A tough assignment

August 31, 2008

I worked in the scene shop of the theater department for a while in college. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I learned so much. We worked on everything. Whatever was next on the check list got to be your job. And if you didn’t know how to do it, you got a lesson. We cut wood with all sorts of saws, be did tons of fastening and we worked on scenic painting. But the thing was you really only got one lesson and there wasn’t much forgiveness if you messed things up. You had to do things right because of the limited time and resources. And working with power tools can be really dangerous. One of the other professors, who was not our supervisor would come down about once a month and show us how he had cut the tip of his finger off on the table saw. Scary.

I got assigned building a hand rail for the escape steps of the back of a 10 foot set. Our professor Jim told me to use 1 by 4s and cut them down the middle (making 1 by 2s.) For some reason (I can’t really remember why, I guess I thought he was just making a suggestion rather than giving me strict direction) I used 2 by 4s instead. Well I got through ripping down some 12 foot stock when the table saw quick working. I had burned out the motor or something. Boy did I hear about that. Luckily whatever was wrong with the saw was fixable. And after we finished the other side with the one by fours it was a little flimsy and our professor said I might have been right after all.

I also got in trouble once for painting the stair risers too meticulously. I was trying to do a really neat job but I was told the you couldn’t even see the small slip-ups and drips from the audience. I was helping someone who accidentally used the circular saw to cut its own cord. There were lots of sparks.

But I also got some complements. I still remember them. When I leaving one day Jim said, “Erin, you’re getting to be quite a good carpenter.” And I got to be the official jigsaw specialist because I had some sort of natural gift for doing the precise cutting. I got to do a whole car cut out once by projecting a picture on it to trace the edges and then cutting it out. Jim told me that I was better at it than he was.

Jim was a pretty stern guy. And he excepted a lot from all of us. That’s what made the compliments that he gave all the more meaningful because they were hard to earn. And when he said something to you, you knew he really meant it.

  1. All cell phones are black and huge with a pull up antenna.
  2. The leading lady is sporting a “Rachael.”
  3. The “great” bridesmaids dresses are made of black velor.
  4. You think for a second that this movie might be from the eighties, but where’s all the neon?
  5. Paul Giamatti is playing a bell hop with one line.
  6. The story line involves an abortion and the girl goes through with it (that’s a downer but it’s true.)
  7. Wedding dresses with short sleeves.
  8. The laptop is two inches thick.
  9. The leading man looks like Paul Buchman from “Mad About You.”
  10. No bootcut jeans.

I’m not a economist or a business theorist so I don’t know if this is inevitable or not. All I know is I am sad.

That flood on Lake Ella? Well on the other side of the lake from our church are these cute like shops. One of them is the best local shoe store ever. They had the best stuff, trendy but not super expensive. But it got flooded last Saturday, along with 6 other stores. Everyone’s saying that it is the highest that Lake Ella has ever been. Stupid tropical cyclones.

I got an email from them today saying that they will not reopen; that they are selling off all of their stock. I think that it’s sad that we can’t support a local business. Too many chains. And I’m as much to blame with my Payless shoe buying. If business was booming, a flood wouldn’t end the whole thing. She must have been in trouble already.

Do I have to live in big city to have a boutique shoe store? I guess so.

What big sisters are for

August 29, 2008

“Sasha, you are supposed to be standing up!”



My favorite comedy… How I Met Your Mother presents the Hot/Crazy Scale

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Lake Ella Flood

August 27, 2008

You know what I hate (well one of the things anyway)? When a show that I really like gets canceled before it’s time. Well ABC has felt my pain and brought back “The Mole” a show that was canceled 6 years ago and now they are bringing back “Cupid” a show that was canceled 10 years ago. I loved it… my parents used to record it for me before the advent of Tivo and even DVDs because it wasn’t one of their favorites. It came on after the remake of “Fantasy Island.” But it was canceled after only one season. They rehired the original writer/creator and everything. But I will miss Jeremy Piven who was so funny. He apparently won’t be returning to the show. It’s a little like “Eli Stone” in the plot department. It’s about a man who thinks that he’s cupid and his therapist who is trying hard to convince him that he’s not even though he is aways involved in people falling in love left and right. Each episode had a new little love story. I’m so excited…

I’ve been thinking about whether I want to be more intentional about what I write on the blog.  Do I want it to have a more definite theme?  But I think since it’s been mainly an exercise for me so far I’ll just keep it free form.  I’ll be funny if I want to and if I want to vent you all will just have to deal with it.  It’s just me.

Olympic Thoughts

August 24, 2008

The Olympics are over and I’m sad. What will keep me up until all hours now; I’ll have to find something else. So I thought I’d wrap up with a few thoughts and observations before we forget about it. It’s like Erin’s closing ceremonies.

  • The Olympics used to be only for amateur athletes. But as professional sports grew in popularity it became obvious that the Olympians were not the best in the world anymore. Now almost all sports are open to professionals. One notable exception is figure skating in the winter Olympics. I think that they keep it that way because professional (what is popular for people to pay to go see) and amateur figure skating have two different goals. The former is purely to be entertaining while the later is to be as technically and aesthetically proficient as possible. In fact while the main focus of amateur skating is better and more difficult jumping, professional skaters remove difficult jumps they may fail to execute in favor of crowd pleasing dance movement. So the best skater is not always the most entertaining. That’s not the case in other sports. The better technically skilled a basketball player or a swimmer, or even a gymnast is the more likely they are to have professional success.
  • Two of Michael Phelps’s gold medals were won by relay teams. Including the second one when there was an amazing come from behind by the anchor swimmer, Jason Lezak, and the final record breaking eighth gold was the medley relay. It takes a team to be the best.
  • Jackie Chan was just singing in the closing ceremonies. I wonder if they’ll get Pierce Brosnan to sing at the London Olympics. (Wait I think he’s Irish… but he went to school in London does that count?)
  • In synchronized swimming, they do this thing called “deck maneuvers.” They are like dance moves that the teams do before they dive into the water. They are only allowed to spend ten seconds on them and they are not counted in the scoring at all. They kind of remind me of the way we used to do load in for theater competition in high school. We’d practice enough so that we could do it in silence and we’d enter and leave in a single file line. (People thought we were unbelievable pretentious, but I think that they were just jealous.) That certainly was not required and load in was only scored if you took longer than the allowed time and got points deducted. It’s all about making a good impression. If you have it together in the little things you’ll be more likely to have it together in the things that count.
  • I have one more but I think I’ll save it for it’s own special post. Let’s keep the party going.

They showed this on the “Live from Lincoln Center” series on PBS in 2006. I recorded it. And when I went to play it it had no sound. That’s not good, particularly for a Broadway musical. And they never played it again or released it on DVD. But today I found it. Enjoy… “The Light in the Piazza.”

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I think this marked the beginning of the slow self destruct of my DVD recorder. Which only recently stopped recording DVDs all together. It took two years to die by increments. It still plays DVDs but who knows when that’s going to quit. But today I’m a little less mad at it because I can watch this show.