noted that Fire Fist was out of the Ziggurat, Paragon City’s prison. There was some… “bad blood” between the two of us. I figured “Why not spill some… of his?” And I did. And some of his thugs’ blood, too. It felt good.

Stray Toasters

  • I am out of Cadbury Creme Eggs. I must acquire more.
  • US online retailer selling Perplex City cards
  • Example of what not to do…
  • I do love a good pun:
  • Worth 1000’s Mate a Movie 11 Photoshop contest: “Two or more movies, combined to make one much funnier movie.”
  • New Orleans: LEGO Builders of Tomorrow

    ENFIELD, Conn. — Feb.11, 2006 — Dig into your toy chests and pull out your LEGO bricks to help children in New Orleans imagine and rebuild for the future! LEGO Systems today issued a nationwide call to children and parents in towns across America to share their LEGO bricks with the children of New Orleans. The company will collect the bricks and make a brick-for-brick matching donation to New Orleans schools. Some of the bricks will be used to construct a model of the rebuilt city, as envisioned by local New Orleans children and kids across the country, to be donated to the city as a public work of art.

  • I find it mildly amusing that I used the <blockquote> tag in an entry about LEGO bricks… which are sometimes referred to as “blocks.”
  • “That’s boring. Aquaman boring.”
  • NationStates

    NationStatesis a free nation simulation game. Build a nation and run it according to your own warped political ideals.Create a Utopian paradise for society’s less fortunate or a totalitarian corporate police state. Care for your people or deliberately oppress them. Join the United Nations or remain a rogue state. It’s really up to you.

  • Alternate Reality Game Woven into ClothesQuote of the Day
    From a Wednesday conversation with Mike B.:

 

[10:43] : Hoi.
[10:43] Mike: Hola!
[10:43] Me: Y’know… I’m enjoying playing CoV, but I am remembering how much of a pain – despite being useful – hover is.
[10:44] Mike: *gasp*
[10:44] Me: Again: Despite being useful.
[10:44] Mike: It does have its uses.
[10:44] Me: …but I don’t think that Mr. Dhoruba will be a flyer.
[10:44] Mike: Ah, I think that’s wise. Strike out, explore new territory, etc etc.
[10:44] Me: I’m thinking that he’ll go the superspeed or teleport route.
[10:45] Me: I mean… it’s bad enough that he has a do-gooder brother who flies.
[10:45] Me: And who wants to live in their brother’s “heroic” *eye roll* shadow.
[10:46] Mike: bwahahahahahhahahahhaa!
[10:46] Me: There are much better ways to use one’s powers.
[10:46] Me: And, in the process, get a little something for yourself.
[10:46] Mike: It’s only fair, really.
[10:46] Me: Indeed.

Namaste.

Trainwrecks, Coffee and Cliterati

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AKA – The Sacred Order of the
Cliterati

Before getting to business and recapping the various fun times that were had, I must also pass along that just informed me that our old editor at the Oregon State Daily Barometer, Matt LaPlante is now working for the Salt Lake City Tribute…..the serendipity may never end! On a very loosely related note, I received a free copy on my doorstep yesterday morning, and I had to laugh when I found that you have to read the Faith section in order to get to the Comics hahhah!

Soon after I hit the hotel lobby, I was greeted by a pleasant (and just as I had expected!) …we made our greetings and then were swiftly joined by (Who is absolutely adorable!). After logistics for travel were discussed, we headed out to the parking lot, parted ways, and then very quickly ended up right back together as the only two open spaces in the lot were filled by none other than our fearless friend’s cars. After the serendipity factor wore off, we headed over to
Borders to meet up with (who is less LJ-whorish than the rest of us, and now is easier to picture in her effervescence!), ‘s sister, Dave (who both and I both thought looked familiar, causing me to call him “Every Dave”, further resulting in singing a bit of Whitney Houston…), and Brian for the regional meeting of the Sacred Order of the Cliterati. A little later we were greeted by another friend of the gang’s, Perry, and his small son, Max (who I believed that a certain Flea must have looked like as a child).

It is at this time that you may ask yourself Why Cliterati? Well let me tell you, after a quick poll.

The general consensus of the group was, as posted earlier, is that Cliterati is the answer, although thorough research on the matter was later done by , who found that it is actually Clitorides (sounds like a mouthwash!), pronounced kli-‘tor-&-“dEz. This had not occurred to any of us, however, as the closest runner-up was actually Clitorii (much like penii or pelvii, as the case may be *wink*), but that is neither here nor there. Sidenote: posted a link to another use of Cliterati, which does not affect our adoptation of the moniker for our own deviant purposes.

Thus began the convesation of the evening, that was frenetic, deviant, random, poly and not for one second dull – however, there was a roughly four second pause after I managed to push the envelope just a bit (*cough* Applebees *cough* Plants *cough*)…again, neither here nor there. Shortly after arrival, and I made for the coffee counter, ordered two *hot* mocha mudslides (which we were each asked if we wanted whipped cream on that? twice – we attributed this duplicity to the fact that somehow, barista could see our Gemini twins…). A bit later we were greeted with our drinks….in milkshake form. They were still good, but we both wanted hot drinks! At least he got the whipped cream on there! Sidenote: Aside from our obvious lack of physical twinness, I was tickled at the fact that and I exhibited many the same doppleganger characteristics as a few of my other friends on LJ! When I received my drink reciept, I was also informed that if I took a short survey that I would receive 15% off of my next ENTIRE STORE PURCHASE. As I have no self control when it comes to such stores, I had already decided to don my Elizabethan Collar in order to avoid any fugue into glassy-eyed out of control bookstore purchase that I would surely regret (if only financially!), so I gave the reciept to who took the survey…the AT LEAST 7 MINUTE survey! (Not to be confused with Seven minute Abs…)

I was pleased that someone had allocated a copy of Happy Sumo, HERPES, NO Harper’s for reading and ruminating over… you see, the Harper’s Index is one of my favorite things to read. Sadly, the index that we had up for discussion is not appearing on the website. HOWEVER, we have been kind enough to provide you with perhaps the most fascinating of all index items, EVER. Behold, the Chain Mail Condom. MUCH discussion surrounding said item ensued, including a debate on whether it was actually a prophylactic or a decorative accessory, and also whether or not it had a reservoir tip that is easily answered now that we know what we’re dealing with (which amuses me to no end!). Additional topics of discussion included, but are in NO WAY limited to: Balls, can you play ping-pong or tetherball with them (speaking of, I believe that I have finally found my ideal safe word, Tether Ball, sadly no one in the Order has yet seen Key Party), the naivete of people in regards to sex and reproduction, appropriate attire for browsing through bookstores (incidentally, the red-patterned, baggy surfer pants and black trench coat combo was NOT appropriate, but surely provided ample entertainment!), and then later after Perry and Max arrived, we were treated to the most talented array of sound-effects known to man. I am terribly jelis that I have no skillz in this department, but Max sure had them down!

About at this point, and I were suffering from serious food pains and coffee stomach, and finally it was time for food. Applebees to the rescue! We headed over and continued the break-neck speed of conversation, this time accompanied by a cacaphony of 80’s classics. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear Electric Blue by Icehouse. There were several times during dinner that the entire table was over taken by the music – although I’m fairly certain that and I were the only ones that got at all moved by Lionel Ritchie’s Running with the Night.

After we received our food, I was rather taken by the fact that my chezburger appeared to have not one, but TWO icecream scoop sized balls of shredded (…and heat wilted) lettuce. Since this was not OK (1. I prefer leaf lettuce on my burgers. 2. There was SO MUCH OF IT! 3. It was UNDER the burger, making the lettuce wilt and the burger bow.), I surgically removed the lettuce (but I swear it was mating under the patty!). Then burger was fantastic. Every Dave had ordered hot wings, and when a cupful of handi-wipes appeared at the table, I eyed them covetously, as they are the best invention ever. When we got ready to head out, was kind enough to proffer up the remaining wipes for my own personal use.

For picture proof, I offer up evidence of and discussing the ramifications of too much lettuce – too bad you can’t see the pile very clearly! and the Top Secret *shhhhh* Group Shot …said the Bishop to the Actress…

As it was getting late and everyone was either tired or needing to work in the morning, dropped me off at the hotel, where I spent the next few hours listening to the neighbors move furniture, and then earlier in the morning, a family of fighting elephants unoccupied the three rooms surrounding me. Needless to say, it was yet another night of little and restless sleep.

The next morning, rescued me from the hotel confines, in exchange for mixed CDs (tribute to where we met), and we headed over to meet at the Villiage Inn. We used to have them in Idaho, but they are no longer here – I miss that! Anyhow, after and I had our “community meeting greeting” which consisted of me handing over a package of crack Crystalized Ginger in return for the Jelly Babies she had given me the night before (gotta love friends!), we headed in for the dining fun times. Eventhough there were only three of us at breffas – aside from the occasional Drew Barrymore (waitress) and manager – we still managed to keep up the furious chat pace and content. Of course, we were privvy to an even greater display of People Watching Good Times at the Inn. Perhaps most disturbingly hysterical was Santa on vacation with his cowboy straw hat and red sweatpants held up by suspenders. was especially taken by a Kelly Ripa wannabe who was accompanied by a friend who had on the most stellar pair of black leather scrunchy stilleto heels. Breathtaking! I think that our table managed to run the restaurant out of coffee. Following in perfect WonderTwin suit, and I both had some sort of southwestern chili skillet – although I had toast and she had…. wait for it… three words: Peanut Butter Pancakes! I would have probably gotten those if I’d thought about it. Either way, I’m glad that she was able to expose to the joys of PBPs!

Sadly, our journey was coming to an end, so we made the longest goodbyes ever (well, it was more like, We should go, but…..!). I was then taken back to the Midvale McDonald’s where dropped me off to Cain’s mom and sister… who I can only assume what was going through their heads! I really was not prepared to leave, as I’d been having such a grand time – besides, there was still a bowling showdown at stake…… but I will come again! ….said the Bishop to the Actress!

Namaste!