Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Good Day

Today was a day off. Unlike yesterday where I was a lazy bum for a majority of the day, today I was determined to get out and be productive.

So a friend and I went to Hermann Park to have a picnic and an afternoon at the zoo. We had a lot of fun and nearly walked our legs off. It was a sunny day and near feeding time so many animals were awake from their naps. And today, I learned a new fact: Cheetahs chirp. Like birds. Its eerie as hell. And very cool. Also the best kid quote of the day: a tearful, pouting boy to his mother: "Talking about it isn't the same as buying it." Brilliant.

The day was capped off at a skating rink where I tried to see if my legs remembered how to rollerskate. The answer was yes and no. They did, but they were a) tired from walking all over the zoo and b) were reluctant to remember how. The point of tonight was for me to see if I could still do it. The answer is yes. Whether I can do it well enough for me to feel comfortable participating in an upcoming project, remains to be seen. I have to try my hand at skating on pavement first. The good news, is the ankle didn't mind. My calves did, though!

An image of HB's skates because the rental rollerskates were UGLY:

I was envious of HB and RB's skating prowess and wished for the recklessness that kids have when rollerskating. I saw so many kiddos just racing around without much care of whether they'd fall or not. Of course, they were a lot closer to the ground than I was. Even with me being vertically-challenged.

I have other pictures from last night involving aforementioned project, but I'm reluctant to share them as they're part of an upcoming event. After the fact, you bet I'll be posting 'em!

I'm off to bed because I've worn myself out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunny Afternoon at Mercer

Took a stroll with a friend in Mercer's Botanical Garden. Took some pretty cool pictures, if I do say so... thought I'd share a few. As always, click the flickr link the sidebar to see the rest.

I'm kind of liking this photo mosaic feature.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


For a city as humid as Houston gets in the summertime, it routinely amazes me that Houston is home to so many fountains. Especially in the downtown area. These days, besides nighttime photography, I'm recently obsessed with fountains. Its a renewed obsession actually, and these photos are hardly representative of all the cool fountains in the area. Just the ones within walking distance of the Wortham, and on post-matinee show tired feet.

The weather conditions were cool and not particularly sunny, I'd like to revisit when I've got better weather (i.e. sun) and maybe at night.

Main Street

Main Street

Main Street

El Paso Fountains

Prarie and Milam

That's all for now, I'm off to bed!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Post-Opening Day Off

Almost always, the day after your opening is a day off. Today was. Thank goodness. We opened last night to a good house, a good performance (with only slight, very minor mishaps) and to a good review.

Thusly, today I wanted to get out and enjoy the day until venturing into work for a dinner hosted by our Guild for the Technical and Production Departments. I started the day out with a visit to the Beer Can House. The house is completely covered in beer cans. No kidding. It is now preserved, as the original owner and his wife have both passed on.

Beer Can House

Beer Top Fringe

Green, Brown, Clear Glass

Then, I wanted to take a stroll down by the Buffalo Bayou, to see what I could see and hopefully find the source of the pretty purple lights. I discovered a very nice set of paths which I'd like to explore more on a less hot day.


I later returned that evening, tripod in hand, to see if I could capture the purple lights. I got a crack at it and want another; but I also ended up with a nifty ferris wheel shot.

Blue Lights

Aquarium Ferris Wheel

Tomorrow's another show day, that'll be two down, three to go!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Night Photography

Tonight, on my way home from a friend's birthday gathering, I happened across one of my "most wanted" places to photograph. In the middle of the roundabout near Hermann Park, there are three gorgeous fountains. Tonight, I encountered them a) lit, b) running, and c) I was near a place I could park. Plus I had my tripod in my trunk (thrown in there on the off chance that my friends would have a good sunset view from their 4th floor apartment).

It was just meant to be. I pulled over and set up my tripod on the sidewalk and just started snapping away. I must've taken at least 200 pictures, experimenting with different shutter speeds, white balance, aperture priority, etc. Suddenly, the lights went off which I thought would bring my impromptu photography session to a halt. I was disappointed but knew I had taken a decent amount of shots.

On a whim, I took another picture which I was surprised to see that it turned out quite well considering the fountain was no longer internally lit.

This roundabout is a fairly busy thoroughfare, so I had more than a few shots taken with a car driving through. Though my exposure time on my camera is limited, I ended up with some pretty cool light trails in my pictures.

Hermann Park Fountain
Almost daylight like, considering the considerable lack of illumination.

Hermann Park Fountain

Hermann Park Fountain

Considering my considerable lack of exposure time, and my relative newness to nighttime photography, I think these came out well. I also had a great discussion about photography with my dad whilst snapping away. A truly enjoyable experience all around.

You can see the rest (not many) at my flickr account. As always, click on them to see them larger.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pictures from Work

Not exactly what you're expecting, I'm sure. Of course I can't take pictures of the show I'm working on because I'm busy, but a sitzprobe rehearsal is fairly light duty for stage management. A sitzprobe is the first musical rehearsal with the orchestra and the singers. Its a chance for them to hear each other and for the Maestro to fine tune many elements.

In between listening to specific points in the show where the piano reduction and the orchestration are different, I took some pictures of backstage.

The rail, which flies scenic elements in and out of view of the audience. In Billy Budd, there's not much for our flymen.

The operator's view of the rail.

Stage Manager Console
The center of the action: where the calling stage manager makes it all happen.

Where my career in opera began, sort of... with the piano that gave me the ability to read music which eventually lead me to this job.

Calling Score
The top part of my score... labeling every singer/chorus/kid entrance, exit, rail cue, stair cue, deck cue and turn cue.

Calling Score
The right hand side of my score labeling every DVD and CD track... both which were quite useful for this particular show.

Circa notebook. A stage manager's best friend. These unique rings allow you to rip out pages and put them back in whatever order you desire.

I'm done geeking out now. I hope you enjoyed this small peek into the backstage of a theatre. If you want to see more pictures, check out my flickr account.

P.S. I wasn't kidding about the whole Rainbow Brite thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Unexpected Surprises

Today was an unexpected day off. Making up for tons of rehearsal earlier, right? I decided to go out and visit some places that I keep meaning to visit but hadn't yet.

Like Discovery Green, a new park in downtown. I'd noticed it while USITT folk were here but hadn't made the connection between a new park and the location. I'd missed the "official" opening weekend but wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It's a nice park, and it was well-used considering it was the middle of the week.

Discovery Green Park

Then, I stopped by a park that's off the Bayou on Allen Parkway. Since I wasn't feeling especially adventurous, the stop was brief.

Next stop was the Wortham Fountain along Allen Parkway (at Waugh). I'd always driven by that fountain and wanted to stop and take pictures, but couldn't for one reason or another.

So today, I did. At first, the fountain stopped when I pulled over to park. I was immediately amused and bummed - but quickly learned that it ran on random cycles. Makes perfect sense. I also discovered that this particular stop is a mecca for dog owners. I met this pup:

Friendly Puppy

How cute is he? Before his current owner had him, he apparently was slightly neglected. He never went on walks, and he's rather shy of a lot of things: traffic, etc. Apparently, walks still freak him out. His owner said that when he spotted me, that was the first time he wagged his tail since the beginning of the walk. While his owner and I chatted about dogs and Houston, he decided to get friendly with me and sat down in my lap. It was really adorable. That was before him taking a dip in the fountain pool. After bonding with him, I asked to take his picture. He posed beautifully, don't you think?

Here are a few photos of the fountain, as usual, you can see more at my flickr account.

Wortham Fountain


Dry Fountain

I love random happenings and discoveries. A lovely day considering a very late night last night and only about four hour's sleep (not by choice, and not on purpose). Capped off with a nice dinner (Blue Fish House) and dessert (Chocolate Bar) with a good friend.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lovely Day

Yesterday was one of those long days where I spent most of the day inside a dark, windowless theatre. Yesterday was also a beautiful day outside and it made me a little sad inside as I headed into work in the morning. Here was this gorgeous day and there was me, heading inside, gearing up for two tech rehearsals on a very technical show.

I was very pleased to wake up this morning to an equally beautiful day outside. Unfortunately, I only slept in about a half hour past when I've been getting up this past week. However... there was a definite upshot to this.

Sometime in the recent past, I went to Hermann Park in the hopes of spending a lovely day outside. However, it was early afternoon and the place was packed. Not a parking spot to be found and traffic clogging up the one main road that runs through the park. 

Today, I discovered the key. Go early. There were parking spots galore and the park wasn't terribly crowded. Hours later, upon my departure when I'd had my fill of flowers, sights and sun, the parking lots were jammed with cars hunting for a free spot. 

You can find the photos that I took here, but some highlights are included below:

Peach/White Rose & Bee

Purple Exotic Flower


Monarch Butterfly

Bee & Purple Flower

Reflective Sphere

Pink Flower - Up Close

Can I also say that I love this place?

 Stopped by on the way home to pick up some supplies for a project. I guess I was feeling art-y today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tech Lust

No pictures today, just a lot of lusting after technology. I'll admit, I like my gadgets. I have a cell phone, a laptop, a GPS device (because frankly, I'm hopeless when it comes to compass directions. HOPELESS.) a decent digital camera, an iPod and I have become far too reliant on the internet.

So what does this gal who has a lot of gadgets want now? Plenty, unfortunately. In no particular order:

  • 32 GB iPod Touch. I have major lust for the iPhone. However, I don't want to switch cellphone carriers. The newest iPod touch is big enough in memory size to be comparable to my current video iPod. And with the software update, the only difference between the iPhone and the iPod Touch is the phone software & technology. I could definitely go for that... but it's got to come down in price - that's a price-y gadget!
  • Scanner. I want a scanner for the sole purpose of electronically cataloging photos from the times before digital cameras. This is a long term project and I don't know how soon I'll make this purchase. But I am researching it every so often in my down-time. I'm currently debating the merits of the add-ons of negative scanning in addition to your traditional flatbed scanning.
  • External Hard Drive. I have one, but it's more than several years old which means it's not much more than my current not-so-large HD.  If I do aforementioned project, I'll have to get one for that... and probably replace the current one I have with one that's 3 times it's size... and no, I'm not talking about a Terabyte drive. 
  • DSLR camera. I'm really enjoying photography as a hobby... and I'd like to think I'm getting better. And I think I'm getting bolder about straying off of the auto-settings and trying my hand at manual manipulation. However, one of the types of photographs that I'd like to take are low-light photos. Ones that require a long exposure. After deciphering the settings on the current camera, I learned that my longest exposure is 4 seconds. Blech. I want more! At the same time, I'm a relative newbie at photography  - translating all the apertures, f-stops, etc into what I can understand is still happening. And I have to research what I've got on my current camera so I can not take a step back in quality (like zoom) when I get my hands on a fancy camera. I so look forward to a manual focus though - I get so frustrated with the auto-zoom... and what Fuji calls a manual zoom ain't one. 
So... that's it... who knows how soon I'll seriously look into these. But they're definitely on my wish-list. If I were made of money...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Food Rainbow

You know I'm hard up for interesting blog entries when I am photographing my snack food.

In the interest of eating healthier... I'm trying to find food that I like that is also healthy. I like crunchy, and I like bell peppers, so I'm hoping to solve the craving for crunchy with sliced and diced bell peppers. And hey, it's one of the five-a-day fruit or vegetable items I'm supposed to have daily... right?

I was coring and prepping them for tupperware when I happened to look at my cutting board:

Accidentally pretty, I think. And I did no arranging of colors, they naturally fell like that. I just reached in the bag, washed and put them in line to be chopped.

And yes, I'm pretty boring right now. Our in-room run with all cast and most crew (a luxury on this show) happened on Sunday and it went well... surprisingly well considering it was the first time that all elements had been added together (artistic with tech).

Now we're figuring out how to as effectively rehearse the show without the benefit of the actual set (almost a character itself in this show). We taped out somethin' pretty today, but I didn't get a chance to snap a shot... perhaps later in the week...

Monday, April 7, 2008


At House of Pies. One of the few rare times I've gone to that wonderful place and NOT had a delicious breakfast.

Strawberry Rhubarb pie, with ice cream. Last time I had dessert there, I had blueberry pie but a companion of mine had strawberry rhubarb and I tasted it and vowed to get it the next time.

After a long day at work, and quelling my hunger with Goode Company BBQ with two friends, we decided that a proper, delicious dessert was in order! One thing I love about Houston is the amount of absolutely great restaurants that don't break the bank. Lindsay pointed that out last night, and she's ever so right.

Am I making you hungry? Good! I think it's time for a late lunch. And no, I'm not going to have pie.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happiness in a Box

Or several boxes, really.

Yup, Girl Scout cookies. Found at the local grocery store at the end of a no-good, very bad day. Brilliant timing. I was beginning to think I'd not have any at all, and that would have made me very sad.

You see, Girl Scout cookies have been a major part of my life for a long time. I was a Girl Scout: from Brownie to Cadette. I even earned the Silver Award (second highest honor) - except that I cannot officially claim it on any resume or the like. My Cadette troop disbanded before the troop leader could submit the paperwork.

I used to sell cookies routinely, and only very rarely did I allow my dad to take it into work with him. Most of my selling was done the good, old-fashioned way: knocking on neighbor's doors. I lucked out though - when I was growing up, I was the only non-Orthodox kid on the block. So I had the cookie monopoly!

Those four cookies are my favorites. And no, none of them are Thin Mints. I'm one of those weird people who dislike chocolate and mint in the same bite. Don't know why, I just don't.

The most intriguing thing about these cookies, besides the inflated cost from when I used to sell them, is their names.

The red box contains Peanut Butter Patties. The orange contains Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Purple? My favorite: Carmel DeLites. And the blue? Standard shortbread. The colors of the boxes haven't changed, but the names have.

Peanut Butter Patties were Tagalongs when I sold them. And Do-Si-Dos. And Samoas. And Trefoils. I asked the troop leader when I bought them why the names were different. She didn't know, but guessed that it might be a geographic thing.

All I know is that they taste damn good.

I could have bought more, but that would have been overindulgence. And I just can't break away from my classics. I never was hooked on any of the random extra items that rotated from year to year. I even remember when they tried selling crackers one year. Those didn't go down very well. Who wants healthy stuff? We want the sinfully good cookies!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go indulge in some good old-fashioned American tradition.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day Off

In my line of work, we get one day off every 10 days, maximum. Sometimes its every seven. (But we can go up to ten without penalty.) Not two days per five day week. We also tend to work about 60 hours a week when in rehearsal. Thusly, the day off is a day to recharge, relax... and get a lot of mundane things done.

Today's mundane list:
-get new MacBook Pro battery for free because it was faulty to begin with and I just found out about the exchange
-do laundry
-clean kitchen/bathroom/living area/bedroom
-run the dishwasher
-prep snacks for work
-put things away/hang things up so I don't feel like a slob
-enter receipts into Quicken, figure out what bills are due when/how much

That's the stuff that HAD to get done today. The battery could have waited probably, but since the computer just returned with a new logic board (that's a new brain, right?), why not have an almost new computer? So far so good with the "new" computer, but I haven't really run it through its paces.

But it was also important to me to 'get out of town' today. Technically, the Mercer Arboretum is not quite outside of Houston, but its a decent drive away from the usual area that I run errands/hang out in.

I have been hoping for a beautiful day on my day off and I succeeded. The rain was kept at bay and the weather was only mildly sticky.

I took almost 600 pictures today. That's a lot, you think, right? It is. But you have to understand that a good 400 of them were attempts at getting just a handful of good pictures: bees and flowers. Ever since my lucky catch, I've been questing to repeat that. Bees are not easy subjects to catch and did I mention that I'm actually afraid of them?

Out of the 600 pictures taken today, I've only kept 170. And there's still more filtering to be done. I've gotten rid of all the out-of-focus ones, repeats, etc.

A "highlights" selection can be found here, but I'll post my favorites now:

Bee and Flower

Green Lizard

Purple Flower

Last time, I saw snakes and butterflies. This time, I saw four different types of lizards. One of them was too fleet-footed to catch on camera, he had a yellow-ish body and a blue tail. Too bad.

Not everything on that to-do list is done, but now that I've uploaded my pictures, it's time to fold laundry and finish the rest of my to-do list.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Tribute

On November 4th, 2007, a friend of mine unexpectedly died. She was 26. G and I went to college together, both theatre majors in our close-knit department. She and I worked on many shows together, but I think the last one was "Closer Than Ever", a tribute piece to another friend of ours who also died far too young, while we were still in college.

G died of a stroke that was a deadly side effect to her migraine medicine. Months before I'd lost another friend unexpectedly, though older than G, who still died far too young. She died of complications of new food allergies. Both of them were female. Both were Jewish. Both were redheads. Both were talented and artistic. Both are buried in the same place (though lived/were from different places).

G's family asked that people remember G today by buying a flower and "just bask in it's simple beauty". To honor her and to remember her.

Gerbers for G

I chose the Gerber daisies because a) I'm a fan of them, but b), more importantly, they were the flowers that G and I gave out to our cast of "Closer than Ever". No other flower would have seemed appropriate to me for G.

G, Happy Birthday... I only wish you were still here to celebrate it with us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm Back...

... and the computer seems to be better. I haven't really put it through its paces yet. If I read the tech babble right, I think I have a new logic board or motherboard. I may be more technology-knowledgeable that some, but there's a level of geekdom and techspeak that I can't always translate without help.

Today's picture comes from California. Because, though I'm near a coast, the water doesn't look like this down here.

Pacific Ocean

This is a reminder to myself that the beach is a good place to go. Whatever my next day off is... I'm heading out of town and going to the beach. That or the Arboretum. I have a distinct urge to just get out of town. Now.

Yes, this is for me, the last entry of the March Project, even though it's April (when did THAT happen?)

April will have no project because work will take over my life for the next month or so. Hopefully I'll be able to break out the camera every so often and share what I can. I'll still try to post every day, even if its just a brief blurb.

When we walked out of work (I limped) last night, we passed through the lobby which had played host to some sort of dinner function. There was confetti all over the floor. Had I not been a) carrying this computer in addition to my regular stuff and b) not been exhausted, I would have broken out the camera and taken a picture of it. It was pretty. And random. And chaotic.

That's all for now.