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There is no script. Not even a scene list. Definitely no one calling cues or blocking movement in advance. It is therefore impossible to rehearse. So improvise, girl, improvise... forget feeling around for a role or the perfect phrase or action. Just perform. Naturally. But with feeling. And don't be boring. Disregard the butterflies inside...

The bonus is that there are no lines to memorize or forget or stumble over -- it is all your own words and actions, off the top. Drawing a blank is a possibility, and never good, but this doesn't need to happen if your timing is good and if you can work off the people around you. Missed timing is tragic but rhythms can be picked back up again. Just don't let anyone speak for you, like a ventriloquist. Do project and enunciate clearly, so even the literally and metaphorically deaf can hear and understand.

Another reduced pressure: there really isn't a fixed audience either, at least nothing static or passive. Everything is completely interactive. And ongoing. And about as live as it gets. But not all eyes are lying in wait, so odds are that a slipped word or a mistake is not the end of the whole shebang. Just keep rolling like it never happened. If you get a laugh, enjoy it.

This is the sometimes scariness of life. Holy adrenaline, and are those lights ever hot on the skin.

Current Mood: Analogical



Source: A Thought for Today, and Tomorrow site, "Courtesy of fffound and Operation Nice"

Operation Nice is my happy new interweb discovery. I am glad, as I had been considering toning down my inner need to be nice all the time, but I have rather decided that I am not going to water down who I am because some people can't handle the concept (note: I am not suggesting that Toronto/Ontario people can be lumped into the above category so generally, but there is decidedly a different proportion of guardedness and cynicism here which is, I will admit, hard to keep from rubbing off on me at time).

"10 years later, Mel Lastman proud he called in army"

From The TO Star, January 11 2009

As Environment Canada predicts more snow this week and temperatures plunging to -22C, Mel Lastman is warmly recalling his decision 10 years ago to call in the military to fight a snowstorm.
(big chunk of background info cut out)

Perhaps most fondly, Lastman recalls the 100 trucks and volunteers that came in from Prince Edward Island to free the congestion that plagued the city. Lastman says in between chuckles, "Let me tell you, they worked like hell."

When he asked how he could repay them for their services, Lastman remembers: "Out of the 100, 99 said they wanted to go to a hockey game." He called his good friend Steve Stavros, then owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and demanded 100 tickets.

"I said to him, Steve it's not my problem that you think it's unreasonable; these people are making it possible for you to have a hockey game on Saturday night, and for people to get there... and let me tell you, these guys had the time of their lives."


(smaller chunk of text cut here)
He pauses for a moment, and replies: "Would I do it again? You're darn right I would!"

-With files from The Canadian Press

The take off is the hardest bit of the return trip. Maybe even harder than the actual physical goodbyes and movements apart, before I enter security and my people can no longer see me and I can no longer see them. These are the small, incremental degrees of removal.

It is sitting in the plane, feeling the force of this long capsule pushing off and up, and knowing that I am not on the same ground anymore. In the most definite sense, I am "away" once again -- actually, it is a little like not being anyplace at all for a couple of hours.

This flight is in darkness, but clear skies allow me to see the ground below as patterns of light which suddenly look like "Lite-Brite" pictures. Charlottetown, and all of the little towns radiating out and from it, looks big enough but it is an intensely familiar pattern. I can pick out very specific landmarks as the ground below scrolls along beneath.

As the plane floats along and moves over the Confederation Bridge, there are whists of snow and cloud which distort the orangey light so that the whole thing looks like a string of flames. Bridge on fire. In the summer, the white arches look like sewing stitches connecting one patch to another on top of a deep blue tapestry.

There is darkness then, for several minutes, and one remembers that it is still a detached island and there is still a lot of dark water and ice between. And then the shores of New Brunswick, and patterns of light which can only be guessed at. Lonely four-way stop intersections in rural highways look larger than they are, like their own distinct places.

I stop watching for a while, but after an hour it becomes impossible to miss the grid layout of Quebec City and then Montreal -- you know what they are from the sky without checking the LiveMap (or maybe I've just done this flight too often now).

Near Ottawa, there are masses of darkness and then the oddness of a few carefully crafted images which someone evidently planned to be seen from the sky, like Peru's Nasca Lines. Not certain of the meaning or intent behind a long, cloaked figure with the halo, a small tree in hand - I am not seeing things.

And sporadic illuminations follow until the ridiculous vastness of Toronto and its satellites. Labyrinths within labyrinths, and the blinding blobs demarking shopping centres and malls.

Charlottetown feels that much smaller and further away. Quainter, and simpler. At least, from the right distance, my eyes can actually take that whole city in at once. Toronto is too big, in contrast, to see in anything but installments.

Not all brooding here -- the energy and busyness below is catching and not entirely unattractive.

And we're here again.

Current Location: Mi Casa
Current Music: Supergrass

Snow

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of your hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

- Louis MacNeice

From The Guardian

"Islanders who look forward each New Year’s Day to participating in the grand old tradition of the New Year’s levee will have to wait until next year to make their rounds. Thursday’s blizzard forced the cancellation of virtually all of the major levees in the province and indications are that only one is being rescheduled."

Merde! I have never been to the PEI levees, and suddenly I wanted to go to see what they were like -- free food and drink sounded good too! On PEI, all of the bars, legions, social clubs, and major gov't bodies open up for a few hours to welcome everyone into the New Year - they are usually open to all who venture in. Micheal, my Ontarian fiancé, had never heard of them so I suspect this is another regional thing.

I poached the following from Peter Rukavina's site, Ruk.ca:

If you are a levee virgin, here’s a friend set of pointers that you might find useful to get you over your own fears and into the levee habit:

* While children generally aren’t taken to levees, everyone else is welcome, regardless of religion, gender, social class, noble rank, etc. Certain levees may feel unusual for certain people for different reasons, but I’ve yet to see anyone not warmly welcomed at each and every levee I’ve attended.
* The proceeding is the same at every levee: you show up at the appointed time and get in line (the later you show up, the longer the line will be). Sometimes you’ll be offered the opportunity to check your coat, sometimes not (it will be obvious). The line generally leads to a receiving line of Important People — the Mayor and Councillors, or the President, or the Premier or the Bishop — who shake your hand and wish you a Happy New Year. At the end of the line there are refreshments on offer.
* The refreshments are vary greatly from levee to levee: sometimes there’s alcohol on offer, sometimes not. Some levees have sandwiches and snacks, some just sweets. You don’t have to pay.
* After milling about for what seems like an appropriate amount of time, you gather your coat if you’ve checked it, and head off to the next levee.
* The role of the “calling card” is to allow the person running the receiving to whisper your name into the name of the Important People (or, sometimes, to just hand them the card so they can greet you by name). Some levees have blank cards and pens available for those without; if you end up without a card, fear not, as you can simply introduce yourself in person.


I was hoping to hit a few of the following:

THE LEVEE OF… HELD AT… STARTS ENDS
Campbell Webster Timothy’s World Coffee 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.
Lieutenant Governor Fanningbank (Government House) 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m.
Polar Bear Swim Foot of Pownal Street 10:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
City of Charlottetown Charlottetown City Hall 10:30 a.m. 12:00 Noon
Canoe Cove Community Association Old Canoe Cove Schoolhouse 11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
HMCS Queen Charlotte 10 Water Street Parkway 11:30 p.m. 1:00 p.m.
Haviland Club 2 Haviland Street 12:00 Noon 1:00 p.m.
Town of Stratford Stratford Town Centre 12:00 Noon 1:30 p.m.
University of PEI McDougall Hall (at UPEI) 12:00 Noon 2:00 p.m.
Queen Charlotte Armouries Foot of Haviland 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m.
Seniors Active Living Centre CARI Pool Building 12:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m.
Masonic Temple 204 Hillsborough St. 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
Diocese of Charlottetown Holy Redeemer Parish Centre 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m.
Town of Cornwall Cornwall Town Hall 1:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
Royal Canadian Legion 99 Pownal Street 2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
Benevolent Irish Society 582 North River Road 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Premier Robert Ghiz Confederation Centre of the Arts 3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
Charlottetown Curling Club 241 Euston Street 4:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Charlottetown Firemen’s Club Charlottetown Fire Hall 6:00 p.m. onwards


Well, next year I guess...

The Cutting-beam

Imagine this blur of chill, white, gray, vague, sadness
burned off.
Imagine a landscape
of dry clear sunlight, precise shadows,
forms of pure color.
Imagine two neighboring hills, and
your house, my house, looking across, friendly:
imagine ourselves
meeting each other,
bringing gifts, bringing news.
Yes, we need the heat
of imagination's sun
to cut through our bonds of cloud.
And oh, can the great and golden light
warm our flesh that has grown so cold?


- Denise Levertov

Yesterday, the same day that this was posted at Seth Godin's blog, the manager of the local Starbuck's visited our office with two containers of complimentary Espresso Truffle specialty beverage and cups for sampling -- a mid-afternoon pick-up. I'm not much of a Starbucks person, or at least my tight budget cares little for it, but it was tasty stuff. When you read to the end, the coincidence will make sense:

The power of smart copywriting

Consider this riff from a professionaly printed freestanding sign in front of a Peet's in San Jose:

"Unlike Any Coffee You've Ever Tasted Before."

Wait. Why the capitals?

"Unlike any coffee you've ever tasted before."

"Before" is redundant.

"Unlike any coffee you've ever tasted."

Too negative. And why is "unlike" a positive trait? I mean, boiled leech guts is also unlike any coffee I've ever tasted, that doesn't mean I want to drink it. How about:

"The best coffee you've ever tasted."

Well, the thing is, the only coffee that matters is coffee I've tasted, right, so we could get shorter still:

"The best coffee."

The problem with that is that it's nothing but bragging. Of course you think it's the best coffee. So what? You're lying. And even if you're not lying, how do you know it's the best? Compared to what?

This is where the smart copywriter becomes a marketer.

"Better than Starbucks."

Well, it's still bragging. This is the moment where the marketer becomes a smart marketer and realizes that changing the offer or the product is more important than changing the hype.

"FREE TASTE TEST
Are we better than Starbucks?"

Invest $20 in espresso in little cups, and maybe, just maybe, your sign will make some magic.


Beyond copy...

I love this one.

DAYS

Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.
Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.
Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow
on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.
No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday
you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday's saucer
without the slightest clink.

- Billy Collins

First of all, I suck at being home sick. I can't help myself from playing with the laptop, while lying on the couch and underwhelmed by TV. One can only nap for so long. I could read, but my attention span is not great. I hate being home doing nothing. So I crawl the interweb looking for mind candy, like a good geek girl...

I love untranslatable words -- words in other languages which have no equivalent in my own mother tongue. I just wish I knew German enough to pronounce this. This is posted on Ron Nurwisah's "Boy Reporter":



Weltverbesserungswahn

Translated loosely, it’s the belief that the world can be better.

With all of the craziness in the world, the fact that this word exists (sadly, only in German) is a small bit of comfort.

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