1. This weekend is the final weekend before the season of short plays opens. Today was the tech rehearsal, where we nailed down the lighting and sound effects. There's something about seeing the play properly lit for the first time that makes it seem real in a way it didn't before.
Or maybe it's just relief; there were times when I wasn't sure the lighting was going to come together. As it was, we ended up throwing out one of my ideas because it just plain wasn't going to work. (Fortunately, it was a bonus subtlety, not a key detail, and I wasn't all that attached to it.)
Actually, during the first run through the lighting cues, there was a second idea that wasn't going to work, so I threw it out too, and we moved on. Then, some time later, after we'd gone on to other things, the lighting guy wandered past and asked a question about it, and then a few minutes later he wandered past again and said, "How about if we...?" And we tried it, and it wasn't what I'd imagined, but it did the job even better than what I'd imagined would have done if it had worked. One of the things I love about working in theatre is the collaborative aspect, especially when it means somebody comes up with a better idea than I did.
2. This week, Mark Oshiro reached a new high-water-mark in unpreparedness at Mark Reads
. One of the things that makes it so entertaining when Mark is working his way through a new novel is that not only does he not know what's coming in the sense that he's never read the novel before, but he also doesn't have the kind of mind that retains and assembles clues to predict future plot twists. The plot twists always
take him by surprise.
But he's surpassed himself this time. He's currently reading Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!
, which has a plot revolving around a detective on the trail of a sinister conspiracy led by a shadowy anonymous figure. He didn't pick up on any of the hints that might lead a genre-savvy reader to guess the villain's identity in advance, but that's normal for Mark. He didn't put it together after reading the scene in which the detective figures it out, which is okay because it's not spelled out for the reader in that scene. But then he went on and read the scene in which the detective goes and confronts the villain and he still doesn't know who the villain is
3. Last week was the local round of the annual Toastmasters speech evaluation contest, which I always enter, even though I never win, because it's valuable practice and a good way to sharpen a useful skill set.
This year I won.
4. Two weeks ago, I finished reading The Lost Prince
, one of the lesser-known works by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of A Little Princess
and The Secret Garden
. It was... kind of weird, for a number of reasons, and something of a disappointment after the two novels aforementioned. It hasn't aged well on things like classism and sexism, and I'm not inclined to give it a pass on anything like "of its time" grounds because it was written after The Secret Garden
, so we know the author could pass the Bechdel test and write working-class characters as actual human beings if she wanted to. (It should perhaps be noted, to be complete, that some of the upper-class characters in The Lost Prince
don't quite convince as real people, either; class essentialism cuts both ways. I was amused and not entirely surprised to subsequently discover that a significant proportion of the Lost Prince fic on AO3 is crackfic in which the Lost Prince's bloodline literally isn't entirely human.)
5. Three weeks ago, I signed up for HabitRPG
, which aims to make getting stuff done more interesting by supplying a RPG-themed context: strengthen a good habit or tick off something on your to-do list, and your character gains XP and loot; strengthen a bad habit, and your character loses health points. It probably says something about my habits that most of my loot has been going toward armour and health potions to stave off the effects of my bad habits, but I have been seeing some improvement, and noticing moments when I've gained the necessary willpower get something done or avoid a bad habit by remembering what will happen to fictional-me if I don't. One area where I feel I've made definite improvement is in the area of getting to bed at a reasonable time; even when I fail to get to bed by the self-imposed deadline that would win me loot, it's usually not by much, and I don't do the noodling-around-on-the-internet-until-
ridiculous-o'clock thing nearly as often. It's having a knock-on effect on how easily I get out of bed in the morning, too.