25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Sarah and I have been in Virginia Beach for 2 days now. After a long drive down the coast, we arrived on Wednesday night and had a sushi dinner while Mom went to choir. Yesterday was Christmas Eve, and after a morning trip to the gym, Dad and I went to pick up Denise. She arrived safe and sound (we all managed to avoid the nasty weather this trip), and we settled in for an afternoon of wrapping gifts and making egg nog (not surprisingly, the quality of the wrapping is proportionate to the amount of egg nog remaining in the bottle).

Last night, we went out for what Denise thinks is the 10th anniversary of the Olivieri/Kapsha Christmas Eve trip to the bar. Sarah, Mom, Dad, Denise, and I went for the early shift for drinks and seafood. As Mom left to go to church, Uncle Tom showed up. Shortly after, Aunt Laura came with Mom-Mom, Chris, and Elysia. They ate dinner while the rest of us continued to drink and munch on dessert. After dinner, Chris, Elysia, Sarah, Denise, and I came back to 43rd St. Sarah stayed in, but the other four of us went for a walk up and down 43rd St, which has become one of THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS where every house is decked out with ridiculous amounts of Christmas lights. Here are some of those shots (click on the image will take you to an album of more photos):

our house

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2009

NYC at Christmastime

This morning, we left New York City after a brief trip to see some shows and the city at the holidaytime. Here are some shots...

The Chrysler Building from near Union Square

Central Park, sans people!

Now we're in Virginia Beach, getting ready for Christmas!

Happy to you!

08 December 2009

SoundField in Joshua Tree

I took a drive today into the desert: Joshua Tree National Park. My main reason for going was to make some test recordings using UCI's SoundField mic, a special microphone that can create three-dimensional recordings. I took along the camera, and here are some shots from the outing:

Me and the SoundField, looking thoughtful:

Crazy cacti:

The sun sets:

Cars pass:

The Prius enjoys the dusk:

The stars come out:

A message for Sarah:

07 December 2009


sigalert.com is the traffic monitoring website for the LA and San Diego area. It's got all of the highways rated by traffic, and accidents are rated with little diamonds. Yellow diamonds are for small hazards, orange are for car accidents, and red are for accidents with emergency vehicles.

Today, it's raining:

26 November 2009


Up early. Getting ready to head to the airport for a Hodges Family Thanksgiving! Wheee!

very tired.

14 November 2009

so long, Hartford

Well, that was a quick trip.

After landing in Hartford, it was a very fast sprint to get ready to
tech a show I had never seen. I definitely do not recommend it. It
was only thanks to good planning on my part, a number of old
relationships that I could rely upon, and the fact that the show did
not undergo a radical reversal that I was able to put the show up in

Also, on Tuesday, I started to feel ill. It started with a little
achey-ness, but the aches soon gave way to a cough, stuffy nose, and
more severe aches. I felt myself get sicker and sicker as the week
progressed. Each morning, I'd feel okay, each afternoon, I'd feel
bad, and each evening, I'd start to feel okay again. Mostly. Still,
last night, after we opened the show and went out for a drink, I found
myself shivering in bed, wishing the heater would work more quickly.

Now, it's 9.20am, and I'm sitting in the Hartford airport, waiting for
my flight to DC, which will connect me to LA, home, and Sarah!

10 November 2009

in Hartford, in tech

It took a long time to get to Hartford.

On Saturday night, Sarah and I went to a wedding reception for our
friends Chris and Rachel. They got married a few weeks ago in New
York state, but they wanted to throw a reception for their LA
friends. I was an honorary groomsman, and as such, they asked me to
deliver a toast. I read Seamus Heaney's 'Scaffolding,' which Sarah's
dad read at our wedding. I think the poem was a hit.

We got up early on Sunday morning so that I could catch a flight
across the country to Hartford CT, where I was going into tech. When I
reached my layover in Chicago, I discovered that my flight to Hartford
was cancelled. I ended up staying the night in Chicago instead of
getting to Hartford on time. On the plus side, I got to have dinner
with my friend Mandy and her fiance Kevin, so... bonus!

On Monday, my flight left Chicago on time and got me to Hartford in
one piece. I got off the plane and directly shuttled to the theatre,
where I worked for a few hours to get the system sounding right. For
dinner, I got to dine with Denise, who stopped off on her way from New
Hampshire to Brooklyn. That was a nice surprise!

This morning, I got up, ran 5 miles, took a walk in the autumn leaves,
and am now sitting here in a dark theatre, teching a show that I have
never seen before. It's really quite unusual to not have seen the
show before, but here I am, trying to figure it out. Boy, I wish I
had seen a run-through!

07 November 2009

so long, earthlink!

After many years of patronage, I've finally cancelled my old
earthlink.net account. If anyone out there is still using vrojr@earthlink.net
as an address for me, it's time to just remove it from your records!

06 November 2009

Looking towards the holidays...

It's been a very busy month since school started up. We're in the middle of an unexpected staffing emergency at the U, so there's a bit of additional headache there. Our students are coming down with H1N1 (or, as they call it: Pig Aids), so I would say that 5-10% of the drama department is somehow ill. Many are at home on bed rest.

Plus, I've been up to my eyeballs in keeping up with classes and an outside project. I'm headed to Hartford this weekend to spend six days working on Shakespeare's R&J, an adaptation of, well, Romeo & Juliet.

Sarah had a hiatus week last week from Cougartown, and her last day of Cougartown was this past Monday. She had Tuesday through Thursday to recharge herself, for today she headed back to work on '24.' It shoots pretty far north, so she'll be renting a room up there for the work week.

Last night, we bought plane tickets to KC for Thanksgiving. We'll arrive in time for dinner on Thursday, and be back sleeping in our bed by Saturday night. Still, though, it will be nice to see the Hodges/Short family.

I'm taking my fancypants camera with me to Hartford. Hopefully I can catch some autumn!

14 October 2009


Freesound.com is a worldwide repository of sound effects. Users from around the world are encouraged to record the world around them and then post those sounds for others to use. I've been a participant for over two years now, and have uploaded dozens of sounds. One of the features of the website is that users can leave comments on sounds that they particularly like. For one of my sounds (a stream in upstate New York), I received this lovely comment:

"The river sounds ambient in my mind.
Yet presence like the control on a
studio mixing board, almost overwhelms
the ambient quality. It is like I
am there, great recording.

I'd much rather hear the river in a dentist's
office instead of I've lost that loving feeling."

Isn't it more like a poem than a comment? Lovely!

10 October 2009

Hey Chris & Elysia!

Cousins Chris and Elysia flew into town on Thursday at the end of their vacation/scouting trip to the Pacific Northwest. Sarah and I picked them up at the airport and brought them back to Long Beach, where we ate good food, drank some wine, and played some games.

On Friday, we spent most of the day in Griffith Park, a big desert/park just north of downtown LA. First, we went to the Griffith Observatory, which houses a museum, a planetarium, and a couple of high-powered telescopes:

From there, we hiked up Mt. Hollywood, which is the highest point in the park:

After the park, we tried to get to the Hollywood sign, but it was cleverly hidden behind lots of DO-NOT-ENTER signs. Then, we tried to eat at the tapas place we loved with Dianne was in town, but they were booked up. Instead, we found a little strip of shops to kill time until rush hour was almost over (a used book/music store, a gift shop, and a specialty food shop), drove home, mis-fired on dinner once again, and finally munched on In-N-Out burgers while watching an episode of West Wing.

This morning, we took a walk before breakfast, put Elysia on a plane, and visited a bass shop that Chris found. Now, we're catching up on work before it's time to head to a birthday party tonight!

05 October 2009

Soundwalk and Harvest Moon

On Saturday night, I went down to Soundwalk 2009 with some friends. Soundwalk is an annual event in Long Beach, CA. Every fall, on a Saturday night, four square blocks of downtown Long Beach are taken over by dozens of sound artists, each displaying a piece of sound art. Some pieces are big, some are small. Some are loud, some are quiet. Some are well-thought out, some are awkward. Some are thought-provoking, some are pretentious. Either way, it's an exciting night, full of sound, light, and plenty of new things for your ears to play with. Here are some shots from that night:

On Sunday, I went down to the beach to take photos of the Harvest Moon. When I arrived, there was still sunlight left, so I shot the pelicans that were swooping around overhead first:

The sun finally set over the harbor:

And the moon came up:

26 September 2009

back to work

The past few weeks have been abuzz as I've been getting ready to head back to school. We had our welcome week this week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were orientation days, and Thursday was the first day of classes. There has been a great deal of objection to and consternation about the recent budget cuts, fee increases, and furloughs, so on Thursday, much of the campus engaged in a walk-out/teach-in sequence of events. You can read about the protests here.

Alas, I was unable to take part in the protests because I was in tech for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a children's play based on the book of the same title. We started tech on Tuesday and opened yesterday. It's a lovely little play with some fun moments. I saw the opening performance yesterday, and the kids from all the school groups really loved it!

Also, since Sarah had a hiatus week this week and I was in tech (curse you again, universe!), her mom came out to spend some time. They did a lot of shopping, but they joined me for the opening of my play on Friday morning. Then, after the play, we headed into LA for an afternoon at LACMA. We saw a bunch of interesting pieces (my favorites were the room of Giacometti sculptures, the Klee painting, and the huge Benton painting), and then we headed to AOC for tapas. Our menu there included some incredible cheeses, salads, and seafood dishes. I think my favorite was the salad with arugula, fried prosciutto, figs, melon, and mint. Mmmmmm!

This morning, it's a bit back to normal with a run, some work, and some hanging with Sarah. It's Saturday, after all, and I jump back into long days at the U on Monday. Wheee!

11 September 2009

Getting back to business.

Even though I've spent most of the past few days at home, this has been a very busy week. On Tuesday, I went to the first rehearsal for the next play I'm designing. On Wednesday, I went to two capoeira classes AND did a lot of work on school and the play. Yesterday was a day full of working from home, though I did get out to do some shopping in the afternoon (new shampoo - fun times!). This morning, I got up for capoeira, and am working from home again.

In the next few hours, our new mattress will be delivered. When it comes, the delivery men will also haul off the old bed (box spring, mattress, frame). The bedroom is currently disassembled, so that I could run a vacuum over the floor before the new bed arrives.

For the past few days, I've also be severely limiting my caloric intake. I think I'm at somewhere around 1200/day, give or take. Tonight, I'm rewarding myself with some fish tacos!

08 September 2009

A(nother) lawyer in the family

Congratulations to my brother-in-law Ben, who just passed the Bar Exam. He's now officially a lawyer! Hooray Ben!

Last week, my folks flew out for a few days of a visit at the beginning of a monthlong vacation. On the evening of the day they landed, we walked down to the beach at sunset for a nice dinner on the shore:

From Mom & Dad's visit to CA, September 2009

From Mom & Dad's visit to CA, September 2009

The next day, we drove down to San Diego for a few days of sunshine and visiting with Vince and Sue:

From Mom & Dad's visit to CA, September 2009

On Friday, we drove back to LA, where they did some furniture browsing while I fought what I think was food poisoning. Sarah was able to join us on Saturday, and we had some nice meals and did some more furniture shopping.

On Sunday, I was finally feeling better, but alas, it was time to see them off. I wish I hadn't gotten ill right in the middle of their trip, but these things happen. From here, they're driving north along the coast, all the way to Seattle, where they will board an Alaskan sea cruise. They can see Russia from their cabin!

Bon voyage!

28 August 2009

The last Japanese Photo

When I was in Tokyo last month, I spent a couple nights hanging out with my friend Sou, who I met in Shanghai in June. The first night, we went to dinner, and then he took me around to see a couple of interesting elements of the Tokyo scene. We went to a huge video arcade, and one floor was completely dedicated to photo booths. The interesting thing about this floor was that couples were only allowed if they were M/F or F/F. M/M pairs were not allowed. Sou wanted to show me, so we snuck in and took a series of photos. While we were post-processing it, we almost got kicked out, but Sou explained that I was a tourist and he wanted to show me Japanese culture, so we were allowed to stay.

I forgot about the photo until today, when I pulled it out of a book and scanned it to send it to Sou. Here it is for you too!

From Korea & Tokyo, 2009

27 August 2009

sunrise photos

The last few weeks have been busy for me. I've been working on a show, planning for classes, trying to exercise, and grabbing whatever free time with Sarah I can.

This morning, I got up with Sarah, and when she went off to work, I walked down to the beach to take some photos. You can see all of them at this link, but here are a few for starters:

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

12 August 2009

Health Care, misinformation, and Harry Potter

This morning, I updated my Facebook status to this:

Vincent Olivieri heard that if ObamaCare passes, his grandmother will have to play russian roulette as part of her annual checkup.

It didn't take long before there was a flurry of discussion on the recent health care debate. Once the misinformation got rebutted by fact, the debate devolved into absurdity. I'll post the entire dialog here, but I'll take out the identities of the posters:

College friend #1: we're so afraid of death in this country that we can't even think about talking of end-of-life care without getting paranoid! and then noone actually has a clue about what we might want and it causes families lots of extra stress when they don't need it.

Me: Amen!

College friend #2: Hahahaha!!! I heard that they were going to redub the whole health care system "Kevorkianomics"...and that Obama will actually be slated to pull the plug on one-in-four elderly Americans PERSONALLY... Now THAT, my friends, is a President with a bedside manner...

Theatre friend #1: Apparently, they're giving up on the whole "kill granny" line of attack.

The new one is they'll kill your kids. Cause, you know, that one's more plausible...

Me: They say that violence against the homeless is most often a teen beating up an elderly homeless person. Sounds like ObamaCare in action!

College friend #3: It's not paranoia -- it will be reality. Talk to some people from Canada and Germany who are familiar with the health care systems there.

Me: Wow, clearly I'm misinformed. I have friends in Canada and Germany (and France, and England, and South Korea), and none of them have mentioned death panels. In fact, I have one friend who chose to return to South Korea for cancer treatment because it was better for her (both in terms of price and quality) than care in the USA.

If you can point me towards some people who can vouch for the death panels, I'll be happy to check into it.

College friend #3: There don't have to be death panels -- just a refusal to provide certain treatment or surgeries to someone over a certain age.

Theatre friend #2: wow , and this from a president who doesn't even have a birth certificate. Of course he doesn't care about death, he isn't really alive! :)

High School friend: Many people in England still have private health insurance, and I've heard them complain about their national healthcare system, but they've opted not to use it.

When I lived in England, I found the national healthcare system to be wonderful, not very different from the PPO healthcare system I'd experienced until then in the states.

Friend of Sarah: Didn't Obama appoint Kevorkian as the new Health Care Czar? Or was it the cabinet position as head of Health and Human Services?

Theatre friend #3: There are so many good things about universal health care: I lived in Scotland for 2 years and during that time my foot got run over by a car and it was seriously messed up. I tore all the ligaments and ripped the skin. Had to go to the emergency room, get x-rays, stitches, be on crutches for 8 weeks and do physical therapy. It cost me NOTHING. All they asked was that I return the crutches when I was done so that someone else could use them. Again, it cost NOTHING. Had I been stateside, I would have been screwed.
And for the record, I have never heard of anyone over a certain age being turned away for treatment.

Alright, devil's advocate time. Even IF what Allegra is saying is true, that there will be panels that will choose to deny non-cost-effective care to elderly people who are on the government plan, isn't having that plan STILL better than no plan at all?

Those of us with insurance (and I'm one of those lucky people) can keep our non-death panel plans, right? This new plan is for people who don't have insurance, right? So, wouldn't the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan be better than no plan at all?

I think I need to read my way through this plan. I'm still not convinced that it provides for death panels, but honestly, I haven't read it myself. I'm getting my information from Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Specter, etc. Which is a far sight better than getting it from Beck & Limbaugh, but not as good as just reading the damn thing myself....

Have any of you read it?

Extended family:
Just remember you will be old one day. When you are young you get everything. As you get older it is more difficult.....

Long Beach friend: Having just dealt with the medical system while my mother was terminally ill, what we have now isn't so humane, I have to say.

Me: Right, but even if the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan were in existence and it passes, it still wouldn't affect Medicare benefits.

And even if the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan were in existence and it passes, it still wouldn't affect your current health plan unless you wanted it to.

I just read for myself the section of the bill that pertains to Advanced Care Planning. There's nothing in it about killing anyone, old, young, healthy, or sick. Nothing. Everything in there is about setting up opportunities for the elderly to think about and plan for things like living wills, etc. Which everyone should have anyway. I put my living will & DNR documents together when I was 31....

I've just done some quick research, and here are some links.

The link to the Advanced Care Planning section of the bill:

This link (from an admittedly progressive site) debunks five big health care plan myths:

Not trusting their claim of endorsement by AARP, I went here:

And got connected to this debunking page:

...which refutes Allegra's claims.

That article then links to this page:

...which allows you to compare key points of all the major plans. This just obfuscates the situation, since it reminds us that there is no agreed-on plan. There are still a bunch of different plans out there, all vying for support. It's tough to say what will or will not be in the plan, because everyone's still working out the kinks.

Short ending to a long story: Medicare benefits are unaffected, there is no EVIL DEATH PANEL for the elderly, and the claims of denial of non-cost-effective treatment are grossly exaggerated and just BARELY accurate.

Long Beach friend:
So, I've thought a lot about this while taking a bath just now, and it's all clear to me now. Obama is Voldemort. I just knew it. Maybe they'll send an army of dementors and death eaters after the elderly. That sounds efficient. Speaking of which, Vinnie, wanna do Harry Potter in 3D Imax, come on, it will be fun.

Me: Also, Obama and Voldemort are tall and slender.

Long Beach friend: LOL

08 August 2009

Birthday at Huntington

On Thursday, Sarah, Denise, Jaymi, and I went to the Huntington Library. Calling it a library is slightly inappropriate, since next to the library is a HUGE garden. I brought along my new camera. Here are some lovely photos from our lovely day!

Here's Sarah:



The grounds of the central gardens:

An orange bug! (click for a closer view!)

This cactus looks like it's swimming:

The Japanese Garden:

A close-up of a flower:


Today, weather.com says this about Long Beach:

"Abundant sunshine. High 79F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph."

I love the choice of the word 'abundant,' with its implication of joyousness, as opposed to 'excessive,' which reads as too much. Lots of big poofy clouds are an abundance. A sky full of low stratus clouds are excessive.

Think I'll go for a run in this abundance. More text later, along with photos from my birthday at the Huntington.

03 August 2009

T-minus-21 hours

Denise is coming to visit tomorrow! She's coming out to LA for a friends' wedding, but she's making the trip a few days early so that she can visit with Sarah and I. Sarah and I have been running errands and trying to clean before she gets her (actually, the condo was filthy, and Denise's visit is a good excuse for us to clean).

When she lands tomorrow, she and I and a third friend will go to dinner. On Wednesday, we're heading down into the OC and then to dinner with some friends from LB. On Thursday, we'll head up to the Huntington Library for a day outside in the sun and heat. We're going to meet Jaymi and Kerri then, and all go out for a nice birthday dinner. On Friday, I'll take her to the airport to rent a car for her drive up north for the wedding.

Things left to do:
* figure out what else to do in the OC (in addition to visiting the U and eating at Memphis)
* vacuum
* tidy the office/guest bedroom a bit more.

30 July 2009

jet lag, home, and stuff

Right, so I'm home after my trip to the far east, and I've basically been trying to recooperate and rejuvenate for the past few days. I picked up my new eyeglasses, bought a camera, exercised, shopped, cleaned, read, slept, watched some tv, saw Harry Potter, and gone stir-crazy.

On Tuesday, I rode 15 miles to buy a camera.

The big news is that we have to buy another car. Sarah was in an accident a few weeks ago, and the insurance company has totalled the car. We're looking for another one. We want another Prius, but it doesn't look like the Prius is suffering from the same recession that other cars suffer from.

This morning, I was up at 4am and unable to get back to sleep (the last remnants of jetlag?). At 4.45, Sarah came home from work. So, we had a nice visit before she went to bed and I started my day.

27 July 2009

back home, safe, and photos!

I'm back in LA, safe and sound. Got all my bags. Also, I uploaded all of my photos from my trip to Korea and Japan. You can see them all here!

25 July 2009

en route

I'm all packed, and we're going to leave for the airport in about 30 minutes. Then, I'll fly for a long time... Post on the flip side!

A good morning, a ‘meh’ afternoon, and a great end of day!

Saturday, 10.51pm

Ian worked late last night until about 2.30am, so we had a late start to the day today. Ian got up between 10.30 and 11, and we met Reiko for another fine day out Tokyo. The weather was finally great – warm, sunny, blue skies, big puffy clouds! We headed down to Odaiba, which is the newest section of Tokyo (similar to Pu Dong in Shanghai). Odaiba is basically built along the coast across the river from Tokyo. From its rocky shores, we could see all of Tokyo laid out in front of us:

Look at that skyline! It looks like a matte painting!

Before we did much exploring, we stopped for lunch. Sushi! My favorite!:

After lunch, we hit the coast, exploring the different odd thing to be found in Tokyo. First, we found a small version of Lady Liberty:

Then, it was down the coast to find a HUGE replica of a popular Tokyo Anime character robot called Gundam. This Gundam had blinky lights, steam (mist) that came out of is chest and legs, and a head that pivoted and tilted. Here he is with his head raised to the sky, about to take off (not the steam coming out of his legs):

I thought he was going to take off and swoop through Tokyo, but he didn’t. Instead, he just stood there.


For our last thing in Odaiba, we hit a really cool science museum/center. In the main hall was a globe with a perpetually-moving display. Here’s a display of ocean temperatures:

Also inside the museum was an ingenious display of how the internet packetizes and transmits information. They do it all with little white and black balls, see, and the internet sends those balls down metallic chutes towards spinny ramps, see, where knowledgable Japanese people help ensure that the messages are delivered properly. It’s all very efficient:

Leaving Odaiba, we headed back to Asakusa, where we were going to see a very famous fireworks display. Unfortunately, the streets were a mess. The fireworks were going to be set off over the river, but there was no place along the river for us to watch! The streets were packed with people moving back and forth over bridges and down streets, trying to find a good place to watch the show:

After 45 minutes of wandering around trying to find a viewing point, we gave up and decided to try a different subway stop. That was just as lame, so we gave up and headed back to Ikebukuro for dinner.

Reiko found us a great place to eat dinner. We had beer, plum wine, dumplings, mushrooms, pancakes, edamame, chicken, fish, octopus, sushi, and French fries. Mmm!

Now, Ian and I are back at his place, internetting a bit before my last night here in Tokyo. We’re meeting Reiko tomorrow morning to trek to the airport for my afternoon flight. It’s 11.13pm here, 7.13am on Saturday morning back in LA. I’ll be home in just over 24 hours!

Will probably post once more before I take off… but if I don’t, Sayonara Tokyo! And thanks Ian and Reiko! It’s been a blast!