Monday, June 18, 2007

Status update: the non-vacation

I'm on non-vacation in Virginia this week. Laura's working on a production of Nijinsky's Last Dance, and I'm playing the role of Tech Guy. We've been busy so far. We arrived Monday, worked an eight-hour day Tuesday, worked a hard twelve Wednesday, another moderate twelve Thursday, and a stressful eight or ten Friday. It's been more stressful than it really needed to be; we've had equipment problems, schedule issues, and too many long days in a row. I tend to have fun wherever I am, but I'll be really glad to get back to my real job after this.

My random thoughts from the trip so far, compiled from notes scribbled on 3X5 cards:
  • On the drive here, we encountered a two-hour traffic jam on the interstate. It's a bad sign when the state police have had time to put up big signs that say "Accident Ahead". It turned out to be a semi-trailer that rolled on a sharp corner, dumping its load of mirrors. Under different circumstances, it would've been really cool to look at.
  • I've never run a show on iTunes before. It's not bad; the only thing it doesn't do that I wish it would: you can't play two tracks at once. And, I ran it on a MacBook, which was a relief; had I been running it on a PC, I would've had to spend a long time cleaning the computer up to make sure I wouldn't have warnings and beeps popping up in the middle of the show. I'm definitely becoming more of a Mac guy as time goes on.
  • The Smartfade lighting console from ETC might be the worst computerized light board in the history of the theater. Laura and I are experts. If we can't figure it out in four hours with the manual in hand, the problem's probably not on our end.
  • A lot of the lighting gear -- the board and the dimmers in particular -- has that "made for DJ's" feel. This is not a good sign.
  • I'm really not a dog person. We're staying with two dogs, both of whom I've been assured are very cute. But their chief function, as far as I'm concerned, has been to make me glad we have cats.
  • I didn't realize until I saw the program on opening night that I'm officially the Technical Director for this production. Nice to get some surprise resume credit. And some acknowledgment for my work.
  • Norfolk is a nice town. And real estate prices are insane here.
  • I've spent almost no time online this week; until half an hour ago, the best I've managed is a few minutes of checking e-mail every day or two. I haven't even read the Whatever this week, and that's usually one of my first stops online.
  • Fun restaurant: there's a diner down the street called D'Egg. It's a true diner, and it's a great place to eat and spend time. If you find yourself looking for a nice breakfast in Norfolk, hit D'Egg; it'll make you happy.
  • I radically overpacked books for this trip. I brought three whole books, and in the first nine days here I've had a chance to read exactly none of any of them. The closest I've come is a few hundred e-book pages, all read at the sound board after the house opened.
  • Another fun restaurant: the Devil's Kitchen. It's all the quality food of a nice, expensive restaurant, combined with punk music and staff. Our darling waitress had purple micro-dreadlocks and the biggest tongue stud I've ever seen, and the steak was one of the best I've had.
  • Norfolk's downtown is pretty, but the Scruffy Homeless population is rather scarier here than in Indy. More surly and vaguely threatening, and they hang out in clusters. Laura says she feels a lot less safe here than in Indy.
  • I should mention that Nijinsky's Last Dance is an excellent show, one of my favorites I've ever worked on.
That's all for now. I'll try to write an actual recap of the trip when I get back. Wish me safe travels!

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