27 January 2006

Self -discipline

I'm busy congratulating myself that the entire time that David was out of town I never drove over to his place and rearranged the furniture and reorganized all the drawers just to mess with him.

26 January 2006

A poem and a new website!

Okay, new to me.

I found The Media Drome via a link from a fellow G&S Geek (Hi, Steve!) because he posted a link to this poem by (yay!!) P.G. Wodehouse.

As someone who has seen way too many of her own typos get into print - and usually as result of her own alleged proofreading - Mr. Wodehouse's verse bring a tear of recognition to the eye.

Poems! and more Poems! And recipes and stuff.

So if you'll pardon me, I'm going to spend a bit of time mousing around.

Trading my civil rights for a used Protege

Let me start this off by saying that the used Protege in question used to belong to Brett and Cate and that I am very grateful to have her and she's a reliable, spunky (at least when she doesn't need a new fuel pump the way she does now), great little commuter car. And cute as the Dickens. But my civil rights are actually pretty neat, too, and what with the way things are going these days, possibly collector's items.

* * * * *

We had a burglary in the building where I work (by which I mean "The act of entering a building or other premises with the intent to commit theft" not "marrying two wives at a time"). We also had the actual theft as the perp entered an unlocked office suite (not ours), grabbed an unguarded purse, and absconded. Chase was given and the purse and its contents (minus some cash) were recovered and the perp is apparently wandering around Montgomery County looking for more unlocked doors and, possibly, slower citizens.

So because of all of this, a nice officer from the Montgomery County police stopped by to talk to us about building safety and the like. She brought pamphlets and fun green paper clip holders with the non-emergency number for the police printed on them. We learned that the Silver Spring association has after hours escorts (The kind that walk you to your car if you work late! Geez. You people.), which is good to know. We also learned useful safety tips.

But what really caught my attention was one of the pamphlets that the officer brought: It seems that the State of Maryland has a program where they will give you a pretty sticker to put in the back window of your car that allows the cops to pull you over without probable cause. Yep, let me repeat that: a pretty sticker to put in the back window of your car that allows the cops to pull you over without probable cause. They call it a "waiver of probable cause," in fact.

It seems that most car thefts occur between 1:00 and 5:00 am, so this, in theory, gives the police a jump on recovering your vehicle since most vehicle thefts are reported around 6:00 or 7:00 am, hours later. I think the sticker would only suspend your civil rights during the prime car-theft hours, but I'm not positive.

So, anyway, the officer herself pointed out that if one is driving around minding one's own business in the middle of the night (say, after a cast party) with that sticker and gets pulled over by MoCo's finest, then the officers in question are now free to look around for open liquor bottles and ask if one has been drinking, etc, etc. And, one would presume, to run the plates and one's license, etc, etc. Her fellow officers have pointed out to her that since they started doing this that they are catching many more inebriated citizens, which is good, but she still thinks we should be all clued up before we go sticking any stickers in any windows.

And I'm sitting there thinking that perhaps this sticker thing wasn't a bad idea. Heck, I'm a law abiding citizen - I have nothing to fear from random traffic stops. Hmmmm. And then I considered two things: 1. I don't drive a BMW or a Camry or a Prius - I drive a 6-year-old Mazda; and 2. I like my civil rights.

Which means that I did not opt for what's behind door number 3.

Although it does occur to me that if I were a parent of a teenager I'd be putting that sticker in the back window of said teenagers car in a New York second. Because these fictional teenagers of mine can have civil rights when they are all grown up and paying their own rent. And car insurance. Luckily, I don't have any teenagers, so that particular bit of hypocrisy can go unexercised.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

23 January 2006

For the overscheduled

"First Fig" (1920) by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

21 January 2006

Preparing for cat "ownership"

I have a cat. David doesn't, even though he likes my cat. This may explain why.

Thanks to John the Flirt.

Here's your sign

I like to joke that the reason one sees all those "The Episcopal Church welcomes you" signs within a couple of blocks of any Episcopal Church is that we are required to have them as one of the terms of the consent decree. Full disclosure and all that, doncha know.

Well, we had some workmen in the office who were putting up those pretend walls (or dividers) for the new staff that we'll be hiring (and I'll be supporting). They put up the 6' dividers and sort of attached them to the wall and sort of braced them on the floor. All these "sort ofs" were because when the dividers were delivered they didn't have the necessary hardware and the workmen, not knowing this, brought only a few random pieces of hardware. So they did what they could and then Cathy posted a sign on each divider saying "Caution Unstable."

So naturally, I suggested that after the workmen come back and finish the job the signs should be moved to my area. And they were. Only I added a colon, so now my signs read "Caution: Unstable."

And everyone who has passed by and seen my new signs has agreed that Full Disclosure is the best way to go.

19 January 2006

Good to have my opinion back by competent authority ... I guess

Kojo Nnamdi did an hour on the (professional) theater scene in Washington, DC and Linda Levy Grossman, Executive Director of the Helen Hayes Awards called in. She pointed out that the Helen Hayes organization (which is the DC professional theater awards program and known casually as the "Helens") tracks audience sales. From 1999 - 2004 the DC area filled approximately 2,000,000 theater seats per year. The numbers had started to fall in 2005 and are expected to continue to fall for 2006.

Potomac Stages announced that there would be about 500 productions in the 2005-2006 season in the DC area. WATCH is adjudicating 99 of those shows for their 26 member companies.

Which confirms my impression that the reason that so many theaters are complaining about trouble selling tickets is because there are more theater companies in the area than theater goers will support. There are also more companies in the area than there are staff (producers, stage managers, running crews, etc) to build and run their shows. Which is why I get a sinking feeling every time I hear about a new company starting up.

Want a glance at the theater companies in our area? Check out Potomac Stage's Master List.

Oy. I guess I'd better get busy and start drawing up the list of which theater companies should disband for the good of all.

16 January 2006

The successful Celiac checklist

It turns out that there are three things that one needs to be good at this Celiac Disease thing. Pity that I pretty much have none of them.

1. Lots of time. If one eats on the run, as I do on my way to rehearsals and performances and the like, one will often end up having french fries for dinner. I'm sure that there are many talented individuals who can eat salad while they drive, but I am not one of them. As the amount of available time goes down, the heathful aspect of my diet follows right along. (And, you know, I really believe that fact that I can't have pretzels but I can have potato chips and that I'm eating much more candy and french fries than I used to and I'm still loosing weight sends the wrong message to America's youth.)

2. Lots of money. There are gluten free products and they are more expensive than the much better tasting regular one. The few prepared items that I can buy don't go on sale as often. Apparently, gluten is used in nearly every damn thing because it magically reduces the cost to prepare. Wheat, the real alkahest, which reduces various ingredients to their basic essence, money.

3. Great eyesight. Reading teeny-tiny type (about 6 point Ariel on a red background - yes, I checked) makes grocery shopping for someone with a contact lenses prescription as elderly as mine a really frustrating activity. Why is my contact lens 'scrip so old? See #2, supra.

bitch and moan, bitch and moan.....

15 January 2006

I'm no slattern

Okay, first let's just get straight on our terms. By "slattern," I mean "An untidy, dirty woman. [Perhaps from dialectal slattering, slovenly, present participle of dialectal slatter, to slop.]," not "a prostitute who attracts customers by walking the streets." Just so we're clear. (Pause. Think. Clarify. I'm not either kind of slattern. Spackle over hole left by the bullet just dodged. Move on.)

So the downside to rehearsing one show while directing another is that for the past couple of months I've been home only long enough to change clothes and sleep. And you know how Ira's Dad used to say "Don't put it down, put it away"? Well, if I get home and drop into bed, you can count on it - stuff gets put down, not away. And it piles up.

By the time that I closed The Emperor's New Clothes and had The Cocktail Hour up and running, my place was pretty awful. Sure, Pekoe's kitty box was relatively tidy, but that's because failure to maintain a kitty box can result in terrible consequences. And the laundry was done because I actually had one night free between tech weeks. And there weren't that many dishes in the sink because I was never really home to use them and would put them directly into the dishwasher because a fabulous meal at home was often a spoonful of peanut butter.

But things made of paper sure piled up. Magazines, junk mail, Mom's recycling, things I've carried in from the car, things I decided to deal with "later." My usual dumping area for stuff I wish to put down is the couch because I have no handy table and nowhere to put one. And if I had one, it would already have stuff on it. Probably paper stuff. As the piano bench often does.

However!! I've been home lately. Not a lot, but at least occasionally on my traditional cleaning time, Saturday morning. So the sofa has been cleaned off, the vacuum has been run, clothes have been put away, things have been throw away, paper has been filed. Ã…hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. And there was great rejoicing.

But mostly there was great rejoicing because the bathrooms have been cleaned. Cleanliness may or may not be next to godliness but my bathrooms were next to impossible. Which is not my preference, because having uncleaned bathrooms makes me feel like a slattern. So they've been scrubbed. They are clean!

I'll be home tomorrow night and quite possibly cleaning even more stuff. Possibly even dusting. Whoo-hoo!

10 January 2006

Is *anything* better than this?

I went to Eddie Bauer with my pal Laura the other day (ostensibly we were shopping for a wedding gift for other people, but the Eddie Bauer was there) and I found a fabulous pair of aubergine (read: purple) trousers in a smaller size than the last pair that I bought there, that fit beautifully, and were discounted from their original price ($49.50) to $19.99, and had another 30% taken off at the register (off of the price, not the trousers), so my final price for this fab purchase was 13.99!!!! (Plus tax.)

And I got a wicked cute travel radio/alarm clock that was originally $16.50 that after all the reductions I got for $2.50.

This is especially satisfying as usually when I shop for me one of the three critical shopping factors is a problem.

There are (lovely) clothes (in my size), but they (cost the earth) or
There are (lovely) clothes (that I can afford), but they are all (size 2 or something) or
There are clothes (in my size) (that I can afford), but they are (uglier than home made sin).

Thank you, EB!! Thank you, January sales!!

This post written while wearing my new aubergine trousers and looking quite fetching in them.

09 January 2006

How to spell and pronounce Leta

I don't get this. Two of my e-mail addresses contain my first name as part of the address and yet I get e-mails from people - people who have met me! - that start "Dear Lita." WTF?

So, just to help everyone out it's L-E-T-A, like, say, Low Elevation Target Acquistion. (I have begged our engineers to name a project that and so far, they're resisting. Kill joys.)

And it's Lee-tah. Not Let-uh. Lisle Liesl (Lee-zuhl), naturally, is also acceptable.

And my friend Liza in Georgia? Liz-uh, not Lie-zuh. (Sorry, Ms. Minnelli.)

Spread the word. You could be saving a life. Really.

Leta, where are you?

I haven't been blogging as much lately because my job has gone from having roughly six hours of work in an eight hour day to having roughly nine hours of work in an eight hour day. And as we are going to be housing the accounting staff here rather than in LA starting in the near future, I've been told that very soon I'll be even busier. And my main thought here is "Cool! Great! Bring it on!" because one feels, shall we say, more job-secure if one is busy. And besides, the stuff that I do supporting the contracts folks and the CFO is really interesting.

And, just to keep things extra interesting, I am the "Adjudication Coordinator" for WATCH this year. I'll report more on that some other time, but for now sufficeth to say that it looks to be pretty time consuming.

But, boy, this work stuff can cut into one's day. I have literally had entire blog posts - brilliant, witty, one-of-a-kind, piquant* little essays - all ready to be written and I was just too tired to wrap my mind around typing them. Even at lunch, I just couldn't work up the needed state of mind. And when I get home from rehearsal my bed is calling too loudly for me to concentrate on blogging. Ahh, the loss to the blogosphere. And to all of humankind, really.

But I shall try to get back in the grove because I know how much I enjoy writing my prattling little thoughts and because I know that y'all depend on me. Especially as I have been not one but two books popular science, so I can now explain how the multiverse works with handy examples.** I'm so there for you.

*I am assuming that this word is pronounced something like pee-KHANT and not PEEK-went. But, you know, I always think peek-went as I type it. Perhaps someone could give me some guidance on that before I say peek-went in David's hearing and cause him just that one tiny bit more unnecessary psychic pain.

**Especially as my explanations of how the mutiverse works will probably cause David great, big, huge amounts of psychic pain.

It's quiet - maybe too quiet

The IT folks at our office have been fighting the good fight against the spammers, but usually I get about 10 new pieces of useless crap every hour. In their latest efforts to protect me (and, more likely, the folks higher up the food chain), we got a new firewall installed today. I haven't received an unwanted, useless, offensive, annoying e-mail since 1:05 this afternoon, which means that at a rough estimate 40 things I didn't want to see were blocked before they hit my inbox. Ahhhhhhhhh, it's like eight hours at the seaside.

On the other hand, it's possible that the new firewall simply doesn't want me to be bothered at all because I've only received three e-mails of any kind since 1:05 pm. I've sent a few out but none of them were urgent and all of them were going to folks who don't spend every daylight minute perched in front of their computers as I usually do. So it's probably just a coincidence. Sure - that's it.

But if you sent me an e-mail this afternoon and haven't heard back, well, I may not have gotten it.

Hello---ooo----oooo ?

08 January 2006

How to give a church full of adults the giggles

1. Be a small child. Pre-school is an absolute, but around 3 is best.

2. Lay down a nice base level of fidgeting, whinging, and general sounds of toddler distress.

3. At the moment when tbe choir is taking communion - and thus the entire church is very quiet - wail at the top of your lungs "I want to go Hooooome!"

4. Settle down for the rest of the service, pleased with a job well done.

01 January 2006

Office speak

Another thing I like about my office is the way that I get asked questions. Tanya doesn't ask me "Are you busy" which sort of begs the response "Nope, just filng my nails and reading magazines." Instead she asks me "Are you interruptible?" so that I sound like a real team player and all around good guy when I say that, certainly I am, what can I do for her?

And Mike doesn't ask me if I am still on the clock if he sees me at my desk after 5:00. Instead, he asks me if I'm still "here." So we have conversations like "Are you still here?" "I can be here. Whatcha need?" Which sounds so much better for both of us. I have worked for people who assume that if you are on the property you are on the clock and I have seen employees who will stop typing - literally - in the middle of a sentence because it is now 5:00 and they are off the clock. (Naturally, these employers and employees work for *other* companies.)

If I am meeting someone for dinner at 6:00 in downtown Silver Spring, I'll just hang out at my desk and get stuff done until it's time to meet them. And I'm usually happy to fax something or copy something but it's nice for it not to be assumed.