Real Life (With the Boring Bits Removed)

They say ‘Theatre’ is real life with the boring bits taken out.  I’ve been getting a rather heavy dose of it lately, and the best part is that ‘theatre’ and I just kind of found each other naturally these past few days.

As I already mentioned, I learned a monologue this weekend.  Then on Monday, I participated in a reading circle with a group of theatre creatures in the theatre department at the U of R.  We read an unfinished play by Catherine Banks, an award winning playwright from Nova Scotia.  Catherine was in the room with us as we read, making notes and seeing what adjustments she could make in future drafts.  I read three different characters.  Afterwards, we moved to the Shu Box and Catherine read parts from three of her plays to an audience of about 90 people.

As I watched Catherine read, and heard her talk about her writing process, my thoughts drifted towards my own play.  I won a 24 hour playwriting competition two years ago with this play, but it needs a lot of work.  I mean, shit, I wrote it in 24 hours, of course it needs work.  Still, I think it has lots of potential, and the biggest problem I can see with it, from a dramaturgical perspective, isn’t with what’s already written, but with what’s missing.  It has a strong beginning, and a great ending, but no middle.

Yesterday, for the first time in two years, I got started on that middle.  I wrote two scenes.  I wrote until I got dizzy from staring at the screen.  It felt great.  It felt great to be creating something, to be breathing life back into a story I care so much about.  Still, there were trying moments as well.  This play is semi-autobiographical, with names and events changed and/or enhanced slightly to protect the innocent and heighten the drama.  It’s MY reality, with the boring bits taken out.

I’m finding it difficult to put words in the mouths of characters who are based on real people in my life.  It is with some hesitation that I take some of the most tender, intimate moments of my life, and share them with the world.  I feel a great responsibility to get it right, not just for me, but mostly for those whom I write about.  In the case of one character in particular, this play is a big part of her life too.

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Annie

The legend goes something like this…  Auntie Ann and Auntie Mary were both sitting around the table with other family members for some occasion.  As is typical for any function in my family, people started squabbling about something no one remembers.  What people do recall however, is that Annie and Mary were on opposite sides of the argument.

At one point things got so heated that Annie reached into her bra, pulled out her fake boob, and threw it at Mary.  The room went stunned silent.  Like Mary, Annie was a survivor of breast cancer, hence the readily available ammunition.  No one saw that fake boob coming, especially at the supper table.  They just sat there staring at each other.  Did that really just happen?

Annie was known for her crazy antics.  She was always one of the biggest personalities in the room.  So while no one expected her to actually fling a fake boob at Mary, at the supper table no less, it wasn’t something that was all that surprising either.

The two just sat there, staring at each other, with these kind of serious looks on their faces.  No one at the table said a word.  No one dared move… except for Mary… who reached into her own bra, pulled out her own fake boob, and threw it back at Annie.  The room erupted into laughter and a legend was born.

A year ago today, Annie left us.  Mary had preceded her by a few months.  Cancer.

I remember driving out of the cemetery at Annie’s funeral.  Six big semi trucks lead the way, horns blaring, taking us out on a sonic blaze of glory.  I think we shook the neighborhood.  My heart was heavy, yet somehow it felt like soaring.  It was a perfect send off.  Annie always had that effect on people.

Thank you so much for touching my life Annie.  Memory eternal.

So Long Saskatoon…berry

It was the end of the line for the esteemed Saskatoon berry Muffin today.  An hour ago I found myself blinking in disbelief at Niel, one of the Atlantis creatures who work behind the counter.  He informed me that there will be no more Saskatoon berry muffins for a long time because Saskatoon berries are now out of season.

If I were a Druid, I might be inclined to erect Stonehenge just so I could predict the return of my beloved muffin by charting the course of the stars, the sun and the moon.  I would have a special place at the centre of the giant structure, an esteemed place of prominence.  It would remain empty until sometime next spring when, after so much toil and sacrifice, so long and cold a winter, that I may tepidly place a new muffin, a Saskatoon berry muffin, upon it’s special spot inside the muffin dedicated Stonehenge.

In the meantime, I plan to start a cult dedicated to the Lemon Poppyseed Muffin.

Riders 23 – Esks 20

Rain was howling with the wind last night.  As I slept I could hear my patio furniture blowing around and knocking against each other on my balcony.  It was a great evening to be inside and somehow, everything seems so much better when the Riders win, even the wind and rain.

The Riders won the back end of a home and home series last night in Edmonton.  Winds gusted to 50km/h and both offenses had problems moving the ball.  Durant threw three interceptions but still managed to out play his counterpart, Ricky Ray, who turned in an almost magical, near perfect performance last week.  Durant moved the offense when it mattered most.  He had to, because it was our own mistakes which lead to the majority of Edmonton’s points.  It seemed at times that we were playing both ourselves and the Schmoes.  Still, it was a win and we now sit in first place in the West Division standings.

I began the day by taking in Shy’s softball game at Rambler Park.  She’s a rookie on the U of R’s softball team.  I’m not really into softball, but I did want to show my support for her.  After the game I set off for the University and began working on memorizing a monologue that I’ve always wanted to learn.  It’s the ‘Inches’ speech that Al Pacino delivers to his football team in ‘Any Given Sunday’.

In about an hour I managed to learn half of it.  I’ll review it again today, and begin working on the rest of it in the coming days.  It’s best not to rush memory work because it’s easy to fool yourself into believing that you know something, when you actually don’t.  When you do it right, you can lock stuff away forever.  I still know monologues I learned 15 years ago and I can rattle them off at 3x speed.  Once I’ve learned the ‘Inches’ speech, I plan to learn ‘Howl’ by Alan Ginsberg, perhaps the most important poem written in the 20th century.

From the University, I headed home, packed up my dirty laundry, picked up Cris, and headed to mom’s to do laundry and watch the game.  Afterwards I watched movies with Nicole at my place.

Flow

I’m just flowing.  Until someone or something comes along to make me want to change my course, I will follow my nose down a tributary with no particular destination in mind.  In the meantime I worry about the emotions of others as I come and go through their lives.  I question the virtue of my intentions.  I question the extent to which my hand guides the rudder.

In this period of self reflection I question what I truly want for myself.  What is it beyond career, projects, and people that will truly complete me?  Will I ever find it, or is it simply the journey that matters most?

If I let go of all my selfish wants, is it possible to still be happy?  Is it even possible to have a want that isn’t in some way rooted in selfishness?

I’m reading about living in harmony with all things around me.  I believe it is possible to achieve my goals without upsetting the balance of everything and everyone around me.  The trick is to pay attention to all the balls in the air.  I’m one of them, and if I want to wind up somewhere, I have to be smart about how I navigate towards the destination.  If I can step back, and see everything for what it is, I can take the simplest, least resistant path.

I can be like water.  Water flows along the easiest, least resistant path.  It benefits all things.  It conforms to its environment, yet possesses incredible strength.  It can carve through mountains and shatter rock.  It can take flight, and it can land anywhere.

I just heard that scientists found water on the moon.

Really Really Real

After conducting some research on the PJ project, I decided that I could be doing more to help the environment.  With that in mind, I updated my facebook status, offering any downtown residents a free ride to the university on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I also have class.  Jenn took me up on the offer and so I picked her up yesterday morning and arrived at school early enough for us to have a coffee at Common Ground.  Shyanne bumped into us in the hallway and the three of us wound up sitting together.

I’m enjoying this Philosophy class.  We’re talking about reality as the ancient Greek and Eastern philosophers saw it.  It’s been quite challenging for some of my class mates but I’m finding the conversation quite familiar.  There’s been more than a few occasions in my life where I’ve questioned the appearance of reality.  The discussions also coincide with my readings on Taoism.  In fact, we actually wound up talking about Lau Tzu and his teachings in Taoism.  Shy always walks out of class looking like she got run over by a metaphysical bus.

After lunch I headed into the office to tweak the websites for Girl Talk, InJustice, and Crimes of the Art.  I also spent the day researching 3D Stereoscopic production & delivery.  It took me an hour just to stumble onto the technically correct term for it.  I had previously entered ‘3D HD’ which didn’t get me very far.

I have a really good feeling about the immediate future.  I’ll be sure to let you know how things pan out over the next few weeks.

HD 3D

The Following is an email from our distributor yesterday;

Hey Jarrett,

Something just came to our attention that I wanted to pass by you as it might be a good opportunity.  We’ve just received word that one of our big clients will be launching a 24/7  3D HD channel next year and they’ve asked to see what we might have.

Given the style you created for Injustice I’m wondering if you might have the ability to do the same show or a tweak of the show like Art Crimes in 3D?  I know you would need a 3D camera (which are available in Canada) which we could of course get but I’m wondering how hard it would be to actually execute.  Let me know.

I know that 3DHD is the future of television and I’ve now seen the new tv’s in Cannes.  They don’t require glasses and are truly spectacular to watch.  I watched a tennis game and thought I was in the first row. Anyway…let me know.

Cheers,

Lee

I told Lee that we could do it, even though I had no idea how we would pull it off.  I wasn’t worried though, we had no idea how we were going to make InJustice when we started either.  In that case, we had to throw out almost everything we learned about production, and invent our own techniques.  In this case, I think we’ll only have to make a few slight adjustments to what we’re already doing.

I spent yesterday theorizing and learning more about HD 3D.  I don’t think we’ll need a fancy camera either.  I believe we can do it by, adding a second still camera, having both cameras set at precise angles, with fixed lenses, and fired simultaneously via remote control.  From there we combine the left and right images in After Effects to create the 3D effect.  This technique could allow us to do some really interesting things with two virtual cameras in one 3D space.  My mind is churning with the possibilities.

Once again, we’re going to try and do what’s never been done before.

No Negatives Here

There is no visual way to communicate a ‘no’ or ‘negative’.    We can add a symbol or words to an image to communicate a negative, but in that case, the image itself must first be edited.  A photograph of a tree will always say ‘tree’.  There isn’t a visual way to say ‘not tree’.  This is one of the things that makes images such powerful tools of persuasion.

I was thinking about this idea this morning on my walk to Atlantis, and now I’m writing about it.  As I strolled down Hamilton Street, I felt the sun on my skin, the warmth in the air, and I noticed the still predominately green leaves in the trees, I had a hard time accepting that September is almost over.  It feels like the end of August.

And that got me thinking about the pull of time upon our perceptions in the world.  The end of August is always a bummer.  Back to school, end of summer, winter’s just a few months away.  There’s almost a desperation to soak the last of summer up before it’s gone for another year.  I always feel like I squandered it somehow… I didn’t fully appreciate it or bask in it.

Yet, that clearly wasn’t the case this year.  I did Banff, Bucharest, The Black Sea, Vancouver, and home.  There were serendipitous evenings with new friends and old.  There were many occasions of pure inspiration.  There were profound moments of introspection and timeless frozen moments of pure being.  It was the best summer of my life, and my life feels very rich right now.  And it feels like it’s only going to get better.

I have the pictures to prove it.

Jazzy Infestation

I think I make a subconscious effort to NOT think about Jazzy too much.  I think I would slip into depression if I pondered too much about being so far away from my beautiful little girl.  And when I do see her (about every two months or so), we seem to pick up right where we left off.  There is no distance in the way we relate to each other.

Still, I do pay attention to my patterns.  After Jazzy has been away for about a month, she starts to slip into my conversations.  I tend to bring her up more.  I begin to notice things that remind me of her.

I was having a drink at the Freehouse with Nicole last night and I found myself spending a lot of time talking about Jazzy.  A couple nights before that, I was playing the Urban Future teaser for friends in the edit suite and I was bragging about Jazzy’s contributions to the finished product.  I didn’t talk about Kate’s or Amber’s, or Mac’s or my own contributions, just Jazzy’s.

As my head hit the pillow last night, I went to sleep with thoughts of her swimming through my mind.  It seems, I really don’t have a choice BUT to be in Vancouver for a spell, sometime around Thanksgiving.

I just gots ta see my little girl again.

Esks 31 – Riders 27

Shoulda, coulda, woulda… it seems that it’s usually one or two plays that make the difference when the Riders lose.  This game against Deadmonton was another example.  The defense gave up a long TD with just over a minute to play, putting the Eskischmoes ahead 31-27.  Saskatchewan responded by driving methodically down the field and with no time left on the clock, Durant unfurled a pass towards the end zone.  It was as if the world stopped for a split second, holding its breath while the ball was in the air.  Everything was in slow motion.

The ball hit the turf between a wide open Weston Dressler and a well covered Chris Getzlaf.  Had we not taken a ‘no yards’ penalty one series earlier, as Edmonton was conceding a single point in that very same end zone, we would have been in a position to kick a field goal, tie the game and continue the contest in overtime.

Edmonton started the game on a roll, unveiling a brand new offense that was put in place by their brand new offensive coordinator.  Our defense had never seen that offense before and gave up three straight very long, time consuming drives as they tried to figure out what Edmonton was doing.  Ricky Ray, Edmonton’s quarterback completed 16 straight passes in the first half, and was a big part of the reason the schmoes put up 21 points on those first three drives.

Edmonton was poised to score from Saskatchewan’s two yard line on their forth possession when their running back fumbled and Omar Morgan, our cornerback returned it for a 108 yard touchdown.  It was the longest fumble return in CFL history.  Morgan would later go on to give up the big touchdown later in the game.

In the meantime, our offense was pretty stout.  We moved the ball consistently, and played well enough to win.  Durant in his 15th start is showing all the signs of developing into a great quarterback.  I am still optimistic about this team’s future and I stand by my prediction of Saskatchewan meeting Hamilton in the Grey Cup.

We play Edmonton again next weekend.