Sunday, December 29, 2013

They're Good People, Mr. Potter!

And "good" is an understatement. I'm referring to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. I attended the last seasonal performance today of "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" and I was really very impressed.

Because of the subtitle "in partnership with UCF" of this theatrical venue, I'd always assumed it was a college production group and probably cute, but likely too amateur for my consideration. (Yeah, like I'm some snotty theater maven, right!) I figured I waste too much of my time watching B-movie drivel from Netflix to mess with sub-par live entertainment.

But actually this group is really a professional repertory theatrical group of actors. Young, yes, and probably many college aged, but professional nonetheless. And if this afternoon's performance is any bit a fair indication of their talents, then they surely have my seal of approval and I'll be back for more. Some cast members, as evidenced by their skill displayed today, would likely be utterly fabulous in actual Shakespearean plays, I can't wait to find out.

Today's fare, though certainly not Shakespeare, did have its moments where the ability for the artists to showcase their acting talents presented well for us, the appreciative audience. The plot was basically that we were supposedly the live studio audience here at the Lux Theater Studios at a radio station in New York City during the height of the Golden Age of Radio. The radio dramatization was that of the Frank Capra heart-tugging story of "It's A Wonderful Life" the Christmastime classic (though in the time frame of the Christmas Eve, 1946 setting, the movie, in reality, had just had its premier a week earlier). Actors were all done up in 1940's garb and the staging was made to look like a radio play production studio theater complete with stagehands, foley artists, stage manager and interspersed with period commercials for products like Lux Toilet Cake, Chiquita Bananas and Sal Hepatica Laxatives.

Prior to the show, the themeing commenced with the spontaneous appearance of costumed telegram boys calling out names (of some of us real audience members) delivering a telegram. As some of the key actors entered the "studio," young teen-aged girls acting as radio star fans swooned and screamed vieing for a precious autograph. The announcer called up a young wounded GI, recently back from the war (World War II, of course) and we applauded him.

We were instructed to pay heed to the large art deco styled signage that would flash when we were supposed to applaud. Also, the announcer warned us, to keep silent any noisy devices that may be in our pockets. "Things that haven't been invented yet. You know what I'm talking about...(wink, wink)" Soon the stage was all-a-tizzy as the countdown started a few minutes before we "went live" and were "broadcast" coast-to-coast to all 48 states.

The story played out quite well in this format perhaps since, like me, I'm sure everyone else in the audience was just as familiar with the film having seen it many, many times. Scenes and dialog were done virtually line for line as in the movie. The actors even acted and sounded like their famous Hollywood film counterparts. The guy playing the radio actor playing George Bailey (remember it's a role within a role) sounded just like an actor playing a radio actor playing George Bailey as done by Jimmy Stewart! (It was all very meta.)

And the guy playing the Announcer/Mr. Potter/other parts was a dead ringer for Lionel Barrymore playing Potter. I was really impressed with his vocal talents.

Of course, the scene where George meets with Potter in Potter's office begging for help after Uncle Billy "looses" the deposit money at the bank brought a wide grin to my face as I remembered fondly many a drunken night years ago when Ric and I repeatedly acted out this scene in total over-the-top style to the utter fascination and amusement of our friends and onlookers. Yeah, we were that good. In my head, at least.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

VIDEO SCRAPBOOK: My Favorite Video Games, NES, SNES and GameBoy

I was a late-commer to the NES. For most of the eighties I had my Commodore 64 so I didn't see the need to invest in a Nintendo. What's more, I was getting the feeling that I was too old for what was thought to be a kid's game system. But then the C64 started to get fewer and fewer games published for it and coincidentally my unit broke so I finally went and bought a second hand NES sometime around 1990. I enjoyed it only for a couple years though since it also broke and I decided to buy the newer Super Nintendo. And that too would only see a couple years in the video game spotlight when it got eclipsed by the PC. The Game Boy was played throughout the Nintendo era but it too was laid waste by the PC.

Here are some of my favs of the short-lived Nintendo era:

Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1990) NES

I saw the cashier at the convenience store across the street from my Logee Street apartment playing this game (while "working" LOL, I think he was the owner's son) and I was entranced. I got the NES to basically play this. It was a fantastic strategy game and I spent hours playing it.



Super Mario World (1992) SNES

When I bought the SNES and hooked it up to the TV in our living room Wayne poo-pooed it thinking he'd never be interested in such a kid's toy. But it wasn't long before he was playing this addictive little game virtually non-stop. Me too, of course. The colors, the animations, the music and the challenging yet fun stages were phenomenal.



SimCity (1992) SNES

I'd played SimCity on the C64 and on a Mac Plus but this SNES version blew those versions out of the water. The graphics, for the day, were stunning. Couple that with the music, changing seasons and the great SimCity dynamics of gameplay and well, there goes your weekend. Every weekend.



Monopoly (1992) Game Boy

Other than the ubiquitous Tetris which every Game Boy owner loved, I really enjoyed the Game Boy version of this board game classic. The Game Boy was the early nineties equivalent of smartphones today. Excellent mindless distraction tool when on the go. Great conversation-avoider as well when at functions where you don't really want to chat with anyone. Like around family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Planning My Spring Vacation

I think I'll take Hulk on a Grand Tour of Dixie.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

IOA Hogsmede Village And Railway Construction

Here are a couple snapshots I took while at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section of IOA on Monday. The weather was a chilly 68 degrees so the fake snow seemed less out-of-place than usual. I also got a look at the construction work being done for the new monorail connection station to the original park's Daigon Alley project also under construction.




Saturday, December 14, 2013

祝賀中國

Congratulations China on the success of the Chang 3 mission to the moon. The probe has landed, the rover deployed and mankind has for the first time since the 1970s placed a controlled vehicle on the surface of Earth's natural satellite in the name of science.

There is much still to discover about our moon, the arguably most prominent and attainable object in space in our time.

Sadly, my country, once the leader in the advancement of space technologies has decided to forget this goal assuming the few objectives achieved decades ago amount to the conclusion of the quest for knowledge among what once were referred to as "the heavenly bodies." Hopefully, nations like the People's Republic of China that have shown great strides in this discipline are set to continue mankind's path towards a greater understanding and appreciation of the resources that are there before us in space.

Once again, congratulations to the people of China for their achievement today, and thank you from an American knowing that the whole world benefits from steps like this in staying true to the vision of a future mankind in space.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking Cyberesp

Cy-ber-esp
noun
1. the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or being accountable for one's actions via the internet.

Cyberesp is a word I just made up but I think it fits-to-a-T the emerging concept of having to own up to one's actions when engaging in the sharing of information obtainable by others by way of media available online. It's a portmanteau, of course, of cyber, referring to things online and responsibility a concept as old as the first human communities. The extent one has to be responsible in a still-developing online community is subject to many evolving standards and much debate.

All right, here's the skinny...

So this past weekend, I had the bright idea (heavy facetiousness implied here) to do another of my tongue-in-cheek crazy posts where I show off my black humor nature and reveal discoveries I made by doing simple Google Maps searches, incorporating Streetview and using visual information shown in YouTube videos.

I framed it up in a format kinda emulating one of those tacky TMZ-style articles that give readers the low-down via sketchy, likely-tweaked "facts" and subversive paparazzi photos exposing popular celebrities.

I was poking fun at both the whole exposé "journalistic" style and the whole institution of celebrity fandom in general. Like making Perez Hilton and the people he posts about both look the fool. Witty right?

Well, not when it hurts someone or makes them feel uncomfortable. Never in the nine years I've had this blog have I ever wanted to do that. Well, maybe on one occasion, but I'll get to that in a sec.

The post I put up Saturday night included real-life facts about certain YouTube vloggers that I have to admit should not have been posted. Period. I'm owning this and taking cyberesp in hopefully minimizing the after effects.

So, for the first time in all the years of this blog, I deleted a post. And also deleted similar posts like it I'd written in the past. This is big. I am usually the only one cringing and feeling poorly about anything I post here because sometimes, in retrospect, I put out TMI but I keep it up 'cause I want this to be real. Sometimes being real means showing vulnerabilities, flaws and all those things that go bump in the middle of the night. That's life. But it's MY LIFE and that is totally my call as far as sharing of information, but when one writes about other people, there has to follow a certain filter system especially if the subjects aren't available to validate or sanction such information. In there, I dropped the ball.

I gotta be honest too...most of the time I post something on here I figure no one is reading it but me. It tends to feel like I have free reign to say anything I want. My own lonely cyber soap box with an audience of none. But I guess that's not quite how it is.

I kinda learned that back in 2009 when I was having to deal with that horrible, horrible boss at the Chase Bank call center. I got pissed off and posted a rather sleazy photo of her I captured from somewhere, don't remember where, and within a few weeks, my pageview count shot through the roof. Well, "through the roof" in comparison to the virtually nonexistent traffic for any other post. There were comments placed on the post too, and they weren't all from the spambots. My lovely, lovely spambot readers.

Here spambots, a salutation in your language: 0010101010010001111000.

You're welcome.

See. My somewhat twisted humor (at least I'm smiling) at work again. I can't help it. It just pops out.

What I want to assure anyone who gives a fuck though, and I know that may well be no one, is that I'm not a dick. In regards to this weekend's post, I didn't put stuff up that I thought could in anyway lead to harm or even the potential for harm. I should have kept in mind that there are sick fucks out there though and they may have nefarious designs.

What spurred this re-think of my post was a video of one of a couple of the people I wrote about bemoaning the fact someone put their address in the comment section of one of their videos. I sure didn't do that and never would but I knew immediately where the commenter must have gotten that information. Since I had just the night before put that info in my post, someone took it upon themselves to "share" that with all the viewers of these guys' videos.

Checking my stats on this blog, I found that indeed my pageview count had skyrocketed right after I put up that post.

Look, I make no money off this blog. I have no Adsense and I have no intention of taking it along those lines. This was and will continue to be an ad hoc 21st century cloud-stored diary of my life's little meaningless trials and tribulations and blibbidy-blabber about the funnier, or sometimes not so funny things I find in this crazy scavenger hunt I call my life. I wasn't out to stir shit up so I could get more pageviews. I frankly don't care if anybody reads my dribble anyway. It's mainly for me. I don't daily vlog, I'm way too camera shy for that. The written word is my self-expression medium of choice. I clickity-clack little plastic cubes and shit appears on my monitor. It's what I do.

So, dear readers, including all the majority of you in Malaysia (according to the dashboard stats page...what's up with that?) please don't do trolly things with what I write. That's douchbaggery at its finest. Grow a virtual pair and take cyberesp!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

A Cappella Done Damn Right!

Oh the harmony! The harmony! ;)



And also there's this. The first, and most likely the last Christmas song to grace my blog. Don't get your hopes up Christians, I'm not "seeing the light." I just hear good music, no matter what the lyrics!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Summoning The Rainbow Magic

Oh come back to me Rainbow Magic!

I need you!

For the past three weeks or so I've been off the Phen. I reserved about a month and a half supply and I just now took the first of that reserve. The idea is that the hiatus from it should have somewhat of a reboot effect allowing the body to treat tonight's dose similarly to the way it treated the first dose of this drug back in April. Like it was Magic!

Oh how mighty it was then. But over the months of its use this summer, my body became slowly but surely accustomed to it and eventually it was no more than an equivalent to a 5-hour energy cocktail.

In the past three weeks without it, my weight shot up of course. It's no mystery why. Drinking and eating all the bad things and totally ignoring exercise...it'll do that to ya. No surprise.

So we'll see in a few minutes if I'll get my Rainbow Magic back. Took it about five minutes ago and don't quite feel anything yet. But I'm tired, hungover and I feel my stomach still contains remnants of my morning meal: a whole DiGiorno's Supreme pizza washed down with a 6-pack of Harp lager along with a deuce of Foster's oilcans followed by a bowl of ice cream and Tastycake snack.

Oh man. Do I need the Magic now!