27 July 2011
26 July 2011
23 July 2011
Eli teaches clowning at UC-Irvine, and many of his clowning students end up in a troupe that he calls Clownzilla. Clownzilla has four or five shows in their repertoire, most of which I've designed. Some, I've written music for. Some, I've toured to foreign countries to put up. One, Clown MacBeth, is only a Clownzilla show in as much as Eli and I worked on it; the performers were members of a Korean theater troupe. As Eli and I have worked on these shows, we've both learned a lot about this new style of clowning that he teaches and how it can be used to tell story. We're both looking forward to going to Romania next summer to put this piece together.
Recently, we've been doing a lot of research into structure and themes for the show. We've got a rough plot outline of the show, and we're tapping a lot of resources for inspiration. Here are some of the avenues of research that I've been exploring:
* Beach Boys music
* The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss:
* Lord of the Flies
* Hogan's Heroes:
And some other avenues of research that I still need to explore:
* The Green Table
* Johnny Got His Gun
* Rory Stewart - The Prince of the Marshes
* Ken Burns' The War miniseries
We're looking specifically for macabre humor to help keep the clowns dark and funny while exploring the themes of war, so as I sift through the research, I'm looking for examples of humor or dark levity or silliness in war. I'm particularly looking forward to re-reading Catch-22 again!
20 July 2011
That's all! Just a small update!
16 July 2011
At the top of the trail, the path opened up into an alpine meadow, and the lake sat, mostly frozen, in the cradle of the mountain. We stopped for lunch, then headed back down. The week of hiking has worn many of us out, and combined with the fact that there were some previous injuries, most of us were cranky and/or hurting and/or fatigued on the hike down. Once at the bottom, we jumped back into the car and sped off back to the car for a quick clean-up.
We got showered in record time (6 showers, 2 bathrooms, 35 minutes between turning the car off and turning it back on), and zipped down to the St. Mary's section of GNP for a boat cruise.
The boat cruise was terrific. We did a circuit around the lake, snapping photos the whole time. The captain told a lot of stories about mysterious mansions on the hill, donors who never visited the park, and cheetos-stained rock. After the cruise, we went back to The Two Sisters Cafe, then home for a night of packing and relaxing. Home tomorrow!
15 July 2011
After the hike, we headed to Babb, where we'll be sleeping for the next few nights. The house in Babb is a doublewide trailer, but it's lovely and suits us just fine. C, B, and I sat out on the deck in the afternoon and shot photos of a bird that was hunting nearby. We're not sure if it was a bald eagle or an osprey. Ornithologists we are not.
Dinner was at a place called the Two Sisters' Cafe, a little road stop decorated with license plates and a roof with a big sign that says 'ALIENS WELCOME.' Not sure if they mean Martians or Mexicans. The dinner was awesome. The owner (?) came over and told us that if we liked fish and didn't order the trout, 'BAD YOU!' naturally, we ordered three trouts. And other food. And pie. And milkshakes. And beer. And cocktails.
When we got back from dinner, eagle-eye S saw a bear in the meadow behind our house! We safely got inside, but have been trying to get some shots of it before it gets too dark. Speaking of which, time to go!
One last day of hiking tomorrow!
14 July 2011
B, C, and I got up this morning to head into the park to shoot the sunrise. We found a nice perch on the shore of the lake, and we got some terrific shots. There were dense clouds over the mountain, but we got great shots as the sun rose behind the clouds. Wow! Afterwards: breakfast at a diner, where B had Huckleberry pancakes (yum!).
Later in the morning, the six of us took a helicopter ride through the park! All six of us fit in the chopper quite snugly, but we all had great views. The pilot took us over much of the terrain that we had been covering on the ground (Lake MacDonald, Hidden Lake, Logan Pass, Avalanche Lake, Going-To-The-Sun Road, etc.), and then he took us past a couple of sites and glaciers that we hadn't seen yet. The pilot said that while there were over a hundred glaciers in GNP in the 1850s, there are about 25 now. By 2030, the anticipated number of glaciers is 0. ZERO.
At any rate, the chopper ride (my first) was amazing (thanks again, C&D!), and we were exhilarated when we landed. So exhilarated, in fact, that A and I decided to increase our hike distance today. We decided last night that we wanted to do a tough hike today, and after the chopper ride, we switched from the Huckleberry Mountain Hike to the Lincoln Lake Hike. The LLH is a 16-mile roundtrip hike that starts with a steep climb and ends at a glacial lake. The lake itself is quite small, but the waterfall feeding the lake is huge (HUGE!), and the hike is so far that there were very few people (four) on the trail (contrasted with the dozens and hundreds that were on the trails over the last few days). The trail started sunny, got cloudy, and then got sunny by the time we got back to the car. Also, we were mauled by mosquitos. Still, we had a great time, and we did the 16-mile hike in just under 7 hours.
Our feets are sore and have blisters.
B took the day off from hiking to repair his knee and work. C took the day off from hiking to relax, and S & D took the day off to shop in a nearby town. We've all reassembled, S&D have prepared a yummy dinner (with C at the grill), and we're gonna eat soon.
Tomorrow, we leave our great house in West Glacier and head to Babb, on the other side of the park, for a few more days of hiking and fun!
13 July 2011
The Hidden Lake trail was a bust. It was beautiful, but very snowy, and we only did about 1/4 of the trail out before we decided to bail and eat lunch. The walking was tough indeed. Lunch was on a rocky oasis in the middle of a snowfield, and there was plenty of wildlife to see and shoot (with a camera, natch).
After lunch, we headed to St. Mary's falls, a shortish hike that led us to a number of beautiful waterfalls. The hike was pretty easy, and there were some beautiful photography spots along the way.
Going back to the house took a long time. Even though GTSR is open, there's still a lot of construction. Took us an hour just to get through the construction. I slept. C drove. Thanks, C!
Dinner was at the Lake McDonald Lodge, one of the oldest structures in the park. The lodge itself was built in 1913/4, and it's beautiful! Rustic, dark, with high ceilings and lots of dead animals on the wall.
12 July 2011
The internet is VERY slow here, so I'll be emailing the photos to the blog, one at a time. You'll have to scroll through like good little children to see them all.
Also, we saw bears!
09 July 2011
07 July 2011
05 July 2011
Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday. I like the history, the significance, the idealism, the food, and the proximity to my birthday (Mom has a theory that for most of us, our favorite holiday is the one closest to our birthday). in recent years, I've started making a tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence. Usually, I read it to myself (S thinks it's silly), but on occasion, I read it out loud.
This year, S and I are in Independence, Iowa, at a family reunion. We spent yesterday visiting with lots of distant family and eating lots of yummy food. Today, after breakfast and goodbyes, we'll be headed home to California. With any luck, we'll be sleeping in our own bed tonight!
After breakfast and a long drive from Iowa back to St. Louis with B and A (and a lunch at Steak'n'Shake), we headed to the airport to catch our 6.17 flight through Houston. Which was overbooked. Fortunately, the gate agent saw that we might be able to catch an earlier flight through Phoenix that would get us home an hour early. We zipped through security (S drank her entire water bottle because she forgot to empty it) and ran to the gate for the flight to Houston. As we headed to the gate, we were paged. The page was to put us on the flight to Phoenix. We managed to get onto the Phoenix flight as they were closing the doors. We think our bags made it. We sat down in our seats, and S texted her brother while I texted our ride back in LA. Then, the doors shut and we zipped away. As I write this, we are en route from St. Louis to Phoenix.
Got to Phoenix. Flight delayed an hour. Finally home, with luggage, just shy of midnight. The long ordeal is over. Thanks to everyone who hauled us around. Thanks to everyone who let us vent over twitter, Facebook, irl. Thanks to the occasional kind and sympathetic airline agent. No thanks to the airlines themselves, particularly USAir, a truly terrible organization of sadistic beings.
02 July 2011
We made it into Iowa, at long last. Dinner with the extended Short family, then back to the hotel for some laundry. Also, now that I'm back in the states, I'm checking out this new app called Blogsy, which is supposed to make blogging from the iPad easier.
Also, here are some photographs that I took in Europe and then processed into HDR images. I've been working on them slowly throughout the trip, and I'll put some new ones up from time to time..
Tower and carousel.
A villa in Capri.
St. Peter's Basilica, with Jesus-light.
The Rome airport was a mess. S counted eight lines we had to stand in before we were seated on the plane: one to get our boarding pass, one to say that we packed our own bags, one to check our bags, one to be screened, one to get on a shuttle to the gate, one to go through the gate, one to get on a shuttle to the plane, and one to get on the plane.
Plus, the airline was terrible about seating us together. We were never able to get seats together, despite asking numerous times and booking the plane tickets at the same time. So, when we got on the plane, S's seatmate agreed to switch seats with me. Thanks kind stranger! Of course, USAirways got all grumpy with me for it. When they were passing out meals, my seat switching meant that they had to walk an extra few feet to deliver my special Muslim meal (air travel pro tip: regular airplane food sucks, but if you order a special diet - Kosher, Muslim, etc. - the food is usually more tasty. And healthy!)
We've been on the ground for the better part of an hour, and everyone is cranky. Passengers want to know what's happening, crew is frustrated wit the situation, and the medical emergency is apparently still on the plane. Some of the passengers have been checking on their connections and don't think they're going to make it. We were scheduled to have a 3.5 hour layover in Philly, so we SHOULD be alright.
The captain just announced that we're getting read to go!
All that rush for nothing! Ten minutes later, and we're still on the ground.
And... We're back in the air, after over an hour on the ground. The time is now 11.13 EST. The arrival time is now scheduled to be 6.35 pm.
We landed at 6.25, but missed our connection. We are stuck in philly overnight, and scheduled to fly out to St Louis tomorrow morning. We actually had enough time to make our originally-scheduled flight tonight (well, if they held the plane five minutes), but USAirlines, sensing an opportunity, oversold our evening flight out and bumped us to a tomorrow flight.
We're going to sleep soon, thank god. USAir - you really blew it today.
Also, while all of the passengers were in the shuttle to the airport tonight, we heard more about the medical trouble from the flight. Apparently, the passenger had a bout of food poisoning (I've heard alternate stories of peaches and clams), which caused the flight to be diverted. Then, once on the ground in London, the passenger refused to get off the plane. My feeling (and I feel pretty strongly about it), is that if you're ill enough to cause an emergency landing, you're too ill to fly.
Here's hoping tomorrow is better. At the very least, we'll have family around us.