Monday, January 31, 2011

ROBBLOG #215

I was watching American Graffiti (I & II) the other night- in High Def no less, when all of a sudden I remembered that I had met Cindy Williams a year and a half ago. In this classic film, Cindy- who would eventually be Shirley Feeny and Ron Howard- who was to be Ritchie Cunningham, played boyfriend and girlfriend. They were young. My- but they were young.
Ron even had hair!

Anyway, it was the summer of 2009. I first met Cindy on the telephone. She was performing at Drayton’s King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene and I was interviewing her for Swisssh.

She was very nice on the phone. We seemed to hit it off right away.

As I remember, my first question was about Boo Boo Kitty, the stuffed black cat that appeared in many episodes of Laverne and Shirley. I had set the question up as if I was asking about Penny Marshall. You know, saying that I had heard for years that someone on the set- not mentioning anyone’s name, was a real “bee-otch” to work with.
She wents quiet on the phone.
Then I said- “So tell me Cindy Williams. Is it true Boo Boo Kitty was a real Diva-Bitch?
She laughed and laughed.
Then she spilled the goods on that black rascal.

Cindy on Stage at King's Wharf
 Apparently Boo Boo Kitty’s first appearance wasn’t scripted. She was just shoved under Shirley’s bed with a bunch of other stuffed animals that the “girls” had won at a Carnival. I think she told me either her of Penny dropped a line- something like that. The cameras kept rolling, so Cindy ad-libbed a situation. She grabbed Boo Boo and the rest was stuffed kitty history.
She told me she still has Boo Boo Kitty. A stage hand gave it to her on the final day of the show. Since she was off the Laverne and Shirley show by that time- even though the title stayed the same, the stage hand would have had to present it to her at a later date.
I am just surmizing here.

She was excellent in the Drayton Entertainment Show which was a farcical comedy- the name escapes me now. She was terrific after the show too as we accompanied her to her vehicle out in the parking lot. She suggested we- my husband Tom and I, go to a restaurant in Midland down by the dock with her and the cast.

So we did.

We followed Cindy- a.k.a. Shirley Feeney, along St. Vincent Street into Midland.
I will never forget saying to Tom-
“...who would have thought in a million years that we would be following Shirley Feeney to a restaurant in Downtown Midland!”
Small world.

She even paid for my Bloody Caesar. I will never forget that.
What a sweetheart. We didn’t talk TV or movies- just other stuff.

Maybe Drayton will have her back. She’s friends with Artistic Director- Alex Mustakis, so the chances are good. I haven’t seen her name appear in any press materials that I have received this year from Drayton regarding their 2011 Summer lineup, so maybe not this season.

Still, it was strange watching someone in a High Def movie filmed years ago that I had met- in person, just a year or two ago.
Much better than High Def.
It was not exactly “kismet”- but something close to that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

ROBBLOG # 214 W E E K E N D Edition


I was talking to a radio buddy the other day and the topic of Christian Radio came up.

I said- “Come on- Christian Radio?- I mean really?”

“Yes. It’s out there.”- he says with a grin.

“I know it’s out there, but have you ever really thought about it?”

He paused for a second, drumming his fingers on the wooden table in front of him- “No, but it’s probably a tax free deal.”

“Isn’t everything concerning religion?”- I reply.

“Yes,”- he nods his head slowly, “I guess it is. I wonder if Jesus appreciates Christian Rock?”

“Well,”- I add, “It’s not just Rock. Its gospel, pop and even teen rap.”

“Rap? Really? Rap?”- my friends says, as if he thought it was just all- ‘what a friend we have in Jesus’ stuff.

“Heck yes, it runs from nice to nasty- well as nasty as today’s Christian Music can be.” I grin.

“So, do you think Jesus likes it all? The music I mean. Do you think he’d be in favour of today’s sound of the Christian hits?” He expected an answer.
I thought for a few seconds.

“You know, religion is a real archaic kind of thing. I mean people are worshipping and falling at the feet of some mystical being who lived- if he did at all, more than 2000 years ago. God, they ate with their fingers back then, never wore underwear and sent women away every 29 days or so until their bleeding stopped!”

“Okay. Okay!”- my friend says quickly, “That’s a little more than I asked for.

“Yes but its all part of it.”
I continue.
“Religious folks have their own beliefs and faith. Some of them make it up as they go along- even the bible. Hell you take a half-decent writer and he could make up any number of verses that sound like they could be found in the Bible- but aren’t.”

He stares up at me- “Get out!”

I think for a second.
“Okay. Truth or Consequence-

‘…and Jesus said: The hills are the Lords. The lambs and sheep and water of the streams are all his. For he is the stream of life and the power of the Lord is in the sheep and all living things and so within his Glory are the hills and all that abide within.’

So. Real or fake?”

“Oh, no.”- he says shaking his head, “I’m not going to hazard a guess. That sounds too good either way.”

“You see. It’s just words.”- I want to continue but my friend interrupts.

“I know. I know”- my friend interrupts, “But maybe the mysticality of it all is what sells Christian Radio to their listeners. Maybe if they listen daily, they think it’ll be their pathway to Heaven- or at least it’ll get them past the Rapture!”

I look at him and say- “What? The Rapture. Most churches and spiritual organizations today have given up on the Rapture. They don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo anymore!”

“You’re kidding?”- I say.

“No really!”- he adds, slapping the table this time.

I continue. “But the church’s Dogma is set up to be so, well, hateful and intolerant. It divides rather than gathers the flock together!”

“You mean stone-age stuff.”- he says.

“Yes! Definitely! It’s stone age stuff. Draconian. Middle ages. We don’t live in the stone age anymore- let alone the middle ages!” –I sounded singularly certain.

Then, he continues. “Now as for God, I think she'd prefer something light like CHFI- don't you?”

“Probably…” I can’t think of another choice that would suit her better except for all Michael Buble- all the time.

“So, religious broadcasting. Christian radio. What a deal-eh?”

“Gee, I hope Jesus doesn't get offended.”- says my friend.

“Hmmm....I wonder, does Jesus pay for Satelite Radio or does he get it for free being omnipotent.” –I suggest, “Or is it just God who's omnipotent?”
“Haven’t got a clue. Want to go for a Timmies?”- he quickly adds.

“Sure.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ROBBLOG # 213


Words are never enough…

Two rich society “friends”- Marcia and Roweena, meet on the street. A conversation- of sorts, ensues. Roweena speaks first.

Marcia: Roweena!

Roweena: Marcia

Marcia: so

Roweena: so

Marcia: it’s…

Roweena: yes?

Marcia: really

Roweena: yes?

Marcia: really…

Roweena: yes…

Marcia:…you?

Roweena: Certainly

Marcia: Oh.

Roweena: What?

Marcia: Surgery?

Roweena: Yes.

Marcia: Ah…

Roweena: Well?

Marcia: Perfect!

Roweena: Liar.

Marcia: Skank!

Roweena: Yes!

Marcia: Ummm…

Roweena: what?

Marcia: tea?

Roweena: Delightful

Marcia: where?

Roweena: there!

Marcia: Lovely.

Server: Ladies?

Marcia: Tea..

Roweena: Two.

Server: Scones?

Roweena: No

Server: Brownies?

Roweena: Chocolate?

Server: naturally.

Roweena: Yes.

Marcia: two

Server: Certainly.

Marcia: Cute.

Roweena: Hot

Marcia: precisely.

Roweena: So?

Marcia: Oh…

Roweena: Sorry.

Marcia: Sorry?

Roweena: Yes.

Marcia: I

Roweena: just

Marcia: just?

Roweena: felt

Marcia: unloved?

Roweena: Old!

Marcia: hmmm

Roweena: Yes!

Marcia: Really?

Server: Tea!

Marcia: Thanks.

Roweena: Brownies…

Marcia: Ooooh.

Roweena: Ummm...

Server: Ma’am?

Roweena: F**k?

Server: Now?

Roweena: Yes.

Marcia: Roweena!!

Roweena: Sorry.

Marcia: but..

Roweena: Horny…

Marcia:  figures.

Roweena: stud…

Server: Ma’am?

Roweena: Come...

Server: Probably.

Roweena: Naughty!

Marcia: Roweena…

Roweena: Marcia…

Marcia: Skank.

Roweena: Yes!

The End

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ROBBLOG # 212


Today, another Gayish BlogNote of sorts.

Elton John a British Citizen who is married- well not married really just in a British sense of union with Canuk David Furnish, is the father of a California baby. You’ve probably seen their happy faces plastered all over several magazines at the check-out counter this week proudly showing off their newborn to the citizens of America. I’ll bet that Palin broad is as pleased as Mr. Harper would be if that magazine was Canadian.
Did anyone else notice that David’s name is not mentioned on the covers?

It’s all Elton. All the time.

Boy, having my name omitted on the front cover- if I were Elton's spouse, of a major gossip rag or two would piss me off big time. Elton would be sleeping on the couch for the foreseeable future- even though technically it wouldn’t be his fault.

Anyway, Mr. John, you see, is pissed off at Americans because of their “back-ass” thinking when it comes to Gay Marriage. He’s on the warpath and wants things made right today- not tomorrow.

A few things here of note.
Why didn’t he marry Mr. Furnish in Canada where Gay marriage- federally, has been around for 5 years?
No second class citizens here in this country-except for reform party folks still clinging to their now defunct party membership cards.

Now just why isn’t this Mr. Elton directing his anger at his British homeland where laws keep Gays as second class citizens. You see “straights” can marry in England. I mean really marry. Same Sex couples- like Elton and David or John Barrowman and his main squeeze, can only have a “union” performed.

No equality there, is there?
You have to shop in Canada for equality- maybe even Spain.


Lastly, I’d like to know how David and Elton get into the U.S? If they declare themselves a family- especially with their new baby, U.S. Immigration should refuse them entry into the country like that Toronto couple- the first Gay couple to be married here at home, who have been refused entry into the States these past 10 years because they told U.S. Immigration officials they were a family.
How dare they, eh?
I talked about this very thing in an earlier blog. Tom and I were told by Canadian officials last March in Vancouver that it was better to “lie” on our U.S. Immigration cards rather than say we were a family. We were told the Americans wouldn’t understand and it would just cause problems for us.
So we lied, like good little Canadians so we could linger under a palm tree on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

To make his point about Gay Marriage in Cali-forn- eye-eh, Mr. John picks on the Christians as well as the Yankee government who don’t see things his way. Please note, he’s a little mad. His knickers are in a knot and he may take revenge or at least try to change things in his own demonstrative British way.

Gee, these things take time don’t they?
I mean he can’t snap his fingers- or fire a gun like some Gay Mafia kingpin can he?

Or can he?

Here’ Elton’s words. They sound like song lyrics to me.
“Everyone is entitled to have their own beliefs and their own spirituality. The big difference is that the dogma of the church can be so hateful and divisive. It’s stuck in the stone age. We don’t live in the stone age anymore. The church is losing people left, right and centre because people are fed up with the rhetoric that they’re giving them.”

Like, how many times have I said that very thing about "dogma" in this very Blog. Time will only tell if he’s “big enough” and worthy enough to enforce change. Well the Brits used to own the Americans anyway.
We can’t forget that.

It’s a start- at least.

Monday, January 24, 2011

ROBBLOG # 211


Well a new twist to Gay Bashing has arrived on the scene.

In cold, unrelenting January no less- and why not?
It’s 2011.
It’s practically a new decade.

I mean, throwing eggs and shouting “Faggot” is definitely “old school”.
Tom and I put up with that disgrace a couple of years ago already. We have moved on- even though the Orillia Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police did little to nail the culprits- as far as we know. Yet they appeared to be so helpful for the first few weeks. Then, our case was dropped like a latex condom in a bowl of fresh whipped cream.
Eeew!

We expect a file is still open at the detachment headquarters down there on Peter Street South in Orillia. The file is probably stamped on the front in big red letters:

“A Queer One!”

Now, it’s come to light that the kids of today have taken up a new hobby, a new curve shall I say, to the tried and true traditional ways of going about bashing Gays.
The old tried and true ways still stand. A little tired and worn but they have worked well in the past.
Egg throwing, as I mentioned above, can still be an immensely popular choice.
Messy and cheap. Keeps the Gays busy for hours cleaning up the mess.
Hah! What fun!

There’s the perennial favourite- shouting out “faggot” or “queer” from a moving vehicle. However, on a busy sidewalk a homophobe does have difficulty knowing if his insults reached the ears of the intended victim. There’s always the chance the “Faggy outburst” falls on a person less worthy!

Then, of course, a choice of not only friendly homophobes everywhere but that American Baptist Church as well, that shows up wherever they can- except here in Canada where they are not welcome, with their placards of hate and intolerance.

However, this new way comes straight from television where all great ideas are born- except for those born of the Harper Government.
Wait, that is so unfair.
Stephen Harper has never had a good idea.
No, the TV show “Glee” is the major culprit here- as a matter of fact.
It’s called “slushing”.
It may be a little pricier than purchasing a dozen eggs up at Wal*Mart or Foodland- where the little bastards bought the eggs for our attack- but it’s a heck of a lot of fun and totally demeaning to Gays all the same.

Here’s how it goes.
The homophobe goes to a Mac’s mik store, DQ or convenience store and buys a super, big, slurpy slushie.
Then he- or she, walks down the street, chooses a worthy homosexual victim and lets the “slush” fly in the unsuspecting victim’s face or back.
Such fun!
Best of all the homophobes got this “slushing” idea from a TV show that is watched by Gays or girls- mostly.

There is the exception to the Glee-watching rule but I just can’t understand why a straight boy would be interested in watching this all-singing, all-dancing Gay romp through high school. Unless, the boys who watch each week are all in love with Jane Lynch since she’s such an icon of authority and masculinity or at the very least Lesbianism. Choose one.

This popular Gay Bashing pastime is all the rage in Toronto’s Gay village these days. It seems the best defence against such a moronic pastime is a camera. If that fails, a grappling iron perched on the rooftop at Priappe.

So there you have it.
Something new- and refreshing, for 2011 and the year has just barely started.

A final note.
Although this Gay-bashing method may seem more refreshing in warmer months it is definitely an “icy” situation in January.

Friday, January 21, 2011

ROBBLOG # 210 W E E K E N D Edition


I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

If my husband and I travel to the USA, we must not declare that
a) We are married
b) We are a family
or we will be denied entry. Therefore we must lie!
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Hawaii- and B.C have palm trees and Orillia does not.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

If the Provincial Conservatives tell you that they’ll cut even a percentage or two of the HST- if the get elected come October, millions towards education and health care will be lost. They will not be telling us this truth, mind you.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

You can choose your friends, not your damn family.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Always look on the bright side of life.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Now that we’ve all torn out our coloured bathroom fixtures and installed white or bone, designers are about to tell us that colours in bathroom fixtures will be the next big thing in baths. Should have saved the pink toilet, eh?
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

I spent five months working on a show that brought a disappointing return. Will I ever produce another show? We are just a small local company. The city gives outsiders 42,000 dollars. We can’t get 42 dollars. I asked.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Last year, it had stopped snowing by now and temperatures moderated. This year the cold and snowflurries just don’t know when to stop.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Why do your hands look older before the rest of your body does? Why does the hair in your ears and nose grow faster and thicker than the hair on your head?
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

We are renovating a bathroom, hallway and walk-in closet. There’s no extra cash this year to get away to somewhere warm- like Hawaii.
I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

If you'r a lad and you begin feeling sickly after you have an...ummm... orgasm,
Doctors say you might be allergic to your own...um....stuff.
I'm Not Depressed- I'm just flabbergasted!

Apparently, the first day of spring is-
8 weeks away.
I'm Not Depressed- I'm just Mad!

Life’s a piece of shit,
When you look at it…

I’m Not Depressed- I’m just mad!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

ROBBLOG # 209


Well, it’s a strange week.

It’s been surreal.
My Mum moves into a retirement home this week. Almost 51 years in the same house. An era is over.
Is it upsetting? To her, I am sure it is. She’s only shared a bit with me so far.
To me?
Definitely.
Although my siblings have no idea what this whole process has done to me.
If they read this blog, they will but I haven’t shared my feelings with either of them and it’s not likely I will. We’re just not that close. We just put up with each other.
Sad, really- isn’t it?
But families are families. You can’t pick them ahead of time. You must stick with what you have.

When I got a call a week ago telling me that the idea of moving Mum out of her home, is a reality, I thought there would be some time to pause and reflect. A week later I get another call.
“She’s moving in Friday!”- says my Sister, a satisfied tone in her voice.

I haven’t been invited to see the facility. Not really. I haven’t seen her room- her new home- or even offer an opinion about it. My family is like that. The driving force in moving my mother has been my brother and sister. Oh, a Doctor or two is in the mix too. They do this together. All of them. All in the best interest of the individual- my Mum.
I am told after the fact. It’s just safer that way, I guess.

When talking to my Mum last week I said it’s like a production line.
You live your life. A spouse passes. You live you life some more.
You move to a retirement home where life is supposed to get better.
People are around. Nurses or facilitators keep you busy. You are supposed to relax and enjoy this final phase of life. Next, along comes the nursing home- if you live that long, where you turn into a vegetable garden and professionals are paid to “tend” you.
Then, it’s a box and game over.
The great thereafter.

I feel that my sister is somewhat satisfied that the old gal is finally being put out to pasture.
Freedom for her, at least.
Thank God, she’ll be mighty free at least- at least to go to Florida and not have to think about driving my Mother around town or making sure her pills and medication are all in order.
My Sister is a martyr where that’s concerned- my brother too, although, I haven’t heard a word from him. To be fair- I don’t call him or keep in touch.
Our paths last crossed at a funeral on December 27. If you were to ask me, I don’t even know how he feels but I would expect he believes this move to be in Mum’s best interest.
I do too.
I just question the swiftness and finality in the whole decision-making leading to the move.

So what have I done for my Mum?
I have been a designated driver too- many times.
It’s just of late, I’m not included. My Brother and Sister know what I think and they don’t want to hear it. So, they stay away. Keep me at more than an arm’s length.
Without any opposition or opinion from me- it’s a done deal.
She’s moving in.
No help from me.
I am a bad son.
At least, I feel that way. The funny thing is- I don’t seem to really care.
Isn’t that awful?

It’s always been a chore for my family having me around.
Being Gay has been a partial instigator in all this. They might deny that- but it has.
I remember when announcing to my Mum that Tom and I were to be married in a real ceremony, she questioned why it was necessary to celebrate on such a large scale- with so many guests.
Yes, there is acceptance.
I know that.
I mean I have been with the same man for almost 26 years- married officially with the government’s blessing these past five. However, things haven’t been the same since our wedding. That started something.
Something big.

I didn’t talk to my Mother for three months prior to the ceremony. It only came together when I made a call to her a week or so before. My brother never even came. We have never talked about it. To the best of my memory, it’s never come up in conversation. That’s okay- really, I’m past that now. To be fair, even Tom’s sister and father who live in Toronto were absent.

Look, I know I can be a snob.
I like better things.
I have travelled. I’ve seen what’s out there in the world. Meeting people and going places somehow gives one a different outlook. I have opinions. That’s where the line is drawn. I am cut from a different piece of cloth than the rest of my family.
It’s just easier somehow to be the “absent” son.
The “indifferent” son.
It’s not that I don’t care- I do.
I guess- in this instance, I just haven’t been allowed or given the time to care.

Now, the argument might be- well you didn’t come around. You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that. You left it all to the rest of us...blah, blah, blah.
It is what it is. I can’t change it. I am tired of trying.
I expressed that fact to my Mother yesterday.
Whether of not she understood what I was saying is another matter.
I asked her if she thought she was “losing her marbles”.
She didn’t think so, although she has been told so- I gather.

I am not a young “gaffer” anymore myself.
I am on the cusp of 60.
Cripes. 60!
I am growing crotchety. I am thinking of what’s ahead for me- another 20 good years?
Maybe more.
Could be less.
Yes, the bear has gone over the mountain and he’s sliding down the far side.
The darker side.
The life-altering side.

So the move is on. Am I there for support?
In spirit.
It will happen without me.
I am sure that I won’t hear much about it. It’s best if I stay away. I’ll just upset the apple cart anyway.
I feel sorry for my Mum but it’s out of my hands.
For the Doctors. For my siblings. It’s their war and they’ve won.

I just want to say one thing more. Okay, a few things.

I’ll see her new place when the dust settles.
When the time comes, I will be there. I will still go to my Mum when- if, she calls me. I’ll take her to lunch. I’ll drive her to Costco. She’ll come into our home and enjoy a Sunday dinner. Maybe she’ll excel in her new surroundings- her room with a bath.
Maybe she’ll give up.
Maybe she just wants to go.
Maybe she’s tired of the whole thing.
I know I would be.
So the indifferent son- the bad seed, sits idly by.
Hey, that’s something I am good at.
After all- it’s always been about me- right?

Someone should slap me up the back of my head.

Monday, January 17, 2011

ROBBLOG # 208

Another weird tale for your consideration- R*

The day was a warm one.

Tiny beads of perspiration dotted the young man’s forehead as he entered the library, cool and safe from the hot rays of a January sun. He saw the Great One studying- as usual, at the far end of the lavishly appointed room.

“What is the meaning of life, oh Great One?”- asked Allastar Appleton gently.

“I shall answer you in one word Cricket”- replied Wo Fat, not raising his eyes from the book laid out across his kimono-covered lap.

“It’s Allastar, oh Holy One”. He wasn’t sure if he should even consider correcting a mystic man of such position as the Exalted, seated there in the library in such a grand chair.
He decided to continue. “But, one word only?” Allastar was taken aback- ever so slightly.

“Red Dragon”- replied Wo Fat, his eyes still locked onto the pages of the book before him.

“Red Dragon? That’s the meaning of life? But Red Dragon is two words, Oh Exalted One!” How can that be? Allastar was generally perplexed.

“Depends how you spell Dragon, young snapper.” The old man scratched the side of his nose and took a deep breath. “You see, young bird, we know nothing compared to He who claims to know all?”
“You mean Stephen Harper?” Alastar was serious.

“No, little chipmunk, I speak of a secret society- not a right-leaning, tightly closed, dictatorship. That being said, this society is a secret none-the-less.

“Gosh!”- says Alastar Appelton as he thrust his hands into the deep recesses of his cloak. For Alastar wore a light cotton cloak on this day, spun from the golden fleece of the village sheep known for their unusual baaaa’s as well as golden fleece.
“But surely we know something- anything…”

“No child we do not. It’s secret and please do not expect me to answer too much”- the great one sighed.

“Whatever do you mean, Sir?”

“Little rabbit, in this huge universe of nothingness, we both mean and know and say nothing. It is in the same way that this “secret society”- Red Dragon, remains unknown as a “secret sect”. The All Holy One- Wo Fat had been generous in his response.

“Ahhh. I am beginning to see and understand. This is truly the meaning of life as we know and understand it!”

“I hardly believe so, young wheatsheaf.”
He continued.
“I understand and see much- yet I don’t care.”

“You don’t- oh most wonderful of wonders?” Alastar’s mind was swirling.
“Oh Swammy of the ‘most’ High, I care.”

“The Ordained One glanced up at Alastar Appleton and said-
“I understand that you care, such as the care a mother toad gives to her young but as the moving finger writes so does he who is a pleasure-seeker seeking to buy pleasure.”

“One most high, I understand what you say- in part.” Alastar was shaken but managed to form the words with his lips and a voice so soft, it was not unlike the ramblings of a gentle Queen of the Drag-
“Play with fire. Expect to be burnt.”

Wo Fat- the all knowing, all seeing one, smiled a small, impish smile.
“You have tremendous vigour and youth for one so young Mr. Alastar Appelton. Now, leave me, for I must study hard to become more brilliant than the sun rising on the calm blue waters of the ocean.” The Kingfisher dropped his gaze onto the pages of his book  and motioned to Alastar to be gone.

“Being Oriental is not accidental yet occidental. Now, I know the beginnings of the meaning life.”

Alalstar was satisfied. He turned, leaving the 'Bright Light' to his book of learning and walked out into the hot, afternoon sun. He paused, snatching a harmonica from his pocket. Placing it tight against his lips, he played “Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care”- as he farted along in harmony.

It was great to be so alive and have a life so full of meaning!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

ROBBLOG # 207 W E E K E N D Edition



How do you keep all those words in your head?

I get asked this question frequently, as most anyone who stands upon a stage and recites copious amounts of dialogue to a captive audience. I should be clear here, that it’s not a question of reciting. It’s more of a question of being the character you are portraying in the particular piece and letting the words flow as you would in a “real” life situation.

As far as how to get the dialogue to stick in the “grey matter”, I am not sure how that happens. Repetition of the play during the rehearsal process is one way but as an actor you need to do your homework as well. With the Norm Foster play- “Looking” I am doing with Mariposa Arts Theatre, there is quite a lot of dialogue- there are only four actors in the show- and it’s quick, snappy and funny. Unless, you’re lucky enough to browse over a few pages of dialogue and retain every word- it can be a long process.
Fast memorization would be a Godsend. Some actors can do that!

I have a bit of a photographic memory, so that helps some. I find if I remember the blocking-that’s where the Director tells you to stand and sit and walk and whatever, that’s helpful. A Director will “direct” you to “say this here”. “sit and say that there”. “Walk and talk over there”. Then, you place the lines in your head along with the blocking of the scene.

Thinking about the character is helpful. How would he walk or smile. The body language. Does he shuffle when he walks or takes definite steps? Does he play with a ring on his hand. Does he wear glasses. Is he clean shaven or does he have a beard? All these things are a part of the preparation for the character- the image the actors wishes to portray on stage.


Getting inside the character’s “head space” is probably more difficult than learning dialogue. Sooner or later the dialogue seems to flow-albeit there are always some tougher parts of a script to remember than others.
Sometimes, that has to do with the playwright and how the lines were written. Sometimes, it’s the actor’s mental block with a few lines here or there. A Director once told me instead of saying I can’t remember those lines, say- I will remember those lines!
It usually works!

I suppose it’s a bit like a crossword puzzle. If you do crosswords it helps expand the memory and I believe as you go along the process of “memorizing” becomes somewhat easier and less “stressful” to deal with during the rehearsal period.

So that’s the long answer for – how do you keep all those words in your head?

I still stress about it some.
Gee, what word did we use before stress became the “root of all evil” in these past few decades? Everything has “stress” attached to it. It can affect your appetite or the way you appear to others. It can affect how you go about your daily routine. Stress is a pain in the patootie- just like learning dialogue for a show.

In the end though, it’s a wonderful experience being out there, on stage, either alone or with fellow actors, reciting two acts cramed full of dialogue- with a “live” audience taking it all in and enjoying it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ROBBLOG # 206


Fuckin’ Faeries!

All through our childhood we are lead to believe that faeries are wonderful, woodland creatures with delicate wings made of shimmering, spun sunshine. Their faces are exceedingly pretty. Their smiles- most enticing. Faeries are nice. They love us. They look over us. They care for us. They live in harmony with us.

Many of us believe that faeries live in small, mossy meadows next to hollowed out logs.
Some do.
Many do.
Others don’t.

However, I’m here to tell you that Faeries can be bastards.
Are you surprised?

Take last summer. It was a beautiful day when Stanley and Ernest packed a picnic lunch in their favourite wicker basket- the one with the overlapping leather-covered handles and headed off into the meadow for an afternoon picnic lunch. The sun was warm but not too hot. The redbirds were singing in the trees and the crickets were creating a marvellous symphony in the tall grass.

Ernest spread their favourite Hudson’s Bay Blanket on the fragrant grass just at the outer edges of shade, created by the enormous branches of a huge, nearby oak tree growing tall and stately next to a shimmering lake. They had christened the Lake “Bosley Bay” when they first purchased the rural farmhouse property eight years ago last month. Bosley had been their beloved yellow retriever that had passed several summers before.

Stanley carefully unfolded a checked tablecloth and set to work placing utensils and plates on top while Ernest surveyed their expansive property. Two hundred acres of bliss! Stanley decided to leave the chilled potato salad, devilled eggs and cured Saskatchewan Honey-Ham until Ernest and he were both sitting on the blanket, ready to eat. There was no sense taking a chance that June temperatures might “turn” the mayonnaise in the devilled eggs.

“How ‘bout a glass of lemonade and a pinch of London Dry Gin?- Stanley asked Ernest as he reached for the insulated pitcher in the basket.

“Oh yes! Lovely”- said Ernest, “what a perfect start to a beautiful summer afternoon. Say Stanley, how about we take a dip in the pond before we eat?”

“Crackerjack idea Ernest. Oh, Lets!”

Ernest opened up the straps on the little blue satchel he had slung over his shoulder as they left the house and walked over hill and dale to the meadow. Inside were two swimming costumes and a pair of large bathing towels imprinted with the words “Aloha Hawaii- Official Bikini Contest Judge”. They had giggled a good one over those towels when they bought them at that roadside stand in Waipahu, over in Hawaii two years before.

“Here’s your bathing costume Stanley. Now scurry into it you furry little beast!”- said Ernest, his eyes wide with anticipation. He tossed the costume at Stanley’s face. “ Hurry, now. Show us your tits, Dear!”

Ernest’s eyes were as big as a schoolgirl’s in anticipation of what he was about to see.

“You naughty boy!”- laughed Stanley, “Mama’s gonna show you everything. Be patient my Darling.”

Ernest snatched his own suit from the bag, slipped off his beach thongs and peeled out of his shirt and shorts. He folded them neatly, placing them on a corner of the blanket. Then he slipped into his suit carefully pulling it up his long legs, his beefy thighs and up and over his groin- to his waist.

Stanley did the same as Ernest watched him, a smile pursing his lips.
Ernest grabbed his bright red waterwings from the satchel and blew into the nozzel to inflate them. He clamped them snugly about his waist.

“Come on Dear. The lake is liable to evaporate before we dip our toes in it, the time you’re taking”- says Stanley.

“Ready now Dear.”

Stanley and Ernest trotted past the huge oak and over the small rise to the shore of the small lake.
Suddenly, they heard a tittering in the bushes along the shore to their right, next to a huge hollow log.
The tittering turned to snickering.
Then outright laughter.
Followed by annoying, loud guffaws.

“It’s those bloody Faeries Ernest, that live along the shore by that old hollow log over yonder. I’d know that laughter anywhere!”

Stanley slipped an arm around Ernest’s shoulders.
“We must remember to call the exterminators.”

Then in a blinking of an eye a group of 10 or twelve Faeries stumbled out of the one end of the log.
They laughed and pointed at Ernest and Stanley standing there on the edge of the lake in their bathing costumes- Ernest in his waterwings.
The laughter continued.

Ernest and Stanley spun on their bare heels and proceeded back to their picnic blanket, the Faerie’s laughter filling their ears. They felt very bad the rest of the entire afternoon.

I told you that Faeries can be bastards!

Monday, January 10, 2011

ROBBLOG # 205

I almost fell off my swivel chair in front of the Swisssh Radio computer screens.

One of my servers for Swisssh Radio has offered a new service in the past week. At no extra charge- so far, I can sign in and see just where in this wide, wide world, where people are listening in to Swisssh Radio.

Now without the server’s help, in the past six months I have received e-mails from listeners in:

Kelowna and Comax B.C.
Paris, France,
Tin Can Bay, Australia
Brisbane Australia
and
from somewhere in Russia. The spelling looks like this: JKAAEHCVCHKLAA

Now, with this new service from my 128k server, I can see the names of the countries where I have listeners, at the precise moment they are tuned into Swisssh Radio.
It is kind of high tech.
It is 1984 George Orwell stuff.
It’s like James Bond and CSIS all rolled into one.

Not only can I see the country name and country flag. I can also look at a Google map on the same page and see the name of the city/town as well as the street name where the listener is residing. I can’t see an exact house address but I can see an isp address.
Now that could be spooky- or at the very least a tiny bit of an invasion of privacy.

Ah- but there’s still more.

Using a satellite image on the Google map, I can see a picture of the street where the listener lives and an overview of their house and property, right down to cars parked in the drive and nearby landmarks like water, clover leafs, highways, buildings and shopping malls. Now, if I wanted to take that a step further, I could record the street name and the closest crossroads from the Google Map and by going into my Google Earth programme I could “drive” up their very street and take a look at their house and neighbourhood.

Now, I don’t intend to “snoop” on a regular basis. However, back in the fall of 2010, I did use Google Earth to find a business establishment called “The Max Café” in Tin Can Bay Australia, who e-mailed to say they feature Swisssh Radio in the Cafe during the lunch hour. It was interesting looking along the street where the Café is located and seeing the Café Max sign above the front door. The pictures were not “live” of course and many were taken in the past year or two but still it’s an amazing programme to use.

Now here are a few cities and countries that tune into Swisssh Radio through the 128k player. Keep in mind I cannot see the same information my second server that sends the Swisssh Radio signal out to the world.
I also want to say that in December 2010- Swisssh Radio's most listened to month ever, listeners tuned in for 7500 hours!

I would say that Germany is the country- besides Canada, that listens to Swisssh the most but you might be surprised who else tunes in to “little old” Swisssh Radio from around the world. It’s not just Orillia and Central Ontario.
Who knew?

Nanaimo B.C.
Oshawa, Ontario

Hanover, Germany
Mannheim, Germany
Walsode (near Bremen), Germany
Duisburg (Oberhausen), Germany
Konstanz, Germany

Linwood, Washington

Falkoping, Sweden

Hatsushama (on the Phillipine Sea), Japan
Nishinomiyahama, Japan
Ashiya (on Osaka Bay), Japan

Aracaju, Brazil

Ljubljana, Slovenia
Guadalajara, Mexico
Dublin, Ireland
Grenada, (Carribean Island)

So, while you may be listening to Swisssh Radio, I’ll be watching- for you.
BoooHaHaHa!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

ROBBLOG W E E K E N D Edition # 204


Mathew Shepard would have been 34 this year- had he lived a full, long life.

He didn’t of course.
He was cut down in the prime of life at age 21.

You probably remember how Mathew died but if you don’t let me refresh your memory.

The unspeakable events began in Wyoming on October 7 back in 1998. Shortly after midnight two young men who went out of their way to lure Mathew from a bar, took him to a remote area- east of Laramie, Wyoming where he lived.

The men Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson tied him to a split-rail fence and assaulted him. He was beaten roughly and mercilessly and left to die- alone, under cold Wyoming skies.
Why?
Because he was Gay.
A happy, smart, young Gay man with his entire life ahead of him.
What might he accomplished?
We’ll never know.

Mathew was found by a cyclist- who initially thought he saw a “scarecrow” tied to a fence. This was 18 hours after his attackers left him for dead.
Mathew Shepard passed in hospital a few days later on October 12 at 12:53 a.m.

You may remember the news stories and the trail that took place over the next year. The lines of hate-mongers with their placards outside the courthouse reading-
“GOD Hates FAGS”
“AIDS cures FAGS”
or
"Matt’s in HELL".

You may remember Mathew’s friends were dressed as “Angels” flapping "magnificent" White Wings as they stood in front of the protestors, creating a calming “wall of white”, while placards waved in anger and hate just behind them.

Why do I remind you about these events from 1998?
I wrote this blog today after watching the CTV made movie- “The Mathew Shepard Story” a night or two back. It was featured on Out TV- Canada’s Gay Network.

It was a tough movie to watch.
I sobbed. I sniffled. I cried. I shook my head in dis-belief.
I just hadn’t been able to watch the movie until now.
It’s already several year’s old.

Have things changed?
In America probably not that much. Although Gays in the Military may be a step forward, being Gay or even saying you were, was enough to keep you out, so why do Gays want to get in?
In 2009 Mathew’s mother, Judy, admits that she’s angrier now than she was at the time of Mathew’s death- because it's still happening. Dennis Shepard says it best- “Ten years of change, no progress.”

Here in Canada there is Hate crime legislation that includes “hate” crimes against Homosexuals.
Problem is- just try to prove that something is a “hate crime”.
It’s not easy.
Two years ago my husband and I had out house attacked by 4 or 5 young men. They peppered the outside of our home with 8 dozen eggs-at midnight one Sunday night in June.
We were called “Faggots!”

Now, this in no way compares with Matt Shepard’s death but it shows you that there are young men out there who want to do you harm- even in good old Orillia, under the cover of darkness.
We called the police and over the next two months the whole thing was eventually dropped by the local OPP Detachment. We never heard what happened in the end. No officer dropped by the house to keep us up to date.
It was swept under the table.
The pictures- yes the police had pictures, of the young men buying the eggs at Foodland are probably shoved in a file somewhere marked “unsolved”.

Now today in Laramie, there is the Mathew Shepard Foundation created by Mathew’s parents- Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son. The Foundation honours Matthew in a manner that was appropriate to his dreams, beliefs and aspirations seeking to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion & Acceptance” through its varied educational, outreach and advocacy programs and by continuing to tell Matthew’s story.

There’s more at http://www.mathewshepard.org/

Friday, January 7, 2011

ROBBLOG #203


“Really?”- says Mrs. Sylvia Trottendown- “that much?”

The distinguished looking gentleman sitting on the opposite side of the table smiled gently and nodded briefly.

“Oh, well…”
She paused.
“Really…that much? Goodness.”

Mrs. Trottendown seemed almost at a loss for words!
Almost.
“My Goodness!”- she exclaimed once again as if she couldn’t believe what she had heard.
“These pearl earrings have been in my jewellery box for years. My Mother- who gave them to me, said they were a gift to her from the Queen’s own jewellery box. She had worked at Buck House as nothing more than a scullery maid years and years before.”

“And your Mother’s whereabouts now my Dear?”- asked the kindly Sir.

“Oh Dear, she’s several metres under the ground over at Hardwicke Castle. Has been these past 17 years”- Mrs. Trottendown remarked, not losing a beat!

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that.”- the man replied, his voice peppered with remorse.

“Well thank you I must say. You are quite kind.” Mrs. Trottendown was obviously touched by his kindly words.

Sylvia let her eyes gaze over the pearl earrings once again as they lay on the cloth-covered table in front of her. After a second or two, she lifted her head- which was crowned in a bright red chapeau made of linen and lace. She asked the kindly gent to tell her the value of the earrings once again.

“Between five and ten thousand pounds Mrs. Trottendown~”- he tilted his head to the side awaiting her reply.

“Well she was a bloody corker at times.”
She paused and placed the fingers of her right hand over her lips.
“Oh Dear, I am sorry for the foul language. I am just so overwhelmed.”

“Quite alright my Dear. Quite all right. No need to apologize. I have heard much worse in my day. I can understand your surprise.”

Mrs. Trottendown tok her fingers from her lips and continued-
“Awww, but she did know how to dress- and accessorize. However, it really is quite the mystery…”

“What is?”- he asked.

“Well, why would my Mum be given these by the Queen. What did she ever do to deserve them, I ask you?”- She stared down at the gems once again shaking her head ever so slightly.
She continued.
“I know she gave the Prince the occasional private sponge bath but I never hear her tell of any such duty performed by her on the Queen herself that would warrant a pearl or two!”

The Gentleman’s bottom lip drooped and his mouth hung low.
“Pardon me?”

“Well it wasn’t a regular thing you understand. Mum would take up a cup of cocoa to the Prince- after 8 o’clock usually- and there he’d be soaking starkers in the tub. He’d ask her for a quick scrub and she’d oblige- gladly. Well, he was the Prince after all. That’s just the kind of lady my Mother was!”
Mrs. Trottendown said proudly. She was actually gushing.

“Well, I’m sure she was just that. Now then, anything else you’d like to show me this afternoon.”

Mrs. Trottendown reached for her handbag- which was laying at her feet on the freshly-mowed lawn, next to the chair where she sat, opposite the kindly gentleman. She opened the bag’s clip and reached inside pulling out a pair of blue jockey shorts-
“ Now look here, what would you think these boxers would be worth? Mother always told me she nicked them from the floor next to the Prince’s tub. See right here, they got a bit of a skid mark or two in the crotch but other than that they are pristine!”

The Gentlemen- who had been sitting opposite her, lay sprawled in a heap on the freshly-mowed lawn.

“Hmmm.” Mrs Trottendam says, “Guess these are worth a lot as well!”

…The Antiques Roadshow will continue after this short break.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ROBBLOG #202


Yes Sir. That’s why I like playing games.

Healthy competition. Using the old noggin’.
Promoting togetherness and brotherly love.
The family that plays together stays together….that is unless a player grabs an axe from the woodshed or next to the fireplace to make a point!

Happened out in Oro-Medonte I hear, only it wasn’t on an old Monopoly board or Twister- the game that’ll turn a straight man into a gay man in less that three right feet on red and left arm on blue…

So I have been told.

So, it seems these two “fellas” were having a slight tiff over one of those fancy computer games.
X-Box?
Play Station?
I don’t know if those are the correct names for computer games. You see, I don’t play them. Hey! I can barely use my cell phone!

The thing is, this game got them so riled up and angry that one of them grabbed an axe and tried to womp the other on the head or if not at the very least, attempted to sever an arm.
How does such a thing come to pass?
I don’t know.
You start out the evening with a slice or two of pizza and a good glass of wine-
maybe a tasty chocolate martini.
Perhaps a beer.
I don’t like beer so I can’t quite put that in perspective.

You remark about the tastiness of the pizza.
You love the wine.
The chocolate martini is so chocolately.
The beer is sooo….beery??
You chat about stuff.
One of you says- Hey ya wanna play a game?

So you do.

You play for a few hours.

You loose game after game! Then, maybe you get so fed up with losing game after game that- after your friend makes a crummy remark about you being a loser and such, you grab an axe and attempt to lopp off his head or arm or even penis.

Anyway, things get totally out of hand and before you know it the cops are at your front door and your story is plastered all over the local daily!
Yikes!

So the lesson here is to play games but play nice!
Do not watch NHL Hockey for boys who play nice.

The safest thing to do would be to not play games at all.
However, if you do- hide the axe!

Monday, January 3, 2011

ROBBLOG # 201


Note: The following blog is a “little Gay”…

Okay, maybe it’s a lot Gay. The story just came into my head the other evening and I wrote it down below.

I just wanted you to be aware of the "gay" fact before you settled in to read it and spit your morning coffee across the room.

Choo Choo Choo...

“You are quite a beautiful young man. Especially, in repose.”

Benjamin jolted awake from his half sleep and stared at the older gentlemen opposite him. He heard the steady clack of the coach’s wheels- like rhythmic prose, beneath his feet.

“Pardon, Sir?”-he said

“I say you are quite beautiful lad when you sleep.” The Gentleman’s lips rose at the corners as a smile swept across his face.

“Oh, well, thank you. I suppose. That’s a rather uncomfortable remark to address to someone while they sleep, Sir.”

“Well I couldn’t help myself. Your pardon, pray young sir?”

The Man leaned forward and Benjamin could see this man- not much more than his own age- although he was much taller and perhaps stronger, judging by the size and obvious strength of his hands.

“I just came on at the last station and I was quite moved by your handsomeness as I walked along the cars. You, lying there with your shirt open- as you can see it is, your ample chest heaving up and down as the afternoon rays of the sun danced off your blonde chest hairs. It was an invitation. You should not be surprised that I accepted so readily. It was quite moving watching you.” The Gentleman sat back in his seat.

“Well, Sir. I am quite sure I do not know how to respond. It is not everyday that I get a compliment as large and as personal as yours.”

“Oh, come, come Lad.”- The Gentleman’s sinewy hands rested on the luminous silver knob atop an ebony walking stick which he held in front of him. “You mean to say that a young man with your obvious beauty does not receive such compliments on a regular basis? Why, I am shocked.”

Benjamined paused, then said- “Perhaps Sir, I should qualify that and tell you that such compliments are more often from a young lady and not from a Gentlemen of your obvious stature. I know that my body is firm and hard and my face that of an angel from Heaven above but that is all I know.”

The Gentleman’s face became hard. The smile and pleasantness of the time just seconds before, had been replaced by a menacing scowl.

“Why you self-centred, egotistical little prick! Can’t you just sit there and receive my praise and accept the fact that you are some kind of stud? No! You have to sit there in all your Macho Beauty and agree with me! And wipe that smirk from your handsome face- and just what is that?”

The man pointed towards Benjamin’s crotch with his stick. Benjamin looked down and saw the rise in his trousers. It was as if he had pitched a tent in Algonquin Park.

Benjamin looked up at the man and said mockingly- “Why Sir, I believe it’s called an erection!”

“I know what it’s called! Don’t play the “daft cute boy” with me. I want to know why is it there?”

Benjamin laughed- “Perhaps because I just woke up- added to the fact that I was dreaming about laying naked in the hot sun on a wooden dock next to a beautiful sparkling lake.”

“Perhaps? Perhaps you say. What I see protruding through those 501’s of yours is certainly more than “perhaps”. It’s a full erection and be- as it may, that you were having naked dreams, I can see your extended state is a pleasurable one for you- even though you are in the company of a stranger.”

Benjamin smiled as he looked into the Gentleman’s face.

“Are you embarrassed or shocked Dear Sir? For you appear to enjoy keeping your view directly on my remarkable largeness!”

The Gentleman drew his body forward from his seat and gently leaned into Benjamin’s face. When inches away, the man greedily grabbed at Benjamin and said-
“This I claim in the name of Her Majesty, Queen Dorka, Queen of Church and Wellesley!”

Benjamin burst forth in a hot torrent of satisfaction.

There was silence for a moment. The man released his grip and together they let out the loudest of laughs that continued for several minutes.

“Good Lord Ben!”- said the Gentleman. “That was the best game yet. I had no idea where I was going with this, yet you brought the entire adventure along to a satisfactory conclusion.”

“Good Gosh Tony! That was freekin’ fantastic! I’m sopping wet. How be we stop over at my place and grab a quick shower before bible class?”

“I suppose I could risk being entertained one more time but let’s be quick.

“Slow down Biblical Girlfriend. We still have plenty of time. Oh, here’s our stop. Oh, Tony…”

“What?”

“It feels like a swamp down here.” Benjamin gestures towards his groin.

Tony laughs. “Got some nappies right in the car. Right this way you handsome Lad!”