Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Splendorianific!


"Wicked" indeed was wicked!

It comes as no surprise why we "Friends of Dorothy" have so embraced this phenomenal musical.

Color, magic, fantasy, love, drama, attitude, animation and flair! Not to mention the theme of misunderstood minorities and those that would oppress them, do what is in your heart rather than what is expected of you, and, of course, the close connection and overlapping story to the iconic Wizard of Oz.

The story was very creative and told with a great mix of dialog and song, and the connections to the 1939 movie's story was very cute. It felt at times like it was something like the Rankin-Bass classic "The Year Without A Santa Claus". If you remember that animated favorite: many of the traditions of Christmas were "explained" in the story of a young Kris Kringle before he became Santa Claus. Same kinda gimmick, used to fun effect here. For instance, the pointed hat that the Wicked Witch wears in the Wizard of Oz...we find out how she got it and why she wears it. That's just one example. There are also a few tongue-in-cheek references to famous scenes or lines in the well-known movie like when at a party there's this exchange between two of the major characters: "What's in the punch?" "Lemons and Peaches and Pears..." "Oh my!"

I can't stop humming "Defying Gravity" and the perky "Popular"...which reminds me to talk a bit about the performance of one individual in particular.

When I got the Playbill and opened it, out dropped 3 inserts announcing cast changes for the evening. 4 roles were being performed by understudies (who happen to be minor cast members). Oh bummer, I thought. Especially when I saw that one of the stars, Katie Rose Clarke (Glinda) was being played by Melissa Bohon. The online resources I had looked at, including the Orlando Sentinel review from just this past weekend hailed Clarke's and Carmen Cusack's (Elpheba) singing and acting abilities. One blog I read even praised the pair as better than the Tony nominated original Glinda and Elpheba, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. (Idina Menzel indeed took the Tony for Best Actress in '04). So I was looking forward to seeing both of them. But let me tell you, I can't compare Melissa Bohon to Katie Clarke since I didn't see Katie, but man, can I say...Melissa blew me away! I thought she stole the show and even one upped Carmen Cusack in her acting! And her comic timing and delivery was spot on!

It was indeed a fun evening. Overall a dazzling show!

But...

I have to mention a few little issues I had.

While the first act seemed to flow seamlessly and effortlessly from scene to scene, song to song; the second act...eh, not as good. Act II seemed rushed and the story seemed to be falling over itself. The touched upon issues explored in Act I were not followed up to a satisfactory conclusion to me. The songs were still good, but not as memorable as before the break. Even my girl Melissa seemed less animated...but then the characters were supposedly older now (in the story) and the theme grew a bit more serious.

Also, if you remember, when I went to this theater to see Kathy Griffin, I feared it's size could be an issue. Well, the stage depth was such that it was fine, and, because I paid top dollar, I had good orchestra level seats with a great view of the whole stage and the ability to see the player's facial expressions, details of their costumes, etc. so that was okay. But, the seats! Not favorable for a big guy like me. Thankfully I had women on either side of me so I wasn't too scrunched torso-wise, but my butt! It barely fit in the seat! Thank goodness Orlando is building a new arts center 'cause this one sucks!

Oh, BTW, the title of this post alludes to the constant use of somewhat mangled words, especially words describing wonder or passion.

So, anyway, in summation if you will, if you have the chance kiddies, go see Wicked!

I mean, how often do you have the opportunity to go...somewhere over the rainbow?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Will It Be A WICKED Good Show?



We'll see soon enough.

Tonight, after about 5 months of waiting, I am going to the Bob Carr to see "Wicked".

Marshall (remember him?) raved about this musical having seen it several times. He boasted how many hundreds of dollars he gladly spent on tickets for various performances.

It's been playing to record-setting crowds for a few years now on Broadway and is still going quite strong.

Will it live up to it's hype for my tastes though?

We shall see. Hmmmm.

In other news, Jorge just yesterday, went to an interview for some presumably higher paying job. If he gets it, that would leave a Coordinator position open. And unless the budget is cut eliminating the position (which I doubt), I will be up for it. I think I would be the best (if not the only) viable candidate for it. Pro: Mo' Money! Con: I would actually have to do SOME work. (As opposed to now where I do, um, nothing, really. Just a few easy cases (email work), and stupid things like the con-call I'm on right now as mearly an observer.) Hmmmm.

The car is still running fine but there are a couple of outstanding little nuisances lingering...the "Low Coolant" light still stays on for a while when I first start up the car (though the coolant level has been checked and they said it was fine) and the right-side amber daytime running light is out as well as the right-turn directional signal. (Maybe the right-side tail light too? Not sure. Maybe I'll be pulled over for it...great!) The biggest issue is still the fact that the A/C doesn't work. Man, I'm mulling over the idea of just trading her in for a new one. Hmmmm.

Last Tuesday I had the follow-up appointment for my heart monitor (Holter) that I wore last month for a full day. But, while I was waiting in the exam room for 20 minutes, I heard the nurse on the phone ask for the doctor and she had to remind him he had 3 patients waiting. He wasn't even in the office. Who knows where he was...still sleeping maybe? No wonder they call us "patients", ha ha! Well, I wasn't "the adjective" so I had to leave before I saw him. (I was using lunch time from work...I'm outta PTO time.) So I rescheduled for this morning, and I just got back a couple hours ago from seeing him. I'm doing fine, no fibrillations on the Holter, he assumes it was a consequence of binge drinking. I have to agree. But I know that I've had the palpitations even after a weekend, or several days, of what I call mild drinking (6-8 beers or just one bottle of wine at a time). When I write it out, I guess I do realize that even those quantities would be considered by most people to be large. Hmmmm.

Went to a funeral (again) with Ric a couple weekends ago. His friend Martha's mother died. She was in her 80's or 90's or so and had been suffering from a few ailments and was in a nursing home under hospice care, so it was no surprise. At the service, Ric could sing the hymns without even looking at the book. I, of course, tried to look respectful and reserved but my mind kept drifting to the fact that it was a gorgeous day and I'd much rather be at the parks. Hmmmm.

Speaking of the parks; the Disney pass has expired...awww! But, Ric and I got $99 Power Passes for the Universal Parks...yay!!! We had a fun day, and I only had 2 beers, the rest of the day I kept to diet soda. Ric, of course, drank like a "one fish...two fish...red fish...blue fish..." What's more, we (or I, at least since I have a car) can come back anytime (barring a few blackout dates) for the next 12 months. Hmmmm.

Well, I'm at work as you can see by the post time, and the meeting is over, so I must get back to my happy imaginary customers on my imaginary calls.

Aren't I the WICKED one?

Hmmmm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy B-Day Big O

Only The Lonely

Ok, so I guess I'm in one of my creative phases now. I just bought a high-def camcorder and I am having all these visions of filming my own movie.

Let me tell you, though, if I do it, it'll be a heck of a lot better than the "Green Glass Egg" idea of the mid-80's (see the previous post).

Here is a screenplay I just this week wrote.

It's a short film, designed to be shot on a very low-budget featuring only 2 speaking roles, well actually 3 with the voice over (and very little dialog at that), 2 non-speaking extras (brief shot of 2 dead people), and 2 houses used for set locations. Everyday household items for props and just a fair amount of fake blood.

If it was ever shot for true production, probably the most expensive thing would be the airplay rights to the epimonious song.

This Blogger Dashboard doesn't seem to want to keep the script in the correct format. If you've ever seen a screenplay, you know it is printed in a distinctly margined way, and it is on Script Buddy, the online screenplay software I used, but here it's layout is just standard, so, unfortunately it doesn't look quite right. Oh well.

It's a psychological thriller, so hang on...it'll be a short, but hopefully troublesomely chilling ride:

Only The Lonely

by

Michael Chausse



FADE IN:


EXT. OLD HOUSE - NIGHT


The old weathered Victorian house is dark except for light coming from windows on the left side, the kitchen. It is raining and there is intermittent thunder and lightning.


INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT


The tick-tock and then the faint chimes of a grandfather clock is heard in the background. We see ANNIE, a woman in her early 60's, dressed in pajamas and a housecoat, scrubbing her hands out of view under the running faucet in the kitchen sink.


After a minute or so, she turns off the tap and wipes her hands on a dry dishcloth. She puts the dishcloth by the sink and moves towards the living room, smiling happily. She turns off the over-the-range microwave oven which is popping a bag of microwave popcorn and also turns off the tea kettle on the stove which has just started to whistle.



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. ANOTHER KITCHEN - IN THE EARLY 1960'S - NIGHT


In a quick, dreamlike, slightly sepia-toned sequence, we see that ANNIE as a little girl of around 12 years old is taught a lesson of not touching things on the stove the hard way. A man in his early 40's, dressed in workpants and t-shirt,is seen roughly grasping ANNIE - CHILD's hand and pulling her towards the open flame of the gas burner on the stove. The camera focuses breifly on a tea kettle and spilled water lying on the kitchen linoleum near the stove. During this flashback, Roy Orbison can faintly be heard singing "Only The Lonely" on a radio.



ANNIE'S FATHER (shouting) This is what happens when dirty little girls play near the stove!




ANNIE - CHILD (crying) No Daddy! Please don't! Your're hurting me!!



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. BACK IN THE PRESENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT


ANNIE cries after experiencing the vision but quickly composes herself and pours herself a glass of wine. As she takes the wine towards the living room, she passes a radio. She turns the radio on and stops the dial on a station inthe middle of playing "Only The Lonely".



Cut to exterior shot of the house...



EXT. OUTSIDE THE HOUSE, THE WEATHER WORSENS - NIGHT


Wind, thunder and lightning.



Cut to the living room...



INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT


The ticking of the grandfather clock can be heard more clearly now as it is in this room. ANNIE sits in an arm chair and places her wine glass on the side table. She looks out the window at the rain and frowns. The radio in the kitchen is still playing "Only The Lonely", but before the song ends, an announcer breaks in.



RADIO ANNOUNCER (vo) We interrupt this broadcast to bring you breaking news. The police department has informed us that a psychopathic killer instutionalized for life at Cherrybrook Hospital for the Criminally Insane has escaped and is on the loose. Police are recommending that residents of the Cherrybrook area of the city stay indoors and...(CLICK)




KITCHEN


ANNIE moves from the living room to the kitchen and turns off the radio. ANNIE looks out the window with a worried look on her face. She checks to make sure the window is locked.


LIVING ROOM


ANNIE moves back to the chair and picks up the handset of the telephone. She quickly dials a number. We don't hear touch tones. She places the handset to her ear.



ANNIE (into phone) Hello Ronnie? Oh Ronnie, I wish you were here. This storm is terrible and I feel so alone. And I just heard on the radio that there's a killer loose in the neighborhood. Oh Ronnie, my nerves! I'm so frightened. When do you think you might be home?


A bright flash of lightning and loud clap of thunder makes ANNIE jump in her seat and this causes the glass of wine to fall off the side table and smash on the hardwood floor. As the camera focuses on the broken glass, there is another flash of lightning, clap of thunder, and the lights in the house flicker briefly, then go out.



ANNIE (into phone) Ronnie! Ronnie! Are you still there! Oh Ronnie, the lights just went out! What? Yes, yes, of course I know where the emergency candles are. Okay. Oh Ronnie, please hurry home, will you? Okay. Yes. I love you too. I'll see you soon.


The room is dark, but is illuminated by the light shining infrom the window. ANNIE gets up and feels her way towards the kitchen. She walks into the coffee table, banging her shin.



ANNIE (grimacing) Ow!


She backs away from the coffee table and now her bare right foot steps onto a jagged piece of the broken wine glass.



ANNIE (grimacing more) Shit! Ahh!!



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. ANOTHER LIVING ROOM - IN THE EARLY 1960'S - NIGHT


Again the scene is slightly sepia-toned. ANNIE - CHILD is sitting on the warn carpeting, crying loudly, holding her bare foot. The base of her foot is bleeding. Around her are dirty dishes, and grimy drinking glasses. One is broken, shards of glass strewn about. The nearby coffee table is littered with more dishes, ashtrays full of cigarette butts and empty bottles of liquor. ANNIE'S FATHER is lying nearby on the sofa, face down. He looks disheveled and unshaven. He rustles from his snoring sleep and lifts his head, opening one eye.



ANNIE'S FATHER (slurring) Shut up! God Dammit!


ANNIE - CHILD continues bawling as her father lays his head back down and covers his head with a throw pillow. Behind the sofa is an open window, letting in a gentle evening breeze which makes the thin chiffon curtains flutter softly. Outside the window, we see a 50's convertible drive past the house. We hear that the car radio is playing "Only The Lonely".



BRIGHT FLASH



BACK IN THE PRESENT - LIVING ROOM


ANNIE plops back into the chair and pulls up her foot to examine it as best she can in the dark. Squinting, she finds the piece of glass stuck in her foot and pulls it out. She grimaces in pain and disgust. The wound is not very deep but it is bleeding. She places the bloody glass shard on the side table. ANNIE gets up and walks towards the hall leading to the bathroom, hobbling, favoring her good foot. Her eyes have become better adjusted to the dark and she can make her way now without feeling around. She leaves bloody footprints on the hardwood floor as she goes, and the camera focuses in on one of these as again lightning flashes and thunder booms.


BATHROOM


ANNIE opens the mirrored door to the medicine cabinet and finds antiseptic, a roll of bandages and surgical tape. She brings her injured foot up to the sink, opens a tap and washes the wound. She applies antiseptic and winces as it stings. She wraps bandage around the foot and tapes it up. As ANNIE closes the door to the medicine cabinet, she looks blankly at her reflection.



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. ANOTHER BATHROOM - IN THE EARLY 1960'S - NIGHT


Slightly sepia-toned...ANNIE - CHILD is hiding crouched inside a small linen closet in the corner of a small bathroom. She is shaking and we can only see her staring eyes through the open slats of the closet door. The camera perspective changes so that we are now taking the POV of ANNIE - CHILD, looking out into the bathroom throughthe door slats.



ANNIE'S FATHER (vo) (from elsewhere in the house; shouting) Annie! Annie! C'mon girl! Where are you, Sweetie? Daddy's sorry! Annie! I didn't mean to hurt you, Baby! It's just....well, it's just Daddy gets lonely sometimes...


Aside from the voice of ANNIE'S FATHER, we also hear, off in the distance, coming from a record player in another room, a record playing, but it is skipping and plays the same lyric over and over..."...Only The Lonely..."



BRIGHT FLASH


BACK IN THE PRESENT - BATHROOM


ANNIE is still staring blankly into the mirror, but after a couple of seconds, breaks her stare, shakes her head as if to clear her mind. She takes her foot out of the sink, turns on the cold water tap, fills her cupped hands with some water and bends over to wash her face. ANNIE grabs a nearby hand towel and wipes her face. She looks again in the mirror and sighs. Just then, the lights flicker and come back on. The bright lights above the medicine cabinet make ANNIE squint. With the lights on now, she can see more clearly and she looks closer into the mirror. Behind her, reflected in the mirror she can see the tub and a closed shower curtain. And poking out from the side of the shower curtain is a hand. Looking puzzled but not frightened, ANNIE squints into the mirror to focus on the hand. She turns around, walks to the shower curtain and pulls it back to reveal the bodies of a man and a woman, lying limply on top of one another, covered in blood. ANNIE calmly tucks the hand that was poking out of the tub back in and closes the shower curtain. She turns to face the camera and the camera focuses in on her crazed stare.



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. ANOTHER BATHROOM - IN THE EARLY 1960'S - NIGHT


We are back in the bathroom from the previous flashback. Still slightly sepia-toned but now with frenzied pacing, chiroscuro lighting and odd camera angles we see a succession of images...



BRIGHT FLASH


The camera zooms in on the open slated door of the linen closet where ANNIE - CHILD was hiding...



BRIGHT FLASH


The camera zooms in on the open door to a medicine cabinet...



BRIGHT FLASH


The camera zooms in to an empty space on a shelf in the medicine cabinet. On the side of the empty space we see an old-fashioned mug and brush used to mix shaving lather...


BRIGHT FLASH



INT. BEDROOM - IN THE EARLY 1960'S - NIGHT


The scene is no longer sepia-toned. It's in true color. We see ANNIE - CHILD almost silouetted in the low-lit room. She is standing in front of a 1950's style mirrored dresser with a boudoir lamp on it. Our angle is directly behind her as such that we cannot see her face. Our view is from the back as the camera slowly zooms in to see that she is touching something in front of her on the dresser, not in our view. We see she is wearing a cotton nightgown with satin shoulder straps. One of the straps lay dangling as if ripped. We soon hear a scratchy record begin to play, and we understand that ANNIE - CHILD has placed the needle on the record. The song is "Only The Lonely". As it plays, the camera zooms out and a bit to the right so that we now can see ANNIE - CHILD's face and front reflected in the mirror, lit brightly by the light from the boudoir lamp.


She is staring blankly into the mirror, her face, neck and the front of her nightgown are covered in spattered blood. As the camera slowly zooms out further and further, the bed rolls into view in the foreground. We see, illuminated by the light from the bedroom doorway to the hall, ANNIE'S FATHER, lying face up, in his night clothes, with blankets up to his chest. His throat has been slit. There is blood everywhere.



BRIGHT FLASH



INT. BACK IN THE PRESENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT


ANNIE is sitting Indian-style in the same chair she was in earlier. It appears the broken wine glass has been cleaned up. The camera is slowly revolving around ANNIE. ANNIE still has the insane blank stare on her face. She is rocking back and forth ever so slightly. She is holding the handset of the phone to her ear.



ANNIE (into phone) Oh Ronnie, when are you coming home, dear? I wish you were here.


As the camera revolves around ANNIE we see a family portrait hanging on a wall which was not in our view earlier. In the portrait are the man and woman who are now dead in the bathtub. Now as the camera rotates some more, we are behind ANNIE and can see the reverse side of the phone sitting on the side table. We see that the cord to the phone has been cut. The camera comes around now full circle and we are looking at ANNIE straight on again.



ANNIE (into phone) I'm feeling so lonely...



FADE OUT.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Keepin' It Real...A List Of Truths

Some common Chausse-isms…Quirky things I say all the time

  • Mot de guerre”: (literally translated from French as “Word of War”; as a figure of speech, when I use it, it means “the thing that fires me up”)

  • Chelating”: (a hold over from “Joe’s” Honors Biology in 12th grade. (“Joe” BTW, was our nickname for our lesbian teacher. This was the same class where for our final paper my lab partner Denise P. balked and eventually backed out of our mutually-agreed upon analysis of the organ tissue of a lab rat. What a girl! Just ‘cause we had to kill the rat with chloroform then dissect it and extract it’s organs, then slice them up on a biopsy slicer. (Heavy stuff for high school, I know, but it was “Honors” biology! This was also the class that taught me to hate the Krebs Cycle! Arrrgh!) When I use this word, it means that I am all pumped up and my mind is sharp and alert, like my body chemistry is chelating effectively and oxygen is getting more efficiently to the brain.

  • Eh, maudit tabanack de cadisse!”: (from Woonsocket-variant French-Canadian) Though the last word is pronounced very different from either “chalice” or “crisse”, this may be on purpose, kinda like when people say “oh Christmas!” to avoid the more potent (and potentially “blasphemous”- Christ). My mother used to elongate and distort the last word for extra emphasis to “Corrrdisssss!!!” (The “Rs” would be extravagantly rolled in the French manner)

  • Paris is worth a Mass”: Used when I feel the effort, investment or what I may “give up” is worthy of the outcome. From the famous (well, “famous” to history geeks, that is) quote of Henry IV of France when posed with the question of remaining Protestant and giving up claim to the throne or converting to Catholicism in order to become the king.

  • Oh, Mommy!”: To my knowledge, a wholly unique saying I invented. It’s an exclamation of either frustration or exasperation. It is “performed” in the same manner as Jim Carrey did when he said “Oh, Billy!” to Matthew Broderick’s character in the movie “The Cable Guy” (the scene when he visits Matthew in jail) as he exposes his left nipple and presses it against the glass partition. Sick…I know…but funny! Also, "Oh, Metrobius!" is used the same way, albiet with a very exaggerated lisp...this is from Colleen McCullough's "First Man In Rome". Metrobius was the youthful Greek lover of Roman patrician Lucius Cornelius Sulla.


Objects I still possess that have been with me through the years

  • The Green Glass Egg: An egg-shaped glass paperweight I bought by catalog from Cash’s of Ireland around 1980 or so. Cost $20. Today’s estimate of value: $60. Probably the longest-owned object I have. Still in pristine condition. In the mid-eighties I wrote a comedy-mystery screenplay centering on the theft of a “priceless” (ala Faberge, I guess) Green Glass Egg. I was gonna shoot the movie myself on a home VHS camcorder borrowed from Blackstone Valley. I even talked Linda and her kids and Mel into acting in it. I never got around to it though. Oh well, if I remember correctly, the script sucked anyway.

  • My high school diploma, in it’s protective case. Also, pictures of me from my yearbook proofset, and pictures I took in Germany. And one small photo of my date and me at her senior prom.

  • Photos I took in 1985? of the woods around Cherry Brook in Woonsocket. Aka “Nastralia”. Each snapshot has hand-written notes about it on the back. On the day I took these photos, I also buried a “time capsule” at a location I called Greep’s Crater. The “time capsule” was a plastic index card file box filled with a few of my trinkets. I don’t remember all of them, but one was the costume ruby and diamond cluster “medal-like” broach I wore frequently around this time. It looked “regal” like something you’d see pinned to the breast of a king in an 18th century portrait. (BTW, a few months later, I missed my trinkets so I went back to Greep’s Crater and dug up the box and retrieved them. I then re-buried the now empty box…to my knowledge, that empty box is still there.)


Theme/Amusement parks I’ve been to, the number of times visited (approximate), and the years of the 1st and last visit

  • Rocky Point, 15, 1968?-1993

  • Crescent Park, 5, 1976?-1979?

  • Jolly Charlie’s, 5, 1968?-1971?

  • Riverside Park, 2, 1978?-1979?

  • Magic Mountain, California, 1, 1983

  • Universal Studios, California, 1, 1983

  • Disneyland (California), 2, 1983

  • Epcot, 16, 1988-2008

  • Disney’s Magic Kingdom, 5, 1999-2008

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney/MGM Studios), 12, 2000-2008

  • Animal Kingdom, 8, 2001-2008

  • Universal Studios Resort(original park), 20, 1997-2007

  • Universal Studios Resort Islands of Adventure, 30, 1999-2006

  • Sea World, Orlando, 12, 1996-2004

  • Busch Gardens – Africa (Tampa, FL), 8, 1998-2002

  • Six Flags New Orleans (formerly Jazzland), 5, 2001-2004

Some numbers to ponder (almost all values are approximates)

  • Places I’ve lived 1964-2003: (39 years, 17 different homes)

  • Places I’ve lived 2003-2008: (5 years, 13 different homes)

  • Jobs I’ve had: 39

  • Jobs I’ve liked: 7

  • Jobs I’ve hated: 32

  • Total amount of money I’ve made to date: $462,793

  • Total amount of money I’ve spent to date: $458,143
  • Hours it takes for Bill Gates to earn equal to my lifetime salary: 5

  • Friends I’ve had: 43

  • Times I’ve had sex with guys: 47 girls: 1

  • Times I’ve won money from lottery tickets: 10

  • Total amount of money won on lottery tickets: $26

  • Paintings I’ve done: 18

  • Paintings I’ve either given away or lost: 18

  • Paintings I’ve ever sold: 0

  • Times I’ve flown on a plane: 24

  • Times I’ve skydived from a plane: 0

  • Times I will ever skydive from a plane: 0


Friday, April 11, 2008

FLASHBACK: Fall 1969

First day of kindergarten.

I remember the smell of mold, chalk and paste. (Having multiple childhood allergies at this age, I probably remember these smells most since they probably caused me to feel ill.)
I remember the dimly lit hall scared me but other than that, it felt comfortable. I recall the happy sound of kids laughing and playing, the sound (and smells) of the steam radiators.

The small and squat Mansard-roofed brick building was set off from 2nd Avenue in a slight dip in elevation in the Fairmount section of Woonsocket. The classroom walls were covered in those ubiquitous paper cut outs depicting the symbols of the season…leaves, cornucopias, bunches of corn on the cob, a little red schoolhouse…you know the stereotypical autumn stuff.

I don’t remember my emotions regarding separation from my mom or my interactions with my new teacher and classmates. Not at “this” kindergarten.

Within a couple of months or so, I was repeating the whole “first day of school” experience at another school, this time Citizen’s Memorial near our new home in the Woonsocket Housing Authority managed Morin Heights Blvd. Yup, a socially stigmatized apartment community pejoratively nicknamed “The Projects”.

First day of kindergarten…again! This time: Not so pleasant.

This new school really bothered me right from the get go. It was new, for one thing, and designed in that minimalist 1960’s style, all brick and aluminum and green-tinted glass. The brick wasn’t the old-fashioned deep red brick with warn edges like 2nd Avenue School either; they were hard lined and orange. Inside, the floor was completely covered in highly-polished, green-flecked linoleum with a black vinyl baseboard. The walls in the halls were highly-glazed cinderblock. It was an atmosphere of cold and unforgiving austerity.

Unlike the first “first day”, this time I was admitted into the classroom in the middle of the day, after all the other kids had already gotten to their desks.

When I was brought in by someone from the front office, all the kids stared at me as if I was some kind of bug that had just slithered into their private sanctuary. Each desk had each pupils’ name taped to the front in cut-out construction paper…no doubt created by each kid months ago when they were getting used to one another; getting to know one another’s names; establishing friendships.

Now I was the only stranger.

It wasn’t only my new classmates that made me feel unwanted; the teacher too, seemed perturbed that she had to place a new student so late into the school year. Oh such a bother!

During playtime, it seemed no other kid wanted to be the first to approach me so I shied away and tentatively set out to explore the play area on my own. That’s when I made some “fatal” errors. I started playing with the dolls and the play kitchen toys.

I’m sure at this age, most of the kids could care less about adult proscribed gender-specific playthings, but some of the kids had the no-doubt parentally-infused sentience as to what toys were for girls and what ones were for boys.

Lo and behold though, I soon found out that this differentiation was heavily reinforced by none other than our teacher.

After a few of the boys giggled at me for my playtime choices, the teacher came to me and sternly told me that I was NOT to play with girls toys…I needed to play with the trucks or perhaps the cowboy hats and shiny silver-painted plastic guns.

“That’s what boys play with!”, she stated definitively as if it were one of the fucking Ten Commandments…Thou shalt not be a sissy!

Oh yes…play with guns! Even at the age of 5, I was aware of the horrors of the Nightly News. Every night, Walter Cronkite came on TV and gravely reported on the casualties mounting in this decidedly very unpopular war; far, far away.

No, I didn’t fully understand the concepts of war and Vietnam and all, but I knew what the names scrolling across the TV screen were. Dead people. And though even the concept of death was still beyond my full scope, I knew it was bad. I knew when someone died, you never saw them again. They went to “live with Jesus”. Like Pépère Chaussé and Grandpa Stempkowski. And people were sad. And they cried.

So don’t be a sissy…play with guns and pretend you are shooting “the bad guy”. ‘Cause we’re the good guys…right?

Right?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy, Happy! To Me!


Yup. Couldn't avoid it.

One year closer to the inevitable.

Aren't I a cheery person? :)

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Guess I'm Perseverating Over Nothing

I'm still wavering on the new blog layout. For the past 2 days been perseverating on it. (Auto spellcheck says perseverating is spelled wrong but gives me no suggestions...like it's not a word or something...it is, isn't it? IE: focusing way too much on something! Now I'm perseverating on "perseverating"...)

I spent, literally, the whole day at work yesterday constantly tweaking the layout with the available Blogger template choices and options. (The whole work day? Didn't I have to do my job at some point? Um....no. Not at all. I'm so screwed if ever I'm caught. Tee Hee.)

I may have to polish up my HTML so I can get a bit more creative, 'cause what you see now is not my favorite.

Well..."what you see now" may not describe the state of the blog in the future 'cause I would have changed it by then, right?

So if you are reading this post in, say, 2012, I would expect (hopefully) that the layout would be different from the one I've chosen in April of 2008.

Wild huh?

It's like speaking to the future me...Hi future me! How's it going? Good I hope. Wish you were here. Oh wait...you were. Just it was 4 years ago! LOL. PS: I swear I'm not on drugs...

Speaking of work...the week after next, the department manager, Sharon (aka Hurricane Sharon, remember?) will be visiting, in from Springfield for 3 days. Hmmm, she'll probably sit in the vacant cube across from me again, like last time. This time though, since she'll be literally "right there", I guess I may actually have to take calls! Gasp! I hope I remember how!

Saw Doc Rodgers this morning...everything is looking good. Cholesterol: NORMAL, Lipids: NORMAL, Blood Sugar: NORMAL, Heart Rate: NORMAL. BP around 130/82 and he seemed okay with that. Weight down too...his scale is a tad higher than mine though.

I told him I halved the Metropolol XL, over palpitation concerns, to 25mg qd (qd: that's "per day" for those of you who didn't work in human services. I didn't tell him I know medical terms since I think it's good to not let your doctor know just how much you do know...you can catch him in any lie easier. This one's been straight up since day one, though, so I'm happy. Just don't like those Bibles in the waiting room. Ah, but it is Florida, right? And I don't think he put 'em there. He loves science, especially when it comes to chemicals...ie: medications. Like I said before, he never met a prescription pad he couldn't write on!)

So I guess, despite my fears, my health is doing okay. Just gotta be sure to keep it real. Ya know?!

Just ordered the new B-52's CD this week, should be at Ric's house (my de facto shipping address) this weekend.

BTW, they (the B-52's that is) dropped the apostrophe from their name and changed it to B-52s, without the apostrophe. Well, that is more grammatically correct I suppose. But really, guys...like my whole issue with "perseverating", who cares!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Finally, I Figured Out How To Have Titles!!

Now I'm gonna go back to each of the 140 or so posts and fix them so they have proper titles.

Will take a few days, perhaps...LOL!

Template Facelift Woes


Experimenting with an updated look to the blog...

Please stand by...

(Why do they say: Please Stand By? Why can't it be simply: Please Wait?)

Looks cleaner and crisper...

What's more, it's been updated to the new Google standards, so I can more frequently and effortlessly change it up every now and again.

I didn't mess with the element widths this time so it's a bit slimmer. For some reason Blogger likes you to have very narrow columns.

Yes, being middle-aged, I had to increase the font size back to it's "medium" setting...the default is small. It would require me to pick up a magnifying glass each time I read my blog for cryin' out loud! (Actually, just checked...can you tell I'm editing this post on the fly...it is "small"...and I am comparing it to the "original" and it is smaller. Well, without those dots and in white on dark blue it seems easier to see...I guess I'll keep it.)

Still, though, probably due to some error when I first messed with the HTML code for the template when I originally set this thing up...after 3 years, I still can't get Post Titles...I have to just select the first line of my post that I want to be the title, make it bold, color it green and save. What a bother! Ugh!

Oh man...

I was checking back to see how the older posts fared with the conversion.

All the images added using Picasa are gone.

I went and edited one and found I could "fix" this by re-uploading pics using the Blogger editor. So I'll have to go through all those 2005 and 2006 posts and fix each one...
one at a time.
(WTF...I tried to put a space between the line above and the line following this 3 times and it won't let me??)
But what about all the pics I don't have anymore?

Namely, all the personalized pictures of a flooded New Orleans in the days following Katrina...remember? Pics of my house, Alicison's house, Jay and Regan's...

Oh the French Bread!...the French Bread!
Ooops...actually, the pictures aren't gone, they're still there. My bad. Never mind:)
Still no new spaces in this post though...
Blogger, are you trying to bust my baguettes?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Die Mickey, Die!


Every now and again, like, I'm sure, many people do, I google my name and see what I get.

As I discovered years ago, it turns out my name is not as uncommon as I would have thought.

A few French-Canadian folks and one guy in France shows up frequently. Occasionally, a few pop up in the states too. Recently, I found one of my namesakes as close by as the Tampa Bay area.

But only on 2 tries have I found a reference to the REAL Michael Chausse (yours truely of course).

The first was a few years ago. The link was already at least 5 years old when I found it but it pointed to a gay-oriented Catholic brotherhood of monks. The site credited me for contributions to it's web page design.

Yup, it was me. You see, back in the mid-90's, my friend John C. and I ran our little home-based computer reseller/consultant business called Cozmo's Gizmos.

I founded the business to cater to mainly word-of-mouth contacts, as well as some of the loyal customers of John's former business, Hard Soft Supply Company. He had been forced to close his business as part of a sentence he received when he, for reasons not entirely clear, withheld producing goods and services for which he received advance payment. Basically, he got someone to pay several hundred dollars for him to build a computer but failed to deliver said computer. The customer happened to be a cop. Not good. The cop pressed criminal charges and John went to court, had to pay the guy back and was assessed fines, plus, was forced to give up his already struggling business, in leiu of jail time, that is.

But I digress. I'm getting off subject here...this isn't a FLASHBACK post.

Suffice it to say that one of the customer's of Cozmo's Gizmos was a friend of John's he knew through a Gay Catholic support group he attended. This guy, Brother Ron, was a nice middle-aged guy who had just recently gotten into computers and he wanted to create a website for his brotherhood. We got him a Pentium I computer (back then...state-of-the art) which we bought at Sam's Club for about $995, marked it up a fair 20% and called it a sale. He needed basic instruction, and John had no patience for the customer service side of the biz, so I helped him out, setting it up and showing him the ropes. And as an added benefit to his purchase, I threw in an offer to help him in web page design.

Back then, there wasn't a whole lot you could do in HTML to jazz up a site. Too graphical, and noone would be able to access it due to the rarity of broadband and ubiquity of dial up in the range of the standard 14.4 baud modem. But I was able to design a neat little header for his site incorporating the name of the Brotherhood in "Medieval manuscript-like" font and using a picture of the special crucifix they associated with.

Ron loved it and on the credits page for the site, he threw up my name in appreciation.

The site lasted for several years...it was still in existance when I googled my name about 6 years ago, but it seems to be gone now. Though I've long since forgotten the URL or even the name of the Brotherhood so I can't be totally sure.

In any event, to make a long story short (too late for that, huh?), I want to explain the title to this post.

Yesterday I googled my name and found another obscure (and subsequently "ancient") reference to me in the results. It was to a site, now defunct, which housed hints, strategy tips and maps for the Heroes of Might and Magic computer game series. I loved this turn-based, fantasy-themed strategy game from the first volume and when volume 2 came out in the late 90's, I started creating custom maps and scenarios for it and sharing them with the game's fansite community.

This is the text description of one of the games I designed that I found with my google search:

MAGELLAN'S MAP SUBMISSION

Map Name: revolt.mp2
Map Maker: Michael Chausse
E-Mail Address: cozgiz@worldnet.att.net
Map Type: [Singleplayer] [Humans Or Computer]
Description: Revolution! The ancient lands of Nastralia. The Imperial Nobility has become decadent and cruel. Become the first Lord to overthrow the Emperor.
Special Win: Take Melanacrastian Citadel.
Special Loss: [NONE]
Special Other: [NONE]
Narrative: The Nastralian Empire was once a wonderful world to live in but the Noble Class became decadent and squandered the resources of the planet. Now the Emperor...called the Riothamus Clovis XIII and his Court have neglected the starving cries of the people and have sent hundreds of dissenters to the work-camps. The Lords of the Three Continents have each undertaken the call to arms and are busy organizing the resources of their respective lands and eliminating the pesky monsters strewn about the countryside. The Riothamus has declared all 3 Lords guilty of treason and has fled to his secret fortified palace, The Melanacrastian Citadel. With him are the Duke of the small island of Glopak and the Prince of the wealthy and powerful Algeon Island sub-continent. Their feifdoms, though ostensibly neutral, are loyal to the Imperium and the castles are well-guarded against potential intrusion by any of the 3 usurpers.You play as one of the 3 Rebel Lords, and have only monsters and terrain obstructing your domination of your respective continent...but in order to even attempt to overthrow the Riothamus in his heavily-fortified stronghold, The Melanacrastian Citadel, you'll likely need the full resources of one or more other lands as well.
All Human SidesCompletelyPlay-Tested: Yes

The actual map file and in fact, the whole web site seems to have disappeared long ago, but, for some reason, this text still exists.

No matter, I long ago discarded this old DOS game in favor of it's successors over the years, so I wouldn't have been able to view it or play it anyway.

It got me to think about the other great games I had designed and posted to this site back then.

One memorable one was a game where you played the part of the "warrior" and his army from one of the many tourist venues in Central Florida like Universal Studios, Sea World, even Gatorland. Your goal was to assemble a motley force of tourists and ex-cast members and lay seige to the great fortress in the center of the game map: Disney World. There you'd fight the Great Evil Rat, Mickey and his netherworld minions as they try to defend the ultimate relic...the cryogenic remains of Walt Disney buried under Cinderella's Castle.

It was a great game, but now it seems, it's lost to posterity.

And all I have to show for my decades of work on the net is one link? What does it take to have more than one Google result? Sheesh!
Hmmm, maybe the March 25th post and this one, pretty good plugs for Google properties, will earn me the Geek Cred I deserve, dammit! ;)