Saturday, June 30, 2012

We kick off our anniversary celebration with Patton Oswalt

He came to the Helium Comedy Club.  He was funny. We laughed.  One of the bits he did showed up a few weeks later on the Onion's A/V Club. If you are willing to sit through at 15 second commercial you too can hear the story. It's animated, which it was not when we saw him live.  Obviously!  Also, he doesn't mention it in this clip, but he told us he was in Milwaukee Wisconsin when this happened.

OPS Fest's As You Like It

This was the first time we saw OPS Fest (Original Practice Shakespeare Festival) and we are now fans.  It was so great even the rain couldn't chase us away from the performance.

Our stage under the St. John's Bridge.
Pre-show entertainment. Notice the umbrellas.
Noah Goldenberg played Orlando, but first he let us know how OPS Fest works.  In Shakespeare's time no actor was handed the entire play.  Instead, they received a scroll with the lines for their character's part as well as their cues.  This was because, Noah told us, actors make their living by lying and there was no copyright law at the time, so if you gave an actor the entire play, there was nothing stopping him from going across the street and putting on the same play.  For that reason, only the stage manager and the prompter had the full play.  At OPS Fest actors receive scrolls for their character(s) lines which are from the First Folio.  According to the program, "These texts preserve the original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, versification, and other clues to actors.  Thanks to the way Shakespeare coded these directions into the cue-scripts (directions which modern editions of his plays tend to edit away) their roles tell them everything they need to know to create a fantastic performance.  Each actor learns two to eight roles in each show, and we constellate the cast differently for each performance, so every day's show is unique."

They perform several plays over the summer (five this year) and they don't rehearse before they appear on stage.  How do they keep everyone straight?
Enter the Prompter!  For this performance, Joel Patrick Durham was the prompter and he used his whistle to make sure each actor said all their lines, actors entered and exited according to cue, and sometimes he would just have the actor break character and do, say, a George McFly impression from the movie Back to the Future.
Orlando and servant Adam.  You can see Orlando taking advantage of his scroll.
The prompter needed an umbrella at the beginning, when the rain was still raining.
Orlando and Oliver, along with Adam in the background.
The cast lined up waiting for their entrance.
Here's a good shot of the scrolls.  The scrolls were awesome, as was the general "Comedy Sportz"/Improv atmosphere.
Orlando waiting for his cue.  He actually missed it due to bridge noise.  The prompter blew his whistle, and called out, "Orlando enters" and Orlando did enter, saying: "Sorry, I couldn't hear anything due to bridge traffic."  We laughed.
 Near the end of the play it started to pour again.  We all hunkered down and waited for the end.  The cast brought out umbrellas too.  

It was a great performance and we will make OPS Fest a part of our Summer Shakespeare experience from now on.

Chris Hemsworth comes to me!

Readers of Out and About, the blog with less Matt and more me, will know that I've developed a thing for Chris Hemsworth as evidenced by this and this.  Not to mention this and this which came after the time of this post.  I happened to mention my fixation with the superhero-playing Aussie to Burt and Laurie and who should they drop by with, but my own Thor.  I laughed.

Thanks to Burt and Laurie, the Iron Man cutout CJ gave us now has company.  And I've got my own resident Chris Hemsworth. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Matt opens presents.

While I prepared his birthday dinner request of sloppy joes, Matt opened his presents.

Card from his Mom.  He liked the turtles.
Card from his Uncle Larry.
Card from his Grandfather.
Card from his dad.  The front says, "You might be a redneck if you stare at a can of orange juice because it says concentrate."  Perhaps North Carolina did get to Matt.
Uncle Larry sent Star Trek magazines and books.
I got Matt a new board game.  Which we have played and is awesome!
Instead of the birthday cake he got the birthday cookie.

Great News!

Returning from our hike, Matt discovered that he passed the oral exam for the CADC II.*

Well done and happy birthday!

*Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Level II


No, not the football! That thing you do when you walk in the woods.  For Matt's birthday we both took the day off and drove across the Interstate Bridge,
All the way to Washington,
Where we saw amazing, moving weather, 
And glimpses of fog coming down in the Columbia River Gorge.
Until we got to Beacon Rock State Park.
Which we drove past until we stopped in a parking lot so we could do the Hardy Ridge Trail hike.  As you can see, no one else was so similarly motivated.
Here we are at the start.  Notice my sunglasses.  I won't be needing those.
Bits of the Gorge.
Matt sets off.
More wisps of clouds in the Gorge.
We did not choose Hamilton Mountain, but instead took the Hardy Ridge Trail.
Here's the guidebook we used.  Notice the rain on the backpack.  It was a very dewy hike.
More walking.
If it were November, this would signal raw, cold and misty.  It is, however June and so it was moderate temperature and misty.
Matt waves through the mist.
Here comes the real rain.
And more rain.
Here is where a view would be.
Evergreen Huckleberries.  I have some of these in my yard.
More wildflowers.
We stopped at the ridge to eat lunch.  Eventually, the view cleared, the fogged over, then cleared again. As we ate, it changed again and again.  It did not rain, however.
From the ridge.
Our delicious sandwich lunch.
Foggy ridge view.
Clearing again.
After staring off into the brush across the way from where we were sitting, I realized the leaf pattern I was looking at was familiar to me. It's alpine strawberries!  There is even a tiny strawberry visible in the top middle part of the picture.  I grow alpine strawberries on my front porch.
More pictures from the ridge.
Failed endorsement for M&M's.  Matt had the peanut, I had the plain.
After we ate, we read about the rest of the trail.  Here's what we found out. "After about 0.4 mile, the good trail ends and you're on an old road that is both steep and rife with chest high brush.  Hopefully the park and the WTA [Washington Trail Association] will eventually rehabilitate this section.  In about another 0.4 mile, the way emerges onto another road.  Head left, now on much better tread and easier grade, only dealing with high grasses (avoid in tick season), and reach the first four-way junction after 1.3 miles."

I guess it pays to read about the entire hike before you start out on it.  "Is it tick season?" Matt wanted to know, when I read this section aloud to him.  Because neither of us are regular hikers, I had no idea.  We soldiered on.  Happily, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way back.  Apparently, the WTA had rehabilitated that section.

Last ridge views.
And we're done!
These two pictures were part of an effort to take timer shots from both our cameras simultaneously.  The first round failed due to Matt's timer malfunction.
Still no one in the lot.  "We could have done the whole hike naked!" I commented.

"That would have been cold." Matt reminded me.  I pointed out that we still could have.

Today's lessons:
Read the entire hike description before you set out.
If you are seeking solitude in the Gorge go on a rainy Tuesday in late June.