December 30, 2011

How Was Your Day?

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 8:45 pm

My day has been OK. I didn’t do much, other than fix what I broke while moving my domain away from GoDaddy as part of yesterday’s “Move Your Domain Day.” (If you’d like to know more about why GoDaddy and the proposed SOPA legislation suck, my new registrar, NameCheap.com, has a decent summary.)

Anyway, my day was just OK until a friend and reader texted me this shot of what was transpiring on 42nd Street:

I actually knew nothing about this, which is a wonderful thing, as my life experience has taught me that anything involving that truck and 42nd Street must have royally sucked for whoever was involved, which thankfully was not me.

So I say, godspeed, unfortunate Acting Company employees and hourly laborers! May whatever you were doing have gone quickly and without incurring the wrath of the NYPD and/or studio management. And as this was less than 4 hours ago, at the very least I hope it’s not still going on!

December 21, 2011

Truck Excursion Follow-up

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:33 pm

As I blogged, last week I was sent on a 2-day trip to upstate New York on a little truck-packing project for The Acting Company.

I was going to visit Adirondack Studios, where the set for the new tour of Julius Caesar had just been completed, to supervise the loading of the set into the company’s 53-foot trailer, in combination with the road boxes and part of the set for The Comedy of Errors that was already in there.

The staff at Adirondack was really friendly and helpful, and perhaps most notably, fed me incredibly well, from dinner at a local brew pub the night I arrived, to coffee on the way to my 7AM call, to a delicious lunch during our break from loading the truck. Our account manager and his wife were Acting Company alums from the ’70s and ’80s, so I got to hear lots of stories from the early days on the road, and share my tales of how much things have changed (or haven’t changed!) since then.

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was the train station in nearby Fort George, where I stepped down off the train at night, literally the only person getting off the train, onto a completely empty platform. It was so awesome. I also got to wait a while for the train on the way home. It was a little busier, because there’s a gift shop/coffee shop in the old train station that got a little bit of traffic, but I got this cool shot down the tracks.

I won’t lie, it’s a cell phone photo, but click the image for a wallpaper-sized (1920×1080*) version. I generally hate wallpaper images that aren’t pixel-perfect, but I have to commend the iPhone 4 for failing in a direction that sort of makes it look like a painting rather than a blotch of pixels (especially the trees).

*I generally think 1920×1080 is the devil’s resolution, but the aspect ratio worked much better for this photo.

December 20, 2011

A Small Holiday Gift

I call this: mac,tech — Posted by KP @ 6:15 pm

This is not so much a holiday gift, as it is a re-gift. It’s a gift I’m giving to myself, that thanks to the wonder of digital property, I can re-gift to you at no cost to myself, with virtually no effort.

I have been a Mac user for almost 10 years now, and there are still a couple very basic, very useful keyboard shortcuts that I can never remember. And they’re the ones that aren’t just handy, you actually need them when you need them. Like how to bring up the Force Quit screen when your app has frozen and you can’t mouse over to it in the menu. Or how to put the computer to sleep when you’ve gone and unplugged the mouse (I don’t know exactly why, but this comes up more often than you might expect in my life).

So for a while I’ve had these two shortcuts (as well as another that I can never recall: how to bring up the dictionary) written on a post-it, because I got tired of having to Google them (on another computer or my phone, because of course the computer I’m trying to use them on is out of commission). But a post-it is rather ugly for something on long-term display, so I decided to print out a nicer-looking cheat sheet that I could tape to the shelf over my monitor with a little more dignity. I’m still embarrassed that I need them at all, but perhaps within the next decade I can actually learn them.


*Results would be even better if you don’t use a crappy printer!

If you’d like to have one of these of your very own, just steal the image up at the top of this post and print it out at 100%. It will be ever-so-slightly smaller than a business card (which is largely unintentional, but hey — you can bring it in your wallet if you’re really afraid of being caught without these shortcuts).


December 13, 2011

The TAC Truck, Year 4

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:10 pm

The other day, I was out at Ikea with my parents, buying a $10 lamp for my desk, which is seriously the most blogworthy thing that’s happened to me in weeks (thus my silence), when I saw I had a voicemail.

Heeding the old adage of theatrefolk, I checked the message because it was a 212 number (the theory being that nobody has a landline, and if you’re receiving a 212 call from an unknown number, it could only possibly be the office of a producer or general manager who’s calling to offer you a job!) As it is a surprising number of times, it was indeed the office of a theatre company, although I was unexpectedly greeted by a voice I knew: it was The Acting Company.

I think I’ve mentioned — maybe — that I’m not doing this year’s tour, but they know I’m in town and available for other stuff. This particular situation has to do with the truck.

The set for Julius Caesar has just been finished at the shop, up in Glens Falls, NY (for the upstate-challenged, that’s “way past Albany”), and as always, it’s big, and may not fit in the truck, and it has to get to New 42nd Street Studios for rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.

So, having a reputation as She Who Makes Things Fit in the Truck, I have been asked to go to Glens Falls to supervise the load out and make it fit in the truck.

The trickiest part of this assignment is not having to devise an optimized truck pack on the fly for a set I’ve never seen. The trick is going to be doing that successfully at 7AM. The company is sending me to the shop at great expense, not because I’m needed to load the truck, but because supposedly there’s something in my brain that will allow the truck to be loaded better. So really the best preparation I can do for this assignment is to sleep and drink coffee.

I requested an early enough train to get to the hotel at a reasonable hour to have dinner and get a good amount of sleep.

I’m on the train now, which is somewhere between a 4- or 5-and-a-half-hour ride, I guess depending on how express the train is. I have six proposed versions of the truck pack drawn up by the production manager, from which to draw ideas. Once the sun set and there was nothing to watch out the window, I sat with them on my tray table and looked them all over again. I’m optimistic that I can do better than what’s on paper, which of course is drawn conservatively.

Thankfully I don’t have to participate in the unloading of the truck (a load-in or -out at New42 is high on my list of things for which there is not enough money in the world), but I want to make it as easy as possible on the other end, and I know that I have an opportunity to test out some ideas, or create new ones, that will give the show crew a head start in finding clever ways of loading the truck for the tour.

What the truck might look like, and what the people unloading it might look like if they weren’t illegally parked in Times Square.

I’m excited to see the truck again, and to get a peek at the new set, even if I probably won’t have any idea of what it looks like when it’s broken down for travel.