Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pictures of me as a Crabby Nun in "Failing with Grace"

This was a fun shoot and I am grateful to my friend Grace Nkenge Edwards, author, for casting me in it.  I'm a bit concerned that a US audience, watching this segment, may feel that it is racist, as there are a group of white people picking on a black person.  I actually do not think that Grace wrote this scene with that intent.  I think she was trying to show herself as a comical, socially inept person.   Here's the clip.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

pictures from "A Bad Year for Tomatoes"

This show ran at the Clove Creek Dinner Theater, Fishkill, NY


Posed cast photos (first one includes backstage crew as well)

Review of the play by Lucinda Antrim

A light comedy that could perhaps have benefited from some tightening in the
script, "A Bad Year for Tomatoes" showcases our own Anne Barschall in a
supporting role as the mystical neighbor, sweeping onto stage in flowing,
flowery clothes with her wand and crystal, squinting a la Emma Thompson in
Harry Potter, sensing disaster and offering healing. Stage direction had
her entering whimsically through the bottom half of a Dutch door, a feat
which she made look easy. An intimate dinner theatre experience, many of
the seats are close to the action. Costumes and set effectively evoke
mid-60s Vermont. The one miss in the costuming department was an
unfortunate beard, which happily (spoiler alert) came off in the character's
unexpected and delightful transformation. The vegetarian main was
beautifully presented and delicious, the Caesar salad fresh and crisp and
complete with anchovy, but avoid the strawberry shortcake. A surprise on
the wine menu was the New York Seyval Blanc, a wine worth becoming familiar
with for its "notes of green apple, lemon blossom and chamomile." All in
all, a highly recommended evening.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Updates 160430

I have the following updates, since my last updates post, in March

upcoming performances
  • "A Bad Year for Tomatoes" playing Willa Mae Wilcox at The Clove Creek Dinner Theater 5/5/16-5/22/16
  • Class Show, Musical Level I, 5/1/16 9pm, at Magnet Studio Theater - 22 W. 32nd St, 10th floor - Room A

Performance completed, since all of those in March, which I mentioned as upcoming in my last update
  • Mme Paula in "Un Vase à Chinatown" d Jeremy Hung 4/16/16 -- in French
  • Standup, The Set NYC, d Pim Shih 3/22/16 "Politics Music Monologues Show"

Courses completed
  • Musical Improv Level 1 (retaking), Nikita Burdein and Frank Spitznagel 3/12/16-5/1/16 Magnet Theater
  • Basic Harmony for Musical Improvisors with Dan Reitz link to class photo 
  • "Playing it Real" with Gavin Speiller, Improv Elective, UCB NYC Training Center 4/5-12/16
  • 48th Street Exercise, with Gary Austin, at Artistic New Directions (AND) 4/1/16

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hobbit Houses and Tornadoes

I have wondered for some time why it is that in California there are these wonderful earthquake related building codes that have saved thousands of lives in major earthquakes -- but there are no tornado related building codes in places like Oklahoma and Kansas.

I lived for a while in Rochester, MN.   This community is the home of the Mayo Clinic.  That famed institution was formed after a huge tornado cut a swath of destruction a mile wide through the community and a clinic was needed to deal with the aftermath.

When I lived there I frequently cowered in the basement in fear when there were tornado watches and warnings. Even when the sky was clear, I thought about how a tornado could come out of it.

I've seen how well the building codes work in California.  They'll announce the magnitude of the earthquake and then they'll say there were some number less than 20 casualties.  Then I'll see a similar magnitude earthquake reported in Turkey or Iran, and there will be tens of thousands dead.  I've seen how natives of the Andes mountains made stone walls where the pieces were fitted together by crafting of the stones, so that they don't fall during earthquakes.

But I don't see where tornado prone states are making building codes to protect their residents.

I did read a story of an underground house surviving a tornado

Earth sheltered homes can survive tornadoes

Then I saw these cute modular homes that people can assemble themselves, and which are designed to be buried.  Wouldn't this be the perfect solution?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

@uspshelp -- frustrations with computer sorting

Computer sorting of mail just does not work as well as humans.

Recently I sent a letter to a friend who happens to live near the border of several towns.  His legal residence is in one town in Vermont, while his mail is delivered by the post office in the adjacent town.

When I addressed the letter, I used his legal address, because that's the one I had used when finding his house using google maps.

The letter was returned to me as "no such street, unable to forward."

My friend reports that the human postal carriers were able to figure out such addressing, but the computer sorting facility cannot.

This is really annoying.  I sent the letter to the correct, legal address of my friend's house.   The fact that the postal service elects to deliver mail from the post office of the neighboring town is supposed to be for postal service convenience, not to inconvenience postal service customers. The computer should be programmed to figure such addresses rather than sending letters back to senders.

Even more annoying, when I went to usps.com, to try to send in an e-mail complaining of this situation, I found a bunch of options for complaining about mail service -- and none of the options applied to this situation.  They don't have a category for "other" complaints.  They can't imagine that someone might come up with a complaint that doesn't fall into the categories they have pre-selected.

Again a human being would be able to take a miscellaneous complaint that doesn't fit into other categories.

Friday, March 25, 2016

update on truth blog: 4th neutrino calls standard model into question

For my 25th college anniversary, I wrote this rather long document about my lifelong search for "truth:"

original truth blog

I think I was the only one who, in response to a question of what I had been doing since college, gave an intellectual history of myself, rather than an exclusively personal history.  Aspects of my personal life came into it, but the focus was intellect.

It was one of about 3 essays in the 25th reunion book that was as long as it was.  Most people confined themselves to a few paragraphs. I've often described myself as having diarrhea of the keyboard.  Still a couple of my friends read it and liked it.

I noticed, though, that I was also the only one who ever wrote in to our college newsletter with a review of a book that I was excited about that I thought my classmates might like, because the author was a late, well-known professor from our college.

Granted it's nice to learn about weddings, kids, job changes, and moves -- but didn't we meet by going to college together?  Wasn't that an intellectual endeavor? Didn't that make us feel like exchanging intellectual ideas?

Ok, nevermind.

Anyway, the truth essay was brought to mind to my mind today, because I read that a 4th neutrino had been tentatively identified, and that it was outside the Standard Model.  The Standard Model is a family of sub-sub-atomic particles that replaced the earlier neutron/proton/electron atomic model of the elements -- to oversimplify.

The Standard Model was just starting to coalesce when I was in college and it was only just fully confirmed in 2009 with a believable study of the Top Quark, aka "god particle."

But, now, back to the drawing board, apparently, only five years later.

One aspect of my truth essay was the concept that science was violating Occam's razor.  Science keeps getting more and more complex and elaborate.  It has to have more and more theories. Exceptions to those theories keep getting found.  It's never like we can get to a final theory and stop.  Just when the Standard Model seemed like the definitive answer, something that doesn't fit into it is found.

This was one of the things that caused me to lose faith in physics and not pursue it professionally as an adult.


Here's another one of those -- physics is not complete issues 

Why is the universe expanding? At least, astronomers believe it is expanding.  Studying astronomy was part of what made me lose faith in physics.  Trying to grasp the enormity of the universe, helped me see how very small we are in comparison.  The idea that we could really understand it seemed absurd.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lady Sketch Lab 2016

I have been participating in the 2016 Lady Sketch Lab at the Magnet Theater.  This lab started out with 84 women.  By the end we were down to 50, which is still a huge group.  Most of us submitted sketches, with several drafts.  Then some sketches were selected for the show.

I was cast as Narrator in "Extraordinary Woman" and Passenger (an improv role) in "Love Train."

This show is scheduled to run March 14, 21, and 28 at 9pm at The Magnet Theater, 254 W 29th St (near 8th ave), NYC

List of sketches

Love Train Part 1
Man Springs
Vous Tube
Vicki & Sue
The Art of Social Media
Love Train Part 2
You've Got Mail
Extraordinary Woman
Defense Dress
Baby Fat
Yoga Farts
Love Train Part 3

Here's a cast photo of the Extraordinary Woman sketch

And here was the entire cast